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

Greetings friends! Tis January summer around these parts - which means that by day it is pleasant and nice to shake off the thousands of layers of coats but at night, it's dicey. Gotta watch those daytime puddles becoming nighttime skating rinks. It's always good to keep keen. I can't wait to go running this weekend. I will probably misjudge some pavement and slip and break something - but that freedom of running will be worth it. Anyways, on with the music!

It's kind of an indie rock day. The kind of day where I wonder how the heck I don't know any of these bands, and then just decide it's a small band release day. Which is great because that's what I like to dig into. For the ones I recognize - Foxygen releases Hang today and Cherry Glazerr is finally back with Apocalipstick. Seriously, I loved their first album which came out in the first or second year I was doing this. And then I've waited. And waited. So you know what I'm excited to put on. Been four years since Chicago's indie rockers Joan of Arc have been on the scene but here they are with He's Got The Whole This Land is Your Land in His Hands. And Menace Beach have Lemon Memory

And I have the Lemon List. Nah, just the releases of last week. Which I didn't get much of a chance to listen to. So apologies on the lack of genrefication.

I did a live tweet last night over @pintnotes on Twitter so check that out for some suggestions, and then let's see if I can wrangle up a weird list. I'm feeling like we need a little weird today...Which will come later this weekend as I am now required to read all the books. If only you know how many books that really is.

But first -

Clearly, last week's best album cover winner:


Which is peppy indie rock who have the just right 80s influences for me but this really crosses a gamut of rock by the way. Oh dude this is just a guy. Pretty crazy.

So I'll get up a playlist and a weird list later this weekend, but for now you are up to date on things that are here today and whatnot. Happy Listening!


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

I know. I mean I hope I know. I hope you all have figured it out by now, a week passing without a peep from me means illness in the house or Fridays without naps or the dishes really needed to be washed. Some sort of life thing. And I'm just going to assume you understand and just roll with it. So thanks (if I'm assuming correctly). Anyway, there hadn't been too much to talk about until last week anyhoot. But last week...

I just have this need to listen to at least one track from the Bowie EP almost every day. Maybe it's the anniversary. Maybe it's the way it's in sync with a Northern winter. I don't know, but there it is. Also in the last weeks, Brian Eno released Reflection. Dropkick Murphys brought us 11 Stories of Pain & Glory. And I'm really digging the country collaboration of Dale Watson & Ray Benson on Dale & Ray. As fun as the Nelson/Haggard collaboration last year, and the Watson/Benson collab includes a song tribute to the late Mr. Haggard. In short, there hasn't been much yet this year, but there's been some good stuff to hibernate with.

And then there's today. The flood doors of releases are slowly opening again and there are things to be had. First off, there is The Flaming Lips with Oczy Mlody. I'm interested to see where this lands on the spectrum of the Lips' output. I'm hoping for good. I really liked The Terror but the timing of it made it hard to fold into the rotation. I continually go back and think about that album though. Next up, we have not quite so psychedelic or as experimental, but certainly grooving with their own sounds, The xx released I See You. Let's fade even more to the EDM side of things with Bonobo's Migration. And holy cannoli everyone, shut up and sit down - SEPULTURA has a new album! All i know is that the dancey low key xx album to the metal of Sepultura is going to be a little bit of a shock but hopefully so worth it.

The first album list of the year!

Last week was really light, so I only have a couple more mentions and then I'll include my Spotify playlist where you can check it all out:

Information Flash, Ego Murda Sound - Sometimes, rarely, but sometimes I have patience to sit down and let an electronica album get into my head, and this falls into that frame of mind.

Alluvial, The Deep Longing for Annihilation - I love instrumental metal. It's the best kind. It looks like they tried finding a vocalist to add to the tracks but decided to keep it instrumental in the end and I think it was the best decision. Vocals in metal are my pickiest thing. I will love the 2 minute intro of a song, start to get into and then the vocalist starts in and it's too cookie monster or too tenor or too much vibrato or too whiny... Anyway, back to Alluvial. It's got some great guitar riffs and it all comes together really well - thinking about it, I perceive the music as one whole instead of focusing on the drums or the bass or whatever. Cohesion is not easily achieved.

The Dogs, Death By Drowning - This is some great straight up rock.


All right, need to get that playlist together before the boy awakens, so it's time to wrap up the writing. I'm pretty excited about waht 2017 has to bring in music. Starting off pretty strong again. Oh. My. Granola. This Sepultura album is making me very happy. Yes. So you know, whatever else 2017 has to bring - at least we can be looking forward to some good music. I've been thinking about it, and I don't know if it's because I listen to 50 bands a week or if the quality of music has really gone up. I know, Trent Reznor just came out saying that (interruption, seriously latin + metal? Oh Sepultura you really get me) music is too safe - but I disagree. There is a lot of safe music out there but if you just dig, listen to 50 bands a week I guess, you really can find something more. I mean, last year I had at least 2 albums I couldn't even quantify for completely different reasons. Daevid Allen Weird Quartet's Elevenses would probably be lumped as jazz, but it was so abstract and pushed boundaries in a way like Les Claypool. Jaimeo Brown Transcendence's Works Songs was a powerful musical tableau. And the metal album Skuggsjá? A musical telling of Norway's history? That wasn't safe or mainstream. But I get it. That feeling is exactly why I'm sitting here today writing this - I knew there had to be more than the music I was being served and I decided to find it myself. And if I'm already listening, why not share it? Wow, hi there tangent, how are you today? Okay, so check out the Spotify playlist for things I've mentioned and Happy Listening!



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

Merry Christmas all! Or whatever behooves you. This year it really seems that artists have taken a winter break. Last week was light for releases and this week is even lighter. The highlights are slim: Last week Jeff Tweedy of Wilco's son, Spencer Tweedy celebrated his 21st birthday by releasing his album, Geezer Love. Gucci Mane is back again with The Return of East Atlanta. Omar Rodriguez-Lopez added to his year's collection with Some Need It Lonely. Today Chance the Rapper teamed up with Jeremih to release the mixtape Merry Christmas Lil Mama. Nine Inch Nails is back with the ep Not The Actual Events. And that's really the biggest names - there are a few other mixtapes and such out today but that's pretty much it.

Which is why Josh is making us do our year end list in next week's episode instead of waiting until the traditional after the year is over.

But it's not over until The List sings a duet with The List of 2 weeks past.

Here is what I liked from the last few weeks:

Jeen, Modern Life - that closed reverbed female vocal with some driving guitar behind it.

Enemies, Valuables -  this is kinda like Animal Collective as unplugged as they would get.

Holly Bowling, Better Left Unsung - just because I'm a pianist, doesn't mean I'll pick all instrumental piano albums but this one has some good tracks with some interesting things.

The Colorist, The Colorist & Emiliana Torrini - I called this "Bjorky"

Stove, Is The Meat That Fell Out - some more of that low key driving rock I like.

The Microphones, Early Tapes- Oh I love The Microphones. I've just been eating up thi salbum with a spoon.

Peter Broderick, Grunewald - I really liked "Violin Solo No. 1"


Well there you have it. I hope you have a lovely holiday weekend and I'll see if I have anything to report next week! Until then, Happy Listening!


The Friday Refrain: Christmas Playlist

So until Big Freedia released an album on Friday, I created a pretty sedate playlist. I tried to include one song from every release. But I probably forgot some because there were so many this year...

Hello again RSS Feeders by the way. Sorry about disappearing. I don't do well with nebulous non-concrete tinkering, and accidentally changed my blog url. But I figured that out eventually, and I'm back. Apologies for the disappearance and then the possible barrage of posts when I reappeared. Yep, still here. Listening to too much music and blathering on about it. Anyhoot!

Ho ho ho, it's the Christmas List! And a few bonus lists:

Making a Christmas Album List? Better check it twice

Wonderland - either you'll end up with Sarah McLachlan or Marika Hackman

Tis the Season - Jimmy Buffett or Jordan Smith (given, the former's album is technically Tis the SeaSon)

Acoustic Christmas - You'll end up with Neil Diamond or Kevin Williams

And don't think you can just waltz in to a store and say, "I know it was like the artist's name Christmas..." because you could end up with A John Berry/Kenny Lattimore/Pentatonix Christmas

And now for some stats...

Of 44 albums, "Silent Night" is the most common song on 16 of the albums on my list. "O Holy Night" comes in 2nd with 15 versions. "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" is 3rd with 13, "The First Noel" was 4th with 12 and "White Christmas" tied with "Oh Come All Ye Faithful" at 11. "Winter Wonderland" landed on 9 albums while "What Child is This?", "The Christmas Song," "Jingle Bells," and "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" all tied with 8 album representing them.

I'm a bit surprised at "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," "Oh Come All Ye Faithful," "What Child Is This?" and "The First Noel." I guess for Adeste and Noel, it's just their time to be in fashion again but "God Rest" is one of my favorites and not many people recognize that one. "What Child Is This?" I get because I associate it with velvet and stirrup pants, so right on schedule. "Last Christmas" and "All I want for Christmas is you" had only 1 album listed, different artists. Same with "Frosty the Snowman!" I love Frosty, come on people, step it up next year. Anyway, I got curious when I kept noticing 'God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" kept popping up, so I tallied up all the tracks. Pretty fun to do and I hope you found it fun as well Maybe next year I'll keep track of how everyone lists "Oh Come All Ye Faithful:" do they use Oh or O? Add the comma or omit it? Or is it Adeste Fideles?

Oddities: "Coventry Carol" and Cohen's "Hallelujah" appear on both acapella albums. No surprise really, but if you're delivering a serious album or want to have a powerful song, "O Holy Night" is most likely on the album as well. "Mele Kalikemaka" appeared on more albums than I expected - 4 in total.

Overall there were at least 99 unique cover songs between all the albums, not to mention some albums boasting several originals (Jane Lynch and R. Kelly to name a few).

Bonus stat: "Jingle Bell Rock" has been a trending favorite among my students for two years now.

So there it is. Happy Christmas Listening my friends!


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

Friday Friday Friday... Sorry for the erratic posting. My work environment is not conducive to working essentially. My only promise is that somewhat weekly I will post about the new music out and about in the world. And you can bet I am still listening. I'm thinking about doing a year-end tally. Though I think that might scare me and cause me to curl up in a dark cave with wide wondrous eyes fearing the music bats flitting about me. While that may seem as odd as the brightly colored sheep opening from last week, that's only becuase I forgot to add the picture to last week's post. Of the brightly colored sheep and one pig. Maybe I'll get to that this week. Ha... As if.

It's a good week in the rap/hip-hop category as J. Cole, Ab Soul, and Post Malone all have albums out. Still waiting on that next Drake compilation just so you know. He's going to drop something this month. Sometime. Maybe he'll do it right now so that I am a dolt. Beyond all that, it's all small potatoes this week. But small potatoes are good potatoes, so I'm not saying there isn't anything good out there. Really, the small potatoes are more expensive. More desirable. Take that small potato albums this week. You're desireable and expensive.

Ding dong merrily on The List.

Christmas Albums 2016

So much later than I try to post this, but I tried to get all I could of the Christmas albums this year.

Children's Album: Caspar Babypants, Winter Party! - This is one of the dudes from Presidents Of The United States of America doing kid's music and it's got a bit of that "kid music" sound attached to it but better than most with that sound.

Crooner Jazz: Brett Eldredge, Glow - classic jazzy implications with some strings too.

New Age/Contemporary Adult category: David Arkenstone, Winter Fantasy

Female Jazzy Album: Elizabeth Chan, Five Golden Rings - I like her version of Deck the Halls, it's sassy and fun. Also Lauren Daigle, Behold is a good album for a simplified modern jazz feel.

Country Christmas: You could go more modern with Chris Young, It Must Be Christmas; John Berry, John Berry Christmas and Rascal Flatts, The Greatest Gift of All. Or go old school with Loretta Lynn, White Christmas Blue. And don't forget Kacey Musgraves, A Very Kacey Christmas. (the last two are definitely on my faves list)

More Jazzy: Jane Lynch got together with a couple people and created A Swingin' Little Christmas. It's got some great fun arrangements plus 5 original tracks. Definitely worth checking out. There is also Kurt Elling, The Beautiful Day.

Christmas Albums from Music Legends:  Sarah Maclachlan (Wonderland), Amy Grant (Tennessee Christmas), Neil Diamond (Acoustic Christmas) and Jimmy Buffett (Tis the SeaSon) released albums this holiday season.

R. Kelly made an album of original songs entitled 12 Nights of Christmas. I just thought it was important enough to point out. Also, I legitimately love the album. I've listened to it in its entirety more than once.

Featuring a singer and an acoustic guitar: Tommy Emmanuel, Christmas Memories

Latin Christmas: Laura Pausini, Laura Navidad

Let's Go Crazy: You want harp music? Erin Hill, Christmas Harp. You like Celtic music? Natalie MacMaster, A Celtic Family Christmas.

Strong singers Christmas: Jody McBrayer, Christmastime; Jennifer Nettles, To Celebrate Christmas; Jackie Evancho, Someday At Christmas; Jordan Smith, Tis The Season

Acapella Christmas: Straight No Chaser, I'll Have Another... Christmas Album; and Pentatonix, A Pentatonix Christmas

Acoustic Guitar: Kevin Williams, Acoustic Christmas

Playground of Rock Christmas: Gary Wilson, It's Christmas time With Gary Wilson; Marika Hackman, Wonderland (favorite); She & Him, Christmas Party; David Bazan, Dark Sacred Night and Christmas Bonus.

Also of note: Jospeh Washington Jr, Merry Christmas To You; Andra Day, Merry Christmas From Andra Day; and Christmas on the Lam by various artists.

There it is! The Christmas Roundup. I apologize for anyone I have missed. there were more albums than I originally thought and I really had to dig deep to get through. I did full listens on most of the albums this year. Phew. It was something. Anyway, there is something for everyone this year and it is a strong slate of releases I might add too. So go out there and Happy Holiday Listening!

ps. spotify playlist will be added this weekend. I'm tired. I met Santa tonight. It's just... a long day.

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