I’m eagerly awaiting Beirut’s next album No No No that comes out next month, but in the meantime re-absorbing all of Beirut’s older albums has been the perfect soundtrack to ending a summer day. Beirut’s leading man Zach Condon’s talent for various instruments, melodic compositions and soulful crooning makes each album delightfully rich and complex. Beirut’s debut album Gulag Orkestar remains one of my favorites, and it’s tracks like “Postcards from Italy” and “Elephant Gun” that inspires many a fan to pick up the ukulele. Equally as enjoyable is their latest album, Rip Tide. If you’d like to get acquainted with Beirut, check our catalog !
"When you were young you were the king of carrot flowers." With these very words Jeff Mangum introduced the album that initiated a mass conversion of curmudgeony music critics into wide-eyed believers. In my opinion, what rests inside each and every one of the work's eleven tracks is nothing less than magic. Exactly what that magic is I do not know, but I wholeheartedly invite anyone willing to suspend their own cynicism to find out for themselves. Check Our Catalog 
Here are the top albums released today, Friday, August 7 and available to listen to right now (thanks hoopla !)
- Blood  by Lianne La Havas
Contemporary Singer/Songwriter. The follow-up to a Top Five U.K. debut goes for a bigger, bolder sound without glossing over the artist's singer/songwriter origin.
- Greatest Hits Vol. 1  by Teenage Time Killers
Alternative/Indie Rock. The debut from the powerhouse punk-metal supergroup led by My Ruin guitarist Mick Murphy and Corrosion of Conformity drummer Reed Mullin.
- At Least For Now  by Benjamin Clementine
Contemporary Singer/Songwriter. A poetic, theatrical, and deeply compelling debut from this London-based artist who cut his teeth as a street performer in Paris.
- Five Crooked Lines  by Finger Eleven
Heavy Metal. Five Crooked Lines doesn't deviate too much from the band's post-grunge past, but it is built from more volatile stuff.
- Shaun The Sheep Movie  (soundtrack)
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack. Playful sometimes-folk, sometimes-orchestral score as well as collaborations with an Irish singer/songwriter/guitarist an English singer, and an English hip-hop duo.
- Ricki And The Flash  by Meryl Streep
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack. Songs from the film by the fictional band from the film led by Meryl Streep, including the original song Cold One written by Jenny Lewis and Johnathan Rice. Also included are songs by Lucinda Williams, Emmylou Harris, Henry Wolfe and the Feelies.
- Kill The Lights  by Luke Bryan
Contemporary Country. Excels by being modern, as comfortable in the contours that lie between contemporary country and crossover as it is in workingmans' sports bars.
- Black Cat  by Never Shout Never
Pop/Rock. The most mature and sonically sophisticated album to date from this eclectic collaborative rock outfit. Confessional emo-folk to arty psychedelic rock to punky dance-leaning pop.
From their site : “The particular sound and voice of The Lonesome Trio might be described as rootsy, bluegrass-ish, Americana, or even a little bit cowboy. But a more accurate description might be the peculiar mind meld of three old friends who've been through 22 years of life, love, loss, and laughter together, working it all out through raw and honest acoustic music.” The Lonesome Trio features actor Ed Helms, so if you’re a fan of The Office, you’re probably hearing Andy’s manic warbling along with his banjo picking at right this very moment. Keep that in mind before you decide to listen to this trio’s debut, self-titled album, because it’s Andy x3. These 12 original songs will be sure to get you up off your seat and foot stompin’ like Jed Clampett. Listen Now  (with hoopla)
Every Friday brings new music releases that you can listen to immediately on your computer or mobile device (via hoopla). Here are highlights from the albums that were released on Friday, July 24. See the regularly updated list here :
- Woman  by Jill Scott
Adult Contemporary R&B. So varied that it resembles a compilation, the singer and songwriter's fifth album nonetheless contains several of the year's best R&B cuts.
- Bittersweet  by Kasey Chambers
Alt-Country. Australian singer and songwriter goes it (relatively) alone, and delivers a dozen great songs and heartfelt performances.
- Ashes & Dust  by Warren Haynes
Americana. The Gov't Mule and former Allman Brothers Band guitarist indulges his singer/songwriter side in collaboration with Railroad Earth.
- Y Dydd Olaf  by Gwenno
Indie Pop. The ex-Pipette returns with a lovely solo album built on vintage synths and featuring dreamy songs inspired by sci-fi and sung in Welsh and Cornish.
- Into  by Vinyl Williams
Alternative/Indie Rock. Relaxed inner space jams and soft rock gems, this time much more focused and hooky than on Williams' debut.
- Subjective Concepts  by Strange Wilds
Alternative/Indie Rock. Fast, loud, and grimy debut album from these Olympia, Washington punks who threaten to bring back grunge and make you like it.
- Holographic Violence  by Grave Babies
Alternative/Indie Rock. Third album from the Seattle-based goth group is a huge leap forward in terms of fidelity and production values.
New music is now released every Friday. Here are the top albums that hit the street on July 17, 2015, that you can listen to right now (through our relationship with hoopla ) as reviewed by AllMusic.com . :
Angels And Alcohol  by Alan Jackson
Contemporary Country. A satisfyingly familiar collection of straight-ahead country from the old pro.
Born In The Echoes (Deluxe Edition)  by The Chemical Brothers
Big Beat. Offering a winning mix of old and new, the big beat duo prove they can thrive in the age of EDM with this comeback LP.
Recreational Love  by The Bird And The Bee
Alternative/Indie Rock. Witty, effervescent, and slyly sophisticated indie pop that trades in new wave but never succumbs to nostalgia.
White Reaper Does It Again  by White Reaper
Garage Punk. On its debut album, the Kentucky garage punk band has hooks to spare, energy to burn, and a batch of knockout songs.
The Warner Bros. Years 1971-1977  by America
Contemporary Pop/Rock. A practical, no-frills clamshell box set celebrating the soft rock/folk-pop hitmakers' '70s heyday.
Hover  by Fine Points
Indie Rock. Pastoral West Coast guitar pop with psych and shoegaze elements from members of Sleepy Sun.
Into The Deep (Deluxe Edition)  by Galactic
Funk. Once again, Galactic deliver a NOLA that's as vibrant and forward-thinking as it is steeped in second-line tradition.
Father's Day  by Ronnie Earl & the Broadcasters
Modern Electric Blues. Veteran blues guitarist shows off his philosophical bent while proving his trademark mix of blues and jazz is as strong as ever.
Tomorrow Will Be Beautiful  by Flo Morrissey
Alternative Singer/Songwriter. This debut is an atmospheric and earnest re-creation of the hazy trip of freak folk.
Woodkid’s Yoann Lemoine's sad, rich vocals are oh so soothing against a backdrop of dramatic orchestral storming. The swelling strings and crashing drums cultivate an atmosphere of urgency but not haste, and all at once his songs give a sense of deep adventure, nostalgia and longing. A track that I can’t stop listening to is “Conquest of Spaces”. Equally as worthwhile is “Run boy run”, I love you”, and “Iron”. Something not to be missed while discovering the wizardry of Woodkid is the aesthetic of Woodkid’s music videos that complement the dramatic, cinematic essence of this album. Check Our Catalog  or Listen Now .
Check out the music video for "Run boy run"!
Here are the top picks from the last week in June, 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.
This Friday will mark the kickoff of a brand new music release day. First announced last winter, starting July 10, new albums will now be released on Fridays (so much for looking foward to Tuesdays). Interested in learning more about this change? Check out this interesting article from fuse .
Now in our efforts to keep helping you find new things to love, here are the latest releases of note:
- The Monsanto Years  by Neil Young
Album Rock. Backed by a younger, wilier band, Young rages against all the destructive forces in modern life.
- Freedom  by Refused
Alternative/Indie Rock. On their first album in 18 years, the Swedish punks hit hard but sound as smart and imaginative as ever.
- In Another Life  by Bilal
Alternative R&B. The soul dynamo's most stimulating work yet, produced entirely by psychedelic soul specialist Adrian Younge.
- Broken Into Better Shape  by Good Old War
Alternative/Indie Rock. The Philly-based indie pop duo makes a bid for commercial glory on its fourth studio long-player.
- Malta Bend  by Stevie Stone
Midwest Rap. Kevin Gates, Tech N9ne, and Ces Cru help the St. Louis rapper deliver this excellent biographical effort.
- All Is Illusory  by The Velvet Teen
Alternative/Indie Rock. First album in nine years from this indie pop trio is vast, smart, carefully constructed, and too much for its own good.
- Twin Danger  by Twin Danger
Contemporary Jazz. Sultry, noirish, jazz-influenced debut featuring vocalist Vanessa Bley and longtime Sade saxophonist/guitarist Stuart Matthewman.
- James Horner: Pas de Deux  by Mari Samuelsen and Hakon Samuelsen
Concerto. Horner can hold his own, and listeners who imagine sun-drenched meadows while listening to Pas de Deux will have a very good time with it.
- New Seasons - Glass, Pärt, Kancheli, Umebayashi  by Gidon Kremer and Kremerata Baltica
Concerto. This may not be to the taste of all Glass lovers, but it's an unusual minimalist selection, performed to the Kremerata Baltica's usual sterling standards.
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.
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":
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 
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.
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!
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 .
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)".
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 .
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 .
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:
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 .
- Della Mae  by Della Mae : Grammy-nominated, Boston-based contemporary bluegrass group's self-titled second album of American roots music. An editor's choice at AllMusic.com .
- When the Smoke Clears  by Hinder : Post-grunge paying tribute to hair metal, with a new singer.
- The Traveller  by Rhett Miller : Alternative / Indie Rock is the theme for this sixth solo effort from the former frontman for the Old 97's . Special guests include the Decemberists and R.E.M. 
- The Travelling Kind  by Rodney Crowell  and Emmylou Harris : Americana steeped duets fill this second album from these two longtime friends.
Last week saw some great releases too:
- Wilder Mind  by Mumford & Sons : The third album by this very popular alternative/indie rock group trades in the banjo and fold styels for a more modern rock sound.
- The Waterfall  by My Morning Jacket : Also alternative/indie rock, this is the seventh album from this electic and polished group.
- California Nights  by Best Coast : An AllMusic.com  editor's choice, this is the band's thrid album. (another alternative/indie band).
- The Epic  by Kamasi Washington : Debut album from jazz veteran L.A. saxophonist with a large band, strings, and a choir. Another AllMusic.com  editor's choice. Thundercat is in the mix too!
- Hypnophobia  by Jacco Gardner : A Dutch neo-psychedelic revival.
- Soul Food  by The Word : Blues Gospel supergroup's 14-year in the making sophmore album is an AllMusic.com  editor's choice.
- Fated  by Nosaj Thing : Downtempo electronic music from L.A. beat producer Jason Chung.
- Traveller  by Chris Stapleton : Country-rock debut from the songwriter who wrote hits for Kenny Cheseny and Darius Rucker. Another AllMusic.com  editor's choice.
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