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Jez

Wonderful, Wonderful by The Killers (2017)

After a four-year break, The Killers are finally back with a new album. A good listener will be able to pick out some themes that build upon previous albums Battle Born (2012) and Direct Hits (2013). The upbeat single “The Man” being reminiscent of popular songs like “Spaceman” and “Mr. Brightside,” while slower, world-weary commentary similar to “All These Things I’ve Done” makes an appearance in the title song “Wonderful Wonderful.”

With a lot more bass and an ever-present synth overlay, Wonderful, Wonderful isn’t quite the breakout album Killers fans were hoping for—feeling more like a sophomore album than a fifth release—but it should not be ignored by fans old or new. As lead singer Brandon Flowers pleads in “Rut,” this is not the time to give up on him or The Killers. The new music shows a lot of growth from the band and sixteen years after their first release, they’re still capable of beautiful lyrics and catchy tunes, even as they find a new direction.

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Laura

Joanne by Lady Gaga (2016)

joanneI have not been able to stop listening to Lady Gaga’s newest album Joanne. The album is named in tribute to her long-deceased Aunt Joanne, who passed away at the age of 19 and Gaga never had a chance to meet.

Gaga’s previous albums are much more glam/dance/pop and Joanne is a refreshingly stripped-down showcase of Gaga’s incredible vocal and musical talents.  There is a lot of variety on Joanne – it’s a little bit country, a whole lot of rock, and at times has Latin and Motown influences.

A few of my favorite tracks include: “A-YO” (a party tune that’s just plain fun);  “Joanne” (a heartbreaking acoustic ballad written to her late aunt);  “Hey Girl” (a funky duet with Florence Welch of Florence + the Machine); “John Wayne” (a crowd-pleasing guitar-heavy anthem); “Just Another Day” (perhaps a tribute to the late David Bowie or the Beatles); and “Million Reasons” (a beautiful catchy ballad that you won’t want to stop playing on repeat).  All the songs on this album truly showcase Lady Gaga’s absolutely stunning vocals and her incredible range as an artist.

If you don’t want to wait for the CD, stream it instantly via Hoopla!
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Jennifer

What We Live For by American Authors (2016)

5a7092e49e8fe81c0acce9e4525147bd-600x600x1As a huge fan of the 2014 single “Best Day of My Life,” I was excited to discover American Authors’ sophomore effort. What We Live For is an upbeat, feel good alternative pop/rock album. Especially catchy are the songs “Go Big or Go Home” and “Nothing Better.” Give it a listen to lift your mood. For fans of OneRepublic and Fun.

Good news: listen instantly on Hoopla (or check out the CD).
Dave

This Is What the Truth Feels Like by Gwen Stefani (2016)

gwenstefaniGwen Stefani has had quite the year. After a much publicized divorce from Gavin Rossdale of Bush, Stefani was on the edge of a breakdown. Much like the breakthrough album Tragic Kingdom (No Doubt – 1995), This Is What the Truth Feels Like takes a familiar tone and reflects what Stefani has been through.

The lead single "Used to Love You" gives listeners Stefani’s true emotion, showing her pain of the love she lost—but the album is not full of anger and disappointment. The album sheds light on Gwen’s newfound love with fellow The Voice coach Blake Shelton with other singles "Make Me Like You" and "Misery." This album is a fresh breath of air from the insecurities she has displayed in previous albums about Rossdale. It is definitely worth the listen.

This Is The Truth Feels Like is Gwen's first solo album to hit #1 on the Billboard top 200 charts. Get the CD in the library or download the album instantly on Hoopla.
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Ben

Turn Blue by The Black Keys (2014)

turnblue_zpsae64f5e1This is a CD from one of the most mainstream bands out there, yet it is an album that abandons all ties with the mainstream and truly comes from the heart. Turn Blue is a very mellow and emotional rock album that stands out proudly in the catalog of The Black Keys.


You can listen to the title song in the official video below.
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Jez

Direct Hits by The Killers (2013)

killers_directhitsCreated to celebrate the band’s ten-year anniversary, Direct Hits is a must-listen for fans of The Killers. It consists of ten of the band’s top hits, including “Mr. Brightside,” “Somebody Told Me,” “All These Things that I Have Done,” and “Human,” alongside five new songs. The new songs are instant favorites and reminiscent of the music the band is known for, with memorable lyrics that will resonate and stay with listeners.

To further celebrate the tenth anniversary theme, the release of the second new single, “Just Another Girl,” (my new personal favorite song) coincided with its music video, which features lead singer Brandon Flowers and singer/actress Dianna Agron (Glee) recreating scenes from the band’s past music videos.

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IPPL Staff

Give Up (10th Anniversary Edition) by The Postal Service (2013)

One of my favorite albums Give Up by The Postal Service has been re-released as a tenth anniversary set. There are only two unearthed songs on the album, but they are fantastic.

The rest of the album serves as reminder of how great Ben Gibbard and Jimmy Tamborello are together. Touring for the first time ever this summer, I hope to finally see them live.

http://youtu.be/0wrsZog8qXg
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IPPL Admin

The Next Day by David Bowie (2013)

After ten years of creative silence, David Bowie's newest album The Next Day came as a surprise to many fans. Apparently crafted over the course of four years, The Next Day was a closely guarded secret by everyone involved in the project up until just two months before its release date.

Composed entirely of new material and produced by Tony Visconti (who previously worked with Bowie on Young Americans, Low, Heroes, and Heathen, among others), The Next Day is a very solid rock album reminiscent of Bowie's later work (Heathen, Reality). It is atmospheric and powerful, with the kind of clever (and sometimes obtuse) lyrics one expects from Bowie-penned songs, making this album certainly worth the wait.

Bowie is a living music and cultural legend, and The Next Day makes it very clear that he is far from retired.

http://youtu.be/gH7dMBcg-gE
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IPPL Staff

Gossamer by Passion Pit (2012)

A fabulous and fun album, Gossamer is guaranteed to get you on feet. Despite the upbeat tempo the lyrics tackle some bleak topics such alcoholism, immigration, and suicide.  This is the second album for the electro-pop group, Passion Pit, and it is a wonderful mix of the highs and lows of life. Here is a clip of one of my favorite tracks “Take a Walk.”

httpv://youtu.be/dZX6Q-Bj_xg

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IPPL Staff

Blunderbuss by Jack White (2012)

If you're a fan of the minimalist tunes of The White Stripes, Blunderbuss by Jack White will have many tunes to please you. Don't miss the song "Love Interruption."

For more on Jack White (half of The White Stripes duo), visit his website.

httpv://youtu.be/iErNRBTPbEc

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Dave

Sorry for Party Rocking by LMFAO (2011)

Redfoo & Sky Blu are no doubt very talented entertainers! Sorry For Party Rocking gets the party started and the party never ends as long you keep this CD in! LMFAO spawned very successful singles from this album including "Party Rock Anthem" and "Sexy and I Know it." The band is touring this summer -- check them out!

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IPPL Staff

Boys & Girls by Alabama Shakes (2012)

One of the most talked about the albums of the year, the debut Boys and Girls by the Alabama Shakes does not disappoint. On this powerful soul record, Brittany Howard's vocals are reminiscent of Janis Joplin and Otis Redding.

After hearing the band interviewed on the radio program Sound Opinions, I was struck by the band’s story and how they struggled to get this record made. The song “Hold On” has an infectious rhythm and will get you dancing no matter where you are.
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Jennifer

Adele: Live at the Royal Albert Hall (2011)

The worldwide phenomenon dazzles in this live concert at the Royal Albert Hall in her hometown of London, England. Recorded on September 22, 2011, Adele shares stories of her childhood and recent life, discusses the origins of her songs, and flat out entertains the crowd.

You’ll also see behind-the-scenes footage of Adele throughout the day leading up to the concert. Adele has an amazing voice and it is apparent here during the concert as she sings the best of her two albums plus covers a few songs. I especially enjoyed “Rumour Has It,” “Someone Like You,” and “Rolling in the Deep.” And her tribute to Amy Winehouse with Bob Dylan's "Make You Feel My Love" was beautiful.

Find the DVD Adele: Live at the Royal Albert Hall at the library (it includes a CD of her live performances). You can also check out her CDs at the library.

Want more Adele? Tune into NBC on June 5 for an hour-long interview and concert special with Adele and Matt Lauer. Billboard.com previews the event.
IPPL Staff

Making Mirrors by Gotye (2012)

The Australian singer Gotye covers a lot of ground from psych-rock to soul in his latest album Making Mirrors. However, the songs that stand out are reminiscent of ‘80s pop, especially the hit “Somebody That I Used to Know.” This is a fun and different album that everyone should listen to this year.

Check out reviews from NPR and Pitchfork.

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IPPL Staff

Hard Rock Treasures

Hard Rock Treasures (2005)
Hard Rock Treasures is the history of Hard Rock Cafes and how they obtain memorabilia of rock groups. Entertaining and educational! Showed lots of old rockers! Fun!

Don Bernstine hosts the documentary. Learn more at the Hard Rock blog. Visit Hard Rock's YouTube Channel for glimpses of treasures and so much more.