Sounds Like Wisconsin: Hometown Acts Both Big and Small

Volcano Choir

We’ve already shown our love for Wisconsin native Justin Vernon for his work on Bon Iver, but Repave shows an entirely different side of him: this album makes him look like he’s just a guy having fun. Collaborating with members of another local favorite band, Collections of Colonies of Bees, Vernon and company have created a record with a fresh rock sound, killer lyrics, and most importantly of all, the ability to stick in your head.

Repave is in many ways all about power. The album sounds absolutely fantastic, and powerfully so—truly unique guitar lines effortlessly combine with a deep and incredibly clear sound. Even amidst all that power, Vernon never allows his voice to be outshone. He sings with all the guts of a power ballad while maintaining his trademark dark mood. Unlike Vernon’s work with Bon Iver, however, this album has potential for real stadium sound.

Don’t miss tracks: “Alaskans”, “Comrade”

Violent Femmes
Permanent Record: The Very Best of the Violent Femmes

Some of Wisconsin’s most famous musical natives released this essential collection of their all-time greatest tracks in 2005. This album is really mood music, but not in the way you’d usually picture that phrase. The mood here is teenage angst and ecstasy, bouncing off the walls and sometimes falling to the ground. It’s also just really, really wanting to party. This album captures that scream-it-at-the-top-of-your-lungs vibe that was so essential to the band’s success.

This album makes a good call in focusing largely on tracks from self-titled debut album Violent Femmes, an incredibly fun collection of songs that was nearly impossible to follow. These songs are instantly and insanely catchy, but not without the music clout to back it up. There’s a fantastic minimalism going on here—acoustics, a single drum—but it’s far from boring. These Milwaukee natives know how to keep a party going, wherever that party may be.

Don’t miss tracks: “Blister in the Sun”, “Kiss Off”


Don’t be intimidated by the impossibly long tracklist here. Those 19 tracks look deceptively long. About half the songs, however, are in the 20-second range, creating an album that actually comes to feel like the perfect length.

Part of that perfect length feeling comes from the fact that this is just a really nice listen. Friendship has an eclectic, indie-pop sound that blends seamlessly from track to track. The seven-piece PHOX, originally Baraboo natives, have created a unique combination of longer songs and shorter, transitional musical arrangements that tie together into a tight album that’s fun all the way through.

Instrumentally, the album focuses on crystal-clear vocals and awesome instrumentation, featuring horns, banjos, synths and the whole nine yards. This band is certainly up-and-coming—time to get on the bandwagon!

Don’t miss tracks: “Clubs and Spades”, “Shrinking Violets”

Interview with Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin [Podcast]

Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin is a band worth checking out! Their at-home recordings fit well with their indie pop sound. Since 2005, they’ve put out a solid discography that’s received rave reviews, and even earned themselves a spot in the soundtrack of the popular show The O.C. This phone interview was recorded while the band was driving in their van, and covers everything you’re wondering about this Missouri-based group.


Who: Philip Dickey; interviewed by Kayla Liederbach
What: Phil talks about the band, their recordings, Madison, and some other fun stuff
Where: Murfie HQ via skype; Madison, WI
When: Friday, October 11th, 2013
How: Recorded by Kayla Liederbach
File: mp3 version

Find music by SSLYBY in our shop.

Check out more of the band at

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Interview with Paper Bird [Podcast]

It’s easy to get hooked on the sweet harmonies sung by Paper Bird, and it’s fun to flow with the rich instrumental layers in their music. With their “joyful blend of folk, roots, and Americana“, this seven-piece band from Colorado is quickly rising to the top. Here’s an interesting interview with the band’s percussionist, Mark Anderson.

303402-largeWho: Mark Anderson; interviewed by Kayla Liederbach
What: Mark discusses Paper Bird, the new album Rooms, Colorado, Red Rocks, guilty pleasure pop music, Justin Bieber getting boo’ed, and more
Where: Murfie HQ, Madison, WI
When: Friday, May 31st, 2013
How: Recorded by Kayla Liederbach
File: mp3 version

Find music by Paper Bird in our shop.

Check out more of the band at

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Check out some of Mark’s favorite new bands:

Patrick Dethlefs
Bad Weather California
Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats
Mike Clark and the Sugar Sounds

Daniel and the Lion: Death Head (side A)

Daniel and the Lion: Death Head (side A)

Daniel and the Lion celebrated the release of their new album, Death Head (side A), on Wednesday, May 16th, at the High Noon Saloon in Madison. The indie pop band consists of quirky duo Jimmie Linville and Daniel Pingrey: Daniel and the Lion podcast

Death Head (side A) holds true to DATL’s minimal structure. It lets smart compositions, Linville’s voice, and a few key instruments, including acoustic guitar, piano, and drums, come together perfectly. “Death Head” is my favorite track. It has a rich, layered sound and infectious melodies that make you want to move. You’ll want to sing along to this album, especially with the song “Need You” (“I don’t want to say-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh that I need you…”).

The album also goes in a lot of directions, from DATL’s classic indie pop and folk to a meandering, Americana-esque track, “Flash Flood.” The final track, “Good Reason,” is even reminiscent of Bon Iver or some Coldplay, as it shows off Linville’s vocal range and a sound that masters the art of being both full and empty.

DATL is a fun band to follow, as they frequently update their website and blog with stories, videos, and pictures. Keep a lookout because Death Head (side A) will be released soon and Side B will be released later this year!

Album Reviews: Metals

Ugh, I have mad love for this band. So *snaps* to Murfie staffer, Sam, for sizing up Feist’s fourth studio album Metals, released on October 4, 2011. And 1, 2, 3, 4…here comes the review!

~ Leslie Feist, of Apple-commercial fame for her hit single “1234,” has been around the block a few times. While her solo releases only stretch back to 2007, Feist was formerly a member of Canada’s best (and biggest) kept secret, Broken Social Scene, a supergroup headed by Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning. From 2002 to as late as 2009, Feist toured on and off with the band, whose big band sound and eclectic collection of songs gave Feist a chance to explore her range, singing whispery tunes at times and shouting explosive choruses with the rest of the band at others.

Transferring this vocal dynamism to her solo albums, Feist manages to be folky without being boring, and poppy without being irritating. 2004′s Let It Die, Feist’s first effort released in the U.S., bequeathed one of her biggest hits, “Mushaboom,” a frivolous, fun pop song that sounds old-fashioned, but is still relevant in today’s music climate. 2007′s The Reminder gave us “1234,” Feist’s most commercially successful song, along with sassier tracks like “My Moon My Man” and slower ballads like “Limit to Your Love,” a James Blake cover that takes its liberties, but never sacrifices the integrity of the original song.

With 2011′s Metals, released in the U.S. two months ago, Feist departs from the more poppy sensibilities of her previous album. It’s edgier, and her voice, which in the past seemed primarily reserved for sweeter, old-fashioned lullabies, sounds fresher and more contemporary on this album. While it maintains the sultry, smoky sound we’ve become accustomed to in the past, she channels it to create a slightly different tone. The album has a solid variety of instrumentation – on the opening track “The Bad in Each Other,” Feist enlists the aid of trumpets and violins, but on tracks like “Cicadas & Gulls,” she relies mostly on songwriting, her voice, and a single acoustic guitar.

Ultimately, for fans of Feist and people who’ve never heard of her, Metals is an accessible folk-rock album, lush with remnants of her previous musical endeavors, yet teeming with newer, edgier songwriting techniques and instrumentation. From the soulful backup singers on her single “How Come You Never Go There” to the gentle piano on “Bittersweet Melodies,” Metals has a little bit for everyone, from folk lovers to pop song enthusiasts, and everyone in between.
     - Sam Eichner