Feature Fridays: Nuggets

Feature Fridays: Nuggets

Welcome to Feature Fridays! Every week, the AU music library staff will be highlighting a different CD or artist from our collection.

This week, Student Assistant Emily Langlois will review Nuggets: Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era.

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Today I’d like to feature one of the many box sets the Music Library has to offer: Nuggets – Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era. This 4-CD collection features a wide range of rock n’ roll in the late 1960s and early 1970s. With each volume striking a different tone, the listener goes on an adventure through the groovy lyrics and punchy drum kicks.

 

Volume 4 is my personal favorite because it contains catchy tracks like “Get Me To The World On Time” by the Electric Prunes and “Open Up Your Door” by Richard & The Young Lions. These songs are upbeat yet romantic and make me want to boogie on a sunny day. Volume 1 contains the “original Nuggets”, as this collection has apparently been on turntables for a number of decades. My favorite part of this set is that it features artists who aren’t too famously knownbefore listening to Nuggets, the only artists I could name from the psychedelic era were big stars like Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, and The Grateful Dead.

 

The information booklet inside of the box set is almost as interesting as the CDs themselves. It includes explanations of each song, the legacy of the Nuggets collection, and a deeper look into music in the psychedelic era. There is also beautiful art included in the booklet as well as the album covers.
If you’re interested in the history of rock n’ roll or the 1960’s-70’s, I definitely recommend checking out Nuggets. It’s authentic, unique, and informative!

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Feature Fridays: STRFKR

Feature Fridays: STRFKR

Welcome to Feature Fridays! Every week, the AU music library staff will be highlighting a different CD or artist from our collection.

This week, Student Assistant Jake Tracey will review STRFKR’s self-titled album.

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One of the most strange and provocative indie/electronic band names also so happens to produce some equally strange but fantastic indie/electronic music! STRFKR (Pronounced Starf**cker) is a group straight out of Portland, Oregon who hit the music scene by storm back when they began in 2008. Their debut self-titled album is one of my favorite CD’s in our collection and is a stellar album from start to finish.

The album is quite diverse in terms of songwriting and style. The opening track titled “Florida” starts the album off strong with a great synth drum opening leading into the full band coming in with electric guitars and bass. The sound of their guitars almost sounds like a keyboard which gives the band a unique placement different from any other indie/electronic band. One song to note from this album is “Rawnald Gregory Erickson the Second” which is a highlight for me from this album. One of STRFKR’s most famous songs, it features beautiful dueling guitars, a catchy bass line, and simple lyrics which causes the song to remain in your head for weeks! The closing song for the album titled “Isabella of Castile” is one of the chilliest and most beautifully composed songs taking a more shoegaze approach to electronic music. The guitars have a beautiful dreamy vibe to them making the melody and lyrics echo beautifully.

If you haven’t given this album a listen, make sure to come by and give it one! I promise you will not be disappointed!

Feature Fridays: Carrie and Lowell by Sufjan Stevens

Feature Fridays: Carrie and Lowell by Sufjan Stevens

Welcome to Feature Fridays! Every week, the AU music library staff will be highlighting a different CD or artist from our collection.

This week, Music Library Coordinator Cameron Betchey will review Carrie and Lowell by Sufjan Stevens.

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I selected this CD from the collection not just for its singular merit, but also for the evolution of one artist’s journey that it represents. Sufjan Stevens is one of the most innovative and unique artists working today. He is unafraid to bend genres and experiment with new styles of music that one would not expect based on his past work. Each of his albums is completely different from the last and yet they each are as thoughtful and filled with the same emotional depth and purpose. Carrie and Lowell is no exception. Each track on this album is overflowing with emotion and meaning. The general mood of this album could be described as sentimental and reminiscent. Stevens reflects on his past while writing this music. It is in many ways a return to the style of his earlier albums The Avalanche and Illinois, a quieter more thoughtful sound than that of electronic-based The Age of Adz.

 Stevens wrote this album as a tribute to his mother and stepfather, Carrie and Lowell. The album is a reflection on his childhood and on the life of his mother Carrie, who lived with schizophrenia and bipolar. She was also a drug addict and abandoned Stevens when he was a year old. This subject matter alone can explain the heavy emotion displayed in each song on this album. One that stands out is the track Fourth of July that describes the death of a loved one in an extremely intimate and beautiful way. It is a song that the listener could easily reflect upon his or her own life and experience. This is a common theme in all of Steven’s music, no matter the style or genre.

Along with receiving critical praise, this album has a been able to reach a new audience for Stevens. Given his recent Oscar nomination, his popularity and that of this album will surely increase and expand his base in a new way.

Come by the Music Library to check out CDs from Sufjan Stevens, Neutral Milk Hotel, The Cinematic Orchestra and more!

Feature Fridays: Altar Boyz

Feature Fridays: Altar Boyz

Welcome to Feature Fridays! Every week, the AU music library staff will be highlighting a different CD or artist from our collection. 

This week, Camille Cote will review Altar Boyz (music and lyrics by Gary Adler and Michael Patrick Walker).

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Altar Boyz is basically, what happens when you combine an era musical with a Disney Channel boy band, and that is why it was one of my favorite things to listen to in the music library last semester. We have a huge variety of musical theatre CDs in the music library including many virtually unknown musicals, and so far, this is the most enjoyable “obscure” musical I have listened to.

Honestly, if you are having a rough day, listen to this musical and enjoy a bit of a laugh. The musical satirizes both Boy Bands and Christian Rock bands. A particular favorite of mine is “rhythm in me” which is very reminiscent of the “Boyz in Motion” from That’s so Raven, so honestly, you cannot go wrong. I highly recommend giving this a listen!  

The AU Music Library is home to musicals and boy band CDs alike, such as Book of Mormon and No Strings Attached by N Sync. Come check out our selection, or browse using the link below:

https://subjectguides.library.american.edu/c.php?g=174982&p=1155529

Feature Fridays: Lemonade by Beyonce

Feature Fridays: Lemonade by Beyonce

Welcome to Feature Fridays! Every week, the AU music library staff will be highlighting a different CD or artist from our collection. 

This week, Elisabeth McCarren will review Lemonade by Beyonce. 

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Beyoncé has won 22 Grammys throughout her career, making her the most nominated woman in Grammy Awards history. She is one of the most influential people in the world and uses her platform to speak about feminism and equality.

Lemonade is Beyoncé’s most critically acclaimed work to date, as well as the most-streamed album in a single week by a female artist in history. The album is emotional for Beyoncé as it addresses her husband Jay-Z’s possible affair. In a review of the album, AllMusic writer Andy Kellman wrote, “the cathartic and wounded moments here resonate in a manner matched by few, if any, of Beyoncé’s contemporaries”.

Throughout you feel as though you’re on a journey along with her. The album begins with the subtle and intriguing song “Pray You Catch Me” and transitions into the upbeat single “Hold Up”. My favorite song on the album is “All Night”. The vocals are amazing and the lyrics are incredibly meaningful. Anyone who has gone through heartbreak can relate to the emotions she evokes through her songs.

Lemonade is also accompanied by a visual album, with music videos for each song connected by stunning scenes and spoken word poetry. Come by the music library to check out Lemonade and other Beyonce albums like Bday, I Am… Sasha Fierce, and 4.

Feature Fridays: Funeral by Arcade Fire

Feature Fridays: Funeral by Arcade Fire

Welcome to Feature Fridays! Every week, the AU music library staff will be highlighting a different CD or artist from our collection. 

This week, Dan McCahon will review Funeral by Arcade Fire. 

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Funeral is the debut album of Arcade Fire, a band made up of many many musicians. The album is comprised of 10 tracks. The first is “Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)” a song that builds on itself with churning guitar. With vocals by Win Butler that sit on top of that growing wave of sound, the song propels itself forward, leading into higher vocals and ending in guitar melodies. It transitions into a quick drum beat alongside catchy accordion, accompanied again by Butler’s sometimes tinny voice.

Despite its name, the album is fairly upbeat and fast-paced, the overall sound seems like something you’d find in a street festival but with a tinge more roughness with the added electric guitars. The songs move quickly. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t moments of slow, more heavy processions.

“In the Backseat” is the last song on the album and is more processionary, trudging along and reflective, similar to a funeral. However, it picks itself up, erupting into strings and guitar and vocals, drowning out any feelings of nostalgia. The song stays true to message for Arcade Fire: keep going. Loss is painful, but dwelling on it doesn’t help. Arcade Fire wants to enjoy the memories, but they also want to stride forward into new experiences.

Stop by the music library to browse CDs by Arcade Fire, The Strokes and many more!

 

Feature Fridays: Babel by Mumford & Sons

Feature Fridays: Babel by Mumford & Sons

Welcome to Feature Fridays! Every week, the AU music library staff will be highlighting a different CD or artist from our collection. 

This Friday Matt Francisco will be reviewing Babel by Mumford & Sons.

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Mumford & Sons are no stranger to energetic folk-rock. Touring almost non-stop since their inception and road-testing new music along the way, they have amassed immense support for their ability to illustrate the spirit of live performance within each song of their three records.

Babel, their sophomore effort, collects the smashing success of Sigh No More and rebuilds it into a more polished sound. With its soaring vocals, spirited banjo-plucks, and stomping drum hits, the album roars from one track to the next without a rest. Even the most tame of them all, “Lovers’ Eyes”, builds up with a huge crescendo and ascends to a boisterous ballad. “Babel”, “I Will Wait”, and “Hopeless Wanderer” tie it all together and offer some of the most interesting moments of the record.

No matter what kind of music you like, you are sure to appreciate the frenetic sound that Mumford & Sons have built over the years. As said by Rolling Stone critic Will Hermes, “The fact that these guys are able to do big rock catharsis with humble tools is part of the thrill” (Hermes, p.2). Stop by the Music Library and check out our copy of Babel to try out some of their music!