A record store in the palm of your hands! See what you find on hoopla!

Those who grew up with record stores like Tower Records, Penny Lane Records, and many other smaller music shops will probably remember how fun it was to browse through the rows of CDs, vinyl records, and even stacks of cassettes and the excitement you felt upon finding a band or album you weren’t really looking for but now wanted.

With digital music having essentially replaced physical media, record stores and even a dedicated music section inside department stores are virtually no more. We can now download or stream music using our phone or laptop whenever and wherever. Sure, we may miss getting recommendations from the store owner or even meeting other people who have the same musical taste as us at a record shop, but what doesn’t really change with the shift to digital music is that same excitement of finding an album you were looking for or discovering an awesome unexpected find—it’s an experience that really transcends time and space.

If you love music or checking out new artists or just want to explore new music genres, then check out our digital music collection on hoopla. You might be surprised to see what you’ll find. Whether it’s pop, country, hip hop, rap, jazz, classical, opera, rock, metal…or something that pushes the boundaries of mainstream music, hoopla has it. Need recommendations? Check out some of the music our staff are listening to or found on hoopla!


Lonely Avenue – Ben Folds and Nick Hornby

People might know Nick Hornby for his novels, About a Boy and High Fidelity having been adapted into films. But this album of songs with lyrics penned by Hornby and set to music by pianist, singer and composer Ben Folds is a real gem. Some of the songs poke fun at celebrities (like Levi Johnston), and some are homages to other writers (like Saskia Hamilton and Doc Pomus). The tribute to Doc Pomus is one of my favorite songs, with music that rushes and flows like a stream as Folds sings, “And out they pour, the hits and the misses,” singing about a disabled man who “could never be one of those happy cripples,” yet wrote some of the most memorable rock songs of the early 1960s. Perhaps the best track on this album though is “Picture Window,” which gets me every time with its heartbreaking lines about a woman whose husband is sick in the hospital on New Year’s Eve, and she’s watching the fireworks from his hospital window… “But the view offers more joy than they can afford / When there’s this much pain to kill…”

Hornby’s lyrics are sometimes sarcastic, sometimes comical, but always down to earth, real, and heartfelt. And Folds, being that kind of songwriter himself, seems to know just the right melodies to bring them to life.


2014 Grammy Nominees – Various artists

I am presently listening to 2014 Grammy Nominees, which is a collection of various artists. There are a few songs I wanted to listen to and I was surprised that I found this album on hoopla.


The Big Problem ≠ The Solution. The Solution = Let It Be – Crispin Glover

This 1989 album by actor Crispin Glover is quite near and dear to me and I was very surprised to see it available on hoopla. The album contains a mix of original songs, covers (my favorite version EVER of “These Boots Are Made for Walkin’”), and Mr. Glover reading excerpts of his books. Fun fact: the album was produced by Barnes & Barnes of Fish Heads—the #1 most requested song in the history of the Dr. Demento Show fame.

These are my runners-up, the last two are not just personal favorites but handed-down family favorites:

Brian Eno – Here Come the Warm Jets (1973)

Emerson, Lake & Palmer – Pictures At an Exhibition (Live) (1972

Frank Zappa – Apostrophe (‘) (1974)


City Lights – Lee Morgan

Fans of the late trumpeter Lee Morgan may be happy to know that some of his hard-to-find full-length recordings such as City Lights can be found on hoopla. City Lights was released in 1957 on Blue Note and displays the prodigious talent of Morgan who was all of 19 at the time. I first became aware of Morgan via an NPR piece spotlighting his At the Lighthouse CD recorded at the same club in Hermosa Beach, California. I later realized that it was Morgan’s trumpet I had heard previously in the early lineup of Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers that also featured saxophonist Wayne Shorter.  Morgan can also be heard as the trumpet player on Dizzy Gillespie’s live Berk’s Works CD.

Another great find on hoopla is the film I Called Him Morgan that first aired on Netflix.  The film documents Morgan’s tragically short life as told through the audio interviews with his late wife (who shot him while he was performing on stage) and the musicians who worked with him.  Fortunately, Lee Morgan was a prolific artist, and hoopla carries many of his recordings.


Master of Puppets – Metallica

I didn’t grow up listening to Metallica and only started listening to them when their so-called black album came out.  Their follow-up releases after that one never made me a die-hard fan until I checked out their old stuff and was blown away by the intensity and ferocity of their early sound and style. This was the Metallica that I should have been listening to from the start! Anything before 1991 is amazing with Master of Puppets being one of their best albums from back in the days. It’s unapologetically metal without any intellectual pretenses. Saying you listen to it won’t make you look smarter nor does listening to it produce a “Mozart effect.” (I’m looking at you, classical music snobs!) My IQ is no higher listening to “The Thing That Should Not Be” than if I had listened to Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries.” It’s what metal should be, nihilistic and existential. The songs aren’t about love, relationships, and “feelings.” Tracks like “Battery” and “Damage, Inc.” channel raw emotions but just the same tracks like “Welcome Home (Sanitarium)” and the awesome instrumental “Orion” take listeners on a static journey into an emotional void. This album and pretty much any 80s-era Metallica album is great to listen to while working out, doing house chores, or when you just want to zone out. For songs about heartbreak, hoopla’s got you covered with Taylor Swift.


Evolution [Deluxe] – Sheryl Crow

I’m currently listening to Evolution [Deluxe], Sheryl Crow’s 2024 studio album (her twelfth). Sheryl Crow is such a cool person; someone whose style, strength and personality I’ve always admired as much as I’ve found her music catchy and relatable. This album is solid. In particular, “Do It Again,” “You Can’t Change the Weather,” “Where?” and “Waiting in the Wings.” I watched Sheryl Crow’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in November 2023, enjoyed her pronouncing her home state “Miz-ER-uh” the same way my Dad does (he’s also originally from Missouri), her sense of humor, her down-to-earth nature, and her loyalty to a life time of friends, I can’t help but be a fan.


If I Were a Carpenter – Various artists

At the top of my current hoopla check out list is a 1994 tribute album to The Carpenters.

It brings together a wide range of mid-1990’s pop and rock acts, including The Cranberries, Sheryl Crow, Dishwalla, and Shonen Knife; these bands all add their unique style to the music and lyrics of Karen and Richard Carpenter.

This album is distinctly mid-1990’s grunge and alternative music in flavor and there are both lighthearted and classic renditions of 14 Carpenters’ songs.

In 2019, The Grammy Museum documented the making of this album project with an oral history, Yesterday Once More (Twice Over).

For those who want to go back to the originals, hoopla has a number of Carpenters albums including The Essential Collection (1965-1997) featuring a whopping 73 songs!


Discovery – Daft Punk

Discovery is one of my all-time favorite albums that I listen to daily! Almost every track on this album is a phenomenal listen. I was sad to hear the robots were going offline for good a few years ago, but I’m happy we were left with so much good music. Two of my favorite tracks on the album are “Something About Us” and “Veridis Quo.” I hope you give it a listen!


Building Nothing Out of Something – Modest Mouse

This album is a compilation of Modest Mouse’s best songs before their hit “Float on” and includes my favorite song “Never Ending Math Equation.” A very weird and fun album overall!




Pale Folklore – Agalloch

I was pleasantly surprised to find many bands that aren’t mainstream and from smaller labels on hoopla. Agalloch is one such band. For those not familiar with the far spectrum of the metal genre, Agalloch’s music may startle your ears at first listen. Their sound is a mix of doom metal, folk metal, and black metal with vocals at the opposite end of operatic singing. However, they use female vocals throughout the album that add an emotional depth to the music, making it hauntingly beautiful and sublime. The songwriting is poetic and literary and the themes border on the philosophical that listening to the music is a cerebral experience. Pale Folklore is just an exceptional album that’s at once beautiful and harsh, chaotic and serene, with music that’s inspired by the beauty of nature, ancestral stories, and the Romantic spirit of the bards of old.