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

Happy Friday everybody! It's raining outside right now. And it's February. In Minnesota. That's an odd thing. It's finally naptime and I've got my coffee and pie and I'm ready to go. Let's talk music! By the way, the beats on EXT's Arts & Craft is pretty fitting for this morning's mood.

Out today, layered non-minimalists Animal Collective release Painting With. Not from here but from here in a way Lake Street Dive are sporting Side Pony. And Friday Refrain favorite Mavis Staples has teamed up with M. Ward for Livin' On A High Note. Will definitely be checking that out. Back to the indie/alt rock whatever it is scene with Ra Ra Riot's Need Your Light. And let's get some vintage sounding rock roaring with Wolfmother's Victorious. (At least I hope so.) Simple Plan has Taking One For The Team today and Rick Springfield releases Rocket Science. Did I just put Simple Plan and Rick Springfield in the same sentence? I did. Huh. That's not what you'd expect. Also not what you'd expect - Yoko Ono put together Yes, I'm A Witch Too which has a ton of collaborations on it including Cibo Matto, Sean Lennon, Tune-Yards, and Portugal the Man. There is also a Stan Getz release today - actually a double release. Both albums were recorded at the Keystone Korner in San Francisco during a week stint in May 1976. The two releases are Moments in Time and Getz/Gilberto '76. Pretty good week for releases, varied and a lot to sink your ears into.

But don't forget about last week - shebopaloo The List.

There were also a couple a really interesting items from last week's releases as well. First, Jamieo Brown Transcendence with Work Songs. I suggest just clicking through to read about it. It's work songs from prisons worldwide layered with other musical elements in a really interesting and different way. I didn't genrify it on the list because it's not jazz. It's not modern. It's not classical. It's not instrumental. It's found music? It's living history? Curated music? Doesn't work either. Obviously, I really don't know what to say yet but it really deserves to be talked about and listened to.

Now on to my usual silly refrain self...

Holy Initials Batman!

EXT, Arts & Craft - I know I kinda ruined this being part of the list because I already mentioned it but it has initials.

BTU, Tightrope Walk - Americana/Folk kind of country not like Vince Gill country. Weekend Morning country.

CTMF, A Glimpse Of Another Time - Rock made in your garage.

L.A. Witch, Drive Your Car - California rock.

80's Dose

The Jezabels, Synthia

Flowers, Everybody's Dying To Meet You

Radiation City, Synesthetica

You Say Party,  You Say Party

Eliot Sumner, Information

The The's

The Erkonauts, I Did Something Bad - Rock/Prog-Rock/Metal? You know that kinda  line and not sure about it yet. Definitely things I'm enjoying on it but just need a whole listen.

The Suffers, The Suffers - "Gwan" is an amazing song. Love it. If you like Sharon Jones, check this group out.

The Frights, You Are Going To Hate This - Maybe it's reverse psychology but I'm kinda digging this. If you like Cage the Elephant, give this a spin.

The Coffin Daggers, Aggravatin' Rhythms - Surf rock. I mean, how do you say no to surf rock?

The Donkeys, Midnight Palms - The laid back psychedelic vintage rock like peering across the dusty shelves of a thrift shop. Leaded windows. I don't know why, but that's what my brain says.

Other things I'm checking out this weekend

Lorrie Morgan, Letting Go... Slow - I love her cover of "Lay Lady Lay." I have listened to it like 5 times since last night and it just intrigues me. One of my favorite Dylan songs anyway, by making it country she somehow made it kinda reggae too. So yeah. Hoping to move onto other songs off this album soon.

Daevid Allen Weird Quartet, Elevenses - This is an odd one. The first track I randomly put on was "The Latest Curfew Craze" which sounds like it starts over again several times. I have no clue what this is, so of course that means I'll be checking it out further.

Gehennah, Too Loud To Live, Too Drunk To Die - one of my metal picks that I'll be delving into a bit further. Growly singer voice.

Sjodogg, Som En Oks I Hodet - Metal with the screamy kind of vocals

Black Wizard, New Waste - I think more than metal anymore I just like my old school rock sometimes. This here will scratch that itch.

Matt Patershuk, I Was So Fond Of You - Weekend morning country

So there you go. It was a good week. Definitely an interesting week in music last week. And the rain has cleared, the sun is poking out a bit. Matt Patershuk is playing me out on this Friday Refrain. Happy Listening!

Ps. what's that below? Why that is my playlist I put together from some of the things I mentioned today!



The Friday Refrain: Saturday Edition!

Happy Valentine's weekend all! I know, what an inconsistent Friday Refrain this has been. Well, I'm hoping to change that by redoing my life schedule a bit. You see, I usually procrastinate. I'm excellent at that. However, with the addition of The Boy, and especially on Fridays when The Boy decides not to take a nap, I no longer have the time to put together my weekly ramblings. Which means i have to stop waiting until Friday morning to jot the ramblings down. I'm hoping next week will be different and better. I mean, I've been saving up love and lovelorn songs and albums ALL LAST YEAR. A whole YEAR of them. (When I'd remember at least...) And I was super excited to put together a few playlists... Made a spotify account... Etc. Etc. But it didn't get together. I suck. I'm sorry.

As for releases, Josh and I talk about 8 great new ones on this week's episode of Half Pints, Whole Notes. Head over there for that if you would want. Plus you can hit us up on Twitter to play a new game guessing who picked which band! (I bet you can guess who made up the game...)

And Friday's releases - Did Kanye West actually drop his album yet? I don't really want to find out, but The Life of Pablo was supposed to come out yesterday but then in the morning he said he was still mastering and it woudl be out later that day. I feel strange to empathize with Kanye. I totally get that. He and I... have something in common? I don't know how that makes me feel. In other news, it seems that the big shots of country have banded together to create some sort of Megazoid to defeat Mr. West because we've got: Wynonna & The Big Noise with Wynonna & The Big Noise; Vince Gill and  Down To My Last Bad Habit; Joey + Rory Hymns; and comedy country, that's a thing? Wheeler Walker Jr, Redneck Shit. There's a couple other things too but they're not very big big. Or moderate big. Maybe Lissie with My Wild West. She's pretty awesome, loved her first album and this album is pretty good upon first listen as well.

So that's the gist of yesterday. I'll dig in this week and report back next week with some more recommendations. In the meantime, this and this are the last two weeks of releases in case you care to see my Lists. While I haven't been writing, I've done a pretty fair amount of listening. And now...

For The Lovers

Let's hit up the pop first:

Charlie Puth, "One Call Away"

Walking on Cars, "Catch Me If You Can"

Sonya Kitchell, "Follow Me In"

Rachel Platten, Wildfire

Nick Gibson, Paradise

Austin Plaine, "Your Love" - Oh if your interest is into poppy indie singer-songwriter type music, this is it. Gold mine. Get ready to whisk off the feet.

Singer-songwriter Love

Ben Lee, "The Body of Love"

Indie Rock Love:

Sam Means, 10 Songs - pretty sure you can do the whole album

Francis, "Turning A Hand"

Country Love:

Robyn & Raleigh, "By Heart"

Tom Gourlay, "Love Letter"

K.T. Oslin, "Hold Me" - but it's kinda sad at the same time.

Powerful Love Ballad Singing Style:

Regina Belle, The Day Life Begun

Brenna Whitaker, Brenna Whitaker

Kenny Lattimore, Anatomy of A Love Song - R&B bedroom music

Trying to get back that fish that got away or cheated

Richard Hawley, "I Still Want You"

Shayne Ward, "My Heart Would Take You Back"

Let's bridge the gap now - I can't decide on this one. Gold Sounds, "You Were Made For Each Other." Is it happily talking about two people being perfect together, or is the singer sad that these two people are made for each other and wishes the one was made for him? I don't know. I think you could interpret it either way. So lovers, lovelorn - Unite. This song was made for you all. (At least that's what I think) Also Jeffrey Lewis, "Outta Town" might be an either. Like if you're sad someone left you and want an upbeat song talking bout how you can't do anything without that person, that'd work. Or it's a lovely song to say to your love because you're unable to function without that one. Get ready to kick up heels to this. Probably more on the love side, but I do think in the right situation, it works both ways.

And For The Lovelorn:

Sad Pop

Seal, 7

Wet, "Don't Wanna Be"

Austin Plaine, Austin Plaine- popular style of indie singer-songwriter. Like Of Monsters And Men or Mumford & Sons style.

Alyssa Reid, "Suffocating" - maybe even the whole album. I didn't get a good full listen though.

Brittany Smooch, "Tired Of Love"

Shayne Ward, "My Heart Would Take You Back"

Sad Rap

Joe Budden, All Love Lost

Sad Indie

Falls, Omaha

Allison Weiss, New Love - This is a woman scorned. If your ex is with someone new, you should probably just put the title song, "New Love," on repeat and turn. up. the. volume.

Tom Gourlay, "Sad Situation"

Malin Kojola, Malin Kojola - anytime somebody covers "Skinny Love" it's pretty safe to say there will be some lovelorn going on there...

The Catenary Wires, "Throw Another Love Song On The Fire" - If you like The Magnetic Fields, turn on this one. The lower registered singer is pretty similar. And it is a nice counter to the sweet upper voice. Also, it's kinda funny. In a sad way.

Hayden, Hey Love - I'm running out of time and guessing this is sad. Or it's sad love songs. But it sounds like a good cry hard album.

Perk up, let's kick love in the balls

Debbie Davies, Love Spin - Bluesy love won't get me down style.

Wigelius, "These Tears I Cry" - 80s throwback style

There you go. Next year, easily usable playlists. And tune in next week for more of my ramblings about new music, good music, weird music and the like. Until then, Happy Listening!


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!