For kids ages 5-12
Thursday, April 23 at 4:00pm
Are you a fan of the Rainbow Magic series? We will make flower fairies, fairy houses and enjoy some treats! All fans of fairies are welcome!
TEN OF MY FAVORITE CDs CURRENTLY AVAILABLE FROM THE AKRON-SUMMIT COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY (IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER) Part Two0
By Ray Carmen
Since 1968, multi-instrumentalist R. Stevie Moore has been writing, recording, and releasing eclectic and eccentric homemade albums from his bedroom studio (Moore was lo-fi decades before bands like Guided By Voices became famous for it). His childhood home was full of music–his dad was Nashville session bassist Bob Moore, who has recorded with everybody from Elvis to Roy Orbison. His current catalog boasts over 400 (!) homemade albums released on cassette and cd-r. His work has also been issued on numerous independent labels all over the world. Me Too is the second release issued on the UK Cherry Red label. Compiled from 18 years of home-made tape masters, Me Too features 21 tracks of RSM’s lo-fi genius from the years 1976-1994. Despite the man’s immense musical talent, the sheer diversity of his music would make major label executives have panic attacks. They simply wouldn’t know what to do with—or know how to promote–tracks like the glee club a cappella of Horascovia, or the country hokum of Elation Damnation, or the new wave rock of tracks like Jump Out In Front Of A Car or U. R. True. Lord only knows what they would think of spoken word interludes like That Long Walk To The Barn 6am. It doesn’t matter I suppose; they have Kanye West. I’ve got R. Stevie Moore. Check out the Kickstarter campaign (and watch the trailer for) for the R. Stevie Moore documentary Cool Daddio: The Second Youth Of R. Stevie Moore!
Issued in 1991 to critical acclaim but little commercial success (and to the bankruptcy of their record label, Creation Records, of which the recording of the album reportedly played a major part in), Loveless has since been widely regarded as a landmark album in alternative rock.
There is, quite simply, no other album like it in the history of recorded music. One critic described it as “a cross between The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds and Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music”, and while that’s somewhat of a stretch, there is some truth to it. The songs on Loveless are melodic enough to be almost bubblegum pop, but they’re played at epic, ear-splitting levels of distortion, with guitarist Kevin Shield’s woozy “glider” guitar, and bassist Belinda Butcher’s breathy vocals rising to the murky bubbling surface. The album’s opener, Only Shallow, is a blast of screaming sampled distortion. Touched sounds like music from a Disney film played from a warped stretched old cassette tape. To Here Knows When is almost all distortion and effects, with the vocals so low you can barely hear them—in fact, it sounds like an old 45 single that’s been played a million times with a dirty, dusty phonograph needle. But my favorite tracks are Blown A Wish which sounds like something Burt Bacharach and Hal David would have written for Dionne Warwick in the 1960s, and the album’s closer, the dance-oriented Soon. Despite its being released almost 25 years ago, I find myself coming back to this album and getting lost in its swirling, distorted psychedelics again and again. After hearing this, and the Cocteau Twins’ Heaven Or Las Vegas (up next) for the first time, I never listened to pop music the same way again. Watch the official video for Only Shallow here.
The Cocteau Twins virtually invented the concept of blissed-out, heady, enigmatic, and hypnotic pop music. Many bands have sprung up in their wake, but they all pale in comparison, especially when listening to Heaven Or Las Vegas, the band’s sixth studio album. Robin Guthrie’s floating wall-of-sound guitar textures combined with vocalist Elizabeth Frazier’s ethereal, other-worldly vocals, and keyboardist-bassist Simon Raymonde made the Cocteau Twins stand out—far out and away–from all other alternative rock and pop acts of the 1990s, and Heaven Or Las Vegas was their greatest achievement. On this album, Frazier began singing some of her lyrics in recognizable English (she often sang in her own invented language), and the songs on Heaven were a little more pop oriented. As a result, songs like the upbeat Iceblink Luck—the album’s first single—uncharacteristically jumped out from the speakers, while a song like I Wear Your Ring is fascinating in its overlapping vocal interplay. The album’s centerpiece, however, is Fotzpolitic, which starts with an intense rush of sound, and culminates in an amazing vocal performance from Frazier. Her singing on the song’s coda and Guthrie’s guitar solo are the very definition of blissed-out pop. If you’ve never heard the Cocteau Twins, this is the place to start. Watch the official video for Iceblink Luck here.
Unlike the other albums on this list (especially the previous two), July Flame is pretty much an indie-folk rock record with beautifully sparse arrangements—mostly acoustic guitar with some pedal steel, percussion and electric guitar. I have especially fond memories of listening to this album during the summer of 2010 while painting the downstairs of our house, and I still put this on some nights while sitting out on our deck late at night. With poetic lyrics and beautiful, shimmering harmonies, songs like the title track and Life Is Good Blues, are hypnotic and captivating. Silver Silo is nicely accentuated with stabs from tympani and woodblock, making it one of the more lighthearted tracks on the album. The art pop of Little Deschutes with its mournful piano, underlying organ, electric guitar and string quartet is one of July Flame’s most haunting and compelling songs. And Viers’ folk tribute to Wrecking Crew bassist Carol Kaye, with its upbeat fingerpicking, lyrics that name check some of the most famous songs Kaye has played on, and backing vocals that sound like a distant train is not to be missed. Carol Kaye herself was suitably impressed! You will be, too. Watch the video for the album’s title track here.
This is almost a Brian Wilson solo album in all but name. He sings the majority of the lead vocals, and the Beach Boys themselves only actually play on a couple of tracks. Most of the backing tracks were recorded by various members of the Wrecking Crew, the famous group of studio musicians who provided the musical backing for the majority of American pop artists of the 1960s. Rather unlike their previous beach-themed albums, Pet Sounds is the sound of Brian Wilson maturing as a songwriter, arranger, and producer. The songs deal with growing up, uncertainty, and the sad but inevitable loss of innocence. Songs like Wouldn’t It Be Nice fantasize about getting married to the one you love, whereas I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times portrays Wilson’s worries and insecurities. But for me, the crowning achievement is the last song, Caroline, No. Initially released as a Brian Wilson solo single in 1966, Caroline, No is lyricist Tony Asher’s song about his high school sweetheart who had broken up with him and moved to New York City. When he saw her a year later, she had become a far more worldly person…and she had indeed cut her hair. Probably the saddest—and most beautiful—song about the loss of innocence ever recorded. Absolutely heartbreaking. Watch an incredible 49 minute documentary about the making of the album broadcast on BBC2 here!
Check out the trailer for the 2008 documentary about the Wrecking Crew at the film’s official website!
BUBBLING UNDER: Prince – Sign O’ The Times; Seal – Seal II; Counting Crows – August And Everything After; Toad The Wet Sprocket – Fear; Queen – A Night At The Opera; Steve Taylor & The Perfect Foil – Goliath; Guided By Voices – Let’s Go Eat The Factory; Hammock – Chasing After Shadows…Living With The Ghosts; Chris Bell – I Am The Cosmos; Ween – Quebec
Saturday, April 18 at 10 am
There’s no need to fear the ACT – Sylvan Test Center Director Megan Vogias will be conducting free practice ACT tests here at the Ellet Branch Library on Saturday, April 18, at 10 am, as well as answering your questions about the test, college readiness, and any other concerns you may have about the college preparation process. The test will last at least three hours. Adults as well as teens are welcome to attend.
Please register beginning April 4.
Looking for more ways to prepare for the ACT? The library has plenty of materials for you to choose from to help you become more familiar with the exam and ready to do your best. The Learning Express Library database offers practice test tutorials for the ACT, PSAT, SAT, and AP exams along with college admissions essay writing strategies. Of course, we have books to help you study, including Kaplan’s and Barron’s study guides, and ACT for Dummies.
Tuesday, March 24, 1:30 pm
Jewell Jones takes on the role of Oney Judge, Martha Washington’s personal slave, who made a daring escape and became a symbol of abolition and women’s rights. She was a fugitive slave for 52 years, surviving kidnapping attempts and people recognizing her. Celebrate Women’s History Month with this thrilling story of courage and bravery.
Practice your reading skills by reading aloud to our doggie pals. Bring a book from home or read one of ours! Not reading yet? Our dogs’ human pals will read to you!
This is a great way for children to practice their literacy skills and gain more confidence in reading aloud!
SATURDAYS, MARCH 28, APRIL 25, MAY 30 12-1PM
FOR ALL AGES!
SNUGGLE UP AND READ TO A FURRY FRIEND!
For kids ages 5-12
Thursday, March 26 at 4:00pm
Learn how to make some easy no-bake snacks. Enjoy a few books and make snacks to go along with them! YUM!
ePIc day 3.14.15
To some people March 14 is known as Pi day as the date 3.14 represents the first 3 digits in the numerical representation of the mathematical symbol of Pi (π). This year the date of 3.14.15 extends the number of Pi by 2 decimals and if you add the time of 9:26:53 you can celebrate the number down to the 9th decimal, something that can happen only once a century.
For those not familiar with Pi and its symbol π; Pi is a mathematical constant used to represent the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter ( π=C/D ). While it is a fraction with no known ending (over 13.3 trillion digits have been recorded) it is often truncated to 3.14159.
In honor of this ePIc day, we bring you a small collection of Pi and Pie books to help you with your Pi Day celebrations.
Apple pie ABC / Alison Murray
Annie the apple pie fairy / Tim Bugbird
The blueberry pie elf / by Jane Thayer
Bones and the apple pie mystery / by David A. Adler
Cutie pie : looks for the Easter bunny / illustrated by Jannie Ho
Pi-rat! / by Maxine Lee
Pi in the sky / Wendy Mass
Pie / Sarah Weeks
Sir Cumference and the dragon of pi : a math adventure / by Cindy Neuschwander
Ugly Pie / Lisa Wheeler
Wolf pie / by Brenda Seabrooke
Apple pie calzones and other cookie recipes / by Brekka Hervey Larrew
Edgar Allan Poe’s pie : math puzzlers in classic poems / J. Patrick Lewis
Pi / Kevin Cunningham
Why pi? / Johnny Ball
Blackberry pie murder / Joanne Fluke
Life of Pi : a novel / Yann Martel
Pie Town / Lynne Hinton
Welcome back to Pie Town / Lynne Hinton
Apple pie perfect : 100 delicious and decidedly different recipes for America’s favorite pie / Ken Haedrich
The joy of [pi] / David Blatner
Pi, a source book / [edited by] Lennart Berggren, Jonathan Borwein, Peter Borwein
The southern pie book / Jan Moon
TEN OF MY FAVORITE CDS CURRENTLY AVAILABLE FROM THE AKRON-SUMMIT COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY (in no particular order)0
BY RAY CARMEN
1. McCartney – Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney’s 1970 solo debut really was truly solo, since he wrote, played, and sang every single note himself, with the occasional harmony vocal from his wife Linda. A few tracks, like the classic Maybe I’m Amazed, were recorded at Morgan Studios (which he booked secretly under the name Billy Martin), but much of the album was recorded at McCartney’s home on a four track tape machine on loan from EMI. You can hear kids running around screaming during songs like Momma Miss America, and Linda herself walks in (you can hear the door squeak) on Paul during the recording of the album’s opener, The Lovely Linda. Paul himself claims he didn’t put a huge amount of effort into the album, but it was definitely his declaration of independence from The Beatles. Review copies included an “interview” stating he didn’t know if his “break with The Beatles” would be temporary or permanent. It turned out, of course, to be permanent.
2. The Beatles (The White Album) – The Beatles
This is perhaps my favorite Beatles album of all time, and truly a classic album “presentation”. Getting this album for Christmas back in the late 1960s was something like an aesthetic experience for me. I love everything about this album, from the glossy all-white cover with the individual number stamped in the bottom right corner, to the huge poster with song lyrics on one side and a photo collage on the other, the four glossy 8×10 color portraits, and the 30 songs spread over two LPs. I think every song on this album is incredible and unique, including Revolution 9 (which most Beatles fans hate), McCartney’s goofy throwaways like Honey Pie, and Good Night, Lennon’s schmaltzy finale written for his son Julian and sung by Ringo. The White Album also contains George Harrison’s classic While My Guitar Gently Weeps, and my personal Harrison favorite, Long Long Long, which is so quiet I had to listen to it several times before I actually heard it.
3. Headquarters – The Monkees
Many serious music critics still insist to this day that The Monkees were talentless hacks, but the fact of the matter is, Headquarters is (with the exception of one or two tracks) a fine record. Played almost completely by themselves (there was also a cello and French horn player, and producer Chip Douglas played most of the bass parts), The Monkees decided to become a real band and be judged accordingly. Critics, of course, hacked it to pieces, but now even Rolling Stone magazine (which notoriously hated The Monkees) gave this album’s cd reissue a pretty nice review a few years back. Headquarters’ many highlights include Michael Nesmith’s classic three chord pop tune You Just May Be The One (which somehow manages to be reminiscent of both country rock and The Who at the same time), Peter Tork’s For Pete’s Sake (which became The Monkees’ TV show closing theme during the second series), and Randy Scouse Git, Mickey Dolenz’s two minute pop song about The Monkees’ experiences on tour and meeting both The Beatles and his future (first) wife. The song goes from vaudeville on the verses to proto metal in the loud shouting choruses, complete with Mickey’s thunderous banging tympani playing (listen at the very end when he drops his sticks and they roll from one speaker to the other…). Another highlight is the introspective Shades Of Gray, as good a song as any for voicing the uncertainty of the era of the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War. Odd Monkees fact: Peter Tork once said if the Monkees had been placed according to musical ability, he and Michael Nesmith would have switched roles, with Nesmith on bass and himself on guitar, Mickey Dolenz would have been the front man, and Davy Jones would have been the drummer.
4. Bryter Layter – Nick Drake
Nick Drake only made three albums in his lifetime before passing away in 1974 at the age of 26. Much has been made of the severe depression he suffered later in his life which produced his last album, the bare-bones all acoustic confessional Pink Moon. But in fact, according to the recently released biography Remembered For A While, Drake was a fairly happy, normal—if rather shy and reserved—person earlier in his life. Released in 1970, Drake’s second album Bryter Layter was a slightly more upbeat sounding record compared to his rather baroque (and beautiful) debut, Five Leaves Left. Fairport Convention guitarist Richard Thompson lends his deft hand to Hazy Jane II and in fact Fairport Convention’s rhythm section plays on a number of songs on the album. Bryter Layter’s highlight is Northern Sky. Quite possibly the most beautiful ballad ever written, Northern Sky is (fortunately) in no way saccharine nor schmaltzy. Carried along by The Velvet Underground’s John Cale, who played celeste, piano and organ, Drake biographer Patrick Humphries described the song best when he called it “the finest … to which Nick Drake ever lent his name. Again sounding alone and vulnerable…he pleads for the brightness to come.”
5. Apple Venus, Vol. 1 – XTC
Actually, I have several favorite XTC albums, Skylarking and Oranges And Lemons among them. But for my money they were never more pastoral (or British, which of course, they were) than they were on this album. XTC were heavily influenced by 60s British psychedelia, esp. The Beatles and The Kinks, as well as American groups like The Beach Boys. To my ears, Apple Venus, Vol. 1 is an album of orchestral beauty. Vocalist/guitarist Andy Partridge has never written anything more beautiful than Easter Theater, or Harvest Festival, where he recalls a schoolboy crush. And bassist Colin Moulding’s Frivolous Tonight recalls the best of McCartney-esque whimsy, singing about getting together and having a drink with friends and family and just shooting the breeze. Check this out, and then check out Skylarking, and Oranges And Lemons, and Drums And Wires, and…
Part two coming soon…