Staff Picks: Music

Best of 2012 - The Mixtape

I love the annual “Best of 2012” lists. As a huge music fan, I pour over these lists and compare what I picked up over the year to what is actually on the list. KPL staff have been posting our lists each of the past few years and I hope you have had a chance to check out my favorite CDs (The list only contains CDs in KPL’s collection.) In my opinion, 2012 was an incredible year for music! What impressed me the most is that one-third of the list contained debut albums. Below is a “mixtape” of my favorite tracks from each album on the list.

“The Way We Move” by Langhorne Slim

“Hold On” by Alabama Shakes

“Pretty Girl From Michigan” by The Avett Brothers

“Clear Eye Clouded Mind” by Nada Surf

“The Crane Wife 1, 2, and 3” by The Decemberists

“Sixteen Saltines” byJack White

“Mountain Sound” by Of Monsters and Men

“Flapper Girl” by The Lumineers

“North Side Gal” by JD McPherson

“Emmylou” by First Aid Kit

“Lost Without You” by Rhett Miller

“Duquesne Whistle” by Bob Dylan

“Here in the Deadlights” by Brendan Benson

“Lakeside View Apartments Suite” by The Mountain Goats

“Take A Walk” by Passion Pit

Book

langhorne slim and the law
langhorne-slim
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Kevin King

Cat Power: Sun

If you haven’t given this a spin because somebody mentioned a synthesizer, you are missing out. Sun is the ninth studio album from Cat Power, and for fans it has been a long six years since The Greatest, her last album of original work. Sun is definitely unique musically, but it is still every bit Cat Power. In many ways it feels lighter, but doesn’t lack any of the depth fans have come to expect. More than anything it is one of those albums that will sneak up on you, so you have to give it the chance.

Book

Cat Power “Sun”
cat-power-sun-cover
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SusanL

Meet the Wailin' Jennys

We have a great music collection here at KPL.  There are so many wonderful singers and musicians that don't may not make it onto the radio but whose music is fantastic.  Time and again, I stumble upon a new group one way or another and happily discover KPL has their CD available for me to check out.  One group that I have really appreciated the last few years and have introduced my family to is a folk group called the Wailin' Jennys.  The first time my mom heard one of their CDs she asked me who they group was.  I told her it was the Wailin' Jennys to which she replied, "But…who is Waylon Jennings singing with?"  I explained that it was "wailin'" as in "cryin'" and the plural of the name Jenny…though none of the members are named Jenny. 

The group started when the trio came together for a onetime evening performance at a guitar shop in Canada.  They were such a success they joined forces and have been producing great music since.  The group members are Nicky Mehta, Ruth Moody, and Heather Masse, each of which comes with a distinct training and sound.  We have three of their CDs at the library:  their first CD 40 Days, Firecracker, and Bright Morning Stars which came out in 2011.  I also recently discovered that the library owns The Garden  by band member Ruth Moody.  I checked this CD out as well and thoroughly enjoyed it.

I have favorite songs that I find myself listening to over and over and over again on each CD.  You get an idea of the Wailin' Jennys tight harmony in their first song on 40 Days, their debut CD, titled One Voice.  This CD also has a great cover of Neil Young's Old Man and my very favorite Wailin' Jennys song Ten Mile Stilts.  I find Starlight and Apocalypse Lullaby on Firecracker hauntingly beautiful.  Their style seems a little jazzier for Bright Morning Stars.  Mona Louise and Cherry Blossom Love get stuck in my head very easily and after listening to them I find myself tapping my toes and singing them in my head for hours.  As for Ruth Moody's CD, I like every song…a lot.  On this week after Thanksgiving, I am grateful for the wonderful CD collection we have at KPL and the great music I have listened to because of it.

Music

40 Days
10470112
Elysha Cloyd

Bargains from the Basement: Margaritaville

The cover of Jimmy Buffett’s Meet Me in Margaritaville says it’s “the ultimate collection.” I’m not sure if that’s true or not (he’s already had a “greatest hits” collection, a boxed set, and a slew of live albums), but it’s a decent representation of his work nonetheless, including nearly a full disc’s worth of new (2003) recordings – what he calls “a new coat of paint on some old favorites.” It’s cold and snowing outside (I’m pretending it’s not). Still, the Friends Bookstore was packed to the rafters with happy (and thrifty) “Black Friday” shoppers who were wisely taking advantage of the annual gift book sale. So I guess that makes Meet Me... a worthwhile collection for days just like this, when a good book and a trip to Margaritaville is in order. Thanks, Friends.


friends-logo-50.jpg

Consider this little series my own version of “Flea Market Finds,” an ongoing report of the latest bargains unearthed in the lower level of Central Library. What a treasure we have (quite literally) in the Friends Bookstore. When you can grab high quality books, music, and movies for little more than pocket change, life is good. And all the proceeds go to a great cause, too. So shop often; you never know what you’ll find. And stay tuned… I’ll let you know what I find!

Book

Meet Me in Margaritaville
jimmy-buffett-margaritaville-cover-160
/friends/bookstore/
Keith_1

Bargains from the Basement: Part 6

While the evolution of popular music is (and has been) a continual process, several distinct time periods stand out as important milestones; the ragtime era and the advent of early jazz, for example. Gunther Schuller’s monumental studies of the development of jazz are regarded as masterworks. The first volume, Early Jazz, was first published in 1968 and was heralded by The New York Times as “definitive.... A remarkable book by any standard... unparalleled in the literature of jazz.”

My Friends Find this week was volume two of Schuller’s remarkable journey, The Swing Era: The Development of Jazz 1930-1945, an era that I admittedly know relatively little about (though I’m most anxious to learn). Written two decades after the first volume, The Swing Era explores the lives and musical significance of the many great bandleaders of the time; Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Count Basie, and the great soloists; Art Tatum, Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young. This was a fantastic find that I can’t wait to read. 


friends-logo-50.jpg

Consider this little series my own version of “Flea Market Finds,” an ongoing report of the latest bargains unearthed in the lower level of Central Library. What a treasure we have (quite literally) in the Friends Bookstore. When you can grab high quality books, music, and movies for little more than pocket change, life is good. And all the proceeds go to a great cause, too. So shop often; you never know what you’ll find. And stay tuned… I’ll let you know what I find!

Book

Winter Wonderland
9780195071405
/friends/bookstore/
Keith_1

Bargains from the Basement: Part 5

I have this weird passion for obscure, offbeat Christmas recordings. Bing Crosby and Paul McCartney are all well and good, but how about Jimi Hendrix playing “Little Drummer Boy?” Well, at least you’re on the right track. Or how about Robert Fripp doing “Silent Night” ala Frippertronics (yes, I mean the old school red flexi disc)? You’re getting there. Or… how about The Residents’ original “Santa Dog” single?? Now, that’s what I’m talkin’ about. The weirder, the better.

But truth be known, the lighter new agey type of ambient instrumental holiday stuff… you know, solo guitar, solo piano, acoustic ensembles… is one of my many guilty pleasures (don’t tell anybody, ok?). I have lots, but there’s always room for more. So that’s where this week’s Friends Finds come in. Of just that sort, I managed to grab a fresh copy of Ottmar Liebert’s Poet & Angels (1990) on Higher Octave. And what would the acoustic holidays be without the stuff on Windham Hill(?), so I snagged a couple of seasonal samplers that I didn’t have… A Winter Solstice Reunion (1998) with all the label regulars… Will Ackerman, Darol Anger, Liz Story, etc.; and Winter Wonderland (1999), a more mainstream but still likeable compilation with David Arkenstone, Alex de Grassi, Tuck & Patti, and others. At a buck apiece, I couldn’t go wrong.

And just to satisfy my need for “the road less traveled,” I also grabbed a copy of the Roches’ We Three Kings (1994) on Rykodisc. (Actually, it’s not weird at all… the Roche sisters are amazing.) And the best part is, there are plenty more where those came from (in fact, there’s a whole cart full!). So stock up, the holidays are coming!


friends-logo-50.jpg

Consider this little series my own version of “Flea Market Finds,” an ongoing report of the latest bargains unearthed in the lower level of Central Library. What a treasure we have (quite literally) in the Friends Bookstore. When you can grab high quality books, music, and movies for little more than pocket change, life is good. And all the proceeds go to a great cause, too. So shop often; you never know what you’ll find. And stay tuned… I’ll let you know what I find!

Book

Winter Wonderland
winter-wonderland-cover-160
/friends/bookstore/
Keith_1