photo

Last Call: Your Murfie Week in Review

 

Monday
7/21

[Blog] Grant picked the top 5 albums by Pink Floyd, one of rock music’s most influential bands.

Tuesday
7/22

[Blog] We previewed Lese Majesty by experimental hip hop/electronic collective Shabazz Palaces.

[Blog] We previewed Jenny Lewis’ upcoming album The Voyager.

Wednesday
7/23

[Blog] We previewed The Breeze: An Appreciation of JJ Cale, by Eric Clapton & Friends.

Thursday
7/24

[Twitter] Any good #ThrowbackThursday albums? Bueller? Bueller?

Friday
7/25

[Blog] When Andrew bought a copy of Gwen Stefani’s Love. Angel. Music. Baby., things went bananas.


 

I Bought: Gwen Stefani’s “Love. Angel. Music. Baby.”

When I started working here at Murfie, I set up an account and pledged to use it as a way to explore records that wouldn’t normally find their way into my collection. In an effort to broaden my music knowledge, I sought out both mainstream and underground records, good and bad; my musical palette was soon to be an assortment of classics, instant classics and records that would, well, never be classics.

One morning, as I was scrolling aimlessly through pages of albums, I came across Gwen Stefani‘s solo debut,  Love. Angel. Music Baby. My heart was instantly set on making the purchase. My head’s only thought was, “This s**t is bananas.”

Rock SteadyIf my memory serves me right, Love. Angel. Music. Baby. (aka L.A.M.B.) was released when I was in seventh grade. I knew Stefani as the frontwoman of epitomical ’90s band No Doubt, who’s album Rock Steady had hit the radio-waves pretty heavily three years prior. No Doubt was currently on hiatus, but like most bands who call it quits, they wound up making music together again.

I didn’t grow up with No Doubt, so I was completely oblivious to Stefani’s debut until the video for L.A.M.B.‘s first single, “What You Waiting For?” came on one day after school. Being a middle school boy, my gut reaction was to move as far away from the TV set as I could. And until Stefani released “Hollaback Girl” in early in 2005, I avoided L.A.M.B. with the utmost success.

Looking back on my teenage self, my reaction seems valid. But now, as a self-proclaimed, sort-of adult, I was curious to explore L.A.M.B. with open ears.

At first, my ears were ecstatic: the first half of L.A.M.B. straight up slays. “What You Waiting For?,” with its anthemic chorus and big synth riffs, is an ideal pop album opener; its frantic, active and quite satisfying. “Rich Girl” follows, and while it takes a laid-back, hip-hop-influenced approach, its just as fantastic.

Love Angel Music BabyAnd then there’s “Hollaback Girl,” that one song with the marching band, that one song where Gwen teaches you how to spell bananas, that one song that took a year of our lives we’ll never get back. Some days I love this song, other days I hate it; no matter your stance, however, you can’t deny its existence.

“Cool,” a perfectly placed ballad, follows “Hollaback Girl.” For me, “Cool” marks the end of the first half of L.A.M.B. because the remaining eight tracks are a hodgepodge of mediocrity and flat-out weird mid-2000s album tracks. OutKast‘s Andre 3000 shows up on “Bubble Pop Electric,” a track that sounds exactly like you’d expect; “Danger Zone” is surprisingly calm, and late-single “Crash” doesn’t live up to the standard set by the earlier ones.

Part of me thinks the second half of L.A.M.B. is a bust, but most of me thinks that the first four songs are just too good. At the very least, Love. Angel. Music. Baby. is a well-produced pop record that proves just how important track arrangement can be.


Andrew Brandt
@andrewtbrandt

Andrew is a communications intern at Murfie. When he’s not blogging here, you can probably find him blogging at a handful of other music sites. And when he’s not blogging at all, you can probably find him curled up with a good beer and a great book.


Album Preview: “The Breeze (An Appreciation of JJ Cale)” by Eric Clapton & Friends

The BreezeAlbum
The Breeze (An Appreciation of JJ Cale)

Artist
Eric Clapton & Friends

Release Date
July 29, 2014

Label
Bushbranch / Surfdog

Pre-order Link
Pre-order Album

Preview
It seems as if Eric Clapton is ready to share more music with the world. This time around, Clapton has joined with several friends and music icons to pay tribute to one of rock music’s heroes of songwriting, the late J.J. Cale. Eric Clapton & Friends will be releasing The Breeze (An Appreciation of JJ Cale) this month. And if Eric Clapton’s leadership weren’t enough, the list of guest artists featured on the album promise to deliver an unforgettable experience.

Eric Clapton

Eric Clapton certainly has no shortage of accolades. Thrice-inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for his work as a solo artist, and member of The Yardbirds and Cream, Eric Clapton has earned his place as a living legend. He has released over twenty albums as a solo artist and has appeared and collaborated on countless others. His efforts have earned him seventeen Grammy awards. He is continually ranked as one of the greatest blues guitar players of all time, and his influence is cited by countless musicians today.

UnpluggedJ.J. Cale also inspired innumerable musicians throughout his four decade career, and was a frequent collaborator with Clapton. Tunes such as “After Midnight” and “Cocaine” were penned by Cale and covered by Clapton with much success. Clapton aims to honor Cale’s legacy with The Breeze (An Appreciation of JJ Cale). Speaking on the album, Clapton stated, “I would like people to tap into what JJ Cale did—that’s the point. I’m just the messenger; I’ve always felt that that’s my job. I try to interpret things so that the public at large, or at least the people who listen to what I do, will become intrigued about where I got it from.”Me and Mr. Johnson

The Breeze (An Appreciation of JJ Cale) is shaping up to be a blues fan’s dream. Guest appearances by legendary musicians such as Tom Petty, Mark Knopfler, John Mayer, and Willie Nelson promise to deliver a collaboration that should not be missed.

Check out the official music video for “Call Me The Breeze Below!”

A teaser from The Breeze (An Appreciation of JJ Cale):

Pre-order your copy of The Breeze (An Appreciation of JJ Cale) today at Murfie! Each CD comes with unlimited streaming (Web, iOS, Android, Sonos) and downloads in mp3, aac, FLAC and ALAC. 

Album Preview: “Lese Majesty” by Shabazz Palaces

Lese MajestyAlbum
Lese Majesty

Artist
Shabazz Palaces

Release Date
Tuesday, July 29

Label
Sub Pop

Pre-order Link
Pre-order Album

Preview
Shabazz Palaces, an experimental hip-hop duo consisting of Ishamael Butler and Tendai Maraire, may not have released their first songs together until 2009, but they’ve been a part of the rap scene longer than some of its members have been alive. Butler got his start MCing in the early 90s with the jazz-rap collective Digable Planets, a trio who went on to release two full lengths—Reachin’ (A New Refutation of Time and Space) in 1993 and Blowout Comb in 1994—but split in 1995 due to creative differences.

All stayShabazz Palacesed quiet on the duo’s front until two mysterious EPs popped up in 2009. Aptly titled Of Light and Shabazz Palaces, the exploratory EPs immediately caught the eyes of the big wigs at Sub Pop Records. They signed Shabazz Palaces that year as one of the few hip-hop acts on a rock-oriented label.

Of LightIn 2011, Shabazz Palaces released their debut LP, Black Up, an album that finds the duo continuing to craft forward-thinking hip-hop both lyrically and sonically: its beats blow your mind—and make you want to move too; Butler’s lyrics could stand solo as poems and they’d still be pretty darn great.

Shabazz Palaces will release their follow up, Lese Majesty, next Tuesday. Based on what I’ve heard, it appears the collective is again shifting sonically forward. When Black Up was released, it felt like hip-hop made for another planet. Excitingly, Lese Majesty sounds like it was made for another galaxy.

Murfie Preview

Video Transcript

Kayla: Hey everyone, a new album release is coming to Murfie on Tuesday, July 29th. Shabazz Palaces are coming out with Lese Majesty. So James, you’re a fan—what are your thoughts on the new album release?

James: It’s a wonderful surprise. I had no idea they were coming out with new material until it was announced. And that’s actually how I discovered them in the first place. I was at my local record store and the owner said, “Hey, do you like Digable Planets?”—Which I did, I really appreciated their fusion of jazz and hip hop. And he said, “Here’s some new material by that guy from Digable Planets.” He was referring to Ishmael Butler, or “Butterfly.” The album—this was a few years ago—it was Black Up by Shabazz Palaces. It’s a fusion of experimental electronic music and hip hop, and it’s unlike anything else from that time. The new album proves to be more of the same—more of a lush astral electronic landscape with Ishmael Butler’s socially conscious rhymes.

Kayla: Awesome. You guys can check it out for yourself—it’s on our pre-order page, murfie.com/preorder.

Soundcloud Version

A teaser from Lese Majesty:

Pre-order your copy of Lese Majesty on Murfie! Each CD comes with unlimited streaming (Web, iOS, Android, Sonos) and downloads in mp3, aac, FLAC and ALAC. 

Album Preview: “The Voyager” by Jenny Lewis

The VoyagerAlbum
The Voyager

Artist
Jenny Lewis

Release Date
July 29, 2014

Label
Warner Bros.

Pre-order Link
Pre-order Album

Preview
Jenny Lewis‘ third solo album, the soon-to-be-released The Voyager, is aptly titled. The singer-songwriter is now entering her third decade of releasing records, whether it be under her own name with a rotating cast of supporting musicians, with Rilo Kiley or with her boyfriend Johnathan Rice. Yet regardless of the who she’s playing with (or as) Lewis has been both consistent and brilliant, cranking out quality alt-country tunes in automaton-like fashion.

The Execution of All ThingsSurprisingly, Lewis’ first taste of the limelight didn’t come from music, but television. She began her professional career as a child, starring in a Jell-O commercial and a handful of teenage flicks. In fact, it wasn’t until 1998 that she decided to start a band. Rilo Kiley resulted, a band that delivered memorable melodies over a blend of country and indie rock.

In 2002 Rabbit Fur CoatRilo Kiley released The Execution of All Things on Saddle Creek Records and was subsequently signed to Warner Bros. The band went on to record two records under their contract, and in the process they smartly shifted the focus to Lewis’ vocals and lyrics. In 2011 the band announced that they had officially split up.

Acid TongueOne musical endeavor usually isn’t enough for an artist as talented as Lewis, and in 2006 she ventured into solo-artist territory. She released Rabbit Fur Coat to critical praise that year with her backing band, The Watson Twins, and with the help of Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes and Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie. Lewis released her follow-up to Rabbit Fur Coat in 2008 with Acid Tongue, a record that further established the singer-songwriter as one of the most reliable and hardworking artists of the decade.

Lewis is set to put out her third solo record, The Voyager, next Tuesday. And while The Voyager is her first solo release in six years, it doesn’t miss a beat: Lewis’ new song-set is spot-on; the record is a satisfying experience, both musically and lyrically.

Murfie Preview

Video Transcript

Kayla: Hey guys, another album release is coming to Murfie on Tuesday, July 29th. Jenny Lewis is coming out with The Voyager. So John, what are your thoughts on Jenny Lewis?

John: I absolutely love Jenny Lewis. I’ve been a long time fan of her work, most people will know her from Rilo Kiley, a band that put out a lot of popular indie albums. They’ve unfortunately broken up. She’s come out with one other previous solo album called Acid Tongue, which I wasn’t a huge fan of, but it had a lot of great country-influenced indie rock songs. But she’s put out a few singles for this new album that are promising, including “One Of The Boys” which has a really fun music video. So I’m stoked, I’m ready for this album.

Kayla: Awesome. Well you guys can see for yourself, it’s on our pre-order page, murfie.com/preorder.

Soundcloud Version

A teaser from The Voyager:

Pre-order your copy of The Voyager today at Murfie! Each CD comes with unlimited streaming (Web, iOS, Android, Sonos) and downloads in mp3, aac, FLAC and ALAC.