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Trilogy by The Weeknd

There are many things that just feel so right about The Weeknd. Maybe it’s the forlorn echoing, resounding bass and the falsetto register of Abel Tesfaye. Simply put, The Weeknd’s songs are dark, moody and lustful. Sometimes reminiscent of Michael Jackson, Prince, or Massive Attack with contemporary equals such as Frank Ocean or Drake, the Weeknd‘s Trilogy is a remastered release of his first mixtapes that contain some of his very best work.

What it is! Funky Soul and Rare Grooves (1967-1977)

If you've ever appreciated George Clinton's desire to make your funk un-cut, this is 5+ hours of bliss "bound to take the average overthinking funk freak to new levels of nerd-dom" ( This is 91 tracks from ten years of classic funk from the archives of Warner Bros., Atlantic, Reprise, Atco, and smaller labels like Cotillion, Curtom, Alston, and Jonie.

AM by Arctic Monkeys

This album is everything danceable rock should be, full of lanky riffs, fantastic lyrics and lead singer Alex Turner’s crooning. Tracks “R U Mine?”, “Snap Out of It” and “One for the Road” have catchy beats and that will stay in your head for hours. The drum build up of “Do I Wanna Know?” is so simple and momentous, that when the main riff creeps in, you just can’t help but jam along with the slow, wonderful drag of it. If you’re feeling like a good pick me up, and a little late night rock (for anytime of the day), this is for you.

Live at My Father's Place by John McLaughlin

One of my favorite concert experiences in the past couple years was getting to see John McLaughlin play with his new band. He has returned to the electric jazz fusion that I first came to love him for. While the library hasn't acquired the recording of the the show I saw yet (but I'm so excited it was recorded and released already - look for it on Spotify - McLaughlin live in Boston), I did just find this amazing gem that was released in August of 2014.

Redeemer of Souls by Judas Priest

If you've been hankering for old school metal look no further than this fine new offering from Judas Priest. Putting this cd on is like stepping into a time machine in the very best way. Awesome song titles like Metalizer and Halls of Valhalla, and my personal favorite Dragonaught signal exactly what you're in for. Songs about fires in the sky, black hell, ghosts, revenge and "on that two wheeler from hell on the wind" the Redeemer of Souls. The band rocks hard and Rob Halford can still scream with the conviction of a tween at a One Direction concert.

A Charlie Brown Christmas by the Vince Guaraldi Trio

Get in the holiday spirit with one of my favorite holiday-themed albums of all time. The perfect balance of melancholic nostalgia, tight jazz improvisation, and plenty of space to think about falling snow. I get tired pretty quickly listening to the songs that sprout like weeds this time of year, but I've never grown tired of this album. I picked up the sheet music a few years ago and try and bang out some of the parts on my piano at home. I like both the original numbers (Christmas time is here, Skating) as well as the arrangements of familiar tunes (esp.

Rory Gallagher

Listening to a blues radio show this last weekend I heard an amazing guitarist I hadn't heard before. The DJ said it was recorded live in Belfast in the early 1970's - at a time when Belfast was a very unsafe place. I went to the library catalog and didn't find any CDs I could borrow, but I was delighted to discover a significant number of titles from our streaming service (hoopla).

The Woods by Sleater-Kinney

For no good reason, Sleater-Kinney has been one of those groups that I’ve had on the backburner for quite a while.  After hearing that they were reuniting after a decade hiatus, I thought I should finally educate myself with this pivotal band in the riot grrrl and indie rock scene. The Woods is the last album they released in 2005, and it’s an anthem for butt-kicking women everywhere.  The opening track “The Fox” is a powerful jam that sets the precedent for hard guitar riffs and catchy vocals.

Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone by Lucinda Williams

Oh the sweet, comforting songs of a strong voice and a soulful electric guitar. Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone is her first album on her own label, Highway 20 Records. She's had some famous fights with labels and it sure is great to hear her stretch out her complete control. This is a long album - two cds, just shy of two hours of music, and it feels great the entire time. As the nights get long this will be a good friend.

The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas by Courtney Barnett

As a librarian, with access to all manner of free entertainment, I rarely purchase a CD. I get EVERYTHING from the library. But when I heard the song Avant Gardener and found that it was not available at any of the libraries to which I have access, I had to buy it. I do not regret it. I really love this CD. It's full of great songs that are witty and festive, delivered in a raspy deadpan. The rockers rock and the slow songs are melodic and thoughtful. The Thomas Crane now owns a copy of this CD so you too can experience this excellent work. I can't wait to hear what she does next.

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