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Music

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Louis 'Thunder Thumbs' Johnson (1955-2015)

Best known for his bass lines in his group, The Brothers Johnson, and his later work with Michael Jackson (especially "Billie Jean" and "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough") and one of my personal favorites, "Get the Funk ouf ma Face"; Louis Johnson died last Thursday at the age of 60. His ideas have been recycled for a ton of hip-hop tracks, but you owe it to yourself to pay tribute to the original. Stream some today.

This Week's New Music

Every Tuesday new music is released and you get immediate access to stream it, with no advertising, no waiting, just the music you want to hear. Here are highlights from this week, released May 18, 2015. See all the latest here.

  • Saturns Pattern by Paul Weller. British Traditional Rock. A "spacey, soulful rebirth".

Wilder Mind by Mumford and Sons

For their third studio album, Mumford has changed things up by doing away with the banjo and accordion that fans have loved, and over to electric guitars, synth chords and a full drum kit. This album revolves around love with songs like "Tompkins Square" in which Marcus sings about love lost. This album is undeniably rock and while some fans may find it hard to adjust to this new sound, I think that if they stick with it they will find that at the heart of this album it's still Mumford.

B.B. King Lives

Often referred to as a living legend, B.B. King has now entered the pantheon of forever legends. He died yesterday (May 14, 2015) at the age of 89. He was still touring actively as recently as last fall, and I saw him perform a couple of years ago at the North Shore Music Theatre in Beverly. What an amazing performer he was, growling out the blues as he had for decades in his inimitable King-of-the-blues style. If you're already a fan, take a moment to listen to some of your favorite songs; if not, now is the time to discover the work of this iconic American musician.

Morphine

Lately Morphine keeps popping up. Not just on my ipod, which I expect, but in conversation, on the radio, and in articles I'm reading. Which got me to thinking about what a great loss Mark Sandman's early death was and is. No band sounds like Morphine, a saxophone, bass and drums, and Sandman's expressive baritone. My favorite of their albums is Yes, but they are all fantastic.

This week's newest releases

Every Tuesday new music is released and you get immediate access to stream it, with no advertising, no waiting, just the music you want to hear. Here are highlights from this week, released May 12, 2015. See all the latest here.

Odetta!

After having the privilege of watching the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater perform choreographer Matthew Rushing’s new piece “Odetta” during the troupe’s recent visit to Boston, I’ve rediscovered the power and majesty of this one-of-a-kind American artist. If you are not familiar with Odetta’s music, try The Essential Odetta (available on CD at the library) or one of the Odetta albums available streaming on hoopla digital with your Quincy library card.

Happy Birthday Billie!

If Billie Holliday were still alive she would have turned 100 on April 7. Sadly underappreciated in her lifetime, she died at age 44, chained to a hospital bed facing drug charges, with only $1,000 to her name. She worked with legends, was named "Lady Day" by tenor saxophonist Lester Young, had a brief stint with Count Basie, and competed with Elle Fitzgerald for popular attention (and they later became friends). She is without a doubt one of the very top vocalists to have ever lived and changed the way music was performed and appreciated.

Hozier by Hozier

As children my sister and I were subjected to thousands of hours of folk music at the hands of our mother. The phonograph was always on and she wasn't playing the Kingston Trio or Peter, Paul and Mary.  She played real folk music.  Lots of it Irish. At the time we didn't think too much about it because it had always been the background music of our lives but as we got older it was obvious how much that music influenced our grown up tastes.  Which brings me to Hozier.  I wouldn't exactly call him a folk singer but, really, he is.

Classics by She & Him

If you haven’t been listening to She & Him, a collaboration between indie darling Zooey Deschanel and singer-songwriter M. Ward, you’ve been missing out. This is their 5th album together and consists of, unsurprisingly, covers of 13 classic songs, recorded live and accompanied by an orchestra. While I would have liked to hear a little more of M. Ward’s vocals, the covers were fun and refreshing and still managed to retain their original charm.

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