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Daniel Romano’s Middle Child, and other essential tracks

Middle Child

Daniel Romano, from the forthcoming Come Cry With Me (Normaltown); streaming at

Even if this retro-country weeper wasn't true (which it is), it couldn't be more heartrending. Indeed, George Jones himself would have to shed a tear for the middle child, the only one of the three given away. The big-hatted Ontarian Daniel Romano sets a sad story to a steel-guitar shuffle, sublime in his dreamy way with a bar-stool lament. "Was there something wrong with me, that no one else could see," he sings, full up to the neck in bourbon. "What's the reason only I got turned away?" Heavy question. Heavy song.

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Daniel Romano & the Trilliums play Ottawa, Nov. 30; Kingston, Dec. 1; St. Catharines, Ont., Dec. 2; Peterborough, Ont., Dec. 8.

Other essential tracks

Psychedelic pop

Black Mold Grow

Levak, from Look a Little Closer (Lefse); streaming at

Floridian singer-songwriter David Levesque describes his candy-house music as "Mickey Mouse tribal," which really doesn't mean a thing. The track Black Mold Grow is tasty, weird fungus, though, its floating light funk and fantasia laced with delicious bass playing, whistling and vibraphone dreams.


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Amen America

Justin Rutledge, from the forthcoming Valleyheart (Outside); streaming at

Soft, quiet and graceful music, about the search for something new and real in America – "can you see it, is it made of gold?"

Dance pop

Die Young

Ke$ha, from Warrior (RCA); streaming at

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"That magic we got nobody can touch." Actually, everybody is touching the let's-pet-and-party-while-we're-still-young trope these days. Pretty standard stuff here. And, really, Ke$ha, you're much too old even at 25 for this kind of kid stuff.

Essential video


Doom and Gloom (uncensored)

Rolling Stones, featuring Noomi Rapace; streaming at

The band is featured prominently, but the dynamic video's main attraction is The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo star Noomi Rapace. She shoots zombies, she smokes way too much, she flashes, she burns currency, she projectile vomits, she flashes again and she, wait for it, moves like Jagger.

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About the Author

Brad Wheeler is an arts reporter with The Globe and Mail. More


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