michael jackson the experienceNow that it’s finally spring, it is time for “the wiggles” to come out. This happens every year when the weather gets nice outside and kids are fit to bursting to do anything outside. But what about those rainy spring days when they’re stuck inside? I turn to video games, but ones that people of all ages can enjoy playing (and ones that *hopefully* won’t lead to fighting matches between the players).

My favorite go-to games like this are any of the singing and dancing ones. I just discovered Michael Jackson: The Experience and was pleasantly surprised with the game as a whole. This Wii game allows four players to play with the only requirement being that each has a Wii remote.

If you want to practice your moves before you compete against your friends, the game offers a practice space in Video Training mode. This game also allows you to battle your friends in a Challenge Mode, have the other players be your back-up dancers, or even make your own dance crew. Dance along with Michael to 26 of his iconic hits that range from “Beat It” to “Billie Jean” to “Smooth Criminal”.

So next time it’s rainy outside or you need a new distraction, head to the library and check out our collection of musical video games.

MARCH 2015

Luke Bryan — Spring Break…Checkin’ Out

Luke Bryan’s string of EP releases has become a spring break tradition for many. Now he combines new songs along with six tracks from his 2014 digital EP, Spring Break 6…Like We Ain’t Ever.

 

 
Madonna — Rebel Heart

The Material Girl is back with her highly anticipated thirteenth studio album. Along with production from Diplo and Kanye West, the album includes a collaboration featuring Nicki Minaj. The first single is Living for Love.

 


Modest Mouse — Strangers to Ourselves

Eight years after the release of their last album, We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank, Modest Mouse is back with a brand new CD. It includes the single Lampshades on Fire.

 

 

Kelly Clarkson — Piece by Piece

Kelly Clarkson releases her seventh album, which follows up her holiday album Wrapped in Red and 2011’s Stronger. Features the single Heartbeat Song and John Legend joins her on Run, Run, Run.

 

 

The Prodigy — The Day is My Enemy

The electronic trio releases their sixth studio album that features collaborations with Flux Pavilion on Rhythm Bomb and Sleaford Mods on Ibiza.

 

 

Third Day — Lead Us Back: Songs of Worship

Third Day draws listeners in to worship through big melodies and layers of intricate instrumentals, and pulls them closer to Jesus through beautiful and honest moments of true worship.

met nijinsky

When Stravinsky Met Nijinsky by Lauren Stringer: This is the story of how the famous composer, Stravinsky, and the famous dancer, Nijinsky, collaborated to create a performance of Stravinsky’s work that was so shockingly avant-garde that it caused a riot in the streets of Paris.* Can you imagine a ballet so shocking that it caused fistfights and screaming matches across the aisles of a sophisticated French theater in 1913? Astounding!

This book is to be read with “The Rite of Spring” playing in the background or not at all – the illustrations complement the music in a way that’s truly special. It’s so necessary to really enjoying the book that I’m a little mad it doesn’t include a CD, but of course you can always get the music independently from the library – whether you want it on CD or if you want to download it directly from Freegal!

when stravinsky“The Rite of Spring” is the music playing during the death-of-the-dinosaurs segment in Disney’s Fantasia, or as my childhood self knew it, “one of the scary parts!” This is powerful music, and accompanied by powerful, beautiful illustrations, this book is one to check out.

 *Please note: the library cannot be held responsible for any damage done to your home or car by riots this book/music may cause.

This post brought to you by Liza, our newest blogger!

Welcome to the first installment of the The Discerning Palette, a new blog series about the online art world. In the news this week is the art of Tony Bennett. Yes, that Tony Bennett. When he’s not crooning, Mr. Bennett enjoys painting watercolors. His art can be viewed and purchased through his website, Benedetto Arts. Benedetto is Mr. Bennett’s original family name and how he signs his paintings. Mr. Bennett has done commission pieces for the Kentucky Derby and the United Nations and has works in the Smithsonian and the National Portrait Gallery. He has also lectured at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

This week Mr. Bennett’s art is in the news due to a photo shoot with Lady Gaga and famed celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz. Gaga and Leibovitz were shooting for an upcoming Vanity Fair issue and Mr. Bennett was invited to sketch Lady Gaga. The charcoal sketch of Lady Gaga is being auctioned off for Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation and Bennett’s Exploring the Arts charity. For other Bennett/Gaga collaborations, check out their duet of “The Lady is a Tramp”from the Rogers and Hart musical “Babes in Arms” which is featured on Bennett’s new Duets II CD.

Thanksgiving has barely passed and I’m already sick to death of the holiday glut of Mariah Carey and “Feliz Navidad” – if you too crave some alternative holiday tunes, pick up these library items to rejuvenate your playlist.

Yule b Swingin Too – a jazzy, swinging mix of old favorites with a vibrant, fun feel.

Midwinter Graces by Tori Amos – A lush mix of standard classics, re-imagined favorites, and new material from the celebrated singer.

Christmas with the Stars – Orchestral, instrumental, vocal, classical, popular, and ensemble: this album combines styles seamlessly for a joyous effect.

Songs of Joy and Peace by Yo-Yo Ma – Yo-Yo Ma’s famous cello skills make this album a relaxing, joyous listen.

Kwanzaa Music – with tracks from artists like Aretha Franklin and the Baha Men, this eclectic collection gives you a celebratory mood with none of the bland predictability of a usual holiday album.

 

Christmas Cocktails 1 and 2 – the unique ‘ultra-lounge’ style of these albums puts a fun vintage twist on your holiday listening.

The Beach Boys’ Christmas Album – Who doesn’t love their classic “Little Saint Nick”?

 A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector – the legendary producer’s Christmas album is really delightful. Classic and well loved without being overplayed.

40 years of a Charlie Brown Christmas – A true classic brimming with childhood whimsy.

I’m really looking forward to listening to Moby’s latest effort, Destroyed.   In fact, I like the guy more every time I read something about him.

It’s hard to encapsulate what he does,  since as a multi-instrumentalist with electronic roots, he’s switched styles so many times over the years.

Obligatory Moby facts:

– He’s the great-grandson of Herman Melville, hence the chosen stage name.

– The deluxe version of the new album comes with a book of his photographs

– Until recently, he discretely waited tables at a small restaurant just because he liked to

– Didn’t use to lock his doors until he discovered a youth under the influence wandered into his living room.  He gave the young man a sweatshirt and ten dollars for breakfast.

Check out Destroyed and our other new releases at Davenport Public Library.  Fresh albums are starting to pick back up again with the warm weather.

High Fidelity by Nick Hornby starts off with the first of many top five lists.  Rob Fleming, the owner of a vintage record shop in London, has just been dumped by his longtime girlfriend Laura and is assuring himself that it will be okay because he’s been through at least five breakups in the past that were more earth-shattering than this one.  This leads to a sort of odyssey as Rob decides to track down these five women and figure out what exactly went wrong and what the meaning of it all is.  Along the way he finds a new friend (and maybe a bit more) in a sexy American singer, deals with his financially-struggling business, and generally spends a lot of time joking around with his friends in the record shop.

Hornby is great at writing about people who are passionate about music.  I’ve read two of his other books, About A Boy and Juliet Naked, and in each you can really feel how much music means to the characters, and it makes you care a little more about music as well.  There is a lot of witty banter between the guys in the record shop, and Rob has a very sarcastic sense of humor, so it’s definitely good for a laugh even if it has a lot of serious moments as well.  I found myself becoming very frustrated with Rob while reading this book because as he meets each ex-girlfriend to figure out why they broke up, it becomes increasingly appalling that he just doesn’t get it.  Nevertheless, you’ll be rooting for something to go right for him in the end.  Overall, I enjoyed reading this book, and I’m planning to take home the movie starring John Cusack tonight!

It’s a lovely time of year to take a scenic drive through our bedroom communities’ rustic backroads while watching the leaves turn.  Here are a few major names in the Country genre (and a couple Folk) churning out albums in September and October.

Lock in those holds on your copy at Davenport Public Library.

L-R: Kenny Chesney – Hemingway’s Whiskey
Sugarland – The Incredible Machine
Darius Rucker – Charleston, SC 1966
Toby Keith – Bullets in the Gun
Taylor Swift – Speak Now
Neil Young – Le Noise
Zac Brown Band – You Get What You Give

Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby is the story of three people and their love of music and each other.  Duncan and Annie are a couple from England who have been together for 15 years, for reasons neither are really sure of.  Duncan is obsessed with musician Tucker Crowe, who abruptly gave up his music career two decades ago following the release of Duncan’s favorite Crowe album, titled Juliet.  When the book begins, Duncan and Annie (a much less enthusiastic Crowe fan) are on a trek through America visiting famous spots where Tucker Crowe spent time.  After disagreeing about the merits of Crowe’s comeback album (an acoustic work entitled Juliet, Naked), Duncan commits the ultimate betrayal, and he and Annie part ways.  But while working to mend her broken heart, Annie is contacted by the person she least expects:  the musician himself, Tucker Crowe.  The two forge a relationship that is completely unexpected, yet fitting when you finally see it come together.

I was drawn to this book for two reasons: I thought the cover was cool (yes, even librarians sometimes judge books by their covers), and the fact that it’s written by Nick Hornby.  This is the second book by Nick Hornby that I have read.  One of his earlier books, About A Boy, is another enjoyable read if you liked this book.  If you like books about musicians and their fans, Hornby’s books are for you; he is clearly very interested in music, with this book being focused on the fictitious Tucker Crowe and About A Boy carrying a large focus on one character’s fascination with Kurt Cobain.  It was interesting to see a sort of “behind the scenes” look at the life of the musician (even if he wasn’t real), and because of this, Tucker Crowe himself ended up being my favorite character.  The ending, while slightly open-ended, provided enough closure that I had high hopes for Annie and her new life.  Overall, I found this to be an interesting and enjoyable read.

The Christmas/End-of-Winter holiday season is a wonderful time of year but sometimes it’s easy to get lost in the chaos and endless to-do lists.  The librarians here at the Davenport Library Info Cafe blog offer some reasons for making time to stop and make the season “merry and bright” with their favorite holiday movies and books.

beholdastarI’ll get things started with my favorite Christmas music. Firmly rooted in tradition (there’s no “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer” here!) but with a fresh and modern approach, the Quad City-area-based Nova Singers offer some of the most beautiful music of the season.

The Nova Singers is a 20-voice ensemble with a nationwide reputation and are known for their creative song choices and virtuoso performances. They’ve produced six recordings, three of which are made up of Christmas music. All of them are beautiful but Behold a Star is my favorite partly for the Nova Singer’s version of  “The 12 Days of Christmas” (you can tell they’re having a lot of fun with this) and partly because of the inclusion of “A Shoot Shall Come Forth” a gorgeous and unusual carol that speaks of renewal and peace and promise, exactly what the Christmas season is about.

The best part is that you can see the Nova Singers perform right here – they put on 8 concerts a year, divided between Galesburg and the Quad Cities. Their Christmas concerts this year will be held December 18 and 19. Be sure to check their website for times and locations. Then treat yourself and go – you’ll be glad you did!