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Staff Music Picks

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Jun 23, 2016 by eileenf

Identical twin sisters Tegan and Sara have steadily evolved from their Canadian indie/acoustic roots to to mainstream pop during the 17 years they have been producing albums. Many people first heard them in 2014 when they partnered with The Lonely Island to sing "Everything is Awesome", the theme song for the Lego Movie. Tegan and Sara have partnered with Sia and Adele collaborator and producer Greg Kurstin to create their eighth and latest album, released just earlier this month on June 3. Love You to Death is unsurprisingly laden with slick synth-pop beats and packed with the expected abundance of love songs. Tegan and Sara are both prominent advocates for the LGBT community and frequently avoid using pronouns in their songs, which makes it even easier for everyone to relate to the confusion and bitterness that so often accompanies romance. I especially like how their razor sharp lyrics dig right into the bloody heart of relationships in our new queer-friendly social landscape (rather than cooing, oohing and ahhing). Check Our Catalog or Listen Now

Jun 3, 2016 by claytonc

I'm really excited to listen to some of the new albums out today. We get a brand new album by the master of songwriting, Paul Simon, the psychedelic partnering of Less Claypool and Sean Lennon, some great indie rock from Xenia Rubinos (new to me, but really ear-catching!), Spearhead's newest, and so much more! Check out our favorites below and check back every Friday for new music.

  • Stranger to Stranger by Paul Simon
    Adult Contemporary. Paul Simon faces mortality and pushes forward into the future on this adventurous album.
  • Love You to Death by Tegan and Sara
    Pop. The twin sister's eighth album is, like Heartthrob before it, wrenchingly honest modern pop music made with heart and no silly frills.
  • Monolith of Phobos by Claypool Lennon Delirium
    Alternative/Indie Rock. Combining two significant rock pedigrees with a whole lot of weird, Primus' Les Claypool and Sean Lennon give us a giddy trip into the galactic reaches of psych and prog.
  • This Is Where I Live by William Bell
    Soul. Outstanding return to form from the celebrated R&B singer and songwriter.
  • Never Stop Never Stopping by The Lonely Island
    Soundtrack. The SNL comedic trio's new mockumentary is giddy, earnest, and stupidly funny.
  • Blues and Ballads by the Brad Mehldau Trio
    Post-Bop. A warm and engaging trio album showcasing Mehldau's lyricism and supple harmonic skill.
  • Robert Ellis (self-titled)
    Americana. The Houston songwriter returns home and extends his musical reach in a striking, confessional song cycle about divorce.
  • Black Terry Cat by Xenia Rubinos
    Alternative/Indie Rock. A bold and infectious sophomore outing from the jazzy-voiced, genre-mingling indie stylist.
  • Soulrocker by Michael Franti & Spearhead
    Alternative Rap. Inspired, warm, and inviting electro-fueled music - some of Franti's best songwriting yet.
May 12, 2016 by eileenf

This is electronic dance pioneer Underworld’s first new studio album since 2010, and it’s an elegant creation that incorporates modern flourishes along with the traditional techno beats we’ve come to expect from this group. I was a huge fan of their 2000 live album “Everything, Everything,” which is exclusively a progressive house album, with a collection of songs that will wake you up without the aid of caffeine. This album has some softer songs, incorporating guitar and piano, and more simple synth lines. Can we expect a kinder, more gentle Underworld? I’m not sure, but I’m happy to follow them on their continuing musical journey. Listen Now and Check Our Catalog for earlier music from Underwold.

Apr 21, 2016 by claytonc

The world lost another star today. Only 57 years old, few artists have created a body of work as rich and varied as Prince. Most of us came to know him when his sixth album, Purple Rain, was released in 1984. We got ready for the turn of the millenium partying like it was 1999. Embraced paisley and raspberry berets, and loved it when others covered his songs - remember Sinead O'Connor's version of Nothing Compares To U? He fought the music industry and abandoned his name for a while, when we all called him The Artist Formerly Known As Prince, or refered to the symbol he chose to represent himself. Whether or not you have kept up with his work, it has been prodigous - I count over 35 albums, and that's not counting any of the greatest hits collections. We've pulled everything we have in the building today and put it out on display - feel free to come by and borrow any of them. You can also Check Our Catalog to borrow from other libraries in the network, and pick some of his music to Listen to Right Now with our streaming music service - The Very Best of Prince is a good place to start. Did I mention he put on an amazing live show? Check out this clip from his Welcome 2 America tour (which started in 2010 and ended in 2012, with 51 shows in North America, 24 in Europe, and 8 in Australia):

Apr 20, 2016 by claytonc

It's been a while since we highlighted new music, but never fear, we're adding new titles every week! Check out some of the latest you can listen to right now - our online music is always free (and we'll never charge you a late fee), and there's never any wait to listen to it. Here are some of the hotest titles that just came out last Friday, April 15:

  • The Hope Six Demolition Project by PJ Harvey
    Adult Alternative Pop/Rock. Collecting raw dispatches inspired by Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Washington, D.C., the artist's ninth album approaches musical photojournalism.
  • A Sailor's Guide to Earth by Sturgill Simpson
    Americana. A sprawling concept album that expands the notion of what constitutes Cosmic American Music in the 21st century.
  • Origins, Vol. 1 by Ace Frehley
    Album Rock. With his fun "all covers" album, the Spaceman offers up one of the best Kiss-related releases in years.
  • No Jacket Required [Deluxe Edition] by Phil Collins
    Adult Contemporary. His third solo album was his biggest, filled with huge modern pop songs and truly heartbreaking ballads.
  • This Path Tonight by Graham Nash
    Contemporary Pop/Rock. Graham Nash faces turbulent times with sensitivity and hope.
  • Red Flag by All Saints
    Adult Contemporary. On their first album in a decade, the soulful British-Canadian quartet returns matured and confident with empowering live-and-learn pop gems.
  • In the Yellow Leaf by Brass Bed
    Alternative/Indie Rock. The Louisiana indie trio turn in a noisier and more urgent effort, but their focus on quality songwriting remains their best asset.
  • Pool by Clairy Browne
    Pop. The Australian retro-soul stylist, joined by Amanda "MNDR" Warner and others, makes a bid for pop stardom in ebullient fashion.
  • Generation Doom by Otep
    Alternative Metal. Generation Doom finds Otep as punitive as ever, raging against the machine and then some via an 11-track assault that touches on everything from LGBT rights to Isis.
Mar 22, 2016 by claytonc

Perhaps you were first introduced to Ms. Stefani when she fronted the ska band No Doubt, or maybe it was when she joined the popular television show, The Voice as a judge (and most recently as a vocal coach). Just last Friday this three-time Grammy award winner dropped her first solo album since 2006's The Sweet Escape. She's been through a lot in the last 10 years - raising kids, getting a divorce, a No Doubt reunion, and her most recent televised redemption. At her best she is giddy, defiant, and charming. This is certainly crisply produced pop music, and her spirit helps give it a little more gravitas (and fun) than a lot of the other tunes on the radio. Listen Now

Mar 18, 2016 by claytonc

Every week new music comes out, whether we announce it here or not! This week there are some great new tunes to listen to, whatever style of music you enjoy. I've also included a couple in the list below that came out early this year, but I haven't talked about new music in a while and wanted to make sure you didn't miss them. You can always stay on top of the latest music here. Hopeyou have a great weekend!

  • This Is What the Truth Feels Like by Gwen Stefani
    Adult Alternative Pop/Rock. Gwen Stefani takes stock of all of her life changes -- and some pop music trends -- on her first solo album in a decade.
  • Post Pop Depression by Iggy Pop
    Contemporary Pop/Rock. The proto-punk icon teams up with Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age for a set of bold, intelligent rock & roll.
  • Southern Family by Various Artists
    Country-Rock. Producer Dave Cobb's multi-artist mosaic portrays the rich complexities of modern Southern music.
  • Party Rock Mansion by Redfoo
    Club/Dance. The party doesn't stop as the LMFAO member goes solo with worthy tracks like "Party Train" and "Juicy Wiggle."
  • Barbara Barbara, We Face a Shining Future by Underworld
    Techno. A near-perfect album from the veteran electronica artist, co-produced with the group High Contrast.
  • Schubert, Beethoven by Grigory Sokolov
    Keyboard (classical). Grigory Sokolov's 2013 recitals in Warsaw and Salzburg are combined in this double CD from Deutsche Grammophon.
  • Zootopia (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) by Michael Giacchino
    From the composer of such Pixar classics as The Incredibles, Ratatouille, Up, and Inside Out, comes a percussive, playful, and heartfelt score that includes the Sia- and Stargate-penned single "Try Everything," as performed by Shakira.
  • This Unruly Mess I've Made by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
    Rap. "Surprisingly good at dealing with guilt and expectations, exorcizing its demons in a way hardcore fans can enjoy, and casual listeners can avoid."
  • Painkillers by Brian Fallon
    Alternative. The solo debut from the moonshine-voiced Gaslight Anthem frontman, Painkillers sees Brian Fallon holding true to his Jersey punk roots, while establishing himself as a top-tier songwriter.
Mar 16, 2016 by claytonc

Did you know you can enjoy hot new music right now? We have tons of hot new content available to stream and download (within the app) with no waiting, and no possibility of late fees. In the last 30 days (February 15-March 15, 2015) the following titles were borrowed the most from our online music collection:

  1. 2016 Grammy Nominees
  2. Hamilton (Original Broadway Cast Recording)
  3. Deadpool (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
  4. Side Pony by Lake Street Drive
  5. Emily's D+Evolution by Esperanza Spalding

Learn more about music you can listen to now here.

Mar 1, 2016 by eileenf

It's been 25 years since Bonnie Raitt's biggest hits were released - "Something to Talk About" and "I Can't Make You Love Me" from Luck of the Draw. And if you recall and enjoy those hits' sound, then Raitt's newest offering will be just the ticket. Raitt's voice is still in great form - perfectly gravelly and raspy. Her guitar struts through the more upbeat songs and swings through the slower ones. I was pleasantly surprised at her rendition of INXS' "Need You Tonight." She makes it her own, but the drum's backbeats pay homage to the original. Listen Now

Jan 23, 2016 by eileenf

If you're in need of an ethereal indie/psychedelic rock album to fall asleep to, try this one. You're bound to have soaring dreams and wake up feeling relaxed yet ready to take on the world. This Austin band has been around since 1999 and some critics are saying this is their best offering to date. I certainly enjoyed the album's quiet power and synth beats combined with a traditional rock base. The album has drawn comparisons to artists from Bruce Springsteen (especially on "Quiet Americans") to Kraftwerk. Listen Now

Jan 11, 2016 by claytonc

Just days after releasing a new album on his 69th birthday, the truly transcendent artist David Bowie died Sunday. Apparently he had been fighting cancer for the last 18 months and died surrounded by his family. Read about his legacy and how people around the world are reacting to his death. Then listen to some of your favorite tracks, and check our catalog to read books about him and more. Here's a clip from Labryinth to remind you of one of his iconic film roles:

Dec 22, 2015 by eileenf

Following a 2012 bus accident that injured three members, Baroness has returned to the music scene with an album of renewal and rebirth. The Georgia sludge metal band (for the uninitiated, that’s a mix of doom metal, hardcore punk and Southern rock) has produced an album that is less heavy than some of their previous works. Psychedelic keyboards, euphoric hooks, and powerful harmonies are at the forefront here. Baroness seems to be reveling in its survival and asking its listeners to celebrate with them. So bang your head in joy, metal heads! Listen Now

Dec 11, 2015 by claytonc

Looking for the perfect soundtrack for a christmas party, trimming the tree, driving around shopping, or just chilling, perhaps with some lit candles? We've got you covered. We have the classics, including the Charlie Brown Christmas, Christmas with the Beach Boys, a just released Chrismas album from Frank Sinatra, a new compilation from Ella Fitzgerald, the Capitol Records classic Best of Christmas (30 tracks including Bing Cosby, Nat King Cole, Dean Martin, and so many more!). Perhaps you'd like to check out something you haven't heard before? Click any of the links to listen to the album now.

Dec 4, 2015 by claytonc

It wouldn't be Friday without some new music. Check out the higlights from today's releases below and have a great weekend!

  • A Head Full of Dreams by Coldplay
    Adult Alternative Pop/Rock. Featuring cameos from Beyoncé and Noel Gallagher along with dalliances with disco, this is a bright, colorful rallying cry to seize the day.
  • Black Market by Rick Ross
    Gangsta Rap. Bolder and in many ways bigger than his previous efforts, Black Market is a more introspective and ambitious album from Miami superstar Ross.
  • Return of the Tender Lover by Babyface
    Adult Contemporary R&B. The Soul Train Legend Award honoree's satisfying first original-material solo album in ten years.
  • Long Lost Suitcase by Tom Jones
    American Trad Rock. The singer's third project with producer Ethan Johns is another powerful set of stripped down, blues-based roots music.
  • Blue Neighbourhood by Troye Sivan
    Pop. Debut album from the smooth young Australian singer with poignant confessionals of love, youth, and yearning.
  • The First Quartet by the John Abercrombie Quartet
    Guitar Jazz. Two of the three albums in this excellent archival box have been out of print for decades.
  • Shostakovich: Cello Concertos Nos 1 & 2 by Gautier Capuçon and Valery Gergiev
    Concerto. A worthwhile live Shostakovich release from a charismatic cellist and a veteran conductor.
  • The Music of Nashville: Original Soundtrack Season 4, Vol. 1
    Country. The latest music from this much-loved series about a country-music legend who realizes she must reinvent her career if she wants to stay in the spotlight.
  • Speedin' Bullet 2 Heaven by Kid Cudi
    Hip-Hop/Rap. After months of promotion and the cancelation of a supporting tour, here is the latest all original album from this innovative Brooklyn-based rapper from Cleveland.
Dec 4, 2015 by claytonc

Scott Weiland, the former frontman for rock bands Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver, died in his sleep while on a tour stop in Bloomington, Minnesota, with his band The Wildabouts early this morning. After reading about his passing we encurage you to listen to some of his music as you remember what he gave to us all. Listen to the Stone Temple Pilots, Velvet Revolver, and Scott's solo work (including a Christmas album you may have missed when it was released in 2011) now. Check Our Catalog for Stone Temple Pilots, Velvet Revolver, and more of Scott's solo work.

Nov 30, 2015 by eileenf

If you’re a fan of R&B/hip-hop concept albums, such as Janelle Monáe’s The ArchAndroid or Deltron 3030’s self-titled album, give this one a listen. Like the aforementioned recordings, Logic’s latest offering is a sci-fi concept album. He and his spaceship crew have left the destroyed Earth behind for greener pastures, a mysterious planet called Paradise. On the way they’re listening to important albums from the past including - you guessed it - Logic’s The Incredible True Story. This work is a polished gem, borrowing sounds from Kanye West, Drake, Kendrick Lamar, and OutKast. It certainly makes me want to take a road trip to outer space. Listen Now

Nov 20, 2015 by claytonc

Looking forward and looking back. Never miss the latest music, streaming 24/7, for free, no comercial interuptions. Here are highlights from today's additions:

  • Dark Sky Island by Enya
    Adult Alternative. The Irish singer/composer's lushly crafted eighth album harkens back to her early masterworks.
  • Songs from the Trees: A Musical Memoir Collection by Carly Simon
    Singer/Songwriter. Double-disc collection designed to accompany Carly Simon's 2015 memoir Boys in the Trees.
  • R40 Live by Rush
    Album Rock. A lethal mix of classics, deep cuts, and recent triumphs performed with the gusto of men many years younger.
  • This Is Not a Miracle by Food
    Modern Creative / Jazz. Originally recorded live in the studio, Thomas Strønen's extensive post-production results in the band's most groove-oriented effort.
  • Voice of Peace by Friar Alessandro Brustenghi
    Vocal Music. This is a program with a relative lack of familiarity of most of the material, in America or anywhere else.
  • Top 5 Dead Or Alive by Jadakiss
    Hip-Hop/Rap. Six years in the making, Jadakiss' fourth studio album features guest appearances from some of the biggest names in the game, including Future, Jeezy, Lil Wayne, Swizz Beatz, Wiz Khalifa, Nas, Young Buck, Sheek Louch, Nipsey Hussle, Ne-Yo, Styles P, and more.
  • Nick Jonas X2
    Pop. A re-release of Nick Jonas' second studio album with three new tracks and four remixes. The classic songwriting and blue-eyed soul vocals are sweet and seductive.
  • Live In Paris by Tinariwen
    World-African. A very timely release from this band of Taureg refugees who play a political charged style of "desert blues."
  • Tracy Chapman's Greatest Hits
    Folk. Of course it includes Fast Car, Talkin' Bout a Revolution, and Give Me One Reason, but there are 15 more rich tracks, ending with a recording of Stand By Me recorded live on the Late Show with David Letterman.
Nov 18, 2015 by claytonc

Lots of eclectic music hit the streets last Friday. Check out what you can listen to now:

  • Purpose by Justin Bieber
    Pop. Bumpy, oddly compelling restart from the re-emergent pop star.
  • Montage of Heck: The Home Recordings by Kurt Cobain
    Alternative Pop/Rock. A collection of Kurt Cobain home recordings, early drafts, and near-demos to accompany Brett Morgan's 2015 documentary.
  • The Incredible True Story by Logic
    Pop-Rap. The one they call Young Sinatra returns with an excellent sophomore LP that doubles as a sci-fi concept album.
  • Free TC by Ty Dolla $ign
    Contemporary R&B. The L.A. MC and singer offers a diverse and weighty debut album with an all-star guest list.
  • Bluenote Café by Neil Young
    Album Rock. Neil gets the blues on this archival set, collecting live material from his 1987-1988 tours with his brassy combo the Bluenotes.
  • First Comes the Night by Chris Isaak
    Adult Alternative Pop/Rock. Isaak's devilish charm and romantic songcraft are on display throughout this vintage-inspired album recorded in Nashville.
  • Heart Blanche by Cee Lo Green
    Contemporary R&B. The "Crazy" and "Fuck You" singer's first proper solo album in five years is crammed with nostalgia and hooks.
  • Church in These Streets by Jeezy
    Gangsta Rap. The veteran Atlanta MC offers an ambitious concept album with Janelle Monae and Monica as his only guests.
  • Know-It-All by Alessia Cara
    Contemporary R&B. Promising debut album from immensely likeable, teen-aged Canadian singer and songwriter who mixes pop and R&B.
Nov 17, 2015 by eileenf

Ryan Adams has produced a track-by-track remake of Taylor Swift’s 1989 to beautiful effect. Adams’ soulful vocals have stripped down these songs to their emotional core and given listeners a different perspective on heartbreak - that of a 40-year-old man going through a divorce, rather than the heartaches of a 25-year-old woman. Adams has said that Swift’s original album helped him through his breakup with Mandy Moore, and I can't imagine a more fitting tribute to Swift’s first official pop album. Adams has also said that his album’s sound is a cross between Bruce Springsteen's Darkness on the Edge of Town and The Smiths' Meat Is Murder. Not bad albums to emulate. Check Our Catalog or Listen Now

Nov 9, 2015 by claytonc

Last week ended with some great releases. Check them out now!

  • Delirium by Ellie Goulding
    Dance-Pop. British electronic pop singer bursts her sound wide open with a hooky, R&B-infused third album.
  • Seal 7 by Seal
    Adult Contemporary. The singer's first full album of Trevor Horn-produced originals since 2003 is a pleasing continuation of the duo's familiar approach.
  • Dream by Angie Stone
    Adult Contemporary R&B. A little more retro-styled than her previous albums, the singer's seventh set bounds from boogie to soul-pop and includes a fine Dave Hollister duet.
  • In the Lonely Hour [Drowning Shadows Edition] by Sam Smith
    Adult Contemporary. The singer's smash debut resurfaces for the holiday shopping season with an extensive assortment of previously released and new material.
  • Paradise Is There: The New Tigerlily Recordings by Natalie Merchant
    Adult Alternative Pop/Rock. Twenty years on, the singer/songwriter offers a new experience of her classic album by completely re-recording it.
  • Making Time by Jamie Woon
    Alternative Singer/Songwriter. After a four-year break, the singer tops his debut with nuanced, organic grooves made with Lexx, Paul White, and Robin Hannibal.
  • D-Stringz by Stanley Clarke, Biréli Lagrène, & Jean-Luc Ponty
    Contemporary Jazz. This acoustic trio offers a relaxed, swinging set of standards and originals that showcases the warm side of musical virtuosity.
  • Rachmaninoff (Symphonie No. 3; Caprice Bohémien; Danses Symphoniques; Le Rocher; and Vocalise) by Paavo Järvi and the Orchestre de Paris
    Orchestral. Paavo Järvi and the Orchestre de Paris give a French sound to Sergey Rachmaninov's orchestral music on this Erato two-fer.
  • Pictures by Conrad Tao
    Keyboard. In his 2015 Warner Classics release, Conrad Tao explores themes of grief, memory, and imagery in a collection of solo piano works.

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