Today in Music History

On September 18, 1970, rock legend Jimi Hendrix was pronounced dead on arrival at St. Mary Abbot's Hospital in London at the age of 27. The details of this fateful night are the stuff of lore, but the facts are that Jimi took several sleeping pills and later choked to death on his own vomit. Legend has it that the guitar hero left a message for his manager that said "I need help bad man" earlier that evening.

His reign as master showman and songwriter may have lasted only 4 years (1967-1970), but his influence on rock music is perhaps only eclipsed by The Beatles. Known for writing some of the edgiest and most memorable riffs set to wax, one needs only mention the titles Purple Haze, Fire, Foxy Lady, or Hey Joe, and the visceral imprint of the songs immediately returns. If you haven't revisited Hendrix' work with The Jimi Hendrix Experience or with Band of Gypsys, you may be surprised how well these classics have aged.

Bearded Ballads

I heard Fleet Foxes for the first time at a concert festival this summer, where I was censured by a devoted fan. "Shhhh, I'm trying to listen here!" the enraptured audiophile spat. I tried to be mad at her, but the rest of the crowd looked like they were at Dylan's 1966 Royal Albert Hall show (if only more bearded and plaid), so I shut my mouth and listened. There must be something to this band.

Fleet Foxes' eponymous debut LP combines CSNY harmonies with naturalist lyrics straight out of an Appalachian songbook. Although the lyrical tone is optimistic, Pecknold refrains from the saccharine. The best songs on the record are pop structured, uptempo ballads best suited to summer nights around a campfire. After a few turns through this filler-free 40 minute album you'll likely be crooning along, the key to every successful Sub Pop release.

The Dresden Dolls

Bad pickup lines and corny jokes are two things I never tire of overhearing. So you can imagine how happy I was to eavesdrop on the following at a recent concert. "My name's John, are you into the Brechtian punk cabaret scene?" I was overwhelmed. Would this be the worst pickup line or the world's corniest joke? I waited with baited breath, soon to discover that this earnest young gent was trying unsuccessfully to get a date. Moreover, through his sermon I learned all about The Dresden Dolls, who indeed self-describe their brand of vaudevillian rock as John had. After checking out The Dresden Dolls' latest release, No, Virginia, from the AADL, I wished that things had ended better for our hero, for the band's unique blend of raucous female vocals and driving, Weimar-era piano lines was quite refreshing. My hope is that somewhere he found a soulmate because the music -- like Hesse's Magic Theatre -- is "not for everybody," and perhaps "for madmen only."

McCarthy's The Road Coming to Theaters

Before film production began on Cormac McCarthy's Pulitzer Prize winning novel, The Road, there must have been a rather interesting debate over the city that would provide a suitable backdrop for the desolate, ruined landcape so critical to the story. How does one decide between Detroit, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, or the many other crumbling post-industrial cities? Perhaps the final vote came down to abandoned coal mines versus abandoned auto plants, so as coal is a fossil itself, Pittsburgh won the crown. Viggo Mortensen and Charlize Theron will star in the film that is set to be released this November. Check out pictures of the upcoming movie, or borrow the book or the audiobook from the AADL before the film hits the theaters this fall.

Summertime, the living is easy

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"Summer parties are so easy: throw something on the grill, reach into the fridge for cold beverages and sides, call friends. But wait, it gets easier. Barbecue guru Steven Raichlen's Barbeque! Bible is available in a 10th anniversary edition this year, while newcomers to hosting will find everything they need to know in Party Basics for New Nesters, the latest book from Maria McBride, author of a series of wedding planning books".

And if you are a fan of the Foodnetwork and find yourself still watching those re-runs of HGTV programs, why not sign up for the Lifestyle newsletter from our new service - BookLetters.

Once a month, you will receive via email or RSS feed a list of the best new cookbooks, gardening guides, pet care manuals and more - from self-help and fitness to home decor, books designed to fit your active lifestyle and renew your spirit.

He Lost Control

Ian Curtis, frontman for the seminal '70s New Wave band, Joy Division, committed suicide at age 23, just as his band was peaking in popularity and nearing their first tour in the United States. Despite being a gifted lyricist and an electric performer, Curtis was wracked by guilt and depression, the latter being exacerbated by periodic epileptic seizures. Control, released in theatres in 2007, is the taut and unflinching biopic of the lead singer, based on the biography by Deborah Curtis, his wife. Filmed in stark black and white, Anton Corbijn's debut film will satisfy dedicated fans of Joy Division, while intriguing those less familiar with the band to give their minimalist sound a first listen. The AADL owns copies of this film, its soundtrack, and several of Joy Division's finest albums.

The 826 Gazette rocks!

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Great news! The premiere edition of The 826 Gazette published by students of 826michigan is attractive and impressive. I just picked up a copy at the downtown library youth desk, and I particularly liked the articles ”Restaurant patrons to help fight cystic fibrosis,” by Maureen McCord, and “Michigan’s Green Schools initiative aims to make schools more environmentally friendly,” by Andrew Yoo. The newspaper was written and reported by local tweens age 10-14. Erik Gable of The Daily Telegram in Adrian helped with the journalism, many volunteers assisted, and printing was donated by The Ann Arbor News. Yay! Already I’m looking forward to the next issue this summer!

I heard it on NPR…and found it at AADL

Heard a great interview on NPR? Want to use a news story in your research paper?

Transcripts and audio files from NPR shows, like Morning Edition and All Things Considered, are available in our Academic OneFile database.

When you’re searching, enter the program name in the 'publication title' field to find transcripts from a particular show. If you’re searching for content by keyword or subject, choose the 'multimedia' tab to see any NPR results.

Library cardholders can access the database from home.

How do you make a rat laugh?

By tickling it, of course!

According to neuroscientist Dr. Jaak Panksepp, laughter isn’t just a human phenomenon - rats laugh, too.

Hear ticklish rats laughing and an interview with Panksepp on the “Laughter” episode of NPR’s Radio Lab.

Intrigued by animal emotions? Read the Psychology Today article about Panksepp’s research and his critics in our General Reference Center Gold database. Library cardholders can read the article from home.

Take the Music Pulse: All Media Guide

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Kick off Teen Tech Week (March 2-8), with Marisa Brown, Staff Writer for All Media Guide. Play a game of "Name That Tune." How many notes of a song do you need to hear before you can guess what song is playing? Also, find out what it takes to review music as a career and scope out the best music sites.

Sunday, March 2nd | 2:00-3:30 pm at the Malletts Creek Branch

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