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

Greetings everyone! It is an amazing day - or the coffee is just really good. Maybe it's both! At some point, there will be a Half Pints Whole Notes episode over at for you to enjoy. That's right - back to back weeks! We had some really good beer, talk some really good music from January and have a pretty good time. But right now, right here it's time to talk about this week's releases before delving into the past.

Today. Today. Today. DREAM THEATER my friends. Dream Theater is here to save the day with The Astonishing. So really it's Happy Dream Theater Day! And Happy Listening!


... Just kidding. I'll keep going. But you know what's playing here in the bunka studio right now. Pop sensation Sia is out with This Is Acting. Tedeschi Trucks Band released Let Me Get By. Indie rock band Bloc Party are here with Hymns. Well I guess those are the big names. It felt like more when I was looking them up.

Well faithful readers, I got a bit sick at the beginning of the week so The List isn't all that it's usually cracked up to be. *coughing, loud sniffles* The List

Okay, last week was weird. A lot of laid back music, weird stuff and a smattering of other stuff. I just crammed it all today and I'm really confused.So here's how i'm recommending this week, back to the tried and true weird lists of yore.

These Albums Have Covers with something to do with water

Sonya Kitchell, We Come Apart - I thought it was just soft singer-songwriter but the track "This Feeling" is amazing. I love that track. Going into the groove file.

Suede, Night Thoughts

Octagrape, Aura Obelisk- I don't know what this is. It's a lot of sound that's for sure. It's abrasive. It's odd. It's kinda together? It's something, that's what it is.

Three Fields, Technologies - More than just some electronica, I feel like it's describing something. According to titles, I guess it woudl be describing technologies, but one never knows do they?

Jazz I'll be checking into..

Robert Kaddouch & Gary Peacock, 53rd Street - the only time I like that bright clear piano tone is on a jazz album like this one. Otherwise I like my piano a little muddy, a little darker, a little something extra. (psst... it's not found in a yamaha)

Three's Company, We'll Be Together Again - I like the opening track, "For Toddlers Only" with it's up and down sax line, percussive cymbal and simple yet fun lines. So I'm going to give the rest of it a whirl as well.

Album Cover I would like to have as a puzzle: The I Don't Cares, Wild Stab  and it's not too bad indie rock either.

Female fronted odd indie synthy rock Half Pints woudl probably talk about: Charlie Hilton, Palana

Normally I wouldn't but...  Chairlift, Moth - it's the kind of poppy that I typically just shrug off but for some reason my curiostiy is piqued. Maybe it's because it's midwinter, maybe it's the January thaw, I don't know. but I'm kinda liking it.

Hey guys doing grunge currently... The By Gods, Get On Feelings. Girl grunge is so 2015

Bonus Metal: Abbath, Abbath

Singer-Songwriter Pick:  Sam Means, 10 Songs - part of me wishes there weren't 10 songs. Just to mess with ya.

Whatever this is I like it: Ulver, ATGCLVLSSCAP - wordless metal? I don't know. But it's darkish.

And there ya be me laddies. I don't know why i turned into a pirate. It's getting oddly dark and cloudy right now. I think it's affecting me. Also, I was drinking tea for the second half of writing this. That's odd in itself. All right I have things to do, lessons to plan, chair covers to make, rooms to clean, time to skedaddle. Hope you all have a lovely weekend and Happy Listening!


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

Yeesh, this year is busy so far. We finally managed to record a Half Pints Whole Notes last night. We do our best of and talk a bit about Bowie. Pretty fun to have another year of that ahead. So I disappeared again last week, was getting ready for a friend's baby shower and just when I thought I was in the perfect spot - my bad luck spiral started. I call it a bad luck spiral, because little things start to go wrong and it's fine at first, I can manage. Then slowly they happen with closer and closer frequency until I'm just questioning when the next shoe will drop. Like those coin things at zoos. (at least our MN zoo) Then it just is done. Disappears. It's crazy. Okay, releases.

This week we've got some smaller ones but hopefully good ones. In your face rock Savages are back (finally Yay!) with Adore Life. Speaking of in your face - Megadeth has their 15th (I think?) album out today, Dystopia. Ty Segall is here with Emotional Mugger. And man, it's just not that heavy of a week. Such is January. But that's cool.Oh wait - Aoife O'Donovan comes out with In The Magic Hour today and something tells me that some nice americana-like stuff is just what the snowmaggedon people need. Not here, it's like sunny and moderately temperatured. Even the basement is useable!

Bazang, the list.


Songs To Start Your Weekend

"Hot Stepper," Lunde Bros

"Turning a Hand," Francis - for that drive home or for the lovelorn

"Like Bass," Cicely O'Kain

Off the wall pick - Phall Fatale, Bang Bang Moonlit - I tried to get Josh to do this for HP but I don't think it's going to happen so I will just plug it right here. It's odd. It's everything. If you like music of all shapes and sizes and weird stuff, do this. I like "Crocodile" and "Fish Tank" best.

Electronica Pick - Velvet Stairs, Regency (action movie electronica) or Tommy V, Silence Speaks Vol 1 (loungey electronica)

Americana pick - Bennet Bowtell & Urquhart, Bennet, Bowtell & Urquhart

Reissue Pick or the "Melt that winter snow Pick" - I think it's a reissue or a never before released but old recording, Ernest Ranglin, Jazz Jamaica or Mr. Ranglin With Soul - it's great. Like listen closely to get some musical ideas, or put it on while you're hanging out great. Definitely makes me feel warmer weather is on the way.

You know what, just go put on Ernest Ranglin. Man, this is nice. Repeat all day. That's what I've got. Also, the boy has been sleeping way too long. I mean, he didn't have a morning nap but it's at that point where you put your ear to the door and listen for breathing.... I know he's fine and I appreciate all that I've gotten done, but man, the worrier in me. So there you go. Hope you find something new to sink your ears into and stay warm and safe. Happy Listening!


The Friday Refrain: Saturday Edition!

Happy New Year to you all! Sorry to have disappeared there for a bit. I didn't try to. It just... I treat my weeks like a timed meal. I get X amount of time to eat as much as I can off my plate, and no matter if I'm full or still hungry, when that time is up I just get up and toss my plate into the trash. And then I grab a new plate. I'm pretty sure that's the best metaphor I can make for my life. Maybe it's a crappy way to do it, maybe not, but it's what I've got worked out currently. So there's that. Gosh, my year has actually gotten to a better start than that depressingness I just rattled off up there. Maybe time just moves so quickly and I feel like I never fill enough of it. I mean, it's already a week into the new year and I'm already falling behind. Except in eating cookies. I'm definitely keeping up with eating cookies. Because if that went to the wayside, well, I might just disappear all together. Seriously, let's move on to music because this is just a downward spiral....

Well, fortunately not much has happened in music the last few weeks. Except Christmas Eve - my goodness, there were a lot of surprise singles, and planned Christmas single releases all month, and basically if you're wondering if you're favorite band or singer released something just search it becuaes most likely yes. I think Radiohead wins for releasing their rejected Spectre theme song, which I agree with the majority that it is way better than Sam Smith. I found it to be way more interesting than Radiohead as of late and am curious to hear what they might have in store on their album this year. Just seemed like Thom Yorke might be tolerable again. I definiltey enjoyed the last time I saw them in concert than the first time, so that's cool. Then again, when I didn't like them in concert I liked Muse, and now I don't like Muse, so what if they're some sort of yin/yang thing? But then we have releases. So beyond those Christmas singles, there wasn't much else to report.

David Bowie (is he a sir? I hope so. I think of him as a sir) is releasing Black Star today but it's actually a star that is black as a symbol. My thoughts before looking into it or hearing any of it - it is his last album because he's calling the aliens to come attack Earth and take him home. It's an interesting album, so give it a listen. And that's kinda it this week. There's this all girl band called Hinds that's been getting some buzz. But that's it.

And really, there's not much from the last three weeks to talk about either. So I'm just going to say, How de do. I'm still here. Listen to Bowie and I'll catch you next week when the music releases start to come through again. Until then, cue up your favorites from 2015 and Happy Listening!


The Friday Refrain: Sick Kid Edition

You know those cartoons where the mom is in a bathrobe and her hair is all askew and she has crazy eyes? Well, I may be showered, drinking coffee and dressed, but that is exactly how I feel. Of course, if you look around me there is mess everywhere, though I did manage to mop the kitchen floor this week. That's it. I mopped the floor. And then there's the rest.... Ugh. Well I guess I did manage to record a Half Pints episode last night, so head over to CSICON this weekend to listen to our Holiday EXTRAVAGANZA.

But I am excited. You know why? BECAUSE IT IS CAGE THE ELEPHANT DAY TODAY. And after nap time, the boy might just have to deal with some loud music because I'm going to turn that up. Rap albums out this week include Pusha T, King Push - Darkest Before the Dawn: The Prelude. And Monica, like yeah, that Monica from the 90's Monica, is releasing Code Red today. And I apologize that is probably her least favorite way of being recognized so I apologize to Monica.

All right, so continuing my trend of being two weeks behind or so, here is some stuff I'm digging from December 4th's releases:

Mike Hughes, "It's Xmas Time (But I Don't Mind)" - Wish I had listened to this before today. I would've mentioned it on the podcast. This is a pretty peppy Christmas song. Maybe I'll just sneak it onto the playlist...

Lola Cola, Bad Girlfriend - Good little two song but a little racy just warning.

Okay, we need to get out of the house. I have more but I need to escape. Time to go to the zoo. I'll try to have a big roundup next week before the holiday to kinda catch up and all. All right go forth and Happy Listening!


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

Oh my goodness people, I am a little OCD this week. I will not move on from the 11/27 releases until I've listened to a snippet of all that I can. So I'm a couple weeks behind. I don't know why I feel this way, but I do. And if there's one thing I've learned after living with myself for 31 years, it's to pick my fights. Sometimes I just got to go with it. So I'm going to be a bit behind, but I still wanted to post this week. I mean, where was I last week? Oh, yeah, I was getting ready to host 12 children at my house for a piano party. Only 9 in the end but give 9 kids pizza and they think they've won the lottery. What am I saying? Give me free pizza and I'll freak out too. So yeah. We did a rhythmically choreographed thing with plastic cups to the tune of "Sleigh Ride." Done perfectly, it would have been really cool. Letting things happen as they go, it's still pretty cool and funny. Super proud of my students for sticking it out. Anyway...

First today. Rapper Lizzo is out with her album Big GRRRL World today, and as a local favorite, I'll be checking that out later on today for sure. And R. Kelly is back with The Buffet. That's really the big stuff for this week. The releases will wind down from here on out, too late to get enough momentum for gift-giving and the best of lists after all. Last week, a couple rap albums - posthumous release of Pimp C, Long Live The Pimp and an album from Curren$y, Canal Street Confidential. And internet-sensation cat, Lil Bub, released an album titled Science & Magic. And popular rock band, Coldplay, released A Head Full Of Dreams last week as well. Bette Midler snuck in with A Gift Of Love. And that's that. You know, thinking about it, we still have one definite big week of releases in December - next week there's going to be a bunch of stuff to get excited about (hopefully). So tune in for that.

In the meantime. It's the November 27th List. Ugh, I have to brush my teeth.

Okay minty fresh. Some things I liked off the 11/27 stuff:

Los Dod, El Sonido Del Debut ó Despedida - Some latin music with horns and that rapping but not really more like talk-singing style. You know what I mean, right?

Surf Friends, Dreams Are Real- Obviously, a little surfy CA rock. Kinda feels like it's the opening music to a coming-of-age/going-back-home-for-the-first-time movie about the holidays set in a warmer climate.I guess the second track, "Dance Tonight," does a little guitar sound once that sounds like an airplane landing.

Separation Agreement, Familiar Haunts - Maybe if Spoon had been a little more moody and proggy, they could have been a little like this.

Silent J, Rehab - That noisy get up and go dance sort of electronica. Like when you watch a show and they're in a club, this is what they'd have playing with a bunch of flashing lights and vampires hunting in a club or something.

Street Chant, "Never" - Straight up rock with a tiny bit of nostalgia of Smashing Pumpkins and Pixies.

The Brainstems, No Place Else- Lo-fi and jangly noisier punkish rock.

Mama Sonic, "Grapefruit" - Fast and fancy free with that bass line riff like "A Town Called Malice"

Addie Pray, Screentime - If you like my female singer-songwriter tendencies, then check this one out. Right up my alley.

Fumaça Preta, "La Trampa" - Psychedelicish fuzzy trippy gypsyish rock. Turns out these guys have one EP and I think I'm going to be turning that on as soon as I finish listening to this 7" again.

String Noise, The Book Of Strange Positions - A married duo of violinists play some avant garde music and it is interesting, and it is also "noise." It is definitely avant garde. It is interesting and a good way to round my list. Take that.

All right there you go brave listeners. Things to go out and explore. Vast depths of sonically intricate waves to inflict upon your ear drums. Next week, I'll have more about last week's releases, maybe even catch up to this week. And there should be a Half Pints episode to talk about too. Well, it's that time, farewell and Happy Listening!