Check It Out Category: Music

Getting Down with The Get Down

Get Down poster image“You hear that? That is life. And destiny. That is the get down.”

Part two of Netflix series The Get Down recently dropped, and though it isn’t yet available through the Library, we know some of you are already primed to lose yourselves in the music, the style, the art, and the drama of the Bronx in the late 1970s.

The fascinating world of early hip hop is one born of frustrations, passions, and even activism. To experience more of this electric era, try one of these:

Hip Hop Family Tree vol 1 cover

 

Hip Hop Family Tree 1: 1970s – 1981 by Ed Piskor

The early days of hip hop have become the stuff of myth, so what better way to document this epic true story than in an explosively entertaining, encyclopedic history presented in graphic format? Piskor’s exuberant cartooning takes you from the parks and rec rooms of the South Bronx to the night clubs, recording studios, and radio stations where the scene started to boom. The Hip Hop Family Tree is an exciting and essential cultural chronicle for hip hop fans, pop-culture addicts, and anyone who wants to know how it went down back in the day.

Wild Style DVD cover

 

Wild Style, directed, produced, and written by Charlie Ahearn

A perfect point of contrast to a series that recreates the emergence of hip hop is one that was created during the era in question! Wild Style is a 1983 docudrama that celebrates the colorful lives of teens who live in the South Bronx (sound familiar?). There they are seen break dancing, creating graffiti art, and listening to raucous rap. One focus is on the figure of Zoro, who likes to spray-paint subway cars, another reference point from The Get Down in the character of Dizzee, played by Jaden Smith.

Adventures of Grandmaster Flash book cover

 

The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash: My Life, My Beats by Grandmaster Flash with David Ritz

In the 1970s Grandmaster Flash pioneered the art of break-beat DJing–the process of remixing and thereby creating a new piece of music by playing vinyl records and turntables as musical instruments. In this powerful memoir, Flash recounts how music from the streets, much like rock ‘n’ roll a generation before, became the sound of an era, as well as his own rise to stardom, descent into addiction, and ultimate redemption.

 

Get Down soundtrack cover

The Get Down: Original Soundtrack from the Netflix Original Series

Whether you’ve seen the series and can’t let it go or you want to experience it vicariously, the series soundtrack will satisfy your yen. Featuring both original songs and era classics, the line up includes artists such as Miguel, Christina Aguilera, Michael Kiwanuka, Janelle Monae, and Donna Summer, as well as the talented cast. Consider this your hot summer soundtrack!

Staff Pick: Southeastern by Jason Isbell

Picture of EvanOn Southeastern, singer/songwriter Jason Isbell has crafted soulful, catchy songs with lyrics of dust-coated poetry about finding warmth in love when the world offers none, “Cover Me Up”, watching a friend die, “Elephant”, and a rollicking barn-burner about barely surviving an addiction,“Super 8”. It’s an album that proves the famous quote about how a great country song is only “three chords and the truth.”

Top 5 Reasons Hamilton Lovers Should Use Hoopla

Hoopla is a website and app that you can use to instantly borrow books, movies, music, ebooks, television episodes, and comics with no added cost. Luckily for Hamilton lovers, there is a wealth of material to fully invest into your current (or new) Hamilton obsession!

This season Hoopla has in store for you…

Simply Christmas album cover#1: The sweet holiday sounds of Aaron Burr

You may not have realized you wanted a Leslie Odom Jr. Christmas album until you listen to his 2016 release, Simply Christmas and you realize the season wouldn’t be complete without it. Odom’s silky jazz voice has a calming effect, setting the for curling up in a Library chair as you watch the snow fall and the cars drive past. For Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson lovers, it includes a cover of “Winter Song.”

 

 

hamilton-mixtape album cover

#2: A mashup of the 18th and 21st century

The Hamilton Mixtape has an all-star mashup of recording artists coming from all different genres, including Sia, Usher, Alicia Keys, K’NAAN, and Kelly Clarkson. There’s a healthy mix of keeping some of the songs close to the original Broadway recording and completely re-imagining them. Plus, there are demos of Valley Forge and Cabinet Battle No. 3 by Lin Manuel-Miranda included.

 

 

the-federalist-papers book cover#3: Original work by Alexander Hamilton

Has your interest in American history been peaked? Take advantage and start with The Federalist Papers which was rapped about in “Non-Stop.”

“Alexander joins forces with James Madison and John Jay to write a series of essays defending the new United States Constitution, entitled The Federalist Papers. The plan was to write a total of twenty-five essays, the work divided evenly among the three men. In the end, they wrote eighty-five essays, in the span of six months. John Jay got sick after writing five. James Madison wrote twenty-nine. Hamilton wrote the other fifty-one!”
“Non-Stop” by Lin Manuel-Miranda

 

aristotle-and-dante-discover-the-secrets-of-the-universe book cover

#4: 7.5 hours of Lin Manuel-Miranda reading to you

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is story of two boys and how their friendship helps them to discover more about themselves and where they fit in the world. The combination of this award-winning story by Bejamin Alire Sâenz and Lin Manuel-Miranda’s voice is an incredible duet.

 

 

And last but definitely not least…

Hamilton#5: The Original Broadway Cast Recording

For the person who still hasn’t gotten a copy of the cast album or listened to it entirely, we’re here for you. Hamilton: An American Musical is available 24/7 to download and listen to at you’re leisure!

 

 

 

For more suggestions to feed your Hamilton obsession no matter how big or small it is, email us at readers@mppl.org or stop by the Fiction/AV/Teen Services desk!

Music: French Fries and Champagne by The Hot Sardines

The Hot Sardines French Fries and Champagne album coverThe Hot Sardines’ third album French Fries + Champagne is aptly titled. Catchy lyrics, swinging brass, and uplifting beats gives this album all of the accessibility of french fries and all of the bubbliness of champagne. This mix of jazz, blues, and big band also features a new arrangement of “Running Wild” from the film Some Like it Hot by Marilyn Monroe, the song “When I Get Low, I Get High” and “People Will Say We’re in Love” from Oklahoma played as a tango.

A strength of this album is The Hot Sardines’ versatility. As a result, checking it out can act as an excuse to host a dinner party and dance around or a reason to relax and be wrapped in the warm gritty romantic sounds.

 

Movies and TV: Sound of Noise

Sound of Noise DVD coverCall this the Drums of Anarchy. A group of brilliant percussionists conspire to unleash a masterpiece of performance art on an unsuspecting public. “Music for One City and Six Drummers” is comprised of four movements, each carried out as a comic caper in a different venue. First, they invade a hospital operating theater, then a bank. Taking the space hostage, they create carefully-coordinated rhythms using whatever is at hand, be it a paper shredder, a bulldozer, or a celebrity patient, and then exit in a quick getaway. Their hallmark at each scene is an old-school metronome, and the inspector assigned to bring order to their chaos is taunted over and over again.

A Swedish film entry (and prizewinner) at multiple festivals, Sound of Noise is audacious fun to the beat of a shockingly unique set of drums.

Staff Pick: True Sadness by The Avett Brothers

Picture of JennyThe Avett Brothers’ newly released album True Sadness shows off the continued evolution of the band’s blended sound of indie rock and folk. While the band of four address the natural sadness experienced throughout life, there is more upbeat rhythms and hope than the album title may suggest!

Favorite song: “Ain’t No Man”
Favorite lyric: “Call the Smithsonian I made a discovery, life ain’t forever and lunch isn’t free.”  (from “Smithsonian”)

Also available on Hoopla for instant check out with a MPPL card.

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Staff Pick: The Time by The Time (a side project by Prince)

Picture of JohnRumor has it that The Time’s eponymous debut album is effectively a Prince solo side project:  written, produced and performed by the legendarily prolific artist, with Morris Day’s vocals the only other contribution.  True or false, this slice of outstanding pop-funk can easily stand alongside the Purple One’s Dirty Mind/Controversy-era peak.

New Music Spotlight: Salt as Wolves by Jeffrey Foucalt

Salt as Wolves album coverJeffrey Foucalt intertwines country and blues in his newest album, Salt as Wolves. The twelve songs are all sung by Foucalt and his even-toned voice, which mixed with repetitive lyrics culminates into a soothing exploration of life, death, and relationships. This 2015 album feels like the listener is stepping into a one way conversation, as Foucalt’s songs address various people and moments in his life: his mom in regards to their relationship falling apart, his friend on a death, and even the listener to say, “everything is going to work out.”