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Entries by Becca Ruiz (202)


Friday Refrain: Some new releases from the week

Holy cannoli, we're already halfway through January! Hope you all have enjoyed your snow, brief reprieve from the cold, or gorgeous weather which means we're definitely not neighbors. There was a lot of great music that came out this week, so here we go.

Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings released Give the People What They Want this week and if you haven't given her a whirl before, it's time you did. Love.

If you're still itching for a little more of that retro sound, try out Nick Waterhouse, This is a Game, and Allah-Las, Had It All/Every Girl. 

Dance your pants off with The Crystal Method, The Crystal Method.

Need your fix for some new California rock? Double down with Cherry Glazerr, Haxel Princess and Golden Youth, Quiet Frame; Wild Light. Golden Youth takes a little different sound than your standard California rock, mashing an almost Pop-py female vocal with Sigur Ros-like sound at times. 

The So So Glos, Low Back Chain Shift makes me dream of the warm sunny days of the music festival season - hear it drift across the lawn while I eat my Ben & Jerry's free sample and lean on the trunk of a tree type of dream. The bio on their site is pretty funny, by the way, as far as band bios go.

I listened to these two singles and find they pair really well next to each other on a playlist. The Belle Brigade released "Ashes," from their upcoming March release, Just Because. Try it before "Sleep" by Tom the Lion.

Like a blast from the 90s, Happy Diving, Happy Diving was a great palate cleanser between the harder releases of the week and the rest, and very much enjoyed.

I am currently mid-listen to this album, but I want to give it kudos: Welcome to Hell Beach from Hell Beach. Distorted guitars and loud drums with female vocals? Yes please.

Which brings me to my metal recommendations for the week. Skull Fist, Chasing the Dream is on my want list now. I especially loved, "Shred's Not Dead." Also a favorite song from the week was "Marching Over Blood," from Suicidal Angels.

In need of some new punk? Cy Barkley and the Way Outsiders, So Bad is short and sweet but might just be what you're craving and especially like "Gotta Go."

Rosanne Cash released The River & The Thead on Tuesday and I didn't have a chance but loved the four tracks she previously released from it and I would be remiss not to mention it.

Well there it is. So many bands and yet so many more, but that's the list for this week. Happy weekend all!

Friday Refrain is a weekly post regarding what new releases have caught my ear for the week. I try to compile a pretty comprehensive list of pop/rock releases of the week and see what is available for me to listen to on the web. This is just my non-scientific, highly-subjective, randomly-listened-to list of stuff I enjoyed from the week. Oh, and I don’t always listen to lyrics, so appropriateness is left up to the listener.


Friday Refrain: What I'm listening to this week

What was that up there? Was that a catchy title? Woah-ho! Yep, welcome to the Friday Refrain where I'll be... well if you saw the title, you get the picture. Anyhoot - it's a new year, so why not some new music?

Out this week...

If you're looking for a winter jam to warm up these cold winter nights, check out The John Butler Trio, "Blame It On Me." It's a digital single from their upcoming February release, and I think it fits my basement bar just fine.

Senor Flavio, Nada Especial was a pretty fun listen to have pop up in my mix. I really don’t know what he’s saying because I can’t understand lyrics in English, so my tiny Spanish vocabulary really won’t help me here I’m guessing. I like the hard-hitting songs and even the poppy Sublime-sounding songs. Need a 39 second explosion of music? Check out the first track, "Kornalo."

If you're a fan of that alternative sunny California sound, listen to The Colourist, Lido. I'm interested to see what else they have in store and where their sound will go. It's just 4 tracks, so give it all a listen.

Snowapple released a self-titled album on Tuesday and it will be on my weekend morning playlist from here on. If you like the americana sound (can you call it americana if the band is Dutch?), give this a whirl especially "Baby Blue" and "Turn the Tables."

I have been waiting for the new Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, Wig Out At Jagbags since they released the single last year. I'm recently turned onto Pavement and Stephen Malkmus, so I can't separate the thirst of fandom from objectivity on this one. I am satisfied though.

London by BANKS has been a toss-up for me. I don't know how I feel yet, but am giving it a mention. Want some more Polica, Lorde, almost The XX (but also not like The XX) at times? Then give it a shot.

What else have I been listening to from the recent past? Here you go:

Pop Fix?

"I Really Want It," A Great Big World

"Buffalo Bill," Moxie Raia - Put it into my mix with Dev, Charli XCX and Kesha. Dance.

Rock Fix?

Hilarious Heaven, DTCV - It just clicked with me. Like, checked out their website and almost bought myself a bunch of merch for Christmas clicked with me.

Clear Plastic Masks, Clear Plastic Masks - especially the last track "Baby Come On" but just listen through to it because the others are worth it too.

Dinner Party Music?

Les Calles, Pierre Lapointe

Portraits, Dario Carnivale


If you're looking for a little summer in this winter, pour some sand on the floor, put on your swimsuit, turn on the space heater*, don your sunglasses and pretend. Then turn these on:

Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside, Summer

 Tiger Waves, Weekends. 

For added fun - randomly mist with salty water or hire someone to do it for you.

*Don't mess with the space heater though. Those things can start fires.

Other Picks From December:

Talking Dreams, Echosmith

"Struggle," Grizfolk

Keep Warm... With The Warm Digits, The Warm Digits

It's quite a list this week with trying to make up for December and all, but it's January, what are you going to do? Leave the house? Ha! Play some games, do a crossword, and find something new to groove with.

Friday Refrain is a weekly post regarding what new releases have caught my ear for the week. I try to compile a pretty comprehensive list of pop/rock releases of the week and see what is available for me to listen to on the web. This is just my non-scientific, highly-subjective, randomly-listened-to list of stuff I enjoyed from the week. Oh, and I don’t always listen to lyrics, so appropriateness is left up to the listener.


A few new cds from the week

Time for my unscientific and unthorough picks of the new cd releases for the week!

The Lowdown: I look at's pop/rock just released list for the week. I make a list, find what's on Spotify and take some notes. I don't get to listen to everything because that would be crazy.

What I liked:

Angelica, Thrive: It's so epic. Every song. You think, "Hey they have to take it down a notch now, right?" And then there it is, another 80s epic song.

Fast Romantics, Afterlife Blues: The title song is probably my favorite by far. It defiinitely runs the gamut of alternative inspirations from Spoon to Kings of Leon.

Glen Hansard, Drive All Night: I can't be objective on this one. I don't think it's over the top drop down awesome - but do I want to put it on and cuddle up on the couch? yep. Plus I just love his voice.

Magic Trick, River of Souls: Kind of Edward Sharpe and the Magentic Zeroes meets The National at times.

Helen Boulding, "Crooked Tooth" : Love this song. And it even has the word tooth in it.


Need to give a listen/Need a second listen:

Daiquiri Fantomas, MHz Invasion - feel like this is going into my work grooves.

Giobia, Introducing Night Sounds: On first listen I couldn't decide. MGMT + Explosions in the Sky with a little darkness?

Jessica Hernandez and the Deltas, Demons

Kill the Captains, Sounds Mean

Marley Carroll, Sings

Tess Parks, Blood Hot

Have a happy weekend everyone and stay warm!


What I'm liking right now...

I'm liking our new parrots on the wall, that's for sure. Also, I'm starting something new. I'm going to try every week to post what I've liked from recent music releases. It's nothing scientific. I'm checking out the Pop/Rock new release list on, making myself a Spotify playlist, and listening. There's only me though, and I can't just listen to music all day, I also have to teach it and create it, so I won't make it through the whole list. Maybe you'll find something new you like too. Maybe you'll hate all of it. Maybe I'll learn something more about what I like. We'll see. It's just my opinion and it seems personal musical taste is like politics - everyone has their own opinion and boy can they have an opinion sometimes. If these aren't your cup of tea, then keep searching for someone who gets what you like. You'll find it.

Disclaimer: There may be inappropriate language or content in these songs. I'm not going to censor my list. Possibly because I only half listen to lyrics and half of the time I don't even hear them correctly. All right.

So here goes, some pickings from the last 3 weeks:

This is what I'm definitely excited about and most likely have listened to multiple times:

Cate le Bon, Mug Museum

The Fireworks, Runaround

Crystal Fighters, Cave Rave

Sweet Baboo, Motorhome Songs EP

Together Pangea, Snakedog: I can only find 2 songs but I'm hooked.

Armchair, song: Minute of Love

Circa Waves, song: Getaway - need to find more of their stuff. now.

Intrigued, but didn't hear the whole album/want to give it another listen:

Twinsmith, Honestly

Bear's Den, Agape: If you love that sound of Mumford & Dawes, then Hey! Ho! you might want to check this one out.

Blazo, Colors of Jazz 2: Can't decide on this. Might just keep it on the party list.

Fijuka, Fijuka: I don't know if I'm just super amiable when sewing, but really dug this while crafting this week.

The Grip Weeds, Inner Grooves: I think this will fit warm days in the backyard very nicely.

The Cannanes, Hit the Wall EP

Jessie Evans, Glittermine: Only got 2 tracks in but she has that Lordes sound to her.

Jeremy Irons & The Ratgang Malibus, Bloom: Classic sounding blues rock and a touch of early 90s at times. There are definitely some great moments on this album, but something doesn't quite work for me personally. Still, it'll be on my party list.

Distant Correspondent, Distant Correspondent

From Beneath Billows, Monolith

Bomber Jackets, The Lister: I just don't know yet. I'll keep you posted if I start listening nonstop.

Some heavier bands, if you like that kind of thing: I am absolutely terribly picky and have a weird taste for this sort of music. This list is made of those I find tolerable but I might not entirely dig everything they do or every part of their band. And I really never pay attention to content in this music. At all.

We are Legend, Rise of the Legend

81db, A Blind Man's Dream

Ascension, Far Beyond the Stars

Autopsy, Introducing Autopsy

Chastain, Surrender to No One

Cold Colours, Cold Colours

Beltez, Tod Part 1


Okay, so there are a lot of end of the alphabet and beginning of alphabet in here, but I'm just starting. I'll get a system going, it'll be progressing. I was trying not to just latch onto things I already like, Andrew Bird and Amanda Palmer for example, and now haven't enjoyed their recent releases even though normally I'd be all over that stuff by now.

Happy weekend and I hope you were blessed with the chance/ability to get that John Denver & the Muppets picture disc! (if only my car hadn't decided to be all crazy on me this week)



Next year's Thanksgiving

I'm pretty awesome at procrastinating. Sometimes it's more than procrastinating, it's just having too much I want to do. Sometimes the best ideas don't happen until it's too late. Maybe I didn't get this all done in time for Prethanksgiving this year, but next year at least it's all ready to go.


The back wall of the dining room is just a package of fabric leaves from the dollar store.

I measured the wall, figured out how many strands I might want, and then divied up the leaves. I gathered the pile, speared them in one strike with my needle and then wrapped it around my paper towel roll for transport.

Then I taped the top of the string to the upper corner of the wall, spaced out the leaves, and voila! A fun background. Quick tip measuring: Since I was measuring feet and didn't need to be accurate, I just wrapped the string around the ruler the amount of times I needed for length.

I hope you have a lovely Thanksgiving!

...and thanks for reading.