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

Happy Friday everyone! Outside the birds are singing, the drills are drilling and big machines are tearing up the road - it's a beautiful day in the neighborhood... for headphones. I wanted to get a picture of the big claw framed in my window, but by the time I found my camera, they had moved on. Which was pretty disappointing. It looked like a huge claw/digging thing was coming to call upon my doorstep. Anyway - what's going on in the world of music you ask? A good bit, actually.


Sharon Van Etten released Are We There this week, They Might Be Giants released a compilation of the last few years called Idlewild: A Compilation, Powerman 5000 had Builders of the Future, and it's the official release for Neil Young's A Letter Home. If you haven't read about A Letter Home, you should do that. It's pretty awesome. Basically, Jack White has this little booth where you can record a song at his record shop - so Neil Young used it to make an album. We've had the album for two weeks, sitting there next to the record player, and still haven't dove in yet. Maybe tonight's the night. Let's see... Who else? Oh yes, Mariah Carey with Me. I Am Mariah: The Elusive Chanteuse and moe. is out with No Guts, No Glory.

Need a pop fix? Cher Lloyd with Sorry I'm Late

Need a new boy singer to swoon over?  Austin Mahone released The Secret

A bit of twang to start your day off? Try Zoe Muth, World Of Strangers

Imagine Dragons type rock-pop? Reuben and the Dark, Funeral Sky

And now I'm going to get long form...

Mainly this week - Clear Plastic Masks and their first full-length, Being There. Back in November they released a little EP and I was hooked after hearing "Baby, Come On." The song's bluesy drive and slow builds are wonderfully constructed and executed with a wanting vocal to bring it all together. So I was pretty excited to see that their full-length would be on my list for this week but I was worried. I didn't want to give it the full listen and realize it was just the EP songs I hearted. So I listened. Once. Twice. Thrice. More if I had had the time. I wouldn't say that it's the best thing since string cheese, but it's a really solid album. So far it's been good while playing board games, blaring it in the car as I careen down the highway with windows down, and with my headphones on. "Baby Come On" is definitely the strongest song on the album. Being There starts strong with "In Case You Forgot" and continues with "Pegasus in Glue" delivering an amazing jam at the end, "Dos Cobras" really showcasing the keys, and "Shakedown" bringing the dirty rock. The album plays with a forceful drive that also knows how to hang back and chill out for awhile before launching back into the rock, wrapping it up and kicking you back out. This just might be my album for the summer.

Let's just end with a quick run through of the Liked and To Listen lists.

Also Liked:

Eureka California, Crunch

Marty Friedman, Inferno (especially the track with Rodrigo y Gabriela on it)

Close LobstersKunstwerk in Spacetime

Gazelle Twin, "Anti Body"

Worthless, Greener Grass

Anansy Cissé, Mali Overdrive (especially if you liked Bombino's acoustic work)

Dusted Lux, Neverended

Zoe Muth, World of Strangers

Yonatan Gat, Iberian Passage

And Still on the To-Listen list for the weekend:

Hundred Waters, The Moon Rang Like A Bell

Lil Rob, R.I.P. Recording in Progress

The Wind-Up Birds, Poor Music

Verma, Sunrunner

Tristan Horncastle, A Little Bit of Alright

Vacation Club, Heaven Is Too High

Trash Talk, No Peace

Spearmint, News From Howhere

Softfocus, Welcome Back

Spanish Gold, South of Nowhere - One of the dudes if of MMJ and Spanish Gold is playing the Triple Rock at the beginning of June with opener Clear Plastic Masks, by the by.

Little Barrie, Shadow

Oh sweet heavens, it's lunch break for the worker people. I'm going to turn off the music and roll around in the near-silence of it all. (Not that I really mind the noise, but I appreciate the silence except for that truck idling in front of the house.) Enjoy your weekend and happy listening!

  Friday Refrain is a weekly post regarding what new releases have caught my ear for the week. I try to compile a pretty comprehensive list of releases of the week and see what is available for me to listen to on the web. This is just my non-scientific, highly-subjective, randomly-listened-to list of stuff from the week. Oh, and I don’t always listen to lyrics or look at album art/music videos, so appropriateness is left up to the listener