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Staff Music Picks

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Jun 13, 2014 by deirdres

My love affair with Fountains of Wayne began two weeks ago when I heard the song "Acela". When my old supervisor used to tell me that I would love Fountains of Wayne I didn't scoff, but I didn't pursue it either. I'd heard "Stacy's Mom". "Acela" is one of many catchy songs on "Sky Full of Holes", their 2011 release. Others include "Cemetery Guns", "Richie and Ruben", "Hate to See You Like This", and my favorite,"Cold Comfort Flowers". As the titles suggest, these are not all light and fun, but they are about something and have lots of nice musical touches, like the snare drum rolls in "Cemetery Guns" and entertaining lyrics that keep you interested in whatever story they're telling. This band is thoughtful and funny. I like it. I encourage you to check out their other titles too. Check Our Catalog or use our streaming service to listen now to Utopia Parkway (1990) and Fountains of Wayne (1996).

Jun 4, 2014 by claytonc

At once timeless and brand new, this beautiful album invokes my favorite Pink Floyd (circa Dark Side of the Moon) and Neil Young (Down By the River), while being true to its own sensibilities. As is to be expected with The Black Keys, the drumming is stellar - spot on, crisp, and not overwrought at all. There's a great NPR interview with Patrick Carney and Dan Auerbach (the core of The Black Keys) that sheds light on how they pulled together the "gently strummed acoustic guitars. Lovely falsetto vocals. Tinkling bells and dreamy atmospherics" that bring new flavors, while staying grounded in the swagger, thumping bass lines, and rumbling beats we expect. Perhaps it has something to do with their continued collaboration with Brian Burton a.k.a. Danger Mouse (famous for his own work including Broken Bells and Gnarls Barkley, as well as producing Beck, Gorillaz and Norah Jones). Listen NOW. Check our catalog.

May 20, 2014 by claytonc

So much more than the house band for The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. The Roots have won Four Grammys (and been nominated for 12). This is their newest album, just released yesterday, May 19, 2014. Less than half the length of any of their previous studio albums, it contains an amazing diversity of voices and will reward repeated listenings. Like the art that graces the jacket, this album is a collage of guest artists, borrowed sounds, and the band's amazing original contributions. Conceptually, it is an examination of the self-destructive forces of materialism and modern living. Available to listen to now.

May 14, 2014 by claytonc

Released May 12, this is the first collection of original material from Tori since 2011's Night of the Hunters (not an album that caught my ear). Tori is now 50, looking back and bringing the mix of comfort and pain that is her calling card. What's super exciting is we have this album and Tori's entire catalog available to listen to right NOW with our new streaming service, through our partnership with hoopla. This is her 14th studio album and a return to the unique brand of singer songwriter style that catapulted her to stardom over two decades ago.

During her career Tori Amos has sold over 12 million albums worldwide.

Visit this page for more information about music, audiobooks, movies, and television all available right now from the Thomas Crane Public Library.

With a mix of Portuguese and English lyrics, Ana Moura's album "Desfado" puts a spin on traditional fado (see below), creating songs that have a jazzy, folk feel. Moura also covers Joni Mitchell's "A Case of You" with a sweet, melodic voice that will instantly win you over. Check Our Catalog or simply Listen Now!

Fado
noun
1. a type of popular Portuguese song, usually with a melancholy theme and accompanied by mandolins or guitars.

Apr 11, 2014 by deirdres

One of the reasons Beck is beloved by critics is that he doesn't just put out warmed over versions of his "sound;" although, his music is certainly identifiable.  Morning Phase is recognizably Beck, but the more atmospheric, reflective Beck. Almost every one of his albums has had a song on it that I've loved instantly and forever and this album is no exception. In this case that song is "Heart is a Drum." That's not to say that there is only one good song, there are many: "Say Goodbye", "Blue Moon", "Morning" and "Blackbird Chain" among the best. Throughout there is an overriding melancholy to the lovely instrumental arrangements and if there is one quibble, it is that the lyrics are opaque at best. But overall it is a lovely work that really grows on you after a few listens. Check our catalog or Listen Now.

Apr 7, 2014 by claytonc

Remember Luka? Suzanne Vega has just released her first album of original material in seven years (her 8th album for those of you counting). These ten new tracks instantly sound familiar and comfortable, like reuniting with an old friend. I hadn't realized I missed her, but her voice takes me back and the simple guitar work is the perfect accompanment (this is not the Tom's Diner remix!) Ms. Vega has great industry connections. She started her own label in 2010 and this album was mixed by Kevin Killen (who has worked with Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush). The recently recorded clip below (from NPR's Tiny Desk Concerts - check them out if you've never heard of them!) uses her classics as bookends for the new material. Check our catalog.

Feb 18, 2014 by megana

Retro r&b belter Sharon Jones remains in fine form on her latest album of funky, soulful, horn-punctuated songs, backed up by the fabulous Dap-Kings. Whether or not you remember the heyday of 60s r&b and soul music, you'll be hard put not to love this stuff. Exciting and ecstatically fun to sing along with, dance to, drive to, or just listen to! Check Our Catalog

Feb 14, 2014 by claytonc

With a sound that could have been recorded by Blue Note in 1954, this album is sure to delight vocal jazz fans. Three years after winning the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocalist competition this twenty-something rising star has been lauded by luminaries including Wynton Marsalis, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Al Jarreau, and Dianne Reeves. Stephen Holden, writing for the New York Times positions Cécile McLorin Salvant in the direct lineage of the Big Three - Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, and Ella Fitzgerald. Watch the live clip below for a sample. Check our Catalog

Bob Dylan's Another Self-Portrait, the tenth volume of the Bootleg Series, includes four CDs that will delight any Dylan fan that longs for his Nashville Skyline, Self Portrait, folk-roots days. While the original Self Portrait album was panned in 1970 by fans who weren't interested in hearing Dylan return to his roots, it is worth a listen now and especially in this remastered and reimagined form. Also included in the set is the full 1969 Isle of Wight concert with The Band, as well as some wonderful and insightful liner notes. Check Our Catalog

Oct 15, 2013 by claytonc

Local power-pop craftsmen, Air Traffic Controller provide some light, catchy tunes on this sophomore album. Sometimes sounding a bit like They Might Be Giants, with significant influence from Bleu (the producer for Nordo and their previous album, The One), this will sound new but familiar all at once. If you missed the kickstarter campaign that funded this album you can still tune in to their live on-air concert on WERS on Thursday, October 24th at 4:00 pm. Below is the official video for their first single off this album, Hurry Hurry. Slow down for a minute and enjoy it!

Check our catalog

Jul 29, 2013 by deirdres

 Although much of this CD features a generic disco beat and really long, repetitive songs, I encourage everyone to have a listen.  I sincerely believe this album was released on a dare. Sadly, for the listener, every song on this album is a least 3 minutes too long, except disco monologue "Moroder" which, at 9 minutes and 4 seconds, is 9 minutes and 4 seconds too long.  The overuse of Auto-tune suggests a deep love of gadgets that, in the case of "Instant Crush" anyway, ruins what is still the best song on the CD. There is also "Get Lucky" featuring Pharrell Williams, which is mediocre but festive. The centerpiece of this monstrosity is "Touch," co-written and sung by none other than Paul Williams, the elfin songwriter/actor from the 70s. You will marvel at the overwrought lyrics and delivery. Here's a sample: "a room within a room, a door behind a door, touch where do you lead?" Really. Brace yourself. We've been Daft Punk'd. Check our Catalog

Jan 10, 2013 by dorothyc

Psychedelic Pill absolutely rocks. This is what rock-and-roll is supposed to be: loud, cranky, and grungy. You won't want to listen to these tracks on shuffle--this is an album meant to be experienced beginning to end. That being said, if listening to 87 minutes of Neil Young and Crazy Horse isn’t your style, you still won’t want to miss “Ramada Inn” and “Walk Like a Giant,” two of their best songs ever and probably two of the best songs of the year. These cranky old rockers sound like they did at their peak, and if that sounds like something you'd like, you will love Psychedelic Pill. Check Our Catalog

Jan 8, 2013 by deirdres

I am of two minds about this CD. I love it but I also think it's pretentious and ridiculous.  I love the music and her voice but the poetry sometimes makes me cringe...or chuckle.  But who am I to complain?  I have no muse.

If you can get past lyrics such as:   "The silver ladle of his throat,  The boy the beast and the butterfly" or "She walks across a bridge of magpies, Her hollow tongue fills the brightness with water" both from Tarkovsky (The Second Stop is Jupiter) you're golden. She  works with long time collaborators who really know how to put her words to music. The best tracks,  Amerigo, April Fool, This is the Girl and Mosaic, are all very melodic.  I'd be happy to have those songs follow me around all day. Check Our Catalog



Dec 23, 2012 by deirdres

I figured I better review the new dB's CD Falling Off the Sky since I mentioned its release as being the reason behind my recommending their Sound of Music a few months ago.   One of the best things about it is that the music isn't a rehash of old dB's, they are older and wiser and it shows in the content of their songs.  There are several catchy songs but also a few colossal duds,  the worst being the weepy lament "Far Away and Long Ago".  The rest of them are middle of the road pop/rock.  They aren't awful and they aren't great.  I like "Send Me Something Real"  even though the lyrics are really corny and predictable and I really like "That Time is Gone" and "The Wonder of Love". Check Our Catalog

Dec 22, 2012 by deirdres

Everyone I've played this CD for loves it.  Well, not my sister's boyfriend who is Alice Cooper's biggest fan, but everyone else.  It's a great retro 50s R&B album with a modern sensibility.   Even the songs that you don't love at once, which were Wolf Teeth and Scratching Circles for me, will grow on you after a few listens.  The album was produced by bassist Jimmy Sutton who also co-worte most of the songs with McPherson.  I've been listening to this for months and never grow tired of it.  I particularly love Your Love (All that I'm Missing), which they DIDN'T write and B.G.M.O.S.R.N.R.  They are fantastic live so if you ever get the chance to see them jump on it. Check Our Catalog

Nov 15, 2012 by megana

Playful quirkiness, precisely detailed songcraft, and lyrics that you want to listen to are the hallmarks of this New York "anti-folk" singer-songwriter.  Upon first listen, I loved the quality of Spektor's voice but was slightly put off by some of her characteristic vocal mannerisms and doodads.  Listeners will probably either love her or hate her, but I found that after the second time through this album, I was won over. I knew for sure when I found musical phrases from both the ballads and the more up-tempo numbers running through my head all day long.  Check Our Catalog

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


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