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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!


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

Well, if you need to start off your weekend and get in the mood for a party, maybe you should just put on "#OMW2SYG (Swiggity Swooty)" by Splurt right now. Watch out for language though.

What else is there this week? Well Barry Manilow released My Dream Duets. The full release from Rancid is now available this week titled Honor Is All We Know. The Flaming Lips released With A Little Help From My Fwends - a cover of Sgt. Peppers' which I found not to be the best thing to put on at 3 am when I couldn't sleep. Probably really good if you're viewing 3 am from the opposite side, coming off a long and fun ride of a night. Jerry Lee Lewis released Rock & Roll Time and Leighton Meester came out with Heartstrings. Taylor Swift is also back with 1989.

Boo! It's the List.

And here's some picks for your ears:

Hemingway, Pretend To Care - It's got a 90s vibe going on with some hints of early Weezer to it.

Francisco the Man, Loose Ends - Just some rock for your soul.

Choir Vandals, At Night - A little bit of a heavier Cage the Elephant maybe? Perhaps.

Lily & Madeleine, Fumes - Harmonizing duo of female voices. My brain wants to say like First Aid Kit but it's not at all. Except that there is harmonizing between two females.

Cherry Glazerr, Had Ten Dollaz - I was just thinking about my top albums list and recently relistening to these guys thinking about how they're probably going to make my list. Anyway, this is some good rock to start your weekend with.

Dday One, Dialogue With Life - Not what I expected, but then I got stumped on what to call it. It's not exactly electronica. It's almost jazzy at times. It's just cool.

Ought, Once More With Feeling... - not to be confused with the Buffy The Vampire Slayer episode, but if you like Art Brut - give this one a spin on your dial.

Small Reactions, Similar Phantoms - You might like this if you like the sound of The Strokes

I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness, Dust - That kind of rock that's epic and laid back at the same time.

French For Rabbits, Spirits  - Speaking of laid back, this is just laid back and cool. Chill out music.

Oh hey, by the way, Happy Halloween! Hope you have a lovely and safe one. Don't go tricking people though, just treating. And with that, it's time to get ready to eat all the candy - I mean, pass out candy to the children. Happy Listening!


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

Happy fall Friday everybody! It is absolutely gorgeous weather in this neck of the woods and I hope it is where you are too. Well, the new release stampede has slowed this week but I think it's a pretty strong week for releases. How amazing is it that Sleater Kinney is back together and touring? It definitely made my week.

Sorry for the lack of news last week, but we were all just listening to Jessie J's new album, right?

Well let's get down to it. Neil Diamond is back at it with an album of original songs called Melody Road. I have had the chance to dig into it yet (it's on the To-Listen list) but I'm looking forward to it. Bush also released their full album, Man On The Run this week. Andrew Bocelli released Opera, The Ultimate Collection and  Billy Idol is back with Kings & Queens of the Underground. Annie Lennox made a standards album titled Nostalgia. And on the alternative side of things, Cold War Kids is out with Hold My Home; and Thurston Moore is finally releasing The Best Day.

Attack of the list.

Fit for a Halloween List

Narco States, Wicked Sun - The Doors-esque, this vintage sounding rock with organ just exudes that feel of dry ice fog and cement brick basements.

Primus, Primus & The Chocolate Factory with the Fungi Ensemble - Yes, that's right. Primus with a new album covering the soundtrack for Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. And just in time for Halloween, this will definitely throw some strange fun into your music list.

List of Awesome for the week

Baxter Dury, It's A Pleasure - A delight. One of my happy discoveries this week. Maybe a little Damon Albarn with the female from Black Box Recorder

Bear's Den, Islands - Poppy Sufjan Stevens? Maybe?

Clorofila, Ahorita Vengo - Electronica with a Latin flair. Put it on your party list.

Stone Jack Jones, Circumstance

Saintseneca, Passionate Kisses - Great cover of the Lucinda Williams song

Vintage Sounds of Fun

The Budos Band, Burnt Offerings - you know that instrumental rock of yore with maybe a little more edge to it. It's going on a party mix for me.

The Memories, Hot Afternoon - Trippy rock. If you look at the album cover, you should have a pretty good idea of what you'll be getting into.

Prom Queen, Midnight Veil - Surfer cowboy rock. You'll get it if you listen to it. Track 2 is the "Theme To Midnight Veil" and there you have it. Might be my favorite of the week.

Well there we have it. Another week, another Friday Refrain written to the sound of toddlers running around my house. Which is pretty talented. One of them looks like a dinosaur though so that's cool. Anyway, the sun disappeared and I'm going to go find it. Happy listening!

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