PLAYLIST: Disq’s Songs To Cry To

With their upbeat debut dropping this Friday, the Madison post-punks share their favorite weep-tunes.
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PLAYLIST: Disq’s Songs To Cry To

With their upbeat debut dropping this Friday, the Madison post-punks share their favorite weep-tunes.

Words: Mike LeSuer

photo by Meghan Vieth

March 03, 2020

Disq landed on our radar at the very beginning of the year with their song “Daily Routine,” a single that sounds like a Parquet Courts interpretation of “That Thing You Do.” It’s an invigorated follow-up to the pair of singles the Madison-based band shared a year prior via their label Saddle Creek, somehow amping up the pop-rock hooks and their guitars’ volume while allowing their apathetic millennial attitudes to shine through in the relatable monotony relayed in the song’s lyrics. 

This Friday the band is sharing a full record’s worth of such spirited lethargy: Collector is comprised of nine additional tracks that share the playful energy of “Routine” (there’s a track called “Fun Track 4,” ensuring the existence of at least three other incontestably fun tracks), with even the track called “I Wanna Die” proving a raucous shredfest. Leading up to the release, Disq hasn’t been shy about what’s been on their turntables—though until now, these curated playlists were mostly comprised of songs that matched their own upbeat sound.

Shifting gears, vocalists Raina Bock (also on bass) and Isaac deBroux-Slone (guitar) opted to give us a look at some more personal favs: their go-to songs for a good cry. With both of their individual playlists streaming below, read on for an interview with both members about what constitutes a good cry-song, and how they see themselves fitting into the Saddle Creek legacy.

Collector is out March 6 on Saddle Creek. Pre-order it here.

How did you guys decide on making a playlist about songs to cry to?

Raina: I had a whole bunch of ideas for playlist themes, but this just felt like it would be an easy one—a lot of songs make me cry, and I feel like a lot of our other playlists are more uptempo type stuff. I thought this would be a fun change of pace.

Isaac: I definitely have an easy time thinking of songs that make me cry, versus songs that make me happy. 

What is it about a song that makes you cry? Is it more lyrical, or instrumental?

Isaac: Usually it’s just kind of that perfect combo that really triggers your emotions. It’s specific moments in a song.

Raina: I think it’s pretty hard to untangle music from the context of when you first heard it. It’s usually stuff that makes me nostalgic for my childhood, or a certain time or place or person.

I always think about the episode of Seinfeld where Elaine’s dating a guy who shushes her every time “Desperado” comes on. It’s funny, but the older I get, the more I relate to that—what do you do when you’re in public and you suddenly hear Big Thief?

Isaac: That happens to me a lot—I’m a delivery driver, so I’ll be listening to some really sad song and it’ll put me in a really weird, bad state. And then I’ll pull up to drop off some food for somebody, I’ll knock on their door and have to be, like, customer-service person for a second. 

“Shark Smile” is everywhere now—coffee shops, grocery stores. It’s very distracting. 

Isaac: I’m glad it gets played like that, but it’s not the kind of music that I want to be hearing in public [laughs]. 

I noticed you had both Big Thief and Hand Habits on your lists—when you signed to Saddle Creek, were you more excited to be a part of this legacy, or the Bright Eyes/Cursive history?

Raina: Definitely Big Thief/Hand Habits for me. I know there are a lot of Bright Eyes fans in the van, but Placeholder was easily my favorite album of 2019, and I’ve been a huge Hand Habits fan forever, so I was pretty over-the-top geeked when we became labelmates. For me, Meg [Duffy] really always hits that perfect combo of lyrics that are insanely beautiful and gorgeous melodies and instrumentations, like we were talking about earlier.

Isaac: I definitely was excited about Bright Eyes and Cursive—they’re just so huge. But I’m much more connected with the newer generation of artists on Saddle Creek. 

Do any of the songs you listed stand out to you as favorites?

Isaac: “You and Your Sister” is really emotional—a very pretty, soft song. Within the context of the band Big Star it’s really heartbreaking. I think it was Alex Chilton’s last collaboration with Chris Bell before he died, and the song gets twisted in my mind to relate to whatever I’m going through.

Raina: For me, definitely a big one is “Now, Now,” which  is kind of a placeholder for most St. Vincent songs. I cry listening to almost all of her earlier stuff that’s even just sort of emotional. I’ve definitely cried every time I’ve seen her live. This is also one that’s really connected to a certain time in my life—there was this semester in high school where I took online classes and I was generally pretty depressed and isolated that whole time. Every day I would put on her first three albums and—I’m not even joking—for ten hours a day I’d just listen to them on repeat, for the entire semester [laughs]. So I feel pretty deeply connected to that one.

Isaac: I also have “Twilight” by Elliott Smith on there, from his posthumous album Basement on a Hill. I was talking to Rob Schnapf who produced our album, and also that album. He was really close friends with Elliott Smith and he said when they were going through and mastering that album he heard that song and he broke down and started crying. The lyrics are just really pretty, but very, very sad.

Do you guys ever use your cry songs against each other in the tour van when someone gets too riled up about something?

Raina: No, but that’s a good idea for this next tour.