The Friday Five – August 11, 2017

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It’s been a pretty good week for new releases.  We got new tunes from The National, Prawn, Florist, P!nk.  We even got a new track from a favorite of mine, Tori Amos, though I can’t say I’m crazy about the song.  It feels too sterile, too produced, to hit me in the gut the way Tori normally does.  And I suppose you could say the same for the new P!nk track — it is fairly predictable, a standard pop tune.  But her voice is strong enough to pull me in.

If you haven’t had a chance to check any of these songs out, give ’em a listen.  And happy Friday!

The National – Carin at the Liquor Store

Florist – Glowing Brightly

Prawn – North Lynx

P!nk – What About Us

Tori Amos – Up The Creek

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The Friday Five – July 7, 2017

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I’ve been trying to slow myself down a little these days.  I’m spending less time online and more time outdoors.  I’m trying to rush less and pause more and allow time to pass at its own pace instead of urging it forward.  And with this change, I’ve found myself drawn to more soothing music.  I used to require the urgency of punk or good, driving indie rock to get me through the workday.  But these days, I fill my eight hours with a softer sound (with the occasional burst of Sleater-Kinney for the moments that need some electricity).

For this week’s Friday Five, I thought I’d share some of the quieter sounds I go to when I’m trying to stay grounded in the moment.

Frally – “Song Bird”

Sarah Harmer, Bry Webb & Jim Guthrie – “Long Time Before This”

Marketa Irglova – “Point of Creation”

Sufjan Stevens – “Death With Dignity”

Tori Amos – “Twinkle”

The Friday Five – May 20, 2016

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Is it Friday again already? I’ve been listening to a lot of different things this week, but mostly I’ve been listening to Land of Talk after seeing their killer show in Brooklyn last weekend. Since I’ve already posted Land of Talk recently, I’m highlighting some of the other artists I’ve had in rotation this week.  If you dig something you hear, click on the link to the artists’ site and make a purchase! Note: I don’t get anything out of you buying from one of the artists, aside from the pleasure of making someone a new fan of an artist I love.

1.  Little Scream – “Love as a Weapon”

Little Scream opened for Land of Talk at Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn this past weekend. I’d only heard a song or two by them before the show, but was really impressed with their songs and their stage presence. I’d dropped all the hard cash I had on a bunch of Land of Talk merch, so I didn’t have anything left to nab one of the limited edition copies of their new album, “Cult Following,” but you can be sure I’m gonna grab that if I find it while record shopping this weekend.

2.  Tori Amos – “Pretty Good Year”

I’ve loved Tori since I first saw her video for “Silent All These Years” at the tender age of twelve. I never owned any Tori until I got older, but I was always drawn to her music. I’ve been listening to “Under the Pink” and “Boys for Pele” this week, and could highlight any number of songs from those albums, but I decided on “Pretty Good Year” since it’s such a lovely intro for “Under the Pink.”

3.  Jennifer O’Connor – “Start Right Here”

I keep coming back to Jennifer O’Connor‘s newest album, “Surface Noise.” It’s a really solid, beautiful album, and I’ve listened to it at least once a week since I grabbed it at the Neko Case show in Troy. Not only is Jennifer an excellent singer-songwriter, but she has her own record label, Kiam Records, and an accompanying record shop. So basically, she’s living my dream. I have no singing ability, so I have no aspirations of becoming a solo musical artist, but man, I daydream daily about running a label and opening a record shop. Someday…

4.  AroarA – “#14”

AroarA is a Montreal-based duo whose most recent release came out in 2013. Based on the poetry of Alice Notley, “In the Pines” is just an exquisite album. I saw them play at last year’s Sandbanks Next Wave festival in Prince Edward County, Ontario, and they were excellent. I loved getting to see that cigar box guitar in action. I’m hoping they’ll put out another album soon.

5.  Torres – “New Skin”

Torres‘ album, “Sprinter,” was one of my favorites of 2015. Every time I listen, I’m blown away all over again. This song is probably my favorite off the album, though it’s hard to isolate just one standout track when the entire LP is incredibly tight. I’m glad that Mackenzie got some nods from NPR and the like, because she deserves every bit of attention she receives and more. She opened for Sleater-Kinney in December, and then I saw her again at a tiny little venue in Connecticut called The Space, and she does not disappoint live. I’m dying to see what she does next.