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Staff Music Picks

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Aug 15, 2012 by deirdres
I find the White Stripes hit or miss so I wasn't expecting to love this CD.  But I do. There is no denying that Jack White is a talented guy.  The songs are familiar yet unexpected.  The opening riff of Love Interruption is pretty close to Son of a Preacher Man but the lyrics: "I want love to: grab my fingers gently, Slam them in a doorway, Put my face into the ground" aren't run of the mill.   There is a theme of love gone wrong, or never being right,  that runs through the whole cd particularly in the songs Missing Pieces, Freedom at 21,  Hypocritical Kiss and Trash Tongue Talker. There's also a rollicking cover of "I'm Shakin'" that'll make you dance around the room. Check Our Catalog

 

Jul 12, 2012 by megana

The band's name says it all: Fun. I started listening to this CD in the car without knowing what to expect and was a believer by the end of the first track. Loaded with hooks and anthemic sing-along choruses, the whole album will just lift you up. You'll time travel to the days of Queen when listening to "Some Nights Intro" and even if you haven't been young for years, you'll love "We Are Young", the hit single that reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. Sign me up for the fan club! Check Our Catalog

Jun 13, 2012 by deirdres

The release today of the dB's first album in 25 years got me to thinking about The Sound of Music.  The catchy tunes and smart lyrics are timeless.  You won't be saying "that's wicked eighties" like my sister's boyfriend always does when she plays her favorites from that era.  These are just well crafted pop songs that are about something.    Who can't relate to lyrics like these from "Working for Somebody Else": "I been working too hard and too long for too little / Seems like every day is just about the same / And it don't get any better." It's a rare thing for an album to have nothing but great songs but the dB's have done it here. Although every song on this album is fantastic, the best are "Any Old Thing" and "Think too Hard". Check Our Catalog

Jun 12, 2012 by deirdres

Former Soul Coughing frontman Mike Doughty's wordplay is what makes this an interesting CD.  He can be very amusing and he comes up with great lines.  When was the last time you heard someone say claptrap?  In Rational Man he starts with "Don't give me your claptrap, Don't give me your stinking words, You make me feel like a fat sap, Hapless, in a dirty shirt."   Another great line is "She doesn't fall in love, She takes hostages" from The Huffer and the Cutter.   The duet with Rosanne Cash, Holiday (What do you want), is as much about the holiday as Joni Mitchell's River but is a fine song with a good melody.  This is definitely worth a listen. Check Our Catalog

May 18, 2012 by julier

This book is a hard-to-describe addicting read, in fact I'm going to read it again tonight.  On the surface, Chopsticks is the story of 16-year-old piano prodigy Glory Fleming, who falls in love with the new boy next door, Fransico Mendoza, but pay careful attention and a whole other story emerges.   Beginning with a news broadcast of Glory's disappearance, the story is told through a collection of news clippings, photos, memorabilia, IM messages and other random items. The story is carefully constructed and engrossing, and you never know what the next page turn will bring. Check Our Catalog

Will Dailey—a local musician who has been playing in Boston and around the country for many years—compiled his two digitally released EPs from 2009 to create this 13-song powerhouse CD that includes a 60s-inspired rock song evoking Neil Young, an anthem for Boston’s Allston neighborhood, and guest vocals and guitar work from veterans of the Boston music scene, including Kay Hanley (Letters to Cleo), Elliot Easton (The Cars), and Tim Brennan (Dropkick Murphys). If you haven’t heard Dailey’s music, he’s worth the listen! Check our Catalog

Jan 22, 2012 by megana

This is an ear-opening CD for those who haven't already discovered composer Eric Whitacre's music. The recording features polyphonic, mostly a cappella choral music, set to poems by a variety of poets, from e.e. cummings to Emily Dickinson to Octavio Paz. The result is an arresting soundscape with unexpected chord progressions and a unique ensemble effect. Check Our Catalog

Jan 19, 2012 by megana

This innovative Scottish guitarist and songwriter was influential both as a solo artist and as a key member of the popular British folk-rock group Pentangle during the 1960s and 70s.  His subject matter was often dark, as in one of his most famous songs, "Needle of Death", and his delivery restrained but very affecting. Jansch died in October 2011 at the age of 67. If you've never heard his music, give it a listen! Check Our Catalog

Jan 11, 2012 by megana

Jeffreys' sound is a unique blend of rock, reggae, island, jazz, and Latin music brilliantly melded together by his intelligent, provocative songwriting and distinctive vocals. His 1992 disc, "Don't Call Me Buckwheat" is an old favorite of mine but it's been difficult to get his older recordings from the 70s and 80s (hard to find on CD) and he doesn't record often.  He's just released his first new album in 13 years, "The King of In Between". If you've never heard of this artist, you have a treat in store. Check Our Catalog

Dec 20, 2011 by megana

The 'Barefoot Diva' died Saturday at 70 but her smokey, soulful voice lives on in her recordings. A native of Cape Verde, Évora sang the traditional music of her country, which combines West African percussion with Portuguese fados, Brazilian modhinas, and British sea shanties. Her music is uniquely beautiful and not to be missed. Check Our Catalog

Nov 5, 2011 by megana

Retro-soul that will take you back to the 60s, featuring Sharon Jones' gritty, passionate vocals and The Dap-Kings' driving deep funk sound. This CD bears listening and re-listening and they also put on a floor-shaking high-energy live performance if you're lucky enough to catch them on tour (which I did just last night in Portsmouth). Check Our Catalog

Nov 3, 2011 by megana

An absorbing and thought-provoking read, this novel explores a web of characters whose lives cross paths over the course of four decades, ending about 10 years from now. The two central characters are Bennie, a rock music promoter, and Sasha, his young assistant, but the story is told from multiple points of view and explores the lifelong echoes of chance encounters and the relentless impact of time passing. I'm often disappointed when I finally get around to reading an award-winning, critically acclaimed and popular title, because the work doesn't live up to the hype. Not so in this case. Check Our Catalog

Oct 19, 2011 by deirdres

All of the Avett Brothers albums are great.  Their harmonies are beautiful.  Their talent with the various instruments they play (banjo, guitar, piano and more) is phenomenal and their lyrics are clever and true.  In I and Love and You the songs are sadder and filled with pain and mental anguish.  Even a seemingly festive song like "Tin Man" has dark lyrics.  But don't let that scare you.  This is a fine album without a dud on it. Check Our Catalog

Sep 22, 2011 by deirdres

Neil Finn has been making beautifully crafted music for over 30 years with Split Enz, Crowded House, his brother Tim and as a solo artist.  On this live disc he gathers several musician friends, including Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder and Johnny Marr of the Smiths, to perform their songs and his.  Great perfomances abound on this CD, especially Vedder singing "Stuff & Nonsense" and Finn doing his own "She Will Have Her Way". Check Our Catalog

Sep 20, 2011 by megana

This Boston-based trio opened for B.B.King at his recent concert in Beverly and impressed me with its full, rocking blues sound. Evan Goodrow leads the band on guitar and vocals, with Phil Antoniades on drums and John Cooke just smokin' on a Hammond organ. Check Our Catalog

Sep 20, 2011 by megana

"King of the Blues" B.B. King is legendary for a good reason--he's still awesome after 50+ years in the blues business. Try a "best of" CD to get a flavor for his electric guitar work, gritty voice, and passionate interpretations of traditional blues songs. Check out his 2008 Grammy-winning recording One Kind Favor for a blues roots sound; my favorite song on this album is See That My Grave is Kept Clean, especially poignant considering King just turned 86 and is still touring and performing around the world. Check Our Catalog

Aug 22, 2011 by megana

This album features soulful vocals and an r&b sound so classic you'll think you're time traveling to the 1960s. Although Charles Bradley has been singing for decades, this appears to be his first recording project and it's a fine one, with great arrangements (horns, percussion, vibraphone and more), passionate singing, and a mix of personal love ballads and social comment songs. Bradley's hard-livin' vocal style may be an acquired taste for some, but I acquired it instantly. Check Our Catalog

May 2, 2011 by megana

If you liked the Buena Vista Social Club, you'll like this new CD. It's an Afro-Cuban mashup--great fun to listen to! Check Our Catalog

Apr 26, 2011 by megana

Snow's recent death at age 60 sent me back to the songs that introduced her to the world--and to me--back in the 70s. Well worth a listen to Phoebe's unique voice singing favorites like "Poetry Man", "Shakey Ground" and "Love Makes a Woman". Check Our Catalog

Dec 7, 2010 by admin

If you haven't discovered Guster yet, you have to listen to this album.  This pop rock quartet started at Tufts Univ. some 20 years ago and their music is still really fun to listen to. Check Our Catalog


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