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Entries by Becca Ruiz (202)


The Friday Refrain: Saturday Edition!

Don't mind me, I'm just sitting here by myself enjoying my breakfast of kale, sweet potatoes and a fried egg. Side of cottage cheese. Listening to some jazz. Pondering the music of the week. Ignoring the mounds of clothes that need to be folded. I already miss summer vegetables as I consume the bits of the last CSA box and the penultimate kale harvest of the garden. This is pretty intense jazz, listening to Donny McCaslin, I'll throw it on the playlist. All right, time to pick up my britches and get this show on the road.

Yesterday, oh yesterday. It was peak fall colors this week and I feel like it must be peak music releases this week. The Christmas albums are trickling in now, with Rascal Flatts adding The Greatest of All under the proverbial Christmas Album Tree. There are a couple of bands from the past back from hiatus, Planes Mistaken For Stars (Prey) and American Football (American Football LP2). Jimmy Eat World throws their hat in the ring with Integrity Blues. Personal favorite, Jonatha Brooke released Midnight. Hallelujah. Jane's Addiction has a boxed set, Sterling Spoon. Korn, Korn people, released The Serenity of Suffering. A couple of cast recordings of note - Lazarus, the David Bowie musical, and the cast recording of the live Rocky Horror Picture Show of Thursday past are out. And this is called burying the lead: pop phenomenon Lady Gaga released Joanne, singer-songwriter you know because he wrote "Hallelujah" Leonard Cohen with You Want It Darker, popular jazz crooner Michael Buble brings Nobody But Me and The Pretenders round it out with Alone.

Wait, where did everybody go? Here's last week's list. Oh, I know, I'm clamouring to some of those albums above too. The Pretenders, Jonatha Brooke and lady Gaga present a trio of power.

Gonna keep it short today, here are some things I liked from last week that didn't make it on Half Pints this week:

Bell X1, Arms - thought this would be some sort of electronica. More like singer-songwriter with a band.

Black Marble, It's Immaterial - It's the kind of 80s influenced synthy, electronic drums I like.

Super Unison, Auto - In your face rock.

Moby and the Pacific Void Choir, These Systems Are Failing - It's a bit intense. Reminds me of The Pet Shop Boys sometimes.

Las Kellies, Friends & Lovers - Grrl Rock

Jeff Rosenstock, WORRY. - Once you get past the first few songs, the album gets really strong and it's like lighter punk with a bit of ska worked in sometimes singer-songwriter.

Benoit Pioulard, The Benoit Pioulard Listening Matter - This is my kind of laid back chill out music.

I'm sure I'll have some other artists on the playlist (if I was good about marking songs I liked this week, we'll see) so check that out. Go out and enjoy these last beautiful days my friends. It's too pretty to stay inside. Happy Listening!



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

I used to have a sweet tooth when I was hopped on baby hormones, but now it's subsided a bit. I miss morning cake. Though I also feel that I would continue having morning cake if there was a still a morning nap when I could make such a thing. My new thing is after lunch celery with ranch dressing (always Hidden Valley) and bac'n pieces on top. Mmm... That and I have discovered that I'm not scared of zombies. I can't watch Stranger Things after dark, but zombies? I've been watching Fear The Walking Dead all week and we just started the 2nd season of iZombie last night at 9:00. Not one nightmare yet. I think it's because it's explainable - just another disease, another bacterium run amok. Not scary. So that's pretty cool.

You know what else is cool? Getting back on the writing about what I've been listening to horse. So let's hit up the newbies this week. A longtime favorite of mine (though he was Bright Eyes then) Conor Oberst is back with Ruminations. Continuing with my favorites, math metal or whatever, just amazing in your face music The Dillinger Escape Plan are leaving us with their final album, Dissociation. Two Door Cinema Club have Gameshow. Suzanne Vega has a live album, Lover, Beloved (there's more after a colon but I got tired). Sleaford Mods released TCR. Phil Collins released The Singles. Kings of Leon are back with Walls. Moby & the Void Pacific Choir with These Systems Are Failing. And Mike Doughty rounds up my music news with The Heart Watches While The Brain Burns.

Rocking the listening horse, here's the list.

Counting Releases

(I had to borrow from a week forward or back just a couple times but still)

OneRepublic, Oh My My or Erroll Garner, Ready Take One

Usher, Hard II Love

Phantogram, Three or Third Eye Blind, We Are Drugs

Wild Pink, 4 Songs

Bobby V, Hollywood Hearts (I know it's probably like the letter but it stands in nicely) - not necessarily my cup of music but the cover of this album is just... perfect.

Electric 6, Fresh Blood For Tired Vampyres

7FO, Water Falls Into A Blank

Mouth of the Architect, Path of Eight

Banco De Gaia, The 9th of Nine Hearts or Sonata Arctica, The Ninth Hour

Things I'm Digging

Matt Chamberlain, Prometheus Risen - Drums and piano, this is really interesting. I'm guessing it gets grouped under jazz because it seems anything slightly experimental, loose or created spontaneously seems to get that distinction

Laraaji, Celestrana/Deep Chimes Meditation  - This is really soothing and very nice to have on. I hadn't looked at the title when I was walking back to my computer to categorize it, "Good for meditating."

Georgia Ruth, Fossil Scale - Straight up singer-songwriter without any frills

Bendith, Bendith - From Wales, I'm guessing that's what they're singing in. It's very beautiful folksy music.

Lé Almeída, Todas as Brisas -just the kind of grizzly vintagey rock that Josh and I will probably discuss next week on Half Pints (I hope)

Xylouris White, Black Peak - Rock infused ethnic music. It's crazy awesome.

Julia Jacklin, Don't Let The Kids Win - The category of Singer-songwriter with a band is becoming quite a battleground in my books for which makes it into my end-of-year best-of, this is the newest entry.

Goat, Requiem - I thought this was a metal band. It's not more like that ethnic folk music I've been speaking of.

Gatecreeper, Sonoran Depravation - This is metal.

BROOKZILL!, Throwback to the Future - This one is hard to categorize.

I'll have some more on the playlist for this week but I've got to go do life things. Like vacuum and those socks aren't going to put themselves in the drawers themselves. Plus I've got some tofu bok choy stir fry to get going soon too.



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

You know it would be so much easier if I just decided, "This week I'm taking off, and declaring it!" But, you see, I'm optimistic that I can do everything. *everything* And I can't. Which is why I didn't post for the past two weeks. We went on vacation. The first week I missed because I was trying to get the house and our stuff ready, the week after was us on vacation and now I'm back. Preparing to go out of town again but I will write my Friday Refrain dang it.
Plus, there's a ton of releases. I didn't do all my usual research and there were a ton of releases. Let's recap:
Billy Bragg did an americana album; the boss, Bruce Springsteen, released a companion album to his memoir ala Elvis Costello, Chapter & Verse; Hamilton Leithauser, I Had A Dream That You Were Mine; Let it go with Idina Menzel because she's got a wicked new album, Idina; Kansas released The Prelude Implicit; Shawn Mendes, Illuminate; children's veteran musician Laurie Berkner Band, Superhero; pop star BANKS released The Altar; Bon Iver, 22, a million; Drive-By Truckers, American Band; Herb Alpert, Human Nature; John Prine, For Better or Worse; Opeth, Sorceress; Pixies, Head Carrier; Regina Spektor, Remember Us To Life; and Solange, A Seat At The Table.
And that only gets us to today. Minneapolis based Lizzo released her first big label release, Coconut Oil. Loretta Lynn has a Christmas album this year, one of many Christmas releases I'm anticipating, White Christmas Blue. Third Eye Blind has been playing a lot lately and now they have a new album, We Are Drugs. Speaking of throwbacks, Sum 41 released 13 Voices. Speaknig of Bonnaroo veterans, Phish relased  Big Boat and on the opposite musical spectrum of rock, Phantogram has Three. Popular rockers OneRepublic are back with  Oh My My. Meshuggah has The Violent Sleep of Reason. Kaiser Chiefs Stay Together. Norah Jones returns with Day Break. Speaking of returns,  Green Day released Revolution Radio. Seriously this is ridiculous: Melissa Etheridge, Memphis Rock and Soul; and Barry Gibb rounds it out with In The Now
The lists of yore: 9/23, and 9/30.
And now I have to go on my weekend. I promise to post some playlists over the next couple weeks to clue into things I've been enjoying but the fun lists will just have to wait until next week. I think you have enough to choose from though. (plus Half Pints Whole Notes has a new episode too) and with that my friends, Happy Listening!

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

Good day folks! Another Friday, another list, another 80 or so bands I sampled this week and so. much. to. share. It's a good music day people. A good music day. With lots of punctuation. And fragmented sentences. I wonder if anyone's every done a psychological study of how different personalities play with sand. Because my first inclination is to dig a hole. As deep as I can go. It seems that my smaller cohort's inclination is to fill it, with more sand or to stand in it. Maybe he's part ostrich.

Against Me! is back with an album entitled Shape Shift With Me, and I watched Fringe so no. I don't like the shapeshifters. I will not shape shift. Indie rock storytellers Dawes delight their fans with the optimistic We're All Gonna Die. Die Antwoord rock your world with Mount Ninji and da Nice Time Kid. Mainly they just win album title this week. Icelandic Sin Fang has Spaceland, which has at least one song featuring the vocals of Sigur Ros's Jonsi. Singer-Songwriter Mac Miller has finished his salad and brings us The Divine Feminine. Indie duo Deap Vally bring us Femejism. Classical Pianist Sensation Lang Lang paints us a New York Rhapsody. And Willie Nelson returns this year with an album of Ray Price covers titled, For The Good Times. Usher returns with Hard II Love. And finally Meat Loaf released Braver Than We Are. Oh wait, the former singer of Staind, Aaron Lewis, is back with his 2nd country album, Sinner. There's a lot out today really, some other artists you might recognize and be interested in: AlunaGeorge, Taking Back Sunday, Cymbals Eat Guitars, Kishi Bashi, kool Keith, and The Devil Makes Three.

Shooby shooby shoo wa Last Week's List.

And now's the part of the Refrain where I give some off the wall recommendations or create an odd list.


Sunflower Bean, From the Basement EP - A covers ep of various songs they love.

The Ramona Flowers, Part Time Spies - They have a song called "Run Like Lola" I think it's actually about the movie. Yes. It is. Holy crap. Nerdy nod to you sirs.

Lizzy Rose, Crocodile Tears - Singer-songwriter with instruments.

Dead Rabbits, Everything Is A Lie - I feel like my co-host of Half Pints would like this CA-like rock

BLKKATHY, Lemon EP  - Electronicky Pop

Chely Wright, I Am The Rain - Country and she has a nice voice for it.

Ben Plotnick, Greenland - Fiddle music I called it because he plays fiddle and it visits a few genres with that.

Anthony Green, Pixie Queen - I'm being lazy, either it's a singer-songwriter with a band or it's a group that calls themselves by a first and last sounding name.

Whiskey Myers, Mud - Bar country rock where they have like peanut shells on the floor. And lots of neon signs. Pool tables.

Willie Bobo, Dig My Feeling - Jazz I can dig. I really want a martini and sit in like a black and red vintagey basement bar.

Pansy Division, Quite Contrary - For some reason, I kinda like "You're on the Phone." They really like the 80s I think.

Swarvy, Elderberry - This is a pretty sweet album this dude put together.

Sports & Leisure

Paper Bird, Paper Bird - (the words imply origami to my mind) Almost too polished folk for me. But it's nice at night to unwind to. Yeah, it'd be good montage music in a movie.

Psychic Twin, Strange Diary -This is synthy pop that I dig. I don't know why I like this over others, but I do. Maybe it's the arpeggiations on "Strangers," or the relentless beat on "Lose Myself."

Quenum, Solitaire -Electronica

Sneaks, Gymnastics -This is interesting. There is music and some talking. Some talk-singing. I like it.

Zomba Prison Project, I Will Not Stop Singing

Wovenhand, Star Treatment - the internet said they are alt country but I just hear rock. Even a little jammy rock, or psychedelia dabbling. I guess, basically, I think they like The Doors.

The Cookers, The Call of the Wild & Peaceful Heart - Jazz

Red Velvet, Russian Roulette  - South Korean Girl Pop


Snowblink, Returning Current - Her voice is very open and ethereal and it kinda has that synthy ethereal pop feel to it.

Of mice & Men, Cold World - Probably not surprising that one of the bands on this list ends up being metal. I mean, that's pretty likely. Like 95% likely in my books.

Norma Jean, Polar Similar - Okay this surprised me that it's metal. I figured synthy pop. Definitely not. Has some good guitar riffs.

Ice Choir, Designs in Rhythm - Synthy pop

Cold Cave, The Idea of Love - dark synthpop

Fresh Snow, One - I believe this is instrumental and it sounds like it might be a band. It's pretty awesome. Flaming Lips without words?

The NOLA Players, Christmastime in New Orleans - Okay, so I usually hold off on Christmas albums until a round-up around Thanksgiving, but I couldn't help it. It just fit so well.

Spotify list will be up by the end of the weekend. I just used up most of my time making the weird lists. Which is kinda funny because at first I couldn't think of anything, then suddenly I had 5 lists I was putting together. wait, I got the spotify list done too. What is this day? Probably trying to make up for the rest of the week. Anyway, the sun is peeking through the clouds, I'm listening to the golden voice of Adam Torres and it is autumn. I need to bask in this moment. And then go clean my house. Happy Listening!



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

All right people, it's Friday and I'm turning my baseball cap inside out and rallying. I got the worst cold after Monday. I cancelled lessons yesterday, cancelled the podcast, and just laid on the couch. I even took medicine, which I just don't do because I can deal, but I couldn't breathe and my whole head was tense due to my sore throat which led to little sleep. I slept last night. Glorious. I took a 30 minute nap today. Beautiful. I did dishes, I'm typing this blog, I got some business things done. Rally cap. And like all the hot tea in the world. I haven't had coffee since Monday. But I think tomorrow is the day, I think I'll be ready tomorrow for that glorious brew. Mmm... Anyway, buckle up buckaroos because today's quite the musical ride.

The woman with a voice like no other Macy Gray is back with Stripped. Popular "hey" rock band, The Head and The Heart, (But there is so much more them than that) are out with Signs of Light. Toeing the popular and indie line, Okkervil River release Away. Speaking of indie/alt, let's walk that line for a bit: Jack White collected his acoustic recordings and released Jack White Acoustic Recordings 1998-2016; Wilco has Schmilco; Grouplove and their dancey fun rock style with Big Mess; Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds with Skeleton Tree; Local Natives' Sunlit Youth; Teenage Fanclub let us know they're Here after 6 years. St Paul & The Broken Bones with all those horns create Sea of Noise. And electronic amazement M.I.A. released Aim. Oh and country star Billy Ray Cyrus saunters back with Thin Line. Whew.

Take a breather with The List from last week.

Some Recommendations with the most inappropriate titles I've used ever but I can't change their names

Nouvelle Vague, Athol Brose - It has this vibe of Getz/Gilberto so if you enjoy that album, this is something fresh to turn your ears to.

y La Bamba, Ojos Del Sol - I was floored by this. Also, a lot of misnomers or misleaders this week because the songs I listened to were at least started in English but now I'm concerned that maybe I wasn't paying attention. Anyway, fun indie rock. Because that's my alley cat.

Sex Stains, Sex Stains - This just screams Burger Records to me but it's Don Giovanni Records. Anyway, this is great too.

King Creosote, Astronaut Meets Appleman - Creative indie rock. There's a bagpipe on one song. (at least one song, but I noticed it on one)

Goblin Cock, Necronomidonkeykongimicon - Like I said, most uncensored list I've done but this is playful metal.

The Frightnrs, Nothing More To Say - This ska/reggae beat with soulful melodies is really fun to put on, just like the season right now. Sad about the lead singer though.

Eluvium, False Readings On - When my head hurt so bad yesterday and I put on "Drowning Tone," it just soothed everything. I felt like I was cocooned. I will forever be grateful for that. I mean it's just tones ebbing side to side like perpetual motion toy. I could put this on repeat for an hour.

The Divine Comedy, Foreverland - This is not what I thought it would be. It's like light peppy sing-along indie rock, Beatles influenced, not the death metal I thought it would be when I started drawing out the rings of hell and such...

Chris Farren, Can't Die - Interesting songs and fun instrumentation. Okay I admit, if you include some sort of 8 bit somewhere in your album and I hear it, I'm hooked. I can't help it.

Signals Midwest, At This Age- Angsty rock the way I like it

The Wedding Present, Going, Going... - There is a lot of ground covered in this album. The first four tracks are instrumental and after that you kinda get into a "normal" alt rock album

Beach Baby, No Mind No Money - Here's your CA beach with a little more ping to it than I usually giving into.

Robots and Monsters, Nothing To Fear Nothing To Fight - This is my metal pick this week I suppose. It's got the things I enjoy in a metal song and does it succinctly and well. That's right, I can take metal and make it just as boring sounding as anything else. But you know what I can talk up a storm around? Polka music.

Warhaus, We Fucked A Flame Into Being - Specifically the song "Machinery" makes me imagine the sound as if Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes were a drudgy noir band.

So there. Take that cold. Didn't think I could write a whole almost-cohesive-with-descriptions post? Well I did. Because I had a rally cap. And tea. And chocolate. And celery with ranch dressing sprinkled with bacon bits. Anyhoot - Happy Listening!


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