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The Friday Refrain: A bit of what's new in music...

I'm back. Apologies. I had the spring recital, home improvements and then prep for our annual Cinco de Taco party. Quite hectic. This week has been so uneventful and lethargic compared to what I had been up to, but I think it was bound to happen. You can only forge ahead at 100% for so long. Anyway, what a doozy of a couple weeks in music! Beyonce! Radiohead! The Goo Goo Dolls! Cyndi Lauper! Keith Urban! A De La Soul placeholder EP for the album that got pushed back! Aesop Rock! The Jayhawks! Rogue Wave! Rob Zombie! Sixx:A.M.! Brian Eno! Yo Yo Ma! Candlebox! Oh wait, now I'm caught up. Good, I'm out of exclamation points.

Or am I? The List April 29th Bambam! The List May 6th Bambambam!

And that brings us all the way back to today. Hang on, need to get myself some water. Okay I'm back. Did you get some water? Probably should, tis the festival season and the most important thing to do at a festival is to stay hydrated, wear your ear protection and regularly apply sunscreen! Today, Chance the Rapper released Chance 3, another album of reimagined works of Bach on the theremin. No. That is not true. He raps. He's a rapper. Thus his name but wouldn't that be hilarious if someone called themselves a rapper but dabbled in some sort of existential music nerd theory tangential? My personal favorite, and one of my progeny's favorites, Fruit Bats is out with Absolute Loser. Did you see the bear music video? That was odd and silly. Fans of people in The Yeah Yeahs and two other bands I can't recall should check out the new release from Head Wound City titled A New Wave of Violence. Metal band Kvelertak is releasing Nattesfred today. Pop hit from last year Meghan Trainor is releasing Thank You. On the edge of pop, Corinne Bailey Rae releases The Heart Speaks In Whispers. Another favorite of mine, The So So Glos, is finally back with Kamikaze. I've been waiting boys. I've been waiting. *toe tapping* And one more rapper, Astronautalis, is back after a few years with Cut the Body Loose. Speaking of waiting. *cough*
Well that will be it this week for the major ones I think. That's a pretty good list. Let's move onto some fun lists.
I can't believe I had no time for this when I could make this list: Equestrian
(also, it would've been in time for the Derby! The DERBY!)
Whitehorse, The Northern South Vol 1 - kinda bluegrassy rock such stuff.
Horse Lords, Interventions - Jazzy stuff that I like.
Horseshoe Gang, Anti-Trap Music - rap
Horsepower Productions, Crooks Crime & Corruption - electronic stuff.
Okay, I was going to post more but it appears the wee one isn't going to nap today. So, there goes that. Hopefully we'll have a new Half Pints next week and that plus a good bonus list next week will make up for today. Anyway, at least I showed up. With exclamation points! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !1!!!!!! !!! !!!!!! !! ! Just some bonus excitement for you. Happy Listening!


The Friday Refrain: A bit of what's new in music...

Well, it's Friday. And it's an odd day here at the Refrain headquarters. Of course, Prince died yesterday. I was in the car listening to our local awesome station The Current when they said there had been a medical emergency at Paisley Park but no names were released. And as I stared out my windshield, child crying in the backseat, looking at the St. Paul downtown as I descended 35E Southbound I thought, "This is going to be one of those moments where I remember exactly where I was."

There's a new Half Pints up. Josh wanted to throw out all the music and just talk Prince but I had to admit that I'm not a huge fan. So we invited over the biggest fan we know to talk Prince for 20 minutes with Josh. Which was pretty interesting, as a show about two friends drinking beer and talking music - it's fun to invite another friend in to talk music. We should do that more. But knowing I had to talk about Prince somehow on the show, I started thinking. And then I've kept thinking. (Woah. Prince influenced my dreams and that's why I was at a cabin with the Queen of England and her family! It was as odd as it sounds.) I *do* like a lot of Prince songs, but there are so many Prince songs and it seems that everyone else likes *a lot* more Prince songs than I do. Especially since I seem to like silly ones and oddities, and with the rampant fandom and level of fandom surrounding me I guess it made me feel like my casual fandom made me not a fan. Does that make sense? Anyway, I did get his style. And his perfectionism. So in awe of how he could pull it off. That takes so much effort and stress. Details are almost impossible to keep from unraveling and the man was a genius at it. At everything. So I know everyone's just going to ensconce themselves in Prince's music this week but he also was a huge proponent of new music - so here are somethings to listen to when you feel ready to expand your Prince rotation to other music.

Today's releases. Singer-songwriter who makes the masses swoon, Rufus Wainwright, released Take All My Love: Nine Shakespeare Sonnets. Veteran rockers Guided By Voices appear in one of their formations on Please Be Honest. Blue Man Group released Three today. I hope it comes with a bag of marshmallows. Rapper A$AP Ferg is here with Always Strive and Prosper. and that's the really big big releases.

The List of Yore (or at least last week)

Stuff I liked last week

Free Cake For Every Creature, Talking Quietly of Anything With You - There is a person posing for a picture in front of a dinosaur statue. So I obviously listened and it's sweet fun rock.

Eskimeaux, Year of the Rabbit - Laid back singer-songwriter

Dave Harrington Group, Become Alive- This is kinda one of those background music ones and I think I put it on while doing some thinking work.

Ernie Watts Quartet, Wheel Of Time - Jazz

Amber Rubarth, Scribbled Folk Symphonies - Kinda what it says it is. Singersongwriterish with acoustic instruments and it's intimate and interesting.

Prism Tats, Prism Tats - I'm not good at describing this kind of rock. And the album cover is freaking me out with the weird eyes so I just have to move on.

Clairy Browne, Pool - There are some good fun poppy tracks on this.

Marcus Stricklands' Twi-Life, Nihil Novi - Another album I really like some tracks on while I could do without a few others. I'm a bit picky with my jazz though. Especially more modern jazz stuff.

Check out The Hackensaw Boys or The Del McCoury Band for some americana/country/such stuff if you like.

Well that will do it for this week. I'm trying to finish up old projects and start new ones. Tis Spring! Plus I drank all my coffee and ate my snack. Happy Listening!


The Friday Refrain: A bit of what's new in music...

Oh my gosh taxes got me last weekend. I totally had half a post done but never hit publish. So I'm going to take a bit of that and a bit of this week and mix it together and make a thing. But last week I realized I have a problem. I think I like too much music. Here I was worried I wouldn't like enough music as I aged, and I've gone and done the opposite. Also, I get heavily emotionally invested in some of these bands I like that don't get as much attention and I think should. I just saw that Teleman released an album today and I was ready to jump on the couch and freak out like a kid with candy. Which is great. I love that I can get excited like that. It's just funny. I feel like my team won the Superbowl. so odd... Anyhoot.

Rewind to last Friday and had I been on top of my stack, here's what you would've read: "Deftones and The Dandy Warhols have releases this week, Gore and Distortland respectively. Some popular names up next The Lumineers with Cleopatra and Mayer Hawthorne has Man About Town. EDM act M83 released Junk into the hearingsphere this week. Let's hit up that indie scene a bit more: Parquet Courts (I swear they release something every April) return with Human Performance, and Tokyo Police Club submit Melon Collie and the Infinite Radness (Part 1) into the release stream. We also have Ben Watt with Fever Dream and Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals with Call It What It Is." Which brings us to today. Hold onto your butts, I've got a bit to say. Let's hit up old school, starting old and getting newer: Santana released Santana IV, Graham Nash of Crosby Stills and Nash is soloing it out with This Path Tonight, Marie Osmond thinks Music is Medicine and PJ Harvey is kicking it with The Hope Six Demolition Project. Last year we talked Cate Le Bon on HPWN and perhaps we will next week again with Crab Day out today. A posthumous release for John Carpenter's Lost Themes II. I have odd metal tastes and one of my favorites is Otep who present Generation Doom to the masses today. Let's hit a little more indie-alt-stuff with this list: Har Mar Superstar, Best Summer Ever; Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, PersonA; and Wild Belle, Dreamland. Old-sounding country maker Sturgill Simpson is back with A Sailor's Guide To Earth and rapper J Dilla released The Diary. One more fun one: odd one Xiu Xiu Plays the Music of Twin Peaks. Given that both of those things have their own little fandom, figured it was worth a note today. Phew. 

Not much else to list after that, but here's April 1st and April 8th. Sugarsugarpoppopbang.

Lots of old-school-like Country

I don't know about you, but I love this traditional country/older country revival that is happening. Margo Price has a crazy thing going on but there were also a few other releases last week that are in the folksier vein of country...

Teddy Thompson & Kelly Jones, Little Windows

Steve Dawson, Solid States & Loose Ends

Robbie Fulks, Upland Stories

Other things I liked on April 1st, no fooling

Kyson, A Book of Flying

The Herms, Welcome All Tourists

Nisennenmondai, #N/A

Operators, Blue Wave

Bossk, Audio Noir

Trapper Shoepp, Rangers & Valentines

Tancred, Out of the Garden

Hiromi, Spark

Elephant Revival, Petals

Frankie Cosmos, Next Thing

Anoushka Shankar, Land of Gold

Actuallly that's all the list-making I did last week... And i haven't really listened to much of last Friday but tomorrow's Record Store Day so really you should all be making your lists and checking them twice, planning your plan of shopping and get to it. In the spirit of Record Store Day, here are some records we've been spinning around here lately. Mainly because The Littlest is obsessed with records and will throw tantrums when we refuse to put one on. And we will say no, but even saying yes half the time means we are listening to 4-5 records a day. Which is great, I'm really getting reacquainted with some old favorites and getting around to listening to many I haven't heard yet. So without further adieu:

Records My Son Makes Me Make Time To Listen To

The Music Machine- this is one of my ultimate favorite nostalgic records from my childhood. At least 75% of my siblings and me sing "The Patience Song" regularly in our lives.

The Music From M Squad - I brought this home from my parents' and don't think I've ever listened to it before. Man, this is some great jazz. Love.

The Domestics, The Domestics - Yep. I'm still all about this album and we put it on regularly.

Ferrante & Teicher, Soundblast - This is more experimental than some of their other albums I think.

The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Dave Digs Disney - another nostalgic album for me. I have always loved this Brubeck album.I am a sucker for Disney music.

Sounds of Animals, Folkways Records - not an album to play during dinner unless you find animal noises at the dinner table pleasant conversation.

Phil Harris, That's What I Like About the South - Also from my parents', my sister remembered this one so we put it on and I definitely liked the B Side. Also, Phil Harris is the voice of Baloo and Lil John! Wa-bam, Disney again.

Welp that sums it up for the Refrain this week. Because 1. this got a little long, 2. what is playing from my albums right now? Holy cow this is some noise music, 3. Record Store Day EVE! Happy vinyl hunting y'all and I'll see you all back here next week for more Friday Refrain. Happy Listening!


The Friday Refrain: A bit of what's new in music...

Happy post-Easter everyone! I know what you were all thinking, "She died. She died from not eating chocolate. I knew it was possible!" But I didn't. I just can't juggle really well. Metaphorically and in real life as well in fact. I have been eating a lot of chocolate this week though. Making up for lost time... And it's post-Easter, there's just a lot of chocolate around at this time of year. But on with it. I have bags to pack before the end of the day. Might make a pair of cool pajama/lounge pants too... FIRST MUSIC!

Oh my goodness people. It's here and it's not a prank. Violinist, beautiful, perfect whistler Andrew Bird released Are You Serious today. I think. The preview was on NPR but it's not Spotify. So maybe that was is a prank... Ha. Bombino that awesome guitarist and songwriter from Niger released Azel. Cheap Trick is back with Bang, Zoom, Crazy... Hello. My favorite instrumental rock band Explosions in the Sky returns from their soundtrack creating sabbatical with The Wilderness. Brit Pop Dance music makers Pet Shop Boys released Super today and that is exactly what I think of the first track on the album by the way. Weezer have made their own The White Album. Ahem. And indie rockers Yeasayer are here with Amen & Goodbye. Which would be cool to end like that but I forgot about Lukas Graham who I have already had to learn a single for a student so probably going to be a popular thing going on there. What a day. Will I even have anything else to discuss next week? Tune in. but don't tune out because

It's time to tune into last week's List of what I gathered that came out. Genrefied by moi.

Invasion of the 3 letter names

It just seemed like a ridiculous amount.

Blu, Crenshaw Jezebel - some three lettered rap

Bri, Keys To My Heart - a little Christian R&B

CB-R, DRSL - even the EDM scene got into this three letter action

Céu, Tropix - what do we do with these singular entities? Keep calling it singer-songwriter or folding it into the other genres. I mean, sometimes it's singer-songwriter for sure just a musician and they're instrument. But with so many multi-instrumentalists and those who get bands or have guests, what do we do? I dont' know. Sometimes I fold them in. I think this is more Playground of Rock material.

SOV, Aklamerad Kalamitet - Metal. I'm only missing country at this point, but no dice. Here ends the list of 3s.


Other Interests..

Beastmaker, Lusus Naturae - if you listened to Wolfmother's latest album and was like, "I wish it had more Sabbath." Then check out Beastmaker.

Blood Ceremony, Lord of Misrule - Never have I loved a flute solo more than on the amazing track, "Half Moon Street." Classic heavy rock style and extra points for amazing flute material.

Skating Polly, The Big Fit - Not telling Josh about this one because this is just Half Pints material written all over it. Female rock.

Khun Narin, II - I'm sure I've talked about this before but my husband and I are pretty obsessed with SE Asian psychedelic rock. Not obsessed but generally pick it up when we find it. And this one's not some odd we don't know the track listing cd from the library! This guy's making this music now. Anyway, this is pretty awesomesauce.

Margo Price, Midwest Farmer's Daughter - Not always old-style country sounding musically but Margo's voice is classic country. Love this.

Bayonne, Primitives - Remember when Animal Collective was eclectic in sound but had some restraint? This harkens back to those days. It's interesting, wasn't sure if I was into it at first but I like it.

Faith I Branko, Gypsy Lover - I'm also a sucker for gypsy music.

Brian Bromberg, Full Circle - Jazz. Let's be well rounded today.

The Sun Days, Album - if you like Best Coast maybe check this out. Not quite CA Rock straight up but in the alley.

And that's what I got this week. So try those on for size. Me? I'm going to pack up a weekend's worth of supplies and gallivant northerly. And hopefully make some pants. With that, good day to you and Happy Listening!


The Friday Refrain: A bit of what's new in music...

Today I typed a word and for some reason my mind eliminated all multiples of a letter. For example, that previous sentence would become: "Today I typed a word and for some reason my mind elimnatd al multipes of a letr." On its own. For no reason. Except to remind me to constantly question sanity. Maybe it was overwhelmed by the releases this week. It's big. Let's go people.

It's a vintage week, musicians of multiple eras releasing new material so let's follow the trek (an odd choice of word unless you had filled it into 4 crosswords in the past week): Iggy Pop is back with  Post Pop Depression, and I haven't sampled it yet so I have no clue what I'm in for. I just know that he is remarkably in shape. Then the 80's attacks! Electronic duo Underworld are back with Barbara Barbara We Face A Shining Future. Minneapolis rockers Soul Asylum with Change of Fortune. Plus Primal Scream has Chaosmosis, and Silk's here with Quiet Storm. Then let's jump to the 90's for Gwen Stefani and she triumphantly sets down This Is What The Truth Feels Like. And I'll have to wait either for the library to get it or Spotify. Whichever first. And another Minnesotan musician, Mason Jennings released Wild Dark Metal.

Lest we forget our past, here's what I scraped together of last week: the List

It was a light list. So is this week. Not sure if I need more sources or if it's just March. *twiddles thumbs* Let's make weird lists, shall we?

The Weird List

Yeah, I'm making a weird list of a weird list.

Information Society, Orders of Magnitude - I found out that these guys have been around for awhile and had a bit of a hit in the late 80's. The album is interesting. I specifically like "Heffalumps and Woozles" and "Kiss You All Over."

Shooter Jennings, Countach (For Giorgio) - which is an album in tribute of Giorgio Moroder featuring Brandi Carlisle singing "Neverending Story" and Marilyn Manson doing "Cat People."

AA Wallace, In Alpha Zones - this goes all over the map wiht sounds and I wasn't really ready for it so I need to give it another listen when I'm not distracted and am open to it.

Do You like...

I really am not list inspired lately I guess. I'll be back. I've already started an odd one for next week. But here you go:

Mumford and Sons and The Lumineers? Maybe you'd enjoy Penny And Sparrow, Let A Lover Drown You

Marilyn Manson heavier stuff? Try Merlin, Electric Children

Lighter Marilyn Manson fare? The KVB, Of Desire

Coldplay-like pop? The Wild Feathers, Lonely is a Lifetime

Elliot Smith if he had a bit more drive and uptempo? Little Green Cars, Ephemera

the song "Counting Stars?" Try the album Get 'Em Next Time from Star & Micey

some fun Latin? Give La Yegros, Magnetismo or Systema Solar, Systema Solar a whirl.

A little something for everyone. That's the refrain after all. So with that, I bid you adieu and Happy Listening!