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

What a whirlwind week! First off, it's podcast week! Go here or look for Half Pints Whole Notes on your podcasting ways. Already our 4th episode and we're having a lot of fun, this week we head off to Michigan for a couple of brews from Bell's.

Singer-songwriter Jose Gonzalez released Vestige & Claws this week. Also, the posthumous Pops Staples' Don't Lose This was released finished up by Mavis Staples with help from Jeff Tweedy. Rapper Drake dropped If You're Reading This It's Too Late by surprise last Friday. Popular rockers Imagine Dragons are back this week with Smoke + Mirrors, which is pretty awesome and has a good handful of single-worthy songs on it. Kate Pierson who was in the B-52s released Guitar & Microphones.

Like a breeze in the trees, it's the list. (I don't know, I'm tired and played way too much Wario's Woods)

Chill out, laid back stuff

The Unthanks, Mount The Air

Letts, Hold Fast

Snow Ghosts, A Wrecking - She kind of sounds like Lana Del Ray

In Tall Buildings, Driver

Damon & Naomi, Fortune

A Bit More Up Tempo

Whitehorse, Leave No Bridge Unburned - The best album cover of the week by far, it's a male/female duo on vocals with a bit of California to the rock

The Clang Group, The Clang Group EP - Pretty decent rock.

Sonny & The Sunsets, Talent Night At The Ashram - I think it's safe to say they like The Beatles

Oh and by the way...

Craig Duncan, Cajun Country - It's cajun but it's also country. Perfect timing for the Mardi Gras.

The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band, So Delicious - it's bluesy and country and a bit of early rock and roll thrown in for good measure. Each song made me debate which genre to say, so I said all of them.

Well that's it for this week. Hope all is well and you're surviving the crazy weather whatever it may be in your neck of the woods. Happy Listening!


The Friday Refrain: Saturday Edition!

Hello my friends! Sorry for the delay this week but we had to bring our cat to the vet. Lilies are very dangerous for cats so keep that in mind if you also have a furry feline roommate. He should be coming home tonight though and that will be a huge relief.

Anyway, on to this week. Father John Misty and his new album, I Love You Honeybear was probably the biggest item released this week.Ricky Martin is back with A Quein Quiera Eschuchar and Thurston Moore teamed up with John Moloney for Full Bleed. But there was so much more than that this week...

Wait for it - The list

So the cat had his day when I had planned to do the bulk of my listening and writing. So here's a couple thoughts:

If you like Cage The Elephant and Dr. Dog, throw on The Districts; A Flourish and A Spoil.

William Ryan Fritch, Revisionist was another favorite with its build of sounds. Kinda Arcade Firey but not, Bon Ivery but not, Andrew Birdy but not.

Oh yeah, JD McPherson was another big release (at least to me) this week. He's got that good old rock n roll sound to his music and his upbeat tracks are fun to dance to. If you're still itching for some more of that old rock n roll sound also check out 6 String Drag, a 90s alt-country band back together again with a different sound on their album, Roots Rock N Roll.

Get some awesome drums with Trio Chemirani, Dawar or check out some bluegrass with Robert Earl Keen, Happy Prisoner: The Bluegrass Sessions.

Well that's about it for this week. I was going to try to compile my best of love and lovelorn songs of the last year but cat hospital and all. So slip on some classic bossa nova for the lovers or try out Karen O's Crush Songs for the lovelorn. Hope you all have a happy Valentine's Day and Happy Listening!


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

Happy Friday to all! Once again, it was a week without too many headliners, but some good music nonetheless. Bob Dylan released Shadows in the Night, and Diana Krall with Wallflower. Like I said, not so many headliners.

Onwards to The List!

Every other week I cohost a podcast about beer and new releases with my friend Josh, and since this week was our recording week, I didn't get a good chance at this week's batch of new stuff. It all turned out okay though because the A's really have it this week:

All We Are, All We Are - If you're a fan of The XX, you're going to want to give this one a try. And if you want to hear a little more about this album, Josh and I discuss it in our podcast, Half-Pints Whole-Notes. Follow the link, visit or search for it on your preferred podcast service.

Anakin, Celestial Frequency Shifter - Rock with a 90s vibe of Hum and the like. At least the first part I listened to, who knows maybe it changes halfway through and becomes something else entirely, I'll find out this weekend. But it's good if you like that sound.

Andrew Bird, Echolocations: Canyon - This is an interesting thing by Andrew Bird in concept, but I still need to listen. I didn't have the block of time to devote listening beginning to end like I wanted, so I'll be accomplishing that as soon as I can. Anyhoo - he is creating albums and short films(?) for specific places but it didn't mention what's next in the series on the website yet. I'm such a sucker for Andrew Bird, and this is exactly my type of experiment.

Andy Shauf, The Bearer of Bad News - Singer-songwriter with multiple instruments and an Elliot Smith melancholy to it.

Asaf Avidan, Gold Shadow - This woman belts out the songs with the intent of Shirley Bassey and the songs have the feel of a hazy darkened club. Not what I expected when I put it on and I was pleasantly surprised. And then it gets all americana-y. So strange but good.

A few other curiosities of the week...

John Carpenter, Lost Themes - yes, John Carpenter the director horror/sci-fi movie guy. These are stand alone pieces not from movies but themes in themselves.

The Notwist, Messier Objects - instrumental tracks intended for use as background music. Isn't it just odd and fun to have two albums of songs for movies or stories that don't exist yet? Anyway, breaking away from that theme...

Mount Eerie, Sauna - this is the guy who did The Microphones, one of my all-time favorite bands ever. Ever. But I didn't know about Mount Eerie until a year or two ago. Anyway, this is on my To-Listen list as well becuase i want to listen front to back uninterrupted.

"2328628," Pollyester, City of O - I love this track. It's peppy, catchy and fun.

East End Radicals, Zero Hour - Check this out if you're a fan of Dropkick Murphys for that same punk feel.

Sun Hotel, Rational Expectations - on the To-Listen list and it caught me with its not-too-notey guitar licks, tasteful guitar licks.

By the way, I so don't believe Punxsutawney Phil. At least here, winter is wrapping itself up and kicking itself out. I feel it in my bones. Maybe I should be a groundhog and try to find my shadow every February 2nd. Yeah, take that groundhog. Okay, I just threw on that Pollyester song, feel like dancing and eating chocolate cake now, time to wrap it up for the week. Have a great weekend and happy listening one and all!


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

As busy as last week was for big names in releases, this week is not. Let's see here, we've got Kenny G saxophoning it up with Brazilian Nights and Papa Roach with their new album F.E.A.R. Gov't Mule is out with Sco-Mule and americana country Punch Brothers released The Phosphorescent Blues. That's all I have for this portion of the Refrain, but that's not to say there isn't a lot of good stuff out there this week, because there is a lot of good stuff out there this week. I just hadn't heard of most of it.

So dig it - it's The List.

Surprises of the Week

Bettye Lavette, Worthy - Okay so I should have put this in the big names list but I wanted to single it out. From what I sampled, this is worth a listen.

Derek Minor, Empire - Good Christian rap. Wait, did I just link those three words together? Yeah, that's the surprise.

If you're looking for...

...something a little folksy, a little bit of americana? Try out the eponymous Jake Xerxes Fussell album or Danny Kroha, Angels Watching Over Me

...a little World music? Zomba Prison Project, I Have No Everything Here or The Khoury Project, Revelation

...some rock? Zun Zun Egui, Shackles' Gift; Purple, 409 or Menace Beach, Ratworld

...something completely the opposite of its name? Ghastly Menace may lead you to think of a metal band or eerie ethereal noise band but instead its easily palatable indie rock. So check out their album Songs of Ghastly Menace if that sounds like your thing.

... other easy going albums? Natalie Prass, Natalie Prass; or Jib Kidder, Teaspoon To The Ocean

...something psychedelic? Pond, Man It Feels Like Space Again

...a Jack Johnsonish sound? George Ezra, Wanted On Voyage

...reminscent of the 90s? Unlikely Friends, Solid Gold Cowboys combines Pavement, TMBG and the Magnetic Fields? or Dirty Dishes, Guitly brings me back to the female rock bands of yore.

... reminiscent of the 80s? Amason, Sky City with a Phil Collins-esque lead with an 80s twist on early Blonde Redhead; or Desperate  Journalist, Desperate Journalist

...something Michael Buble-esque? Jamie Cullum, Interlude

Other things I'm giving a deeper listen this week

The Dodos, Individ

toyGuitar, In This Mess

Lord Dying, Posioned Altars

Emmy The Great, S

Zs, Xe

Xibalba, Tierra y Libertad

Jorn Lande, Jorn Lande & Trond Holter Present DRACULA Swing of Death

Twerps, Range Anxiety

All right, well that'll do it for this week. My theory on Christmas decorations is to leave them up until Valentine's Day or when the grass shows. It's been warm up in these parts lately and unlike the NE, we've got ground showing, so I guess the jig is up. Time to take down the holly and the mistletoe. At least, I've got some new tunes to groove to while I do it. Happy Listening all!


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

Happy Friday everyone! Time to check in on the new releases of the week and see what's what. This week was a huge week for releases, so let's just run down the list of the biggies: the hip-hop/rap scene had a couple of big releases this week with Lupe Fiasco's Tetsuo & Youth and Joey Bada$$, B4.DA.$$; Marilyn Manson is back with  The Pale Emperor; reunited indie rockers Sleater-Kinney released No Cities To Love; two other indie rockers also on the docket this week - Belle & Sebastian's Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance and The Decemberists' What A Terrible World What A Beautiful World; and finally today EDM favorite Aphex Twin released Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments Pt. 2. Oh yeah, and emo Fall Out Boy released American Beauty/American Psycho as well.

Phew. That was a mouthful. And now for the rest of the tunes - it's The List!

Welp, I'm a little underlistened because I was really diving into a few albums for a podcast I'm doing with my friend Josh called Half Pints Whole Notes. We review a beer and some music every other week and in it, I'll be giving a bit more of my opinions on some of the bigger releases in a week. Which I usually just gloss over here because this is more about the underdog than the superdog. Here is the link if you want to check it out, or you can search for it on iTunes as well.

Yeah, so not really prepared with too many underdogs this week, especially now that music releases are back in full swing but...

A few that I'm digging right now

BC Campground, How To Die In The North - Maybe it's the bleak midwinter that has me thinking of them, but MGMT came to mind while listening to this one with a hint of Queen.

Etienne de Crécy, Super Discount 3 - dancey electronica poppiness. Get your Friday going.

Darlings, Feel Better - it's on my To-Listen list but my 3 song skim was pretty good for some hanging out rock.

Erase Errata, Lost Weekend - My first skim of this one made me think that if you liked the Viet Cong release this week, maybe you might enjoy this one as well. (can't wait for my podcast cohort to rebuke me on this)

Jim Ed Brown, In Style Again - some old style country for the weekend breakfast times of course!

Raymond Fairchild, King of the Smoky Mountain Banjo Players - Banjo music. Banjos. What more do you need to know?

Hanni El Khatib, Moonlight - it's got a lot going on in the music and seems like it could be a good one.

Light background music for a romantic dinner?

Matt Belsante, When You're Smiling

David Osborne, On the Wings of Love

Well there you go. Somethings to listen to -  musicwise and podcastwise even! Definitely going to be implementing my new notetaking ideas to keep track of albums I like because I think there will be quite a few after this week and it's so hard to remember all the way back to January by the end of the year. My New Year's Resolution I guess is to be better prepared for my best of list because I want to make a "maybe not epicly the best thing ever but you should give it a swirl" list. Anyway, enough of that. It's the 3rd week of January, we're supposed to be past best of lists and hitting up all the new stuff, right? And I've got Hanni El Khatib on as I finish this up, and it's good. Give it a swirl, because I guess that's the phrase for this week. And on that note - Happy Listening!