The first time I heard First Aid Kit, composed of doe-eyed Swedish sisters Klara and Johanna Söderberg, I had stumbled across their melancholic ballad "Ghost Town" on an episode of NPR’s Echoes. From the very first, when I heard them croon, “Maybe I should just turn around and walk away / For no matter how much I want to stay / You know I can’t / It’s just too late”, I was hooked. How could two people so young tap so ably into the defeated resignation that comes with the death of dreams? I explored more of their music, and with the 2014 breakout album Stay Gold, I was hooked on the Söderbergs' angelic harmonies, piercing lyrics, and ability to render even cover songs into something distinctly theirs.
Originating in the 1910s, jazz has roots in African traditions, blues, ragtime, and European classical music. Gary Giddins’ and Scott DeVeaux’s book Jazztraces the genre's evolution from the early twentieth century to the fusion sounds of more recent times, and describes the major influences in its development. In the Emmy-nominated documentary miniseries of the same name, Ken Burns' Jazz traces the music's history from its beginnings in the African-American community of New Orleans. Read more about Take the 'A' Train to the Library to Learn about Jazz!
Borrowing your favorite music from the Library’s huge CD collection is great, but what happens when something’s checked out—or is a digital-only release? Not to worry: with Freegal and Hoopla, our free online music services, you can still enjoy the current Billboard hits, even if they’re not available in physical form. Stream or download these chart-toppers from the Library today: Read more about Music: Hottest Titles, No Wait Required
Listening to the Dropkick Murphys, I’m swept into their Irish-Catholic South Boston neighborhood. The sense of place in their rough-and-tumble songs is simply that strong—and not just on account of the accent coming through in the vocals.
The Murphys are a curious blend of genres: they’re described as both hardcore punk and Celtic folk, and you can definitely hear both in their music. I’d add unapologetically, jubilantly brash. And raucous. Irreverent. Throbbing with life, vitality, emotion, even a little death. Not above making fun of themselves.