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What We're Listening To

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What We're Listening To

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This machine

Dandy Warhols (Musical group)


The Dandy Warhols' searching, contemplative songs have always been a tantalizing yin to the band's brash, sarcastic yang, but it wasn't until This Machine that they devoted most of an album to their thoughtful side. Judging from how well these songs work, it was long overdue; like Earth to the Dandy Warhols, this is one of the band's most consistent sets yet.

Suggested by Dawn


Smith, Patti.


On Banga, Smith marries together her various forms of literary expression with rock and pop in an iconic assemblage. Her collaborators are (mostly) familiar: guitarist Lenny Kaye, drummer Jay Dee Daugherty, bassist Tony Shanahan, guitarist Tom Verlaine, her children Jackson and Jessi, and guitarist Jack Petruzzelli. Italian band Casa del Vento and Johnny Depp also appear. The album is saturated with poetry, sung or spoken -- sometimes both. Its themes range from a non-didactic reflection on environmental crisis, the dominion of art as man's greatest gift to the divine -- as well as its own species -- homages, elegies, and love songs, all offered with authority and tenderness.

Suggested by Dawn in Teen Services

Vinyl Cafe stories

McLean, Stuart, 1948-

CD 791.447 MCL2

OK, so it's not music, but it's a fantastic recording. If you like stories and love to laugh, pick up this two-CD set. Stuart McLean's weekly radio show, The Vinyl Cafe (on KUOW FM Sunday afternoons from noon to 1:00), includes a weekly tale about the (mis)adventures of a Canadian family. Led by dad Dave and mom Morley, the family's foibles are recounted in good humor. The last story in the set, "Polly Anderson's Christmas Party" has particular resonance at this time of year.

Recommended by Nancy in Collection Development

Halcyon digest [sound recording]



I don't know what to say about this extremely interesting album. Here is what Pitchfork said: "Halcyon Digest is a record about the joy of music discovery, the thrill of listening for the first time to a potential future favorite, and that sense of boundless possibility when you're still innocent of indie-mainstream politics and your personal canon is far from set. In revisiting that youthful enthusiasm, Deerhunter brilliantly rekindle it, and the result meets Microcastle/Weird Era (Cont.) as the band's most exhilarating work to date."

Suggested by Dawn in Teen Services

Greatest hits [sound recording]

Green, Al, 1946-

CD M GRE1135

An all-killer-no-filler compilation of sublime gospel-tinged soul, this disc is packed end-to-end with classics, from upbeat floor-fillers like "Tired of Being Alone" and "Love and Happiness" to the elegant melancholy of ballads like "Call Me" and "You Ought To be With Me."

Recommended by Rob at Stanwood Library.

Unity [sound recording]

Young, Larry, 1940-1978.


This superb '65 set from organist (5 years before his participation in Miles Davis' legendary "Bitches Brew" sessions) Young is stellar hard-bop with an occasional left turn into more avant-garde, experimental territory. Features Elvin Jones on drums (moonlighting from the John Coltrane band), and trumpet and tenor soloing (from Woody Shaw and Joe Henderson, respectively) that goes from swinging to soulful to abstract, and back again.

Recommended by Rob at Stanwood Library.

The ArchAndroid [sound recording]

Monáe, Janelle.

CD M MON2256

"'The ArchAndroid' is an 'EMOTION PICTURE' brought to you by Janelle Monáe and the Mad Minds of the Wondaland Arts Society. The star-studded featured cast includes the legendary Big Boi of OutKast, renowned poet Saul Williams, psychedelic dance-punk troupe Of Montreal, punk prophets Deep Cotton, and the Wondaland Arch Orchestra."

Some of the freshest and fun music I've heard in a while!

Suggested by Dawn

The bluegrass diaries [sound recording]

Lauderdale, Jim.


The Bluegrass Diaries picks up where Bluegrass left off allowing Lauderdale to indulge in his passion for intricate picking and foot stompin' with his friends. The album includes Jesse Cobb on Mandolin, Richard Bailey on Banjo, Jay Weaver on bass, Cody Kilby on guitar and Aaron Till on fiddle as well as many other special guests. On The Bluegrass Diaries Lauderdale blends bluegrass chops with his signature turn of phrase. At root, the album is a metaphor for Lauderdale's entire career; switchblade-sharp, honest and starkly American.

If you enjoy bluegrass, you will love this album!

Suggested by Dawn.

The sidewinder [sound recording]

Morgan, Lee, 1938-1972. cmp prf


A superbly swinging hard bop session from December '63, and one of the best Blue Note albums of the 1960's. While Morgan's soulful trumpet is center stage for all tracks, the backup players (Joe Henderson on tenor, Barry Harris on piano, Bob Cranshaw on bass, and Billy Higgins on drums) are fantastic as well. Harris's solo on "Totem Pole" is particularly fine.

Recommended by Rob at Stanwood Library.

The best of Louis Jordan [sound recording]

Jordan, Louis, 1908-1975. prf


This great compilation collects the very best of Jordan's swinging (and often hilarious) Decca-label sides from the 1940's and 1950's. One of the great unsung forefathers of rock and roll, Jordan was a primary influence on - among many others - Chuck Berry and B.B. King (who has recorded an entire album of Jordan songs).

Recommended by Rob at Stanwood Library.

Bebel Gilberto [sound recording].

Gilberto, Bebel.


Gilberto's 2nd album (from 2004) combines a warm, jazz-inflected Brazilian pop with sophisticated electronica. Bossa Nova for the 21st century.

Recommended by Rob at Stanwood Library.

Valleys of Neptune [sound recording]

Hendrix, Jimi. prf


Great compilation of previously-unreleased material from 1968 and (mostly) 1969, detailing the gradual transformation of Hendrix's sound from the psychedelia and blues of his Experience-era albums to the jazzier, more soulful sounds of his later recordings.

Recommended by Rob at Stanwood Library.

Happy trails [sound recording]

Quicksilver Messenger Service


Great 2nd album by these kings of the 60's San Francisco ballroom scene. Particularly recommended is their amazing interpretation of Bo Diddley's "Who Do You Love" (which filled up an entire side of the original LP), which prominently features the stinging, metallic guitar of the late John Cipollina.

Recommended by Rob at Stanwood Library.

The complete OKeh sessions 1952-'55 [sound recording]

Big Maybelle, d. 1972.

On Order

Maybelle's raw, gutsy r&b vocals - by turns aggressive, celebratory, and surprisingly vulnerable - are on full display in this fantastic collection of her mid-50's recordings for the Okeh label.

Recommended by Rob at Stanwood Library.

The exciting Wilson Pickett [sound recording]

Pickett, Wilson.

CD M PIC6336

Pickett's second album (from 1966) is superlative soul. This is an especially fun album as it mixes the more familiar hits ("Land Of 1000 Dances" and "In The Midnight Hour") with some less familiar material (the jaw-dropping "Ninety-Nine and a Half (Won't Do)" is a favorite of mine) and some excellent cover (great versions of Don Covay's "Mercy Mercy" and Robert Parker's "Barefootin'").

Recommended by Rob at Stanwood Library.

We're only in it for the money [sound recording]

Zappa, Frank.


One of my favorite Zappa/Mothers albums, this is a viciously witty send-up of the Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper" album and late-60s hippie culture in general. This is also one of Zappa's more accessible albums - it's not quite as aggressively experimental as some of his other albums. A great place to start for those new to Zappa.

Recommended by Rob @ Stanwood Library

Solo [sound recording] : songs my dad loved

Skaggs, Ricky.


A delightful collection of classic bluegrass songs, performed with Skaggs' usual heart and talent, and great musicians collaborating.

Recommended by Dawn @ Mountlake Terrace Library

Rubber soul [sound recording].

Lennon, John, 1940-1980.


More from their classic "middle period", with John's sardonic "Norwegian Wood" and nostalgic "In My Life" -- this one shows them leaving their moptop era behind.

Recommended by David

Revolver [sound recording].

Lennon, John, 1940-1980.


Freed from having to perform live, the Beatles experimented more with arrangements, and this CD shows them stretching out, with the chamber music of "Eleanor Rigby" and the early psychedelia of "Tommorrow Never Knows", along with such good-time songs as "Got to Get You Into My Life" and "Good Day Sunshine". (Oh, and note the punning title: you see, kids, when this was an LP, it was played on a turntable...)

Recommended by David

Beatles for sale [sound recording].

The Beatles


Touring non-stop made it difficult to write new material, so this one is almost half covers. Still, you can't argue with such quality songs as "Eight Days a Week" and "I'm a Loser".

Recommended by David

The best of Rosa Passos [sound recording].

Passos, Rosa. prf


Despite the fact that this is a hodgepodge of Rosa tracks from throughout her career, there's a consistently relaxed feel to this collection of samba and MPB.

Recommended by David

Amorosa [sound recording]

Passos, Rosa.


Diana Krall, watch your back! Brazilian music isn't known for its powerhouse vocalists, so Rosa Passos' delicate murmur is perfect for this romantic collection, and it's a treat to hear her cover some of the same songs that Diana Krall has made her fortune with.

Recommended by David

Merriweather post pavilion [sound recording]


It's been quite a while that a CD made me sit up and take notice like this one. Because I'm a geezer, I've been listening to music since they recorded on shellac, so the influences I can hear run the gamut from the Beatles and the Beach Boys to My Bloody Valentine and even My Morning Jacket. What I find so appealing is that all these combine in new ways, and you never know what'll bubble up into the mix next.

Suggested by David

Song for my father [sound recording] : (cantiga para meu pai)

Silver, Horace, 1928-


I got into Horace Silver in a backwards way; listening to "Song for My Father" on a Blue Note anthology, I thought "Pretty cool that old guy slipping in a Steely Dan reference!" Then I read that Silver recorded the track in 1964... If you listen to "Rikki Don't Lose That Number" by Steely Dan, the first few seconds are a direct lift/tribute, and rightly so, it's a great jazz album.

Recommended by David

Preludes for piano, books 1 & 2 [sound recording]

Debussy, Claude, 1862-1918.


While many composers wrote "pure music", Debussy never shied away from painting specific pictures with his melodies, and some of his most ethereal are in this collection.

Recommended by David

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