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Entries by Becca Ruiz (202)


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

I almost didn't get this done because I want to finish eating my grapefruit. Oh my goodness I love grapefruit. I can wait. Can't I? Anyway, welcome to Friday. It's my least favorite Friday of the year - this weekend is daylight savings time which I believe is kinda like a stuck donkey wheel for me. I just don't jibe well with the clocks until next fall when we fall back again. I know how some people want to get rid of Daylight Savings Time, but that makes me worried. What if they got rid of it after a spring forward and I never jibed with the clocks again? It's like a horror movie. Mm. Grapefruit.

Tickity tock, it's the list of last week's releases as genrefied by me for what I listened to.

(shh... I didn't listen to a lot because well, it's a HALF PINTS WHOLE NOTES WEEK! And I spend a good deal of time cuddling those albums up to my ears. So go over to csicon and check it out.)

Today today today.... What arrived today? well, popular metal band Killswitch Engage released Incarnate. In teh same vein, 3 Doors Down are out with Us And The Night. Singer-songwriter Pete Yorn is back with Arranging Time. And another actress crosses the musical line with the eponymous Rita Wilson release. Lucius are here with Good Grief. And Jeff Buckley made recordings of a bunch of songs to kinda get his album groove on and today those previously unreleased tracks are released on You And I. Which I'm pretty much going to be checking out in the near future. And this is just odd, so I'm going to mention it. Skullsjá is the name of the band and the album, it is a colloboration by two of the metal band Enslaved's members to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Norwegian Constitution and tells the history of Norway from beginning to end I guess. That's what I read anyway. Crazy.

It's a sad day. I have no lists. It's too sunny out and I want to eat my grapefruit. So instead of my eccentric musical lists, I suggest you head over to Record Store Day and check out the list of releases for this year and start your money planning now.



The Friday Refrain: Saturday Edition!

Happy weekend everyone! Sorry for the delay but I was on the couch for most of the week with about the motivation and strength of a... I wanna say snail but I feel like to drag around those shells they must actually have more strength than I did this last week. Basically, I was able to click play on the next Criminal Minds episode but lacked the strength to tappity tappity the keys as I do. But now I'm better. I'm taking care of the next sick one in the household, but I'm better with energy and resolve to do things. Like that one Hyperbole and A Half where she's like "Clean all the things!" Yep.

So Friday was kinda a big fun music day for me. Lots of things that I've been waiting for came out. Country icon Loretta Lynn released Full Circle. And Violent Femmes dropped We Can Do Anything, their first new album in forever. Christian rock veterans Newsboys released  Love Riot. And then we have a glorious slew of indie/alt rock to delve into: Thao & The Get Down Stay Down's A Man Alive; ever evolving singer-songwriter Ray LaMontagne's Ouroboros; girls gonna swoon singer-guitarist M. Ward and More Rain; Pearl Jam's bass player's RNDM with Ghost Riding; Nada Surf's You Know Who You Are; Miike Snow, iii; and Poliça with United Crushers. Yeah, preetty crazzy.

Gyrating Googly Eyes! It's The List!

And now for my oddities and wonders of the last week of music...

Odd coincidence of the week

So if you are looking for an album by a band named crater last week, make sure you have the spelling correct. Use a K and you will be delighted by the fast hard metal of Krater's Urere. Spell it with a C however and you will be delighted by the electro indie sweetness with a slight edge of Crater's Talk To Me So I Can Fall Asleep. If only I had found an album by a band named Meteor and Meteoroid this week... I could have had fun with all of that. Anyway!

Since Pi Day is coming... Ready your soundtrack

Spheron, A Clockwork Universe

James Holden and Luke Abbott, Outdoor Museum of Fractals/555Hz

United Vibrations, The Myth Of The Golden Ratio - It's experimental and jazzy.

And it's a stretch, but numbers, man it's all about numbers...

(Okay so this one includes some of the big releases from last week, but seriously, so many numbers, had to put it all together as proof)

The 1975, I Like It When You Sleep For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It

Santigold, 99 Cents

Charli XCX, Vroom Vroom EP

School of Seven Bells, SVIIB

Mefisto, - Metal. They definitely like some Metallica. And other things. Really like to do the guitar "woo-OOO-oo" thing which I can't accurately describe, just make the noise and the motion thing up and down the neck. That thing.

Louie Vega, Starring... XXVIII

And just for fun-

A list of albums or bands from last week's releases creating a landscape

(not meant to go sonically together but just an interesting word palate, because that's what my mind is doing today I guess)

Darryn Farrugia, Seeds

Holy Esque, At Hope's Ravine

Greenleaf, Rise Above The Meadow

Mount Moriah, How To Dance

DMA's, Hills End

Sarah Neufeld, The Ridge

Emitt Rhodes, Rainbow Ends

Sunburst, Fragments of Creation

So my mind has made at least 2 more of those lists but I will stop there. You're welcome. Well, with that my friends, it's been another Refrain and so I bid you Happy Listening!


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

All right my friends, it's a quick one today. Which tends to happen on Half Pints Whole Notes week - my podcast I do with co-host Josh Wodarz bi-weekly. This week we talk about The Suffers, Basia Bulat, Wolfmother, Pete Astor, Mavis Staples, The Frights and Moodymann. So check that out over at  I mean, it's not out today but it will be soon.

Today's releases! Anthrax rises to release For All Kings. Country star Bonnie Raitt has Dig In Deep and Willie Nelson covers Gershwin in Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin. Speaking of classics, Peter Frampton plays Acoustic Classics on his new album. And Macklemore & Ryan Lewis are back with This Unruly Mess I've Made. And then it is like alternative/indie rock crazy release week: Santigold is back with 99 Cents! Mount Moriah, How To Dance; Arcade Fire violinist Sarah Neufeld, The Ridge; Yuck, Stranger Things; Quilt, Plaza; The 1975, I Like It When You Sleep For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It; and School of Seven Bells release the final album SVIIB.

Marshmallows! It's the List!

Currently I'm listening to this dark rock album by Kal Marks, Life is Alright, Everybody Dies. Dark like brooding and growly sounding. And the track songs are pretty sad too, like "Loneliness Only Lasts Forever" so if you need that sort of thing today, check it out.

There's a sort of emo/angsty rock I like and it appears to be represented on The Thrill of Living by Mimisiku.

Vintage California rock fix for the week: The Shivas, Better Off Dead

Also digging singer-songwriter indie rock sounding Jordan Klassen, Javelin

Riding the soul and funk of last week, tune into Nigel Hall, Ladies And Gentlemen... Nigel Hall

I can't seem to stop listening to The Cave Singers with their indie rock album Banshee.

The male/female duo of Vandaveer, The Wild Mercury have some really interesting songs.

From what I've checked out so far, Hemelbestormer's Aether appears to be instrumental metal. Yes.

Discovered this one today, but will be putting it on for further listening: Michael Nau, Mowing. Simple singer-songwriter sweet songs

I wish that The Not-Its! had been around when I was little with their album Are You Listening? Specifically for the track, "Don't Fear The Dentist." Because I do. I just don't like the sound of the teeth scraping. Eegh. For a children's album, this is great. Right up there with the TMBG children's canon.

And let's get some punk in the mix this week: Scraper, Misery

When I put on Tracy Bryant I thought it would be singer-songwriter, maybe a little poppy indie singer-songwriter even. Instead it's this great indie rock album so far. A little west coast feel to it. A little warm weather in it. Oh it's called Subterranean.

Well I think that's it this week. I might be slow on the playlist this week. Need to go do other things for awhile but will get one up in the weekend for sure. In the meantime, spin a title from above and Happy Listening!


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

Happy Friday everybody! It's raining outside right now. And it's February. In Minnesota. That's an odd thing. It's finally naptime and I've got my coffee and pie and I'm ready to go. Let's talk music! By the way, the beats on EXT's Arts & Craft is pretty fitting for this morning's mood.

Out today, layered non-minimalists Animal Collective release Painting With. Not from here but from here in a way Lake Street Dive are sporting Side Pony. And Friday Refrain favorite Mavis Staples has teamed up with M. Ward for Livin' On A High Note. Will definitely be checking that out. Back to the indie/alt rock whatever it is scene with Ra Ra Riot's Need Your Light. And let's get some vintage sounding rock roaring with Wolfmother's Victorious. (At least I hope so.) Simple Plan has Taking One For The Team today and Rick Springfield releases Rocket Science. Did I just put Simple Plan and Rick Springfield in the same sentence? I did. Huh. That's not what you'd expect. Also not what you'd expect - Yoko Ono put together Yes, I'm A Witch Too which has a ton of collaborations on it including Cibo Matto, Sean Lennon, Tune-Yards, and Portugal the Man. There is also a Stan Getz release today - actually a double release. Both albums were recorded at the Keystone Korner in San Francisco during a week stint in May 1976. The two releases are Moments in Time and Getz/Gilberto '76. Pretty good week for releases, varied and a lot to sink your ears into.

But don't forget about last week - shebopaloo The List.

There were also a couple a really interesting items from last week's releases as well. First, Jamieo Brown Transcendence with Work Songs. I suggest just clicking through to read about it. It's work songs from prisons worldwide layered with other musical elements in a really interesting and different way. I didn't genrify it on the list because it's not jazz. It's not modern. It's not classical. It's not instrumental. It's found music? It's living history? Curated music? Doesn't work either. Obviously, I really don't know what to say yet but it really deserves to be talked about and listened to.

Now on to my usual silly refrain self...

Holy Initials Batman!

EXT, Arts & Craft - I know I kinda ruined this being part of the list because I already mentioned it but it has initials.

BTU, Tightrope Walk - Americana/Folk kind of country not like Vince Gill country. Weekend Morning country.

CTMF, A Glimpse Of Another Time - Rock made in your garage.

L.A. Witch, Drive Your Car - California rock.

80's Dose

The Jezabels, Synthia

Flowers, Everybody's Dying To Meet You

Radiation City, Synesthetica

You Say Party,  You Say Party

Eliot Sumner, Information

The The's

The Erkonauts, I Did Something Bad - Rock/Prog-Rock/Metal? You know that kinda  line and not sure about it yet. Definitely things I'm enjoying on it but just need a whole listen.

The Suffers, The Suffers - "Gwan" is an amazing song. Love it. If you like Sharon Jones, check this group out.

The Frights, You Are Going To Hate This - Maybe it's reverse psychology but I'm kinda digging this. If you like Cage the Elephant, give this a spin.

The Coffin Daggers, Aggravatin' Rhythms - Surf rock. I mean, how do you say no to surf rock?

The Donkeys, Midnight Palms - The laid back psychedelic vintage rock like peering across the dusty shelves of a thrift shop. Leaded windows. I don't know why, but that's what my brain says.

Other things I'm checking out this weekend

Lorrie Morgan, Letting Go... Slow - I love her cover of "Lay Lady Lay." I have listened to it like 5 times since last night and it just intrigues me. One of my favorite Dylan songs anyway, by making it country she somehow made it kinda reggae too. So yeah. Hoping to move onto other songs off this album soon.

Daevid Allen Weird Quartet, Elevenses - This is an odd one. The first track I randomly put on was "The Latest Curfew Craze" which sounds like it starts over again several times. I have no clue what this is, so of course that means I'll be checking it out further.

Gehennah, Too Loud To Live, Too Drunk To Die - one of my metal picks that I'll be delving into a bit further. Growly singer voice.

Sjodogg, Som En Oks I Hodet - Metal with the screamy kind of vocals

Black Wizard, New Waste - I think more than metal anymore I just like my old school rock sometimes. This here will scratch that itch.

Matt Patershuk, I Was So Fond Of You - Weekend morning country

So there you go. It was a good week. Definitely an interesting week in music last week. And the rain has cleared, the sun is poking out a bit. Matt Patershuk is playing me out on this Friday Refrain. Happy Listening!

Ps. what's that below? Why that is my playlist I put together from some of the things I mentioned today!



The Friday Refrain: Saturday Edition!

Happy Valentine's weekend all! I know, what an inconsistent Friday Refrain this has been. Well, I'm hoping to change that by redoing my life schedule a bit. You see, I usually procrastinate. I'm excellent at that. However, with the addition of The Boy, and especially on Fridays when The Boy decides not to take a nap, I no longer have the time to put together my weekly ramblings. Which means i have to stop waiting until Friday morning to jot the ramblings down. I'm hoping next week will be different and better. I mean, I've been saving up love and lovelorn songs and albums ALL LAST YEAR. A whole YEAR of them. (When I'd remember at least...) And I was super excited to put together a few playlists... Made a spotify account... Etc. Etc. But it didn't get together. I suck. I'm sorry.

As for releases, Josh and I talk about 8 great new ones on this week's episode of Half Pints, Whole Notes. Head over there for that if you would want. Plus you can hit us up on Twitter to play a new game guessing who picked which band! (I bet you can guess who made up the game...)

And Friday's releases - Did Kanye West actually drop his album yet? I don't really want to find out, but The Life of Pablo was supposed to come out yesterday but then in the morning he said he was still mastering and it woudl be out later that day. I feel strange to empathize with Kanye. I totally get that. He and I... have something in common? I don't know how that makes me feel. In other news, it seems that the big shots of country have banded together to create some sort of Megazoid to defeat Mr. West because we've got: Wynonna & The Big Noise with Wynonna & The Big Noise; Vince Gill and  Down To My Last Bad Habit; Joey + Rory Hymns; and comedy country, that's a thing? Wheeler Walker Jr, Redneck Shit. There's a couple other things too but they're not very big big. Or moderate big. Maybe Lissie with My Wild West. She's pretty awesome, loved her first album and this album is pretty good upon first listen as well.

So that's the gist of yesterday. I'll dig in this week and report back next week with some more recommendations. In the meantime, this and this are the last two weeks of releases in case you care to see my Lists. While I haven't been writing, I've done a pretty fair amount of listening. And now...

For The Lovers

Let's hit up the pop first:

Charlie Puth, "One Call Away"

Walking on Cars, "Catch Me If You Can"

Sonya Kitchell, "Follow Me In"

Rachel Platten, Wildfire

Nick Gibson, Paradise

Austin Plaine, "Your Love" - Oh if your interest is into poppy indie singer-songwriter type music, this is it. Gold mine. Get ready to whisk off the feet.

Singer-songwriter Love

Ben Lee, "The Body of Love"

Indie Rock Love:

Sam Means, 10 Songs - pretty sure you can do the whole album

Francis, "Turning A Hand"

Country Love:

Robyn & Raleigh, "By Heart"

Tom Gourlay, "Love Letter"

K.T. Oslin, "Hold Me" - but it's kinda sad at the same time.

Powerful Love Ballad Singing Style:

Regina Belle, The Day Life Begun

Brenna Whitaker, Brenna Whitaker

Kenny Lattimore, Anatomy of A Love Song - R&B bedroom music

Trying to get back that fish that got away or cheated

Richard Hawley, "I Still Want You"

Shayne Ward, "My Heart Would Take You Back"

Let's bridge the gap now - I can't decide on this one. Gold Sounds, "You Were Made For Each Other." Is it happily talking about two people being perfect together, or is the singer sad that these two people are made for each other and wishes the one was made for him? I don't know. I think you could interpret it either way. So lovers, lovelorn - Unite. This song was made for you all. (At least that's what I think) Also Jeffrey Lewis, "Outta Town" might be an either. Like if you're sad someone left you and want an upbeat song talking bout how you can't do anything without that person, that'd work. Or it's a lovely song to say to your love because you're unable to function without that one. Get ready to kick up heels to this. Probably more on the love side, but I do think in the right situation, it works both ways.

And For The Lovelorn:

Sad Pop

Seal, 7

Wet, "Don't Wanna Be"

Austin Plaine, Austin Plaine- popular style of indie singer-songwriter. Like Of Monsters And Men or Mumford & Sons style.

Alyssa Reid, "Suffocating" - maybe even the whole album. I didn't get a good full listen though.

Brittany Smooch, "Tired Of Love"

Shayne Ward, "My Heart Would Take You Back"

Sad Rap

Joe Budden, All Love Lost

Sad Indie

Falls, Omaha

Allison Weiss, New Love - This is a woman scorned. If your ex is with someone new, you should probably just put the title song, "New Love," on repeat and turn. up. the. volume.

Tom Gourlay, "Sad Situation"

Malin Kojola, Malin Kojola - anytime somebody covers "Skinny Love" it's pretty safe to say there will be some lovelorn going on there...

The Catenary Wires, "Throw Another Love Song On The Fire" - If you like The Magnetic Fields, turn on this one. The lower registered singer is pretty similar. And it is a nice counter to the sweet upper voice. Also, it's kinda funny. In a sad way.

Hayden, Hey Love - I'm running out of time and guessing this is sad. Or it's sad love songs. But it sounds like a good cry hard album.

Perk up, let's kick love in the balls

Debbie Davies, Love Spin - Bluesy love won't get me down style.

Wigelius, "These Tears I Cry" - 80s throwback style

There you go. Next year, easily usable playlists. And tune in next week for more of my ramblings about new music, good music, weird music and the like. Until then, Happy Listening!