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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!


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

The days are getting shorter, and the music list grows longer, and my posts arrive later and later in the day. But there's so much to listen to! Plus it doesn't help that I rewrote a significant portion of today's post after realizing my tone might have been a little more negative than I like to use. So anyway, Round Two! (but it's like round one for you because you're never going to see the real round one.) Starting to feel like I'm writing in a hamster wheel, time to make a break for it - Highlights of the week!

Stevie Nicks and Jackson Browne released new albums, 24 Karat Gold - Songs From The Vault and Standing In The Breach, respectively. Both albums are old songs revisited by the songwriters, like they somehow individually both decided to go out to the backyard and dig up that time capsule they buried way back when and share it with the rest of us. Weezer released Everything Will Be Alright In The End as well, which I haven't had the chance to give a full listen to but am intrigued by the 3 part suite at the end. It's hard to pull that off, and I'll give them the chance to succeed.

Later today though or maybe tomorrow, I mean there's like 150 releases on the list this week and my attention was focused on two artists: 1. Macy Gray's new album finally came out this week, The Way, and after being teased by all the singles I was ready for a listen. It's light, poppy, and switches between talking about drugs/lack of drugs and love. 2. Ex Hex, Rips. I really liked the EP and was hoping this would be another slam dunk like Clear Plastic Masks earlier this year. It's on my To-Listen list for another go-around. I need another go-around before I jump on the bandwagon I think. Or I have to see them live, not sure which. But it's one of those things. On the EDM side, Flying Lotus released You're Dead. New Found Glory released Resurrection, Bush has another new single promoting their upcoming album, and Yellowcard released Lift A Sail. Finally, Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn cleverly titled their album, Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn, tune in here for your banjo and Americana fix.

Are you ready for this? The List.

80s Flashbacky
Peaking Lights, Cosmic Lights
High Ends, Super Class
Tosca, Outta Here
Yumi Zouma, "Alena"
Palate Cleansing Simplicity
Broods, Evergreen
O'Death, Out Of Hands We Go
Vashti Bunyan, Heartleap
Something Fun and Poppy
Streets of Laredo, Volumes I & II
Macy Gray, The Way
Alex & Sierra, It's About Us
Nikki Yanofsky, Little Secret
Odds and Ends
Shakey Graves, And The War Came - It has the same groove as the Macy Gray album but with less instruments and production. Might be fun to juxtapose the two by each other.
Tr3, Like Some Kind Of Alien Invasion - I really enjoyed the Latin-inspired guitar lines on "Mystery Calling"
Field Report, Marigolden - Is it Bon Iver meets David Gray? Maybe. I don't know. The wall I usually bounce these ideas off on was out of town before I wrote this.
Wampire, Bazaar - Again, bear with me, the wall I throw my spaghetti on to see if it's done was MIA, a jazzier T.Rex?
Dark Blue, Pure Reality - Who does the vocalist sound like? It's driving me bananas! It's on the tip of my tongue. I know I'll think of it after I post this. So I'm just going to move on.
Oh man, that Dark Blue thing is going to bother me the rest of the day. Hopefully it won't distract me from giving the shrubs a haircut, or a shrubcut I suppose. We've let them go all year and one of them is trying to take over the driveway. Unfortunately, the shrub doesn't realize we actually do own clipping utensils, we just never use them. Until today. Today, you shall meet your match driveway-taking-shrub! No more will you try to block us from our garage! Muahahahaha! Happy listening!

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

Still in the thick of it, music is being bombarded at us each week. This week includes the posthumous 50 St. Catherine's Drive album from Robin Gibb of The Bee Gees; Prince's Art Official Age; along with a release from his band, 3rdeyegirl, Plectrumelectrum; Bryan Adams has Tracks of my Years; Melissa Etheridge released This Is M.E.; and Engelbert Humperdinck dueting it up on Engelbert Calling. Pop country is alive and well with Blake Shelton's Bringing Back The Sunshine and Lady Antebellum is back with 747. On the Playground of Rock, The Preatures have Blue Planet Eyes; and Rural Alberta Advantage is out with Mended With Gold.

Heads up, it's the list.

So there are a lot of things to try out and listen to this week, but here are a few picks out of the bunch:


Tove Lo, Queen of the Clouds

Tragic Thrills, Tragic Thrills

Yelle, Complètement Fou - Fun French Pop

Folk/Old Country

Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives, Saturday Night/Sunday Morning

Alice Gerrard, Follow the Music


Estrogen High, Hear Me On the Number Station - No frills.

Black Crown Initiate, The Wreckage of Stars - I put this on first thing this morning so I can't completely say I'm unbiased. For some reason, 90% of the time, any metal I put on before breakfast on Friday morning makes my liked list.

Playground of Rock

Madi Diaz, Phantom - Give it a whirl and see what you think.

Filthy Huns, Leopard On My Right - it's pretty much instrumental, and there's not much that happens. It kind of builds on itself, but it's got this intensity to it.


Luke Winslow-King, Everlasting Arms - more blues than blues rock and just laid back.


Vaudou Game, Apiafo

Sally Nyolo, Tiger Run

Well there you have it, another list, another week. Hope you have a good weekend and happy listening!


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

Well last week I was a bit distracted lining all my ducks in a row for my piano studio recital picnic last Sunday. It was gorgeous, my students are fun and amazing, and it was worth it. But here we are again, another Friday, another refrain, and another week of amazing music being released. Like what?

Like everything on this list and more probably because it is pretty much impossible to catch it all. bam. Sneak attack list. You might notice the lack of listening to certain letters of the alphabet... 1. there is a lot of music again. 2. I kept getting entranced by an album and listening to 90% of it before moving on to the next.

Now let's get some highlights, you know, the big ones. Leonard Cohen, the writer of great things including "Hallelujah," released Popular Problems  to celebrate his 80th birthday. Let's take care of the rest of the L's while we're at it: pop star Lenny Kravitz, Strut; singer-songwriter Lori McKenna, Numbered Doors; country star Lee Ann Womack, The Way I'm Livin'; and if we just back up one letter, we've got country superstar Kenny Chesney out with The Big Revival. Jennifer Hudson seems to be taking a page from Jennifer Lopez with the title of her new album, JHUD. Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga teamed up to release Cheek To Cheek. Electronic music's Aphex Twin is finally back after over a decade with Syro. Imelda May with a strong rock pop release in Tribal. Oh wait, and John Mellencamp is back with Plain Spoken.

On the alternative or underground or playground side of it all, you know, those bands that easily fill a festival stage yet somehow aren't household names. Alt-J released their sophomore try, This Is All Yours. Jeff Tweedy and son join together with Tweedy, Sukierae. Sondre Lerche released Please. Perfume Genius with Too Bright. Finally Julian Casablancas + The Voidz released Tyranny because any longer and we would've had that entire album in singles. 

A Random Smattering of Recommendations From This Week

Christian Bland and the Revelators, The Unseen Green Obscene- Trippy rock

Cruel Hand, The Negatives - in case you just need to rock it out.

The Well; Samsara- I must have some pent-up something in me this week because the distorted guitar and heavy drums thing is really sitting well with me.

Danielle Woodrow, Turning - a little singer-songwriter for you this week.

Fickle Friends, For You - A little 80s heavy but in the good way like Haim. Not as complex as that though. So different but similar to Haim, got it?

Jack + Eliza, No Wonders - One of my weaknesses are female and male vocals paired up well, and this is definitely that. Playful, they have a good chemistry together with just a light accompaniment behind them. Give it a try if you are a She & Him fan.

DieAlps!, DieAlps! - Lighter fare that's got potential for multiple listenings.

Keys N Krates, Every Nite - to get your night/weekend started off right with some dancing and booming bass.

LIGHTS, Little Machines - a poppy little album

Goat, Commune - If you like Asian psychedelic rock of the 60s and always wanted to a new interpretation of that, here you go, this band from Sweden. Huh.

Aeges, Above & Down Below - Foo Fighters-ish in the good way.

Lighter and synthy these go together I think

Beach Beach, The Sea

Ennui, Telepathic Beat

Erasure, The Violet Flame

Astronauts, Etc.; Sadie

The Drums, Encyclopedia

Well that's some to start out with anyway. I have to go deal with some tomatoes now because it's that time of year and all. Chopping, sauteing, steaming, freezing, got to get the bounty into the freezer. And then we're off to go pumpkin picking for our annual engagement pumpkin because picking out pumpkins is way more fun than just getting a ring one year. Happy listening!

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