Category: Music

Download now: Valentine’s Playlist

By , February 13, 2015

say-anythingNothing says I love you quite like a mix tape.  With a playlist of songs handpicked and shuffled into the perfect order, your sweetie will know just how much and how deeply you care.  Listed here are songs guaranteed bring the love.   Download tracks or create a streaming playlist.   Grab that library card – that’s all you need…

The Very Thought of You, performed by Billie Holiday.  I dare you to find another singer who exudes longing and love as well as Billie…

Open Arms, by Journey.  “Haters gonna hate,” but in my opinion, Open Arms is one of the all-time best power ballads!

Drunk in Love by Beyonce.  Just to make sure your sweetie gets the point, let Queen Bey do the convincing.

At Last performed by Eva Cassidy.  When you think of At Last, I know Etta James is on your mind.  Give a listen to the second best interpreter of this iconic song, Miss Eva Cassidy. So sad both of these lovely songbirds are no longer with us…

Total Eclipse of the Heart, by Bonnie Tyler.  Love likes over the top 80′s production, right?  My sweetie and I go into hysterics every time we hear this song!


I’m not the only librarian who loves love songs! Here are recommendations from some of my esteemed colleagues…

Bryan recommends: Bob Dylan‘s Lay, Lady, Lay.

Jeremy recommends:  ELO‘s (Electric Light Orchestra) Turn to Stone.

Klem-Mari recommends:  Bruce Springsteen‘s I’m on Fire, and Calle 13‘s La Jirafa.


Please share your favorite love songs in the comments!  My Valentine’s gift to you – Bonnie Tyler’s timeless video interpretation of Total Eclipse of the Heart.  You’re welcome.





Record review: Ryan Adams

By , January 30, 2015

Ryan Adams

Ryan Adams

Ryan Adams, formerly of Whiskeytown and formerly known for his wantonly reckless behavior, has a new album. This is his first recording in 3 years, self titled, Ryan Adams.

Ryan Adams was once regarded as the Joyce Carol Oates of American singer songwriters. Three years is a long time for fans  of his sloppily compiled, pitch perfect songwriting to wait. Hallelujah, it was worth the wait and heck, it is winter and listening to Ryan Adams requires a climate that cleanses the soul.

The new album is full of instantly familiar songs that echo back to days of Ryan Adams stomping and stumbling through western North Carolina. There are slight hints of Lindsey Buckingham guitar chords and just when you think you recognize a riff, the lyrics call you back and require you to pay attention. You should always pay attention to Ryan Adams.

This one is available through HOOPLA.

“They don’t make coats for this kind of cold” – Ryan Adams




Popmatic Podcast December 10th, 2014: Best Music of the Year

By , December 10, 2014

Future Islands SinglesThese are the tunes that rocked our world in 2014. No joke – there are pirate songs on this list! Arrrr! Luckily, special guest Sarah shows up to save us from Bryan’s terrible picks. Tune in, turn on, check out – its the best music of the year.


Amanda’s picks
1) G I R L by Pharrell Williams CD | Freegal
2) Mandatory Fun by Weird Al Yankovic
3) Pulses by Karmin

Bryan’s picks
1) Gay Dog Food by Mykki Blanco
2) Shaken-Up Versions by The Knife
3) Cliff Martinez’ film scores CD/DVD | Freegal | Hoopla

Crystal’s picks
1) Singles by Future Islands
2) Metamodern Sounds in Country Music by Sturgill Simpson CD | Freegal
3) Interstellar by Frankie Rose Freegal | Hoopla

Mike’s picks
1) “Rock Steady” by The Bloody Beetroots
2) 1916 by Motörhead CD | Freegal | Hoopla
3) “Veil of Tears” by Beats Antique Freegal | Hoopla

Sarah’s picks
1) Diamonds by Johnnyswim
2) After the Disco by Broken Bells CD | Freegal
3) Language & Perspective by Bad Suns


Amanda’s Holiday Concert at Main Library

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Jimmy Page by Jimmy Page

Badmen, Heroes, and Pirate Songs and Ballads by Dick Wilder

Horrible Bosses 2

Voices by Phantogram

Evil Friends by Portugal. The Man

Mikky Ekko


Transcripts of the show are available upon request.

Book review: Mad World

By , November 14, 2014

madworld-608x812Mad World: an Oral History of New Wave Artists and Songs that Defined the 1980s
by Lori Majewski and Jonathan Bernstein

As a former writer of Duran Duran fan fiction, it’s pretty much a given I’d appreciate this book, which features not only the fab five, but many of my favorite bands from the 80′s.  But even if you enter a rage when Take On Me comes out of your speakers, Mad World will help you understand the events that led up to and influenced the sounds of that decade.

Music fans and journalists Lori Majewski and Jonathan Bernstein interviewed (I’m so jealous!) some of the most notable new wave artists, getting them each to talk about the genesis and recording of their most popular songs. You’ll also read in the artists’ own words tales of the scene, and how some had strong friendships with their fellow new wave bands.   And while we’re on the topic, the authors talk about what new wave actually means.  The band photos provide an instant step back into the 80′s hairstyles and unique fashion sense often parodied and misunderstood.  You’re a fan of mixtapes, right?  Majewski and Bernstein recommend some excellent themed mixtapes: bands with interesting names, songs about science, songs from new groups that grew out of old groups…

I’ve already mentioned Duran Duran is represented; other participants include members of New Order, The Smiths (Morrissey and Johnny Marr were obviously interviewed separately), Tears for Fears, Adam Ant, Devo,  A Flock of Seagulls, and INXS to name a few.  And don’t forget to check our catalog, Hoopla, and freegal when you’re inspired to listen to these bands.

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite songs you may know from the cover versions by Grace Jones, or Trent Reznor and friends, that would be The Normal‘s Warm Leatherette.


CD review: Inside Llewyn Davis Original Soundtrack Recording

By , October 23, 2014

 Inside Llewyn Davis Original Soundtrack Recording

When the Coen Brothers write and direct a film you know two things, you’re going to see a really good movie and you’re going to hear a really fabulous soundtrack. The Coen’s latest film Inside Llewyn Davis does not disappoint.

The film, loosely inspired by the life of American folk singer Dave Van Ronk, “follows a week in the life of a young folk singer as he navigates the Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961.” Oscar Isaac plays the lead character of Llewyn. Not only does Isaac’s do a great job acting he also does an amazing job singing. His voice is soulful and impressive.


Inside Llewyn Davis was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Original Song and an Academy Award for Best Achievement in Sound Mixing.


The moment I finished watching the movie, I ran to the computer to see if the library had the soundtrack….they did … was it worth the wait? Absolutely.




- Karen



The Inside Llewyn Davis Soundtrack is available as a CD and digitally through Hoopla on the library’s website.


You may also like:

Inside Llewyn Davis DVD


Inside Llewyn Davis: the screenplay

By Joel Coen


Inside Llewyn Davis Movie Website





Record Review: Jackson Browne

By , September 19, 2014

Running on Empty
by Jackson Browne

Earlier this week the Americana Music Festival payed tribute to the poet laureate of Rock, & Roll, honoring Jackson Browne with the “Spirit of Americana” Free Speech Award. Previous recipients include Johnny Cash, Steve Earle and Joan Baez.

Mr. Browne is a co-founder of Musicians United for Safe Energy (MUSE),, and the Success Through the Arts Foundation, which provides educational opportunities for students in South Los Angeles. He is also a member of the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame and was the fourth recipient of the John Steinbeck Award.

Now that we have covered the awards, let’s get to the music. The first time, the heartbreak, the deluge, the dreamers, the dancers, you know the early good ones. Then there came the pop ones, the political wake-up calls, the yearning and learning and finally the return to love. None of Jackson Browne’s albums from the past 40 years better reflects the spirit of Nashville than the 1977 release, Running on Empty. Sure, we all remember the load out, the roadies, Rosie, the falsetto, but “phone calls long distance” now knocks us to our knees. The return visit is better than you remember and you may find the listen more than just familiar.

Standing in the Breach is set for release on October 7th.

There were one or two I know that you would have liked a little more but they didn’t show your spirit quite as true…Jackson Browne


The importance of Songstress Kate Bush

By , August 14, 2014

I’ve never met hip hop artist/record producer Big Boi, but I happen to know he and I have at least one thing in common: a love of England’s fierce songstress Kate Bush.  On August 26th, Kate will kick off 22 nights in residence at London’s Eventim, Apollo Hammersmith at a concert event she’s calling “Before the Dawn.”  Tickets sold out in mere minutes.  It has been 35 years since Kate’s first and only tour.  If you’ve never listened to Kate Bush, trust me (and Big Boi) when I tell you she is an artist to cherish.  You’ll be hard pressed to find a singer/songwriter with more passion, insight, bravery, and total commitment to her art.

Kate grew up in the English countryside listening to her older brother’s prog rock records, playing the piano, organ, & violin,  and voraciously reading the classics.  When she recorded her first demo in her teens, Pink Floyd Guitarist Dave Gilmour was one of the first to acknowledge her unique talent.  He acted as an executive producer and guest musician on several of her albums.

Kate’s lyrics have always been inspired by literature and film.  Her first album The Kick Inside included the sweeping and wondrous anti-pop hit song Wuthering Heights, helping create a whole new generation of Bronte fans.  Her second album Lionheart features a song called Hammer Horror, a straight-up shout-out to Hammer Films.

Kate’s album The Sensual World is considered by many fans and critics alike to be her best.  The title track is loosely based on James Joyce’s Molly Bloom soliloquy from Ulysses (loosely based because Joyce’s estate refused to grant permission.)  This is an album filled with lust, love, and life.

Kate’s influence can be heard in the likes of such varied  artists as Bjork, Tori Amos, The Wild Beasts, Joanna Newsome, and Florence and the Machine.  Her songs are often covered by other performers. Beyonce’s little sis Solange Knowles performed  Kate’s song Cloudbusting during her set at the 2014 Coachella Music Festival.

I expect the excitement surrounding Kate’s 22 night concert series will bring her yet another generation of admirers.  Big Boi and I will keep doing our part to sing her praises.  Give Kate Bush a listen, and just try to resist her powerful charms!


Music review: Bob Mould – Life and Times

By , July 29, 2014

 Bob Mould – Life and times

A tremendous, thoughtful, tuneful, just over 36 minute work by Bob Mould – full of bittersweet, longing and often melodic tunes.  I find myself letting it immediately play over in the car as the music washes over me in a comforting way during a somewhat stressful time.

Of course for those of you who remember or dug the mid ’80s independent force Husker Du provided – along with the Minutemen from San Pedro, Minneapolis’ Replacements and the Meat Puppets in their Heyday will know Bob once fronted (and thankfully didn’t blow out his vocal chords!) that seminal band.  Then went on to form Sugar (Copper Blue a highwater mark) and has since put out several generally very impressive recordings.

This one has great songs from the beginning with the title track followed by “The Breach” - a great opening one-two.  I find myself really enjoying snippets of lyrics and the overall, forward blasting yet melodic feel of this recording throughout.  “Mile Marker 17″ is another  gem as is the memorable “I’m Sorry, Baby, You Can’t Stand in my Light Any More”.  The credits: Bob Mould, vocals, guitar, bass, percussion, keyboards, programming; with Jon Wurster, drums. (and very good drumming I might add).  Mr. Mould’s guitar playing is stellar and instantly recognizable as being “his sound” throughout this recording. Great indeed.

Bob has written an autobiography a couple years after this was released (in 2009) and has dealt with a lot of painful issues including the loss of his father and addresses some personal demons here so it’s an emotionally charged album for sure.   The past and present is refracted  through a prism of reality, reconciliation and the need to move forward again. Many well thought out lyrics abound when you can get them…

Also available through Hoopla so check it out or stream it; you won’t regret it.


Music review: Sara Evans

By , July 8, 2014

Slow Me Down
By Sara Evans

Back in the day – oh way way back In the Year 2000 - I was a Sara Evans fan. I think I listened to her Born to Fly album 9 bazillion camillion times – which is a lot. Then she had all that drama surrounding her dirty divorce and other court battles, and I kinda wrote her off as “one of those musicians” who get buried by a batch of bad press and let their personal lives swallow their careers.

So when her latest album came out this year, my first thought was “she’s still recording?” I thought Evans had just married her football player and was happy to drift into oblivion. But I’m so glad she didn’t because this album is so good. It’s Born to Fly good. Just as I’ve been sitting here listening to it while I write, I’ve heard my favorite track -”Put My Heart Down”- like, 5 times.

If you’re interested, and you should be, we have the CD you can check out, or you can download/stream it from freegal. It’s less than 40 minutes long and worth checking out one day when you’re bored at work. I will say that it’s not super country, but more like what Shania Twain would be recording if she weren’t spending her days partying at Caesar’s in Vegas. It’s more poptastic (not to be confused with Popmatic). Evans may have named her album Slow Me Down, but it’s anything but slow. (Plus, the first single “Slow Me Down” came out on my birthday! It’s a sign.) Take a listen, but you better stretch your toes first, because they will want to be tappin’.

Happy listening…

:) Amanda

A Book and Some Tunes Girls Like

By , April 22, 2014

Record Collecting for Girls
By Courtney Smith

Ok, if you were stranded on a desert island and could only listen to five albums for the rest of your life, what would they be? Or list the Top 10 Rock Songs with Flute (hello, Jethro Tull)? Anyone who has seen High Fidelity or spent 5 minutes in a real record store has either played this game or heard it played – usually by boys. Author Courtney Smith used to work at MTV, and she thinks girls should get to play too. So pick your favorite category: Where Have All the Girls Bands Gone?, Making Out with Romeo and Juliet, or The Smiths Syndrome. Hmm…I think I’ll take Rock N Roll Consorts for $200, Alex.

At the end of each section, Smith has assembled her own topic specific playlist and they span quite a few diverse genres. This book is as fun for exploring her playlists as it is for reading. In the spirit of Record Collecting for Girls, I put together my Top 5 Guilty Pleasures of Right Now (they may change in five minutes). You can listen to all of these courtesy of NPL – some in CD form, some from freegal. Here they are, in no particular order:

Hall & Oates – Private Eyes (freegal)
When I was little, I used to think this song was “Privatize. We’re watching you.” Think about it…

Phil Collins – Sussudio
To this day, I still have no idea what this song is about. It’s a catchy tune though. O oh.

Miley Cyrus – Party in the USA
You can thank Pitch Perfect for this one.

Lady Gaga – Do What You Want
I hate the message of this song, but it’s very peppy.

Cake – The Distance (freegal)
I love the singer’s deadpan delivery. It’s like he’s reading the Nightly News.

Think I’m geeky? Think you can do better? Ok, Mr. or Ms. Smarty-Music Pants, post your Top Five Guilty Pleasures in the comments and see what the world thinks.

Why should we listen to new (or old) music? Because it’s there.

Happy Collecting…

:) Amanda

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