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Staff Music Picks

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Jun 26, 2015 by claytonc

So much excellent new music coming out every week! Here are the top picks from the last couple weeks (June 16 and 23 to be precise), as appraised by the editors at allmusic.com (who also wrote the mini-reviews below). All links will take you to the relevant page on hoopla where you can listen to the music right now. Enjoy!

New on Tuesday, June 23:

  • Still (Deluxe Edition) by Richard Thompson
    British Folk-Rock. The British folk-rock icon goes into the studio with Wilco's Jeff Tweedy, who helps him sound just like himself.
  • Pageant Material by Kacey Musgraves
    Contemporary Country. Acclaimed country singer/songwriter digs deeper on her gorgeous second album.
  • Bones by Son Lux
    Post-Rock. Idiosyncratic rhythms, startling anthems, unsettling lyrics, and organic-mechanical timbres form a bold, inventive, unshakably dystopian-feeling LP.
  • Payola by Desaparecidos
    Alternative/Indie Rock. Socio-political punk rock anthems shot through with enough pure '70s power pop acumen to ignite every lighter in the Nippon Budokan.
  • Larry Campbell & Teresa Williams
    Americana. After nearly three decades of marriage, this professional couple delivers a honey of debut album.
  • Ravel : Daphnis & Chloé, La Valse conducted by Philippe Jordan
    Ballet. Philippe Jordan and the Orchestra and Choirs of the Paris National Opera present Ravel's Daphnis et Chloé and La valse in sumptuous sound.

New on Tuesday, June 16:

  • Before This World by James Taylor
    Adult Contemporary. After a 13-year hiatus, the singer/songwriter begins to write originals again with this relaxed record.
  • The Original High (Deluxe Version) by Adam Lambert
    Pop. Reuniting with Max Martin and Shellback, the glam-disco singer creates a canny modern pop record.
  • Restless Ones by Heartless Bastards
    Alternative/Indie Rock. Erika Wennerstrom and her bandmates up their game in the studio on their fifth album, sounding especially authentic and powerful.
  • Covered (The Robert Glasper Trio Recorded Live At Capitol Studios)
    Contemporary Jazz. Reunited with his original acoustic trio, the pianist successfully grafts stylish pop and R&B song forms onto jazz.
  • Golden Moments by Jill Scott
    Adult Contemporary R&B. Smartly sequenced overview of the top-tier R&B artist's Hidden Beach albums, featuring all of her charting singles from the period.
  • Luminiferous by High On Fire
    Alternative Metal. After a three-year wait, the Bay Area trio come roaring back with an exquisite slab of power sludge.
Jun 24, 2015 by shaynem

My go-to gym soundtrack since its arrival this April, the new album by the formidable Providence duo is 48 minutes of lightning-quick (apologies) chaos that could put a pulse in an ice cream sundae.  Despite the album's breakneck speed, Lightning Bolt continue to distinguish themselves as being that rare species of artist who make their inability to decelerate constantly captivating.  Favorite tracks include, "The Metal East," "Horsepower," and "King of My World." Check Our Catalog

Here's the official music video for "The Metal East":

Jun 12, 2015 by claytonc

Yesterday morning, Thursday, June 11, a truly original soul ended his tenure on this mortal plane. Randolph Denard Ornette Coleman was an American jazz saxophonist, violinist, trumpeter and composer. He is credited with liberating "jazz from conventional harmony, tonality, structure and expectation". One of my favorite descriptions of his improvisational style is "Ornette Coleman played his alto saxophone the way someone whistles to themselves walking down the street, unconcerned with rules about how a song is supposed to go." His album Sound Grammar received the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for music. Many of his albums are available to listen to right now (thourhg our partnership with hoopla). Check Our Catalog

Jun 9, 2015 by claytonc

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 the past two weeks (released June 2 and 9, 2015). See all the latest here.

  • Drones by Muse
    Alternative Pop/Rock. Arena rock political protest album
  • Sticky Fingers by The Rolling Stones:
    Super-Deluxe reissue of the 1971 classic is highlighted by an alternate "Brown Sugar" featuring Eric Clapton, and killer vintage live tracks.
  • More Faithful by No Joy
    Alternative/Indie Rock. Third album from shoegaze-friendly quartet is a high-watermark of inventive production and darkly blissful songwriting.
  • Passion World by Kurt Elling
    Contemporary Jazz. A yearning, literate collection of songs from around the world held together by Elling's nuanced, lyrical vocals.
  • Call Me Insane by Dale Watson
    Alt-Country. Another dose of high-octane Texas honky tonk, along with a few quality weepers and a dash of countrypolitan.
  • Bound By The Blues by Sonny Landreth
    Electric Blues. After 12 years, the guitarist and his longstanding trio deal out a back-to-basics hard blues album.
  • How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful by Florence + The Machine
    Adult Alternative Pop/Rock. Deluxe edition of Florence Welch's third studio long-player finds the English songtress dialing back and looking inward.
  • All Your Favorite Bands by Dawes
    Rock. Literate, impeccably produced rumination on love, memory, and the music that moves our hearts.
  • Saved By The Bell: The Collected Works Of Robin Gibb 1968-1970
    Pop. Excellent archival box containing all of Gibb's recordings from his two-year hiatus from the Bee Gees at the dawn of the '70s.
  • Everything Is 4 by Jason Derulo
    Pop. Containing some of the singer's best frivolous pop material, this features a guest list that ranges from Stevie Wonder to Meghan Trainor.
  • Currency Of Man by Melody Gardot
    Contemporary Singer/Songwriter. This is the artist's cut of this album, recorded in Los Angeles with Larry Klein. Blues and vintage, jazzy R&B.
  • Big Love by Simply Red
    Adult Contemporary. A smooth collection of slow-burning romantic high-class soul from this reunited band.
  • The High Country by Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin
    Indie Pop. Tom Hembree returns on bass for the band's fifth studio album, which ups tempos and power for a melodically sweet yet electrified reunion.
  • One Lost Day by The Indigo Girls
    Adult Alternative Pop/Rock. Teaming with a new producer, the duo enters its fourth decade empowered and adventurous on this bracing set.
  • Summer Forever by Billy Currington
    Contemporary Country. A bright but chilled-out summertime party record from the laid-back country singer.
  • Silverball by The Barenaked Ladies
    Adult Alternative Pop/Rock. Pinball and boxing themes inform this sparkling, ebullient return to form for the Canadian outfit.
  • Carnation by Daughn Gibson
    Alternative/Indie Rock. Singer and songwriter walks away from his country leanings and is transformed into a moody new wave guy.
  • Kicker by Zella Day
    Adult Alternative Pop/Rock. Rootsy yet bombastic electronic-infused pop and folk from the Arizona-born singer.
Jun 8, 2015 by junet

Hot Chip’s albums keep falling into my lap ever since the first time I unexpectedly came across them in high school.  The British electronic group hasn’t changed too much though- if anything, they’ve gotten even more confident in their quirkiness and comfortable in their own skin.  Their newest album Why Make Sense?, released in May, illustrates just how these skilled these blokes are with synthesizers and emotive lyrics with songs like “White Wine and Fried Chicken”, “Huarache Lights” and “Love is the Future”.  Hot Chip’s albums are highly danceable, and at the very least head bop and wiggle-in-your-seat worthy. Check our catalog to get acquainted with some Hot Chip today, or stream now with Hoopla!

May 26, 2015 by claytonc

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.

May 22, 2015 by claytonc

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".
  • The Desired Effect by Brandon Flowers, the second solo album from this singer from The Killers. "infectious, synthy melange of '80s adult-contempo pop".
  • Welcome Back To Milk by Du Blonde. Indie Rock from a "former anti-folk singer".
  • Mystery Glue by Graham Parker & The Rumour. Indie Rock. "Former Angry Young Man becomes the Larry David of pub rock".
  • Monterey by The Milk Carton Kids. Indie Rock. Recorded live in empty venues (pre-show). "near flawless guitar work and harmonizing of the Kids' wistful folk".
  • Skeleton Crew by Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear. Pop/Rock debut album from a mother/son duo. "a singular blend of folk, blues, and gospel influences".
  • Self-titled album by The Helio Sequence. Indie Rock. This Portland, Oregon based noise-pop group's sixth album. " full of clean, streamlined tunes".
  • Songs Of Thessaloniki by Savina Yannatou and Primavera en Salonico. Greek Folk. "a beguiling musical portrait of Thessaloniki's rich cultural history".
  • Alone With A Friend by Talk In Tongues. Indie Rock. Debut album from L.A. band who "love hazy, effects-driven neo-pysch (think Tame Impala)".
May 19, 2015 by kerrid

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. Check Our Catalog to borrow it and/or stream it now.

May 15, 2015 by megana

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. Check hoopla for streaming music, or Check Our Catalog for CDs. Watch the documentary about his life called The Life of Riley.

May 13, 2015 by deirdres

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. So many of the songs seem to take place in a seedier, smokier world where lust is the motivator and regret is the result. Sandman's lyrics are some of the best. So true, so funny, so sad, so real. Check our Catalog, stream some right now, and enjoy this youtube playlist:

May 13, 2015 by claytonc

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.

Last week saw some great releases too:

Apr 15, 2015 by megana

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. Her renditions of familiar folk songs like Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child, Another Man Done Gone, and He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands will move the coldest heart. Check Our Catalog or Stream From hoopla

Apr 8, 2015 by claytonc

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. She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000 and posthumously received over two dozen Grammy Awards.We have many albums you can listen to right now. Right now I'm enjoying The Complete Billie Holiday On Verve 1945-1959 - an amazing collection of nearly 12 hours of music / 256 songs. It includes arguably her most famous, Strange Fruit, the quintessential God Bless the Child, and so, so much more. Check Our Catalog

Mar 26, 2015 by deirdres

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.  So many of the songs on his self-titled release remind me of the songs we grew up with, none more than the duet In a Week, the story of a couple who lay down to die in a field and what they imagine nature will do to their corpses in the week they think it will take for their bodies to be discovered.  Check Our Catalog

Mar 3, 2015 by theresat

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. My favorite tracks were versions of Dusty Springfield’s “Stay Awhile” and Frank Sinatra’s “Time After Time.” If covers aren’t your cup of tea, check out their other albums (Volumes one, two and three) to experience some of their original songwriting, and see them live if you ever get the chance! Check Our Catalog

Feb 11, 2015 by megana

If you enjoy listening to choral music and have never heard this recording, please borrow it right away. This music is drenched in emotion but never maudlin; it’s modern (composed in the 1990s) but sounds like renaissance and classical music; it’s lush and sonorous but also precise and carefully crafted. Lauridsen is one of the most performed contemporary choral composers in America but for some reason I had never heard of him. This recording brought me to tears again and again. Check Our Catalog

Feb 2, 2015 by junet

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. From “The Morning” to “Montréal”, or “The Professional” you’ll find that there are many songs to discover and thoroughly enjoy here if you’re in the mood for something tastefully dark and stormy. Check our Catalog or Listen Now.

Jan 29, 2015 by claytonc

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" (allmusic.com). 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. You may want to follow the allmusic.com link to the review just so you can follow along track by track and know who is playing on each track (one downside to our streaming service is there's not enough track-by-track detail for music nerds). There is not much here many people will immediately recognize - even the known entities have deep cuts (does Curtis Mayfield's (Don't Worry) If There's a Hell Below We're All Going to Go ring a bell? It's apparently one of the better known tracks here.) Don't let this deter you though. Many a great hip-hop track has sampled from herein, and there is a lot more remixing and shuffling to be imagined. Well - what are you waiting for?! Get on the good foot and go get your funk on!

Listen Now

Jan 22, 2015 by junet

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. Check our catalog or listen now on hoopla!

Jan 6, 2015 by claytonc

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. I haven't been able to figure out exactly when this was originally recorded but I believe it dates to around 1978, when his studio album Electric Dreams was released with the One Truth Band. This band included L. Shankar on violin, Tony Smith on drums, Stu Goldberg on keyboards, Fernando Saunders on bass, and Alyrio Lima handling various percussion duties. I think this album is great for any fans of John McLaughlin, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Shakti, Bitches Brew-era Miles Davis, of simply mind-melting guitar and rhythm. Listen now (with hoopla).


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