The Friday Refrain: A bit of what's new in music

Happy Friday everyone! The last weekend before Christmas - often a time of scrambling. Time to wrap up the presents, do some last minute shopping and squeeze in a few more holiday parties. Or maybe you don't do all that, well, don't worry a bit for each of you. Let's start off with what's happening in music this week and then I'll indulge in a little Christmas list after that.

Ho ho ho - it's the List!

Do you hear what I hear?... Not much? Yeah, me either. It's the end of the year, reviewers have already wrapped up their year end best of lists and tied a bow on it. Why bother releasing new albums? Well, because someone out there wants something new and there's always that chance you could hit it really big for last minute gift ideas. So who took the chance? Well, Nicki Minaj released The Pinkprint. While it starts out slow, it starts to pick up a bit later in the album. Charli XCX released Sucker and this might be a late entry but it is doing a pretty good job of tearing its way onto my favorite albums of 2014. I especially like the tracks, "Break the Rules" and "Famous." D'Angelo dropped off an early Christmas present for everyone with his first album in 14 years, Black Messiah. And that's really the news for this week. Not much, like I said.

Beyond the big three, the new single from Laura Marling's upcoming release is definitely worth a listen. I also dug the track "Spring" from The Heartbeat Band's Sailor Heart.

Now that this week is done, let's deck the halls with some Christmas music!

A list of some of the new holiday releases genrefied!

Well, I was going to include a list of my favorite Christmas albums, but I just realized that I need to go and identify what some of my favorites actually are first. That could take a bit. So perhaps I'll just sign off for this week and post a special follow-up if I get my ducks in a row on that one. So Happy Listening and to all a good night!