Looking for new music? Look no further than your local Queens Library!
Every month, our expert staff will bring you the best of what's new in our physical and digital collections.
We missed our June New Music blog due to unforeseen circumstances, so we'll have extra music selections for you the next couple of months.
Check out our music recommendations for July 2017!
Linkin Park, One More Light
Once the standard-bearers of rap rock, Linkin Park have gone full-on pop with their new CD, One More Light. For the first time, the band wrote the lyrics before the music and left out their usual screams and heavy guitar leads. They produced the record themselves, but brought in collaborators from the EDM field and even allowed a woman guest vocalist, Kiiara, to sing lead on a track. The rap element is still there, but the flow is more laid back and less angry. Their fans are split. Half want the band to go back to their hard-edged sound, while the other side love the new direction. Unfortunately, with the recent death of lead singer Chester Bennington at age 41, the future of the band is uncertain. Listen to the eerily prescient track “Nobody Can Save Me” and give a moment of silence for Chester.
J.J. Hairston, You Deserve It
Since 1991, J.J. Hairston has been the leader of the Bridgeport, CT gospel choir Youthful Praise. As singer, songwriter, and head motivator, he gets top billing, but it is a team effort. They have built a reputation for rousing live performances and inspirational songcraft. Together, they have risen to the top of the gospel charts and have performed on mainstream TV like Conan O’Brien's late-night show. Their sound is a mix of old school and new style that has a broad appeal to even secular audiences. Watch a performance of the title track.
Diana Krall, Turn Up the Quiet
Diana Krall is a Canadian jazz vocalist and pianist who you may also know as the wife of rocker Elvis Costello. Her fame came mainly in the 1990s, when her popular take on jazz standards was a relief from the decade of grunge and nu-metal artists she routinely outsold. Since then, she has worked with Ray Charles, Barbra Streisand, and Paul McCartney, to name a few. Her new album is a mix of pop and jazz standards done in Ms. Krall’s unique style. Get yourself in the mood with “Isn’t It Romantic?”
Faith Evans, The King & I
Soul/R&B singer Faith Evans has a new album with an old concept. Using 20-year-old audio from her late husband, The Notorious B.I.G., she has crafted 25 duets to honor his legacy and let us know that she still misses him. It is a labor of love that should please her fans, even though it is not the first posthumous duets project featuring Biggie. What Ms. Evans brings to the table is her personal experience with the man she is honoring, and those emotions are at the core of every track. Critics may say it comes too late, but as a widow, no one should tell her when the time is right—only she knows. Watch the video for “Legacy."
Krall René Pérez Joglar, better known as Residente, is a rapper, producer, and activist from Puerto Rico. He founded the enormously popular hip-hop group Calle 13 and, together with his solo work, has earned more Grammy awards (24) than any other Latin artist. He is a long-time proponent of education and humanitarian efforts in Latin America and has won many awards in those endeavors as well. His new solo, self-titled CD expands his musical palette to include styles and languages from outside the Latin community. His fans will understand that it is all part of his commitment to education and exploring beyond your comfort zone. The album is available on Freegal.
Rick Ross, Rather You Than Me
Rick Ross is a southern American rapper who is known for mixing humorous lyrics with tales of potent urban reality. He broke into the field as the “Teflon Don” and was gaining notoriety until it was revealed that he had previously worked as a corrections officer. That didn’t set him back long, though, as he addressed his critics in his lyrics and owned up to his past. His further misadventures with the law and bad relationships only added to his credibility, due to his talent of turning his life into funny, crude, and blistering lyrical commentary. His new CD Rather You Than Me continues his legacy of music that is fun to listen to while it pokes authority. Stream the whole album (clean or explicit) on Freegal.
Bob Dylan, Triplicate
Once again, Bob Dylan is raiding the vault of the Great American Songbook and covering what used to be Frank Sinatra’s territory in his own unique style. Dylan’s latest release is Triplicate, which, on vinyl, is his first-ever three-LP set of new material. The songs are Tin Pan Alley and Brill Building standards from the 1920s to the early 1960s and represent three themes: self-reflection, swaggering & boasting, and sentimental feelings. Typical of late, Dylan’s voice isn’t quite up to the task in some areas but, where his vocal range fails him, his ability to emote saves the day. Where Sinatra would have a big band behind him, Dylan opts for a simpler sound, which allows the songs themselves to shine. Thirty songs is a lot to take in, but if you are up to the task, you can listen to them all on Freegal.
Raekwon, The Wild
Staten Island rapper and original member of the Wu-Tang Clan, Raekwon (aka the Chef) has released his latest CD. Known for his gritty, streetwise lyrics and “boom-bap,” mafioso rap style, Raekwon has recently been experimenting with incorporating more recent production techniques to attract younger fans. He has also cut back on the number of guest stars, which seems to fly in the face of current trends. These experiments seem to have paid off as The Wild is Raekwon’s best-reviewed album since 2009. Listen to (and learn more about) “Marvin,” his tribute to Marvin Gaye with CeeLo Green.
Pentatonix, PTX, Vol. IV - Classics
The five members of the a cappella group Pentatonix didn’t rehearse together until the day before their audition for the talent TV show The Sing-Off. Their mutual love of the show Glee, combined with their vocal skills and quick-study collaboration, eventually led them to the grand prize and they never looked back. They have previously released albums of pop covers, originals, and Christmas songs, but their new album covers a wide range of material, from the Andrews Sisters to Queen. Every song is given the Pentatonix signature sound, which has made them the first a cappella group to hit the mainstream in many years. Watch them perform the song “Jolene” with Dolly Parton.
Leela James, Did It for Love
R&B diva Leela James is a soul singer with roots in the classics. While she is most frequently compared to Aretha Franklin and Toni Braxton, she prefers James Brown, Gladys Knight, and Stevie Wonder. No matter—with references like that, you can already imagine what she sounds like, you just need to hear her to understand what makes her unique. Ms. James creates songs of love, loss, and celebration that seem modern but are actually a master class in gospel, soul, funk, and blues. She avoids lyrics that put women in non-empowered roles and is very vocal about distancing herself from her contemporaries who promote misogyny, overt sexuality, and empty materialism. Watch her unabashedly romantic video for “All Over Again.”
Alison Krauss, Windy City
Alison Krauss is the most awarded singer and female artist in the history of the Grammy Awards. She is best known for bluegrass albums with her band Union Station, but she has also recorded country, folk, R&B, and pop albums. Her latest CD is a country album of cover songs selected by Alison and her producer. The focus here is on the Nashville sound and features songs previously performed by Brenda Lee, the Osborne Brothers, Willie Nelson, and others. It is a slice of Americana that evokes a simpler time. Listen to the title track.
Kevin Eubanks, East West Time Line
Fans of Jay Leno will recognize Kevin Tyrone Eubanks as the leader of the Tonight Show Band for 15 years. Kevin is an accomplished jazz and fusion guitar player from Philadelphia. He has worked with such luminary musicians as Art Blakey, Dave Holland, and Jean-Luc Ponty. East West Time Line is his 23rd solo record, but he isn’t performing alone. He actually has two backing bands, one for the West Coast and another for the East. The album’s diversity of material reflects each coast’s style, from New York swing to a Los Angeles Latin groove. It is a showcase of Eubanks’ talents, highlighting his unique six-string technique in a variety of styles. This could be the soundtrack of your summer. Stream the album on Freegal.