Music

Discover new artists, genres and events.

Music life growing stale?  Always the last to hear about new bands?  Your Library is here to help. The artists and albums highlighted below have a few things in common:

  1. They are recent additions to the Library’s collection

  2. They are (for the most part) lesser-known artists

  3. Many have upcoming or recent tour stops in the metro-area

We hope curiosity leads you to explore some of these hidden gems; perhaps you will even be moved to attend an upcoming show.  Click on the album art to check availability or get on the wait list.

Have a suggestion? Let us know what you’d like to see added to our collection.  Suggest a Purchase


Kelis – Food

For Kelis’ first album in four years, the “Milkshake” soulwoman made a bold choice for producer: indie-rock whiz David Sitek (of TV on the Radio), who added lush layers of live instrumentation. Food combines retro flavors with modern touches, from ballads with cooing background vocals (“Floyd”) to giddy, hook-laden R&B jams (“Breakfast”). “I didn’t want a period piece,” says Kelis. “But I wanted something with the emotion of the things I fell in love with growing up.” (review from Rolling Stone)

Click on the album art to check library availability and to place a request.


Arcade Fire – Reflektor

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“Do what you want with the Arcade Fire: Cherish or disdain them, define yourself by or against them, laugh with or at them. But they make you feel something; they make you dosomething. As the 21st century’s preeminent (North) American arena-rock band, trafficking unapologetically in Big Ideas and Grand Gestures (often while wearing Ridiculous Costumes), they simultaneously thrill their fans and troll their detractors with astounding zeal. And now they’ve gone to Haiti, danced at Carnival, and made a whole dub/rara/dance-punk record about it, so beat that with a stick” (finish this review at Spin).

Click on the album art to check library availability and to place a request.


Broken Bells – After the Disco

bbatd “A lot has changed since James Mercer formed Broken Bells four years ago with producer Brian Burton, aka Danger Mouse. Broken Bells’ roots can be traced to when Mercer lent his voice to the squiggly oddity “Insane Lullaby”, a track that landed on the Burton/Mark Linkous project Dark Night of the Soul. You can also draw a line from Mercer’s previous album with the Shins, Wincing the Night Away, which moved away from the spiky guitar pop of their first two star-making records towards moodier, more impressionistic territory. A subtly excellent album that has benefited from the passage of time, Wincing the Night Awaynonetheless sounded like a statement of defeat from a songwriter who had experienced major success earlier in that decade” (finish this review at Pitchfork).

Click the album art for availability or to place a request.


 

Grouplove – Spreading Rumors

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“One of the best neo-post-punk bands to emerge from the indie rock landscape in the wake of MGMT’s success, Los Angeles’ Grouplove brought catchy, buoyant melodicism to their 2011 debut, Never Trust a Happy Song. The band’s sophomore follow-up, 2013′s Spreading Rumours, is an equally kaleidoscopic if more focused album that retains all of the touchstones that made their previous release so engaging. We still get the dual lead vocals of guitarist Christian Zucconi and keyboardist Hannah Hooper, as well as the infectious percussive rhythms via drummer Ryan Rabin, guitarist Andrew Wessen, and bassist Sean Gadd. Produced by Rabin (the son of Yesguitarist Trevor Rabin), Spreading Rumours features a set of supremely catchy songs that walk the line betweenthe Flaming Lips’ bubbly psych rock and Smashing Pumpkins’ ’90s alt crunch. However, where Smashing Pumpkins built their sound around yearning, often darkly emotional lyrics, Grouplove make joyful, positive-minded rock. These guys are permagrin fruitboots who play with such frenetic optimism you can hear the smiles in their voices. As they sing on “Hippy Hill,” “I’d rather be the dying than the rising sun/I’d rather leave my spirit for everyone” and “I’d rather be a hippie than a hipster.” When the group’s democratic bubblegum pop free-for-all works, as on the anthemically ballsy single “Borderlines & Aliens” and the rambling “What I Know,” the results are euphoric, making their joy not just compelling but infectious” (review from All Music).

Click the album art for availability or to place a request.


Haim – Days Are Gone

haim“Before Danielle and Este Haim were riding motorbikes in the sun, catching fish with their bare hands, or making potential suitors weep with heartache, they were Valli Girls. The Los Angeles sisters played guitar and bass, respectively, in the tween-pop quintet that was assembled and signed to major label Columbia in 2004, with 1980s soft-rock linchpin Richard Marx attached as a creative contributor. The results were decidedly mixed: there was the acoustic melodrama of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants soundtrack cut “Always There in You”, the cruelly ironic “Born to Lead” (“My independent voice will have its say”), and most notoriously, “It’s a Hair Thing”, the dog whistle-pitched theme song for the short-lived animated TV show “Trollz” (read more of  this review at Pitchfork).

 

Click the album art to check library availability and visit the band’s Myspace page to listen to some songs


 

The Naked and Famous – In Rolling Waves

naf“New Zealand’s the Naked and Famous made a big neon-colored splash in 2010 with their full-length debut album,Passive Me Aggressive You. That album showcased the group’s catchy, dance-oriented sound that mixed gigantic analog synths with the group’s dual male/female lead vocals from guitarist Thom Powers and keyboardist Alisa Xayalith. The group’s 2013 sophomore effort, In Rolling Waves, still features Powers and Xayalith, but finds the band experimenting with a more moody, somewhat serious tone that makes room for some welcome acoustic guitar. Part of this move toward a more organic sound was purportedly due to the bandmembers’ desire to record an album they could more easily play live. Which isn’t to say the keyboards are gone. On the contrary, there are still plenty of fuzzy, old-school synthesizers all over the album” (finish this review and sample some songs over at All Music).

Click the album art to check library availability.


The Avett Brothers – Magpie and the Dandelion

abro“The new Avett Brothers album kicks off with “Open-Ended Life”, a knockout country rocker that features Scott Avett’s banjo burples, Seth Avett’s twang-guitar blang sounding straight out of Uncle Tupelo’s basement, a harmonica that blows in like a holdover from the Ozark Mountain Daredevils, and a zippy fiddle coda that anchors a rousing final minute. However, if such a barnburning opener gets anyone’s hopes up that the Avetts have made their countrified Midnight Ramble album, the rest of the record will cool those jets in a hurry. The other ten songs on Magpie and the Dandelion play like a linear move from last year’s The Carpenter, and for good reason: the majority of these tunes come from those same recording sessions, and nearly everything here reflects the Avetts’ songwriting instincts of late to slow things down to a craw”l (finish this review at Pop Matters). Click the album art to check library availability.

 

You can catch the Avett Brothers live at the Peabody Opera House on February 20, 21 and 22.


 

The Head and the Heart – Let’s Be Still

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“Four years after the self release of the Head and the Heart’s self titled debut, the Seattle sextet returns with their greatly anticipated sophomore release, Let’s Be Still. Two years of relentless touring after the release combined with 10,000 units moved directly from the back of the van and industry chatter to influence regional powerhouse Sub Pop to take on the group as clients and release The Head and The Heart under their own brand label. Success met success with this venture. The Sub Pop exposure led to high visibility touring slots, and the album continued to render healthy sales figures. There is very little reason to wonder why. Four years of touring covering roughly 40 minutes of music meant H&H were an act not to be missed at any regional summer mega-festival. Their self-titled album could be considered a bit lopsided in that its strong suits more than make up for tracks that shouldn’t be described as filler so much as middle of the road. The Head and the Heart might have been better labeled the Hot and the Cold. Where they work, they kill, but they aren’t without faults” (finish this review at Pop Matters). Click the album art for library availability.

Visit the band’s Myspace page if you would like to sample some songs.


 

Royal Teeth – Glow

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“Royal Teeth, a six-piece pop anthem spectacular from New Orleans, is a glee club on steroids. More specifically, a choral society with talented musicians parading as a hip new indie band. Glow, the debut album, is a rock pop turbulence of tunes ranging thematically from happiness, adventure, and heartbreak.

Every song is catchy. Every song. Percussion and choral arrangements take the cake on tracks like “Hold Me” and the life-loving single “Wild”. You’ll even find yourself humming the pleading and desperate “Pick Up The Phone” at the grocery store. Lead vocalists Gary Larsen and Nora Patterson have great chemistry and it keeps the flow consistent, though I prefer Patterson’s angelic crooning over Larsen’s Darren Criss a la Glee style of performance. The Patterson-led “We Can Glow”, (potentially my favorite song) is the type of percussion and keyboard driven ditty that calls for a road trip. “Mais La” (also Patterson-led) is a great finale; sprinkled with coming of age realizations and youthful excitement” (finish this review at Plumspotter). Click the album art to check library availability.

Visit the band’s Myspace page to sample some tunes.


 

The Head and the Heart

hh “The debut by this Seattle indie-folk group suffers slightly from an abundance of niceness: Even the ostensibly edgy moments, as in the regret-filled “Honey Come Home,” resolve with jaunty piano and declarations of love. But the Head and the Heart sell their rootsy sincerity – file alongside the Avett Brothers, Mumford & Sons, Low Anthem – with irresistibly hooky harmonies. Occasional dips into sappiness (“Sounds Like Hallelujah”) are mitigated by unstoppable sing-alongs (“Ghosts”). You can practically smell the campfire” (Review from Spin). Click the album art to check library availability or to request your copy.

Visit the band’s Myspace page to sample some music. 

 


 

Patty Griffin – American Kid

pg “With a bit of juke-joint loose blues strumming rising from a National guitar, Patty Griffin leans into “Don’t Let Me Die In Florida” with a tortured cry on what becomes a steamy track with a deep, surging pocket. A swampy exhortation, it is Appalachia gone gator with the songwriter’s fevered enjoinder given further urgency as her soprano swings from wide-open wail to silken surrender. Death and displacement are certainly themes on American Kid. A more aggressive acoustic offering from the woman who rocked hard on Flaming Red, yet haunted on the spare folk of Poor Man’s House,American Kid creates its lean immediacy by enlisting the North Mississippi Allstars to strip down to their most organic (finish this review at Paste). Click the album art for availability and/or to request a copy.  Listen to some music at her Myspace page or catch her live at the Pageant on 10/14.


The Neighbourhood – I Love You

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“Los Angeles outfit the Neighbourhood seek crossover success with their 2013 Columbia debut, I Love You.. Over the course of 11 tracks and 46 minutes of music, the Neighbourhood fail to lock into one definitive style, straddling elements of indie-rock, pop, hip-hop, and R&B. The ends of the quintet’s “eclectic” means is mixed as opposed to being triumphant. The songwriting generally trends over-simplistic, coupled with an identity crisis which too often undoes or underwrites the band’s good ideas. Because of a lack of focus in some respects, I Love You. ends up falling short too often” (finish this review at Pop Matters).

Listen to some of the band’s music on the Myspace page.


 

Sick Puppies – Connect

sp“Following the 2011 acoustic EP ‘Polar Opposite,’ Sick Puppies return with their latest full-length album ‘Connect.’ On the new disc, the band’s hard rock roots can definitely be heard, but the effort also features some alt-rock and pop sensibilities. First garnering U.S. attention with the 2006 single ‘All The Same,’ Sick Puppies upped the ante with their 2009 album ‘Tri-Polar.’ It spawned four hit singles: ‘You’re Going Down,’ ‘Odd One,’ ‘Maybe’ and ‘Riptide’ (finish this review at Loudwire).   Click the album art to check availability and/or place a request.  You can sample some of the band’s music on their Myspace page.



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