All posts tagged "music"

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“We’re just a million little gods causing rainstorms, turning every good thing to rust.”


If you haven't heard Arcade Fire's Funeral yet, then I think it's time you find yourself a Funeral day that doesn't necessarily involve dead bodies but can involve crying (True story. The album is deep stuff.).


The library categorizes the album as alternative rock music, which I guess it falls into; but in my heart, Funeral was categorized under the Awesome label. Yes, in case you couldn’t tell, I’m still more than mildly infatuated with the album. It’s my favorite of more recently released music albums (because in the end, can any thing really compare to Bon Jovi?), so it gets huge recommendations from my corner.


I was studying to music when something caught hold of my ears.


It was this song: (In case you're wondering, the man who looks like plastic is actually David Bowie.)


The band sings with so much energy and so much passion, it would be offensive not to really sit down and listen to their message. So grab a cup of coffee and find somewhere cozy, because the moment you get lost in their metaphors is the moment you can have a little more faith in the direction the music industry is going.


And if you've already heard Funeral, then I guess you can get the next Arcade Fire albums at the library (for reference, Pitchfork rates Funeral at a 9.7:

  • Suburbs (2010) Rated by Pitchfork as an 8.6: "[Suburbs] focuses on this quiet desperation borne of compounding the pain of wasting your time as an adult by romanticizing the wasted time of your youth."
  • Neon Bible (2007) Rated by Pitchfork as an 8.4: "On Neon Bible, the band looks outward instead of inward, their concerns more worldly than familial, and their sound more malevolent than cathartic"

Dance Me To the End of Love


If you miss out on the Leonard Cohen concert on Dec. 5th in Oakland, not to worry. We’ve got plenty of cds to fill your ears with his sonorous voice and high quality songwriting. His career as a musician and poet has spanned several decades, and is still as vibrant as ever.

  1. The Essential Leonard Cohen
  2. Live in London

We also have the documentary on his life and music, which have inspired many other performers: I'm Your Man.


Personal favorites of mine are the songs “A Thousand Kisses Deep,” “Closing Time,” and “Hallelujah” (which has been covered by many other musicians, most notably Jeff Buckley on his debut CD Grace.

Potato Head Blues


cover of book The Young Louis Armstrong on RecordsEver heard Louis Armstrong and his Hot Seven playing Potato Head Blues? Ah yes, let’s talk about the perfect example and undeniable power of early American jazz of the 20th Century.  Interested in hearing it? Well, you should be, dear listener*. 


We carry a multitude of formats from standard CDs to hipster-worthy vinyl for those of you who still spin records on the turntable.


This piece of music from 1927 defines so much about the genius of the young Louis Armstrong and has been hailed as one of the most perfect recordings of jazz ever made, which, when you finally get around to listening to, well, hopefully you’ll understand the praise. To paraphrase Woody Allen’s character Isaac in the 1979 film Manhattan, it’s one of the reasons that life is worth living. The image, however, is from a book in our collection. It might be worth a look too, if not a listen.*

Holiday Music Courtesy of the Library!

During December, I am quite content to listen to holiday music all month long.  On the radio after a while, the same songs seem to be played over and over and my patience with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Jingle Bell Rock wears thin.  Every year I do seem to stumble on a great holiday album that includes new titles I'd never heard or revisions of old classics. 


As a child I cherished the Chipmunks album I had!  I never grow tired of "Christmas Don't Be Late" from Christmas with the Chipmunks!


When I was in college, Windham Hill came out with the first in a series of New Age holiday albums.  A Winter's Solstice is great to play during a holiday party - instrumental versions of holiday favorites.  Songs of Joy and Peace by Yo-Yo Ma and Friends is another great album to celebrate the holiday season with Hannukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa and New Year music.


A couple of years ago, a group of dj's who specialize in mashups and remixes came out with a collection called Santastic which they put online for download.  Santastic 4 is out now.  This is dance music with a holiday twist.  Take a listen to Pumping Up Christmas and see if you like holiday mashups!


Maybe you saw the Sting concert on PBS last year - I did and I loved it!  The concert featured older songs accompanied by the Lute - some of which I had never heard before!   The Library has the CD If On A Winter's Night and the DVD A Winter's Night: Live from the Durham Cathedral.


When I heard Alicia Keys singing "Little Drummer Girl" from Jermaine Dupri presents the Twelve Soulful Nights of Christmas, I got goosebumps!


You can browse through literally hundreds of holiday songs - when you get to Freegal, just type in the word Christmas or Holiday and see what pops up.  While was there I also found a Laura Nyro song, "Upstairs By a Chinese Lamp" from her album Christmas and the Beads of Sweat.  Remember, you can download 3 songs a week, so I rounded out my trip to Freegal by downloading one of my favorite songs, "The Cherry Tree Carol" as sung by Jose Feliciano from his Feliz Navidad album. 


I love acapella music - and I was pretty excited to see that the Library just ordered the Straight No Chaser CD With a Twist.  It isn't their Holiday CD - but please, enjoy this video of their version of the "12 Days of Christmas."  It is hilarious and might get you in the mood for Holiday music!



















Books with Beat

Knick Knack Paddy WhackI remember singing a version of “Knick Knack Paddy Whack” way back in elementary school.   I recently discovered a book called Knick Knack Paddy Whack that has colorful collage illustrations by Christiane Engel.  An older gentleman plays a drum and several children play a variety of musical instruments.  A cute dog with a bone follows the man and the children as they parade through the neighborhood and stop for a bite to eat.  A CD with vocals by Mr. Steve accompanies this delightful book, so that readers can listen and sing while turning the pages. 


Oh Where, Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone? book coverOh Where, Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone? is another fun book with a CD.   The 1864 song, composed by Septimus (Sep) Winner is accompanied by illustrations by Erica Pelton Villnave.    


Happy reading, listening and singing!

2010 Light Up the Village

santa program AR


The Alum Rock Business Association is partnering with the Alum Rock Branch Library to offer the Annual 2010 Light Up the Village event at the Alum Rock community. Visit Santa Claus and participate in the tree lighting ceremony for the holiday.We also invite you to join us for music, raffle prizes, kids' activities, and free books from Alum Rock Library!


Place: 3116 Alum Rock Avenue, San Jose CA 95127

Time: 12/11 1:00-5:30 PM

Visit Santa Claus - 3:30 to 5:00 PM

Tree Lighting Ceremony - 5:00 PM