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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!


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!

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