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Music: Danse Macabre on Favorite French Spectaculars

Favorite French Spectaculars CD cover‘Tis the time when the days shorten and the nights chill, when trees put on their autumn costumes and each step crackles like bonfire. Whether or not you are one to celebrate All Hallows Eve, the change in season calls for a little mood music, and Camille Saint-Saens’ classic “Danse Macabre” will spook your imagination. Featured on the recording Favorite French Spectaculars, with Leonard Bernstein conducting the New York Philharmonic, the piece was inspired by folk legends about the revels of the dead. The sharp summons of a solo violin is answered with a swirling symphonic waltz, and the two themes ebb and flow in playful, haunting harmony punctuated by clattering xylophone. Lilting winds give way to frantic dance, and you’ll find yourself bewitched by a fantastical music experience.

By Cathleen, Readers' Advisor on October 20, 2014 Categories: Music

Music: The Goat Rodeo Sessions

Cover of The Goat Rodeo SessionsBest listened to outside or going on adventures, world class musicians Yo-Yo Ma (cello), Chris Thile (mandolin), Stuart Duncan (fiddle), Edgar Meyer (bass), and guest vocalist Aoife O’Donovan blend genres to create The Goat Rodeo Sessions. With its fresh sweeping strings, this bluegrass/classical quartet will make any room feel expansive. The album is as diverse as its musicians, featuring upbeat tracks like “Quarter Chicken Dark,” haunting melodies in “Franz and the Eagle,” and quick intricate pieces showing off the individuals’ technical abilities, such as in “Where’s My Bow.” While the artists come alive in the album a one-night-only live concert, The Goat Rodeo Sessions Live, is also available to check out.

By Jenny, Readers' Advisor on September 18, 2014 Categories: Music

Music: Twenty Twenty: The Essential T Bone Burnett

Twenty Twenty music CD coverEven if you don’t know the name T Bone Burnett, you’ve probably experienced his cinematic compositions. From the music-as-character sounds of True Detective to the award-winning soundtrack of O Brother Where Art Thou?, Burnett’s earthy soulfulness is a testament to Americana in all its moods. This is an artist who played with Bob Dylan, produced Alison Krauss, and co-wrote “The Weary Kind” which collected a Golden Globe, a Grammy, and an Academy Award.  Evoking a back-porch gritty ease similar to the worlds of William Faulkner or Carson McCullers, Twenty Twenty: The Essential T Bone Burnett (2006) is roots music that speaks eloquently to the human condition. By turns rousing, mellow, witty, and earnest, it’s a collection ideal for an end-of-summer jamboree.

By Cathleen, Readers' Advisor on August 18, 2014 Categories: Music

Music: Tony Award Winners

Step onstage with the newest Tony Award winners, and take your pick of musical comedy, rock opera, and jukebox hits. The spotlight shines on these original Broadway cast recordings — all of which are available in the Library collection.

Gentlemans Guide to Love and Murder CD coverHedwig and the Angry Inch CD cover

Best Musical: A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
** also winner for Best Direction, Best Book, and Best Costume Design

Best Revival of a Musical: Hedwig and the Angry Inch
** also winner of Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role (Neil Patrick Harris), Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role (Lena Hall), and Best Lighting Design

Beautiful CD coverBridges of Madison County CD cover

Best Sound Design of a Musical: Beautiful — The Carole King Musical
** also winner of Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role (Jessie Mueller)

Best Original Score Written for the Theatre: Bridges of Madison County
** also winner of Best Orchestrations

By Cathleen, Readers' Advisor on July 17, 2014 Categories: Awards, Music

Movies and TV: The Punk Singer

The Punk Singer DVD coverKathleen Hanna, mother of the riot grrrl scene of the 1990s, is the titular subject of this biographical documentary that blends archival concert footage and old and new interviews. The Punk Singer is an engaging and provocative portrait of the artist. Hanna’s rise from feminist spoken word poet to leader of one of the decade’s most explosive and important bands is bumpy, exciting, and often inspiring. You’ll hear about her friendship with icons like Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon and the late Kurt Cobain of Nirvana, as well as her marriage to Beastie Boys‘ Adam Horowitz. But most compelling is her harrowing account of being diagnosed with Lyme Disease—an illness that threatened to end her career.

By MPPL on May 29, 2014 Categories: Movies and TV, Music

Music: The Only Place by Best Coast

The Only Place album coverIf the seemingly interminable polar vortex and belated start of spring has you pining for sunshine and summer tunes, check out The Only Place, the second album by neo-surf rock duo Best Coast. The entire thing is a love song to California, to beaches and babes, and to the beauty of young love and heartache. Sing along with Beth Cosentino as she declares “we wake up with the sun in our eyes…” to help jump start your own magical summer.

By MPPL on May 15, 2014 Categories: Music

Music: All People by Michael Franti and Spearhead

All People album coverSongs of longing, songs for the socially active mind, songs of joy – Michael Franti and Spearhead bring them all on their latest album, All People. Franti began his music career as an angry punk, but through the years, the anger has turned to even deeper attention to lyrical detail, giving hope against – rather than only railing at – the wrongs of the world. Is it reggae? Is it rap? Is it pop? Whatever it is, All People’s celebratory, optimistic songs want to make you smile. Most people know Michael Franti and Spearhead through their last album’s smash hit “Say Hey (I Love You)”, but there is much, much more to explore in this upbeat, empowering band.

By Readers' Advisor on April 30, 2014 Categories: Music

Staff Pick: Baby’s in Black by Anne Bellstorf

Colleen staff picks photoIf you are a fan of The Beatles, then you will definitely want to pick up the graphic novel Baby’s In Black.  Working closely with Astrid Kirchherr, Stuart Sutcliffe’s girlfriend, Bellstorf packs an emotional punch with black-and-white drawings that detail “the lost Beatle’s” short but impactful time with the band.

By Cathleen, Readers' Advisor on April 8, 2014 Categories: Books, Music, Picks by Colleen, Staff Picks

Staff Pick: Living Proof by Buddy Guy

Donna S staff pick photoIn 2012, blues guitarist and singer Buddy Guy was honored by the Kennedy Center for outstanding contributions to American culture. Buddy Guy was a member of Muddy Waters’ band, house guitarist at Chess Records, and a pioneer of Chicago blues. Check out the album Living Proof to hear his signature sound.

By Readers' Advisor on March 11, 2014 Categories: Music, Picks by Donna, Staff Picks

Movies and TV: The Returned

Returned DVD coverA teenage girl clambers up a steep embankment and pulls herself over the guardrail of a twisty mountain road. She has awoken from a blackout, and the last thing she remembers is being on a school trip — a trip that ended in a tragic bus crash a full four years earlier. The Returned, a French series which emerges as a masterwork in eerie storytelling, purposely uncoils the accounts of those who mysteriously appear as if they have never been away. Inspired by the film Les Revenants, this fits easily in the current trend of stories which explore the dead returning, but none other does so with the same lyrical melancholy, the effect of which is enhanced by expert framing of tableaus and a haunting Mogwai score.

By Cathleen, Readers' Advisor on March 10, 2014 Categories: Horror, Movies and TV, Music, Mysteries/Thrillers/Suspense