The Friday Refrain: What's New In Music

The onslaught of music is slowing a bit but the Christmas albums have definitely started…

New Music

We’re just going to put all the Christmas releases by classic artists into this right here: Eric Clapton, Happy Xmas; Engelbert Humperdinck, Warmest Christmas Wishes; Michael McDonald, Season Of Peace: The Christmas Collection (this one is a compilation with at least one new track) ; and The Monkees, Christmas Party. I think Blues Traveler is pretty much full countryish on Hurry Up & Hang Around. Back from cancer, Elvis Costello & The Impostors release Look Now today. Multi-faceted songwriter Kurt Vile returns with Bottle It In. St Vincent joins the ranks of musicians reimagining their works with MassEducation. Christian pop star TobyMac releases The Elements. Indie rockers Young The Giant have their 4th full length album, Mirror Master out today. Tom Morello released The Atlas Underground. Famous tenor Plácido Domingo teams up with Pablo Saínz Villegas on Volver. Rockers Nazareth are back with Tattooed On My Brain. The Kinks’ member Dave Davies released a bunch of previously unreleased work on Decade. Alt Country duo The Watson Twins’ new album is the aptly named DUO. phew.

Should I Bother?

As per tradition, I will put together all of the Christmas albums and review them around Thanksgiving, but otherwise:

  • Dave Davies: If you’re a fan of him or The Kinks,I think you’ll find this interesting and perhaps some songs you’ll add to your Davies/Kinks playlist

  • Elvis Costello: I really like listening to him playing piano, honestly. He’s one of those that I love to pick apart like Amanda Palmer and Ben Folds. Very glad that he was able to make this album.

  • Kurt Vile: This is a grooving album for Kurt Vile, rather than a hard rocking one or very folksy one. Though there are folksy elements and moments in this album. He’s a prolific musician with a lot of good stuff.

  • Blues Traveler - I bet if you’ve been inclined to see them in person or listen to any of their recent releases, this is album for you to check out

  • Young The Giant: It really feels like they’ve gelled together. I think this is a strong album from the indie outfit.

  • St. Vincent: It’s St. Vincent playing her album acoustic on the piano, so it’s interesting for sure. I wasn’t as into this album as previously discussed on Pint Notes and I wonder if I would be completely obsessed if I liked that album more.

  • Nazareth: Fans of the band, you have a new album!

  • Tom Morello: I’m really stretching my listening time so I’m getting a listen beyond the K. Flay track (!!!!), but the collaborations on this album are crazy - Gary Clark Jr., Portugal. The Man, Bassnectar, Big Boi, Killer Mike, I think there’s a Mumford on here. Weird. This is definitely my first listen when I get some me time in the next lifetime.

    Actually I’m really enjoying the next track on the Morello album, and I’ve made it known that I’m more of a Da La Rocha fan than Morello, so I’m as surprised as you. Anyway, there it is. I didn’t get a To Listen 5 because I thought we’d be recording a Pint Notes last night but that didn’t happen, so I’m hoping to get a bunch of recommendations up in the next few days. There’s been a lot of stuff worth listening to, with a handful of jazz albums I’m excited about too. Anyway, check out the playlist for a sample or two off my Shall I Bother and Happy Listening!