New Music Arrivals

Posted on: Saturday, November 16, 2013 at 4:00:00 pm

Here's a sampling of our recent additions to our music collection. Click an image to view availability or place a hold. Be on the lookout for music available from Freegal. We've linked to those albums you can download with your library card!

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The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You by Neko Case

Case squares off against a trio of serpents on the front jacket of 2013's like-minded, yet decidedly more adventurous The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You, a 12-track horn of plenty that taunts, comforts, bruises, and empowers, and like all of her previous offerings, rewards repeated spins with a multitude of riches. Her most vulnerable and permeable collection of songs to date, it's not quite Neko Case unchained, but it's certainly as emotionally raw as it is willfully enigmatic, especially on quieter numbers like "Nearly Midnight, Honolulu," "I'm from Nowhere," and an airy, evocative cover of Nico's "Afraid," all three of which benefit from the barest of arrangements. That said, when Case decides to go big, she doesn’t skimp on the trimmings (guest spots are populated by the likes of M. Ward, Howe Gelb, Mudhoney's Steve Turner, and members of Calexico, Los Lobos, My Morning Jacket, Visqueen, and of course, the New Pornographers and longtime shadow Kelly Hogan), but her version of opulence is mired in great taste, which affords superb, midtempo offerings like "Night Still Comes, "Ragtime," and "Local Girl," straight-up dirt road rockers such as "City Swans," and the punk-infused, delightfully subversive single "Man" ("I'm a man, that's what you raised me to be/ I'm not your identity crisis/This was planned") the room they need to flex their considerable muscle while maintaining an air of warm, almost casual bombast that invokes names like Sandy Denny and Dusty Springfield. 

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Loved Me Back to Life by Céline Dion

Loved Me Back to Life is Celine Dion's first English-language album in seven years, but even that long gap of time doesn't tell the whole story. The last time Dion placed in the Billboard Top 40 was in 2002, when "A New Day Has Come" reached 22, and the last time she saw the Top 10 was in 1999, when "That's the Way It Is" reached number six. That's a roundabout way of saying that Dion's days as a formidable hitmaker are long gone, but the interesting thing about Loved Me Back to Life is how the French-Canadian diva has seized this opportunity to try a little bit everything.

Loved Me Back to Life is available for download from Freegal. You can also find many of Celine Dion's previous albums for download from our free music service with your library card.

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Nothing Was the Same by Drake

After an EP and two albums that firmly established his moody, introspective style and made him a huge star, Drake's third album, Nothing Was the Same, isn't a huge departure but it does take some steps in new directions. Built around sped-up samples and Wu-Tang-inspired, spooky loops, the production retains the same basic style, but is a little deeper and more foreboding. Provided mostly by longtime collaborator Noah "40" Shebib, the backing is suitably melancholic and claustrophobic enough to match Drake's main lyrical themes of angry boasting, dealing with a broken heart, and being disillusioned by the lifestyle his fame has brought him. This time out, Drake adds to his list of family issues, as a couple tracks deal with re-establishing a relationship with his father and worrying about his mom.


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The Marshall Mathers LP 2 by Eminem

After centering himself with the confessional 2010 release Recovery Eminem entered his forties while watching his beloved city of Detroit literally go bankrupt. The cover here displays this descent with an updated picture of the rapper's teenage home, first featured on the MM LP of 2000 but now boarded up, and yet this 8 Mile child cares much more about the present than the past, as this vicious, infectious, hilarious triumph is no nostalgia trip, just the 2013 version of Marshall the experienced maverick on a tear, dealing with the current state of events and kicking up dust with his trademark maniac attack while effortlessly juggling his over-40 wisdom with stuff you'd slap a teenager for saying.

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Days Are Gone by Haim

There is nothing cool about Haim's music, and that's why it's so refreshing. While many of their contemporaries engaged in a contest to find the most obscure influences, and '80s revivalists sucked synth-pop and new wave dry, theHaim sisters dug up the decade's biggest, poppiest sounds and fashioned a captivating debut album out of them. Days Are Gone sounds all the more unusual precisely because it's so mainstream; a list of their influences -- Stevie Nicks, Phil Collins, En Vogue, Shania Twain -- looks like a glance at the Top 40 from about 25 years before the album's release. Likewise, these songs revel in that era's sometimes-cheesy flourishes without a trace of irony, and the gated drums, gleaming synths, and muted guitars that dominate Days Are Gone haven't sounded so good since their original heyday. Not that Haim's approach is unstudied; the trio obviously did their homework to revive and embody these sounds so perfectly, and it took them five years of recording and re-recording these songs until they had just the right mix of smoothness and immediacy. 

Check out Days Are Gone by Haim on Freegal

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Inside Llewyn Davis (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Inside Llewyn Davis gains its power through precision as the whole idea of the project is capturing a specific point in time, the great Folk Scare of the early '60s, when Kingston Trio and Peter Paul & Mary were having crossover hits, the time just before Bob Dylan arrived in Greenwich Village. In other words, it was the time where Dave Von Ronk reigned supreme, and he -- and his memoir -- provides the touchstone for the Coens' remarkable Inside Llewyn Davis and, even if the lines don't strictly match, the Coens touch on truths about talent and commercialism within their film. This makes the soundtrack something of a difficult beast on its own terms. Sometimes, the parody is evident -- quite delightfully so on "Please Mr. Kennedy," an intentional whirlwind novelty rocket-fueled by Adam Driver's asides -- but sometimes it's slyer, as when the Clancy Brothers are gently sent up.

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Pure Heroine by Lorde

2013 debut album from New Zealand singer/songwriter Ella Yelich-O'Connor AKA Lorde. It'd be easy to mistake Ella for a seasoned tunesmith from the American South, one who carries a heavy heart that's been ravaged by careless men over time. But in truth, Lorde recorded these songs as a 16-year old Kiwi championed by the likes of Perez Hilton and Grimes. She has a timeless knack for songcraft with a sophisticated pop savvy that most people over 30 can't find without collaboration. Lorde needs no collaborative hacks -- she writes and sings her own songs. Even when she sings in her higher vocal range about teenage politics, Lorde carries herself with the grace and poise of someone like Beth Orton.*

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The Electric Lady by Janelle Monáe

Equally as detailed and as entertaining as The ArchAndroidThe Electric Lady likewise is a product of overactive imaginations and detailed concept engineering, and it also plays out like a sci-fi opera-slash-variety program with style and era-hopping galore. Suite four is the album's busier and more ostentatious half, more star-studded and less focused, highlighted by the bopping "Dance Apocalyptic" and the strutting Badu duet "Q.U.E.E.N." Suite five is considerably stronger with a handful of firmly R&B-rooted gems. The inspiration for its overture is noted in the liners as "Stevie Wonder listening to Os Mutantes on vinyl (circa 1973)," but shades of Stevie's '70s work are heard later in more obvious ways. "Ghetto Woman" is impeccably layered soul-funk, fluid and robust at once, with chunky percussion and synthesizer lines bounding about as Monáe delivers a performance as proud and as powerful as Stevie's "Black Man." It contains an autobiographical 30-second verse that is probably swift and dense enough to make early supporter Big Boi beam with pride. The enraptured liquid glide of "Dorothy Dandridge Eyes," featuring Spalding, recalls "I Can't Help It," co-written by Stevie for Michael Jackson's Off the Wall. Earlier, on "It's Code," Monáe channels the yearning Jackson 5-era MJ. "Can't Live Without Your Love," presumably a paean to human love interest Anthony Greendown has Monáe -- or Cindi Mayweather, aka Electric Lady Number One -- yearning like never before. 

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Prism by Katy Perry

Following the triumphant success of the Teenage Dream franchise, which produced 8 pop singles, Katy Perry returns with a shimmering new album that includes her latest, #1 single, "Roar," alongside such soon-to-be classics as "Unconditionally," "Legendary Lovers," "Birthday," "Walking On Air," "This Is How We Do," "International Smile," and "Double Rainbow." *

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Lightning Bolt by Pearl Jam

If the party line on 2009's Backspacer was that it was PJ having "fun," Lightning Bolt is the sound of anger and brooding depression. In Pearl Jam terms, this is reason to be happy. 

Take "Mind Your Manners," the first single, a throw-yourself-around-the-room mix of Seattle mosh-pit metal and Bay Area snot punk that, at this late date, surely connotes "classic rock." Eddie Vedder dives into a screed about religion that announces, "They're taking young innocents/And then they throw 'em on a burning pile!" Elsewhere, "Infallible" chides "What, me worry?" types as our collective ship sinks, with Vedder's portentously huggable baritone making preacher-speak like "the hearts and minds of men" sound like wee-hours soul-bearing at the kegger.**

Item descriptions from All Music. *Item descriptions from Amazon. **Item description from Rolling Stone.

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