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

Well last week I was a bit distracted lining all my ducks in a row for my piano studio recital picnic last Sunday. It was gorgeous, my students are fun and amazing, and it was worth it. But here we are again, another Friday, another refrain, and another week of amazing music being released. Like what?

Like everything on this list and more probably because it is pretty much impossible to catch it all. bam. Sneak attack list. You might notice the lack of listening to certain letters of the alphabet... 1. there is a lot of music again. 2. I kept getting entranced by an album and listening to 90% of it before moving on to the next.

Now let's get some highlights, you know, the big ones. Leonard Cohen, the writer of great things including "Hallelujah," released Popular Problems  to celebrate his 80th birthday. Let's take care of the rest of the L's while we're at it: pop star Lenny Kravitz, Strut; singer-songwriter Lori McKenna, Numbered Doors; country star Lee Ann Womack, The Way I'm Livin'; and if we just back up one letter, we've got country superstar Kenny Chesney out with The Big Revival. Jennifer Hudson seems to be taking a page from Jennifer Lopez with the title of her new album, JHUD. Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga teamed up to release Cheek To Cheek. Electronic music's Aphex Twin is finally back after over a decade with Syro. Imelda May with a strong rock pop release in Tribal. Oh wait, and John Mellencamp is back with Plain Spoken.

On the alternative or underground or playground side of it all, you know, those bands that easily fill a festival stage yet somehow aren't household names. Alt-J released their sophomore try, This Is All Yours. Jeff Tweedy and son join together with Tweedy, Sukierae. Sondre Lerche released Please. Perfume Genius with Too Bright. Finally Julian Casablancas + The Voidz released Tyranny because any longer and we would've had that entire album in singles. 

A Random Smattering of Recommendations From This Week

Christian Bland and the Revelators, The Unseen Green Obscene- Trippy rock

Cruel Hand, The Negatives - in case you just need to rock it out.

The Well; Samsara- I must have some pent-up something in me this week because the distorted guitar and heavy drums thing is really sitting well with me.

Danielle Woodrow, Turning - a little singer-songwriter for you this week.

Fickle Friends, For You - A little 80s heavy but in the good way like Haim. Not as complex as that though. So different but similar to Haim, got it?

Jack + Eliza, No Wonders - One of my weaknesses are female and male vocals paired up well, and this is definitely that. Playful, they have a good chemistry together with just a light accompaniment behind them. Give it a try if you are a She & Him fan.

DieAlps!, DieAlps! - Lighter fare that's got potential for multiple listenings.

Keys N Krates, Every Nite - to get your night/weekend started off right with some dancing and booming bass.

LIGHTS, Little Machines - a poppy little album

Goat, Commune - If you like Asian psychedelic rock of the 60s and always wanted to a new interpretation of that, here you go, this band from Sweden. Huh.

Aeges, Above & Down Below - Foo Fighters-ish in the good way.

Lighter and synthy these go together I think

Beach Beach, The Sea

Ennui, Telepathic Beat

Erasure, The Violet Flame

Astronauts, Etc.; Sadie

The Drums, Encyclopedia

Well that's some to start out with anyway. I have to go deal with some tomatoes now because it's that time of year and all. Chopping, sauteing, steaming, freezing, got to get the bounty into the freezer. And then we're off to go pumpkin picking for our annual engagement pumpkin because picking out pumpkins is way more fun than just getting a ring one year. Happy listening!