Bowie Lives On

What can one say about such an influential icon as David Bowie that has not been said already? He was never one to be pigeon holed into one look or one style of music. From the '60s hippie days of Space Oddity with the hit “Major Tom” to the glam rock 70s of Ziggy Stardust, Bowie was forever changing and adding new personas. Following Ziggy were such blockbusters as Aladdin Sane (“Panic In Detroit” was on this one), Diamond Dogs with its soul/funk beats and the break out hit, “Rebel, Rebel”, then Young Americans with the popular song, “Fame”, co-written with John Lennon which became his first number one hit in the U.S.

In the late '70s he changed his persona again into the elegant Thin White Duke with the album Station to Station and another memorable tune, “Golden Years”. Ahead of his time in so many ways, he experimented with electronic, ambient, and world music alongside Brian Eno to create the experimental Berlin Trilogy of albums: Low, Heroes, and Lodger. Artists, like Philip Glass would be highly influenced by his work during this time.

With the '80s came the album Scary Monsters which some consider to be his last great album with hits such as “Ashes to Ashes” and “Fashion”. But then came the hit album, Let’s Dance, with Chic guitarist, Nile Rodgers, producing and the legendary Stevie Ray Vaughn on lead guitar. On this one album Bowie had several memorable songs including “China Girl” and “Modern Love”, and once again he led the way but this time in music videos especially for the title track. Next was Tonight with the hit, “Blue Jean” which garnered him a Grammy for best music video. Lesser albums like Never Let Me Down rounded out his '80s releases. He then had a short-lived rock quartet called Tin Machine at the start of the '90s. After they disbanded, he returned to solo work starting with Black Tie, White Noise but none of them quite lived up to the commercial success of previous albums. However his last album, Blackstar was just released, and has earned rave reviews. See music videos for the album here. If you are looking for a best of album check out Best of Bowie which includes the single “Under Pressure”.

Bowie was also a noted actor on stage as the Elephant Man and in some unique movie roles such as a vampire in the Hunger, an alien in the Man Who Fell To Earth, a prisoner of war in Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence, king of the goblins in Jim Henson’s the Labyrinth, and portraying Andy Warhol in Basquiat. He produced albums as well like those for his good friend Iggy Pop (the Idiot), and was a well-respected post-modernist painter. This of course was a brief overview of his most notable works and to read more thoroughly about him there are plenty of websites and books to fill the gaps.

If you want to remember him on twitter type #bowieliveson or post a comment below. For me, the song "Blue Jean" still gets me dancing. You can watch the video to it here. He definitely has the cheekbones to pull off that makeup!
RIP Bowie

New Year, New Kids' Music at the AADL!

The AADL has an extensive music collection that we’re always adding to. Most recently, we’ve acquired tons of new music for kids! Here are some of our newest CDs:

Sundrops, by The Harmonica Pocket, features upbeat songs about nature and the outdoors. From singing in the sun to playing in puddles and chasing butterflies, this is a fun album to listen to during the winter when sun and butterflies are nowhere to be found! A particularly cool thing about Sundrops is that The Harmonica Pocket play lots of different instruments, so kids will get to hear ukulele, harmonica, glockenspiel, and the sounds of other unique instruments along with the standard guitar, bass and drums.

I know I didn’t think that I needed any assistance in singing Disney tunes when I was younger, but for little ones who love singing Disney songs, Disney Karaoke Favorites is a cool CD to have. It features instrumental tracks of the most popular Disney songs so kids can sing along in their own voices, followed by the vocal version of the track with the movie characters singing the song. On the CD are “Circle of Life,” “Let It Go,” “Part of Your World,” and many other well-known favorites.

Beatles Baby! by popular children’s musician Caspar Babypants is a fun, kid-oriented take on the most popular Beatles songs. Caspar puts his own twist on hits like “Hey Jude,” “With a Little Help From My Friends,” and “Lady Madonna,” making them appropriate and silly. It’s fun for adults who recognize the true version of the songs to hear this CD, too.

Also newly added to our collection: Classics For Bedtime, featuring many lullaby piano sonatas, Smiles Ahead: Cool Music for Cool Families, an album with lots of different children’s artists playing their songs on it, and many new Kidz Bop albums.

Straight Outta Compton, the Movie

This time of year is full of “top tens” for best books, albums, movies and more. This summer’s bio-drama Straight Outta Compton was one of my favorite films of the year and will be released in a few weeks and the holds are already gathering for it.

The film chronicles the formation and rise of legendary rap group NWA in the mid-80s through their more turbulent years. The film gets emotional as it digs into the violence, drugs, racial tension, eventual fame, and the interpersonal relationships with each other and their manager and the role that these things played in their lives and music.

Unknown actors gave exceptional performances as the NWA members, with Ice Cube’s son O'Shea Jackson, Jr. playing his dad – and in looks and essence he knocked it outta the park. This film had me laughing and crying and cheering in ways I didn’t expect.

To keep things humming, check out Compton: A Soundtrack by Dr. Dre, as well as the original Straight Outta Compton album from 1988.

PreK Bits - Tea for "2"


Ms. Rachel held a "T for 2" party in Preschool Storytime.
In TWO OF EVERYTHING ... there was a magic pot that made a copy of everything that went into it.
Banjo Betsy sang and played "Two For Tea", the Jim Gill version on Jim Gill Presents MUSIC PLAY ... while Ms. Rachel and the kids sang and made the motions.
We marched, hopped, rocked, wiggled to "I'm In The Mood For Dancing" recorded by Raffi on RISE And SHINE.
Bear showed his special things in his suitcase and discovered sharing is JUST RIGHT For TWO.

For more easy counting try these titles:
1,2 BUCKLE MY SHOE by Anna Grossnickle Hines ... for beginning counters and rhymers.
THAT’S (not) MINE by Anna Kang ... about finding and sharing.
BUNNY MONEY by Rosemary Wells ...about two siblings saving and spending.
TWO STICKS by Orel Protopopescu.
SUN And MOON by Lindsey Yankey .. can you have both at once?

Underrated Music of 2015

Are you feeling overwhelmed by the never-ending cascade of ‘Best of’ lists being released this time of year? Do you need new tunes to tide you over until Adele’s latest makes it way down the hold list? If you answered yes to either question, then check out these albums in our catalog, which you may have missed in 2015!

Hop Along – Painted Shut
Philadelphia based rock quartet Hop Along released their second album, Painted Shut, among a chorus of squealing guitars and thudding drum beats. The band’s focal point, however, is the unforgettable voice of lead singer Frances Quinlan, who both howls and whispers her way through this powerful album. If you like bands like Neutral Milk Hotel, Brand New, or even Nirvana, be sure to check these guys out.

Leon Bridges – Coming Home
Check out this soul/gospel record from Fort Worth, TX crooner Leon Bridges and be transported back to the 1960s. Stand-out tracks like "Lisa Sawyer" and "Smooth Sailin'" highlight Bridges' bluesy, retro feel. Coming Home is an absolute must listen for fans of Sam Cooke or Otis Redding (or fans of music in general).

Shamir – Ratchet
I defy you to keep your toes from tapping along to the debut album from baby-faced singer Shamir. By overlaying an infectious mix of disco, dance-hall, and R&B with a voice that CMJ called “unclassifiable”, this wunderkind from Vegas has crafted an eminently danceable hit, that is weird in the best possible way.

Natalie Prass – Natalie Prass
While on its face a break-up album, the tracks on this self-titled CD from singer-songwriter Natalie Prass sound more triumphant than self-defeating. The blazing horns and heart-tugging strings courtesy of backing band Spacebomb augment Prass’ lilting, pleading vocals, and give her devastating lyrics a bit of added grandeur. For fans of Dusty Springfield or the more contemporary Sharon Van Etten, this album will hit all the right notes.

Be sure to keep an eye on the AADL's lists for New CDs and Hot CDs, and happy listening!

Frank Sinatra Turns 100

Saturday, December 12, marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Ol’ Blue Eyes -- The Chairman of the Board -- The Voice: Frank Sinatra. One of the greatest musical artists of his generation, Sinatra was the definitive stylist of mid 20th-century vocal music. He went from the romantic crooner to big band and swing and he’s unequivocally the performance artist of the 20th century. His closest analog is Elvis Presley, but take a look at any of their films and decide for yourself who had the better film career. And as for song, it's generally conceded that Sinatra is the definitive interpreter of the Great American Songbook.

Coming to his vocal stylings through jazz and swing -- he credits such greats as Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald as inspiration -- Sinatra’s early interpretive hallmark was to slow the tempo down enough to bring a vulnerable quality to his ballads that had a powerful effect on his listeners.

In the late 1940s Sinatra suffered image problems, in part from from his torrid relationship with actress Ava Gardner, and was dropped by his agent and label. But in 1953 he roared back to fame with an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his sensitive portrayal of Angelo Maggio in From Here To Eternity, followed by a decade of other successful films.

But best of all is the swinging Sinatra of the 1950s and 1960s; in particular his brilliant collaboration with orchestra leader Nelson Riddle, when he’s in complete control of song choice, tempo, and interpretation. If there's a single Sinatra album that encapsulates his life and career, try his homage to Gardner, In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning. Heartbreak has never sounded so good.

Not convinced? Check out Why Sinatra Matters.

Listen to this book!

Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl

Length 7 hrs and 4 mins

Author: Carrie Brownstein

Narrator:Carrie Brownstein

Carrie Brownstein, musician (Sleater-Kinney), actress (Portlandia, Transparent) and author, does an excellent job of narrating her new book, Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl. What could be read as flat on the page, in Brownstein’s singular voice becomes anecdotic and reflective. Though her telling, we get a sense of Brownstein’s self-deprecating humor and sharp wit. I found myself laughing at stories of her early performances for family and friends. Her nuanced narrative voice well conveys the angst and misdirection she felt in her early 20s starting out on the music scene in Olympia, Washington and the Pacific Northwest. She provides an unflinchingly honest look at herself both as a child and an adult. Brownstein speaks with candor about her mother’s eating disorder and hospitalization for such and her father’s coming out as a gay man. In later chapters she doesn’t shy away from the not-so-glamorous facets of life on the road as part of her band, Sleater-Kinney. She speaks of the intensity of her relationship with bandmate Corin Tucker, the pain of their break-up, of being publicly outed in a magazine article, and of the difficulty of navigating a break-up while remaining in a band with her ex. Her accomplished writing is filled with anecdotes that run the full gamut of her emotional landscape, yet she stays away from sentimentality.

Her focus on music and her role in it are the meat of most of this book. This means that we get a dissection of many of Sleater-Kinney’s songs and albums, from their creation to performance. For Sleater-Kinney fans, this book is a must. A review in The Guardian says of Brownstein’s book that “ delivers its goods in what I can only describe as a compellingly depressive register, which sounds like an insult but isn’t. By keeping her affect flat, Brownstein is able to avoid melodrama, a good thing because there are elements of her life story she could have frothed up into soap...Brownstein’s way of telling those stories is from a rather intellectualized, even aestheticized, distance.” I agree, as listening to a recording of this book, as read by Brownstein, furnished me with an entirely different experience than reading it on the page. I highly recommend checking out the audio version of this book.

The Best of 2015

It's that time of the year. Avid readers are eager to see how their favorites in the past 12 months stack up against other great reads. Many will depend on them for gift-giving inspirations. Or simply use the lists to jump start on the titles you have been meaning to get around to.

If you are flummoxed by the massive New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2015, you are not alone. I suggest you take a look at some of the more focused Best of the Best lists. Let's start with their 10 Best Books of 2015.

Goodreads Choice Awards is the only major book awards decided by readers. Very democratic and organized in 20 categories: Fiction, Mystery & Thriller, Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Romance... etc. as well as Nonfiction, Memoir & Autobiography, Science & Technology, and Humor.

The site that gives us top ten books published each month that librarians across the country love, just released LibraryReads Favorite of Favorites 2015. Not many surprises there but what a strong list! (and three of them debut novels).

I also like Publishers Weekly's Best Books 2015; BuzzFeed's The 24 Best Fiction Books Of 2015; The Washington Post's The 10 Best Books of 2015 (if you scroll down this last list, you will see a list for the Best Audiobooks as well as Best Graphic Novels).

Happy Reading.

PreK Bits - "1" Stands Alone

Ms. Rachel told stories about the number one in storytime.

PAPA PLEASE, GET The MOON For ME ... there was one little girl, one person she called "Papa", one thing she wanted ... the moon.
Banjo Betsy and Ms. Rachel led the action song "Faster, Faster, Faster, Faster" by Jim Gill.
There was a birthday story about ... “One Lonely Candle”. An original story created by StoryLaura.

Please enjoy more singular stories as follows:
ONE DUCK STUCK by Phyllis Root.
ONE BIG BUILDING: a counting book about construction by Michael Dahl.
ONE COOL FRIEND by Tony Buzzeo.
ONE MORE HUG For MADISON by Caroline Church.
ONE TOO MANY: a seek & find counting book by Gianna Marino.
ANOTHER BROTHER matthew Cordell.
ONE PUP’S UP by Marsha Wilson Chall.
ONE DOG CANOE by Mary Casanova.
"1" stands alone ... among many more.

PreK Bits - "Y" is for YUMMY!

Ms. Rachel brought YUMMY stories to Preschool Storytime.
Bear woke up one day with a hankerin’ for yummy, yummy UGLY PIE.
Banjo Betsy led the action for “Stir It Up” from the CD FOR THOSE ABOUT TO HOP.
There were "5 Plum Buns In A Bakery Shoppe" ... a rhythmic interlude with "sugar on the top".
And Wolf needed to plump up Ms. Chicken for his chicken stew with plenty of yummy baked goods in WOLF’S CHICKEN STEW. Wolf got a surprise!

If you want more yummy literature for your hungry reading palette try the following:

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