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Entries in Friday Refrain (145)


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

I'm back! Happy New Year to all. I hope it finds everyone starting off on a fresh foot and full of energy. Sorry for the extended vacation of the Friday Refrain - fortunately not much happens in the world of music releases between Christmas and the first week of January. I was all set for last week but never hit the publish button, but the list was pretty svelte around 30 some releases or so. But this week, we're back up there with almost 60.

Fwah! The List. (Fwah - like I just flung The List through the air like a frisbee)

So the big stuff of the week? Papa Roach released another single off their upcoming release, "Never Have To Say Goodbye." Panda Bear released Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper. If you can't get enough of that fun poppy retro style of Meghan Trainor, never fear she released Title this week - a full length album. Mark Ronson is out with Uptown Special. And the official U.S. release of The Ting Ting's Super Critical was this week as well.

Other things I enjoyed this week:

Ella Henderson, Chapter One - Good pop with a bit of the sound of Adele in her voice.

Guster, Evermotion - This band has certainly evolved over the years, and they continue that with this album. Easily fitting  in with other indie bands of today, this album was a pleasant surprise. Note: I fell in love with this band when they opened for Barenaked Ladies way back when. I have a Culver's bib signed by them somewhere.

Animal Daydream, Easy Pleasures - It's got that sunny California retro sound that can be refreshing during the cold days of January

Moon King, "Roswell" - This single is pretty fun with reminders of the good 80s pop I like in the background.

Well a short but sweet Friday Refrain. Next week the releases start picking up again with Sleater Kinney and The Decemberists releasing their anticipated albums. As for me, well, more time for listening to be done now that I've finished watching every season of Chuck. Happy Listening!


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

Happy Friday everyone! The last weekend before Christmas - often a time of scrambling. Time to wrap up the presents, do some last minute shopping and squeeze in a few more holiday parties. Or maybe you don't do all that, well, don't worry a bit for each of you. Let's start off with what's happening in music this week and then I'll indulge in a little Christmas list after that.

Ho ho ho - it's the List!

Do you hear what I hear?... Not much? Yeah, me either. It's the end of the year, reviewers have already wrapped up their year end best of lists and tied a bow on it. Why bother releasing new albums? Well, because someone out there wants something new and there's always that chance you could hit it really big for last minute gift ideas. So who took the chance? Well, Nicki Minaj released The Pinkprint. While it starts out slow, it starts to pick up a bit later in the album. Charli XCX released Sucker and this might be a late entry but it is doing a pretty good job of tearing its way onto my favorite albums of 2014. I especially like the tracks, "Break the Rules" and "Famous." D'Angelo dropped off an early Christmas present for everyone with his first album in 14 years, Black Messiah. And that's really the news for this week. Not much, like I said.

Beyond the big three, the new single from Laura Marling's upcoming release is definitely worth a listen. I also dug the track "Spring" from The Heartbeat Band's Sailor Heart.

Now that this week is done, let's deck the halls with some Christmas music!

A list of some of the new holiday releases genrefied!

Well, I was going to include a list of my favorite Christmas albums, but I just realized that I need to go and identify what some of my favorites actually are first. That could take a bit. So perhaps I'll just sign off for this week and post a special follow-up if I get my ducks in a row on that one. So Happy Listening and to all a good night!




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

Happy Friday everyone! Here we are in the close of the year once again. And happy 1 year Friday Refrain to all! I had thought about adding up everything I've listened to in the last year, but then I decided that would seem more frightening to me than fun so I'm just going to go with a lot. I've listened to a lot. Not sure if I'll actually make a comprehensive year end list, but I'm working on it as I can. I'm getting the hang of this front baby carrier thing so hopefully that will help me with being able to type with two hands and research and therefore listen. We'll see where it gets me.

Anyway, let's see what's in store for this week. Our big ticket items this week are from Wu Tang Clan and AC/DC with A Better Tomorrow and Rock or Bust, respectively. Mary J. Blige released The London Sessions this week, which is pretty strong on the front half. She & Him released Classics, an album of covers. Both Pixies and Yo La Tengo have anniversary reissues this week. Plus there's a retrospective from Wilie Nelson titled, December Day: Willie's Stash, Vol. 1.

Happy early St. Nicholas Day! The list is in your shoes.

If you're in the mood for...

something like a male-fronted Polica? Try Beacon, L1

a little country? Collin Raye, Everlasting

an acoustic cover of Animal Collective's "My Girls?" Check out Tall Tall Trees, The Seasonal

a rock track reminiscent of early Yeah Yeah Yeahs? "Sex Beat," The Coathangers

something Blondie sounding? Kate Pierson, "Mister Sister"

meditative instrumental piano music? Jordan De la Sierra, Gymnosphere: Song of the Rose

Well that's about what I've got this week. Just starting to get into the swing of it all again, so bear with me. Hopefully you've had a great week of Thanksgiving leftovers, are getting into the holiday spirit and gearing up for an awesome weekend. Speaking of holiday spirit, maybe next week I'll throw together a favorites list and include a list of the new holiday releases so far this year. So stay tuned for that, and if you're in the Twin Cities, make sure you check out Tuba Christmas this Sunday in St. Paul. It's my favorite holiday tradition. Happy Listening!


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

From the picture above, I hope you can surmise the reason why the Refrain was absent last Friday. While back again this week, it's in only in a very shortened version of its usual self because I'm still on the learning curve of balancing life and work.

So wham! The List

Just a short overview of the big names out this week: dreamy pop foursome One Direction released Four. TV On The Radio is back with Seeds. Nickelback released No Fixed Address. And Buzzcocks are out with The Way. That feels way too short. It is the holiday season coming up, which I think is why this week was so loaded with rereleases, box sets and live albums. So let's take a looksee at what came out for all those things I usually don't mention...

Live Albums

Depeche Mode, Live in Berlin

Kristin Chenowith, Coming Home

The Rolling Stones, From The Vault: L.A. Forum (Live in 1975)

Boxed Sets

Captain Beefheart, Sun Zoom Spark: 1970 to 1972

William Onyeabor, William Onyeabor

Bruce Springsteen, The Album Collection Vol. 1 1973 - 1984

Wilco, Alpha Mike Foxtrot: Rare Tracks 1994 - 2014

Greatest Hits

David Bowie, Nothing Has Changed

Trisha Yearwood, Prizefighter: Hit After Hit

Wilco, What's Your 20

Tributes, Compilations and Rereleases

The Art of McCartney, Various Artists

Ty Segall, $ingle$ 2

Fugazi, First Demo

Brian Eno, The Drop; Neroli; Nerve Net; The Shutov Assembly

Robert Wyatt, Different Every Time

Who knows, maybe I just helped someone round out their gift list for the season when they harkened to the fact that there is a new Captain Beefheart boxed set; or maybe it was the loved one of a huge Kristin Chenoweth fan who is excited to wrap up her new live album. If none of those tickle your fancy, I would suggest randomly picking an album off The List and giving it a go. Me, I'm trying that Piano and Theremin album as soon as I have time. Here's hoping that next week I can return with some off the wall recommendations and a little more insight. Happy Listening and may you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!


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

Comfort. That seems to be the theme for this week. Comfort food, comfort places and comfort listening. It's wrap-yourself-up-in-a-sweater-and-sip-something-warm-from-a-mug weather after all.

As for the big names of the week: Bob Dylan released The Basement Tapes: The Complete Set this week and how that hasn't been what I've been listening to all week, I don't know. Bette Midler came out with It's The Girls!. Papa Roach released a new single, "Face Everything and Rise" in anticipation of their upcoming album. "Summer" creator Calvin Harris released Motion. Neil Young released Storytone, with songs backed by a full orchestra and some really nice tunes. Father John Misty released a single, "Bored in the USA." And Deerhoof released La Isla Bonita. Oh, I almost forgot - Ani Difranco's Allergic To Water also came out this week.

Happy November! It's The List.

All right, a comfort week is not a good week for making oneself listen to new music. And what I did listen to that I adhered to seemed to have a very relaxed and laid back vibe. I ended up liking the light vocals and staring-off-into-space inducing music of Ookoorookoo's Autumn Night. So I'm just going with one this week and it's Ookoorookoo. If you're looking for something more or something different, I say randomly pick a name from the List and put it on. See what happens. Maybe you'll find your new favorite band. Happy Listening!