Staff Picks: Spring Edition!

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Spring began Monday, March 20th this year, but it wasn’t until this week we really began to feel it. The birds are chirping, the clouds are shapely and voluminous, and with all the rain we’ve been experiencing in Madison the grass has finally started to turn green.

The world is alive and we have fresh ideas about how we’ll spend our summers. For us music lovers, you can guarantee a lot of time will be spent listening to our favorite albums,  kicking back, enjoying barbecued meat and craft beer with friends and family.

However you enjoy your time this spring and summer, on the golf course, at the park or in your own backyard, make sure you have the right tunes in your proverbial jukebox. Below is a list of staff picks we thought you might enjoy…

Steven chose Sabotage by Black Sabbath

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“Sabbath truly is one of the bands that started it all. When it comes to modern doom metal/sludge metal/stoner rock, Sabotage is one of my favorites in their discography. It also takes the cake as my second favorite Black Sabbath album cover (the self-titled being the obvious first choice).”

 

Nate chose Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots by The Flaming Lips

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“Released in 2002, this album features electronic-influenced, psychedelic, indie rock compositions. Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots tells a story of how Yoshimi battles mechanical monsters, drawing on a wide range of emotions. It is a great album to turn on when in a melancholy mood and take in the beautiful tracks. Fun fact, it was later turned into a musical in 2012!” 

Jason chose Kala by M.I.A.

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“The first time I heard M.I.A.’s song “Paper Planes” off her album ‘Kala’, I was watching Slumdog Millionaire in theaters. It was one of those rare occurrences when I was so captivated by a song in a movie I went out and bought the album.  M.I.A.’s music is pop, but it is soulful, artsy and perfectly imperfect. To this day I see Kala as a shining beacon in a sea of cookie cutter pop albums.”

Maren chose Soundtrack to the End by Communist Daughter

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“The debut release from indie rock band, Communist Daughter (St. Paul, MN), will sooth your soul, quiet your mind, and set your feet to dancing. It’s simply aural bliss.” 

 

 

Andrew chose Psychocandy by The Jesus and Mary Chain

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“I gotta say I only picked this because “Just Like Honey” came on the radio this morning. The fuzzy guitars and lackadaisical vocals were the perfect backdrop to an otherwise quite drab commute on this rainy spring day.”

 

 

What suggestions do you have for our listeners? Please let us know if there are any albums you think people should know about and we will do our best to spread the word!

We hope you enjoy our picks and as always, check out Murfie.com for other great albums!

FLAC Lovers Don’t Let “Google Play” You!

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As collecting digital music and streaming it on preferred devices becomes increasingly popular, one begins to ask what the benefits are to using one company’s service over another.

The answer seems simple enough. If you are an Apple user, you will use iTunes to purchase, listen and catalog your music, whereas Android users may be more likely to utilize Google Play or Amazon. Truthfully, this is more of a marketing ideal than anything. Companies like Apple are working to ensure their customers utilize their services when consuming media, not their competitors’.

To date, Apple, Google Play and Amazon have all played a major role in consumer’s lives by selling them a way to experience their music. Each company has worked tirelessly to develop a means in which listeners can organize their music easily and stream it on their preferred devices.

Matching software designed by these companies scans waveforms and attaches or acknowledges metadata which makes for easier cataloging; however, consumers who wish to digitize their collections into lossless formats such as FLAC should be wary of using scanning and playback services until they have done their research on what formats are supported and whether or not their files are being delivered in the same quality they started with.

What we found:

Apple does not support FLAC files, however, they have provided an alternative, ALAC, which for all intents and purposes is identical to FLAC. The only downside here is that you must convert your files to ALAC for playback on Apple devices. This is also true for .WAV files.

Google Play, on the other hand, claims to support FLAC and ALAC files, but downsamples and converts them to 320 kbps mp3 files on upload.

Amazon does support FLAC files so long as the metadata matches their internal database. You must also use a 3rd party system to retrieve metadata or enter it manually if none exists presently.

With all of these options, it seems as though listeners are doomed to struggle eternally with converting files to playable formats, listening to downsampled music, and manually entering in metadata, unless of course there were a solution!

Solution: Send your collection to Murfie! We aim to synchronize your collection across all platforms flawlessly. We’ll convert your entire catalog into uncompressed lossless files, apply the appropriate metadata, and make your music available for 320kbps mp3 streaming on our web player and mobile apps. With a Murfie HiFi subscription, you can unlock lossless streaming for your Sonos, Bluesound or Autonomic system. We offer free downloads in FLAC, ALAC, mp3, and AAC, and we can even send you a hard drive loaded with all of your music for easy home access and storage.

For more information feel free to contact us. For information on pricing click here. Let us make digitizing and cataloging your music hassle-free!

Murfie Vinyl is Here!

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In 2016, vinyl sales were reported to have been at a 28 year high by Fortune.com. They explain that amidst the creation of Record Store Day in 2008, the purchasing of actual vinyl records began to reemerge in pop culture. They state that so-called hipsters in their 20’s and 30’s were looking for a way to diversify their listening experience.

It is fantastic to see that there are an increasing number of vinyl enthusiasts out there growing their collections, supporting local record shops and keeping the vinyl industry alive. But for those of us whose records haven’t left the crates or shelves in years (because we long ago traded in our turntables for digital technology), how can we re-experience our vinyl collections at maximum quality with minimal effort? That is where Murfie comes in!

Using state of the art recording equipment we will clean and digitize all of your old vinyl and make it available for stream or download in the following formats: FLAC and ALAC, mp3 and AAC complete with metadata. Click here for a detailed description of our vinyl services or to get an online quote.

Feel free to contact us at any time if you have questions about any of our other services.

3 Jazz Albums to Listen to in FLAC Format

 

url John Coltrane – A Love Supreme (1965)

John Coltrane was booted from legendary jazz trumpeter Miles Davis’ band in the late 1950s due to his escalating alcohol and heroin addictions. A Love Supreme, recorded in 1964 and released the following year, found Coltrane, who plays tenor saxophone throughout, casting out his troubles and confessing a then-newfound devotion to God.

The album is broken up into four songs–“Acknowledgement,” “Resolution,” “Pursuance” and “Psalm”–over thirty-odd minutes, just a fraction of the time Coltrane’s quartet was used to performing. Rounded out by McCoy Tyner on piano, Elvin Jones on drums and Jimmy Garrison on bass, Coltrane here seems his most fluid and poised. His solos are compact–to the point and poignant; “A Love Supreme,” the album’s sometimes-sung-sometimes-played refrain, hits even harder.

A Love Supreme was a smash when it was first released, garnering two Grammy nominations and selling a slew of copies, and its stature has only grown since Coltrane’s death in 1967. It’s heralded as not only one of the greatest jazz albums of all time, but one of the best–period. Like a hug from a grandparent or your favorite mantra, its warmth and constancy seem (and may very well be) never-ending.

url Flying Lotus – You’re Dead! (2014)

Steven Ellison–AKA Flying Lotus–is the grandnephew of jazz pianist Alice Coltrane and the aforementioned John Coltrane. Though he’s been making electronic-based music for a decade now, it wasn’t until Ellison’s last two releases that he began deliberately delving into jazz for his compositions.

I’m glad he did. Because although Flying Lotus’ music has always been stimulating, You’re Dead! takes his tunes to another level entirely. Throughout 19 tracks in a blistering 38 minutes, Ellison balances hip-hop and jazz influences in equal measure; rappers Kendrick Lamar and Snoop Dogg make appearances, as do pianist Herbie Hancock, saxophonist Kamasi Washington and bassist Stephen Bruner (AKA Thundercat).

You’re Dead! is both explosive and improvisational. Aside from the Kendrick-assisted “Never Catch Me,” most songs clock in under the three-minute mark and are solely instrumental. The disc runs from one playful-sounding idea to the next, bolstered by Lotus’ experimental flourishes and Thundercat’s tireless basslines. And though death may have inspired You’re Dead!, this record is brimming with life.

url Van Morrison – Astral Weeks (1968)

Yes, Astral Weeks is a jazz album. It was recorded over three sessions in late 1968, during which Van Morrison let his accompanying musicians play whatever they felt over his songs; and those musicians–flautist John Payne, guitarist Jay Berliner, bassist Richard Davis, drummer Connie Kay and percussionist Warren Smith Jr.–all happened to be accomplished jazz artists.

The eight songs that comprise Astral Weeks move on their own time. Van Morrison’s delivery is leisurely and not to be bothered, almost as if he’s dreaming up syllables seconds before he sings them. There were no rehearsals before the crew began recording, and some tracks are borderline messy. However, it’s that messiness that allows the album to emit love and pain and all the other basic emotions in such a raw, base, human way.

There’s a big part of me that thinks Astral Weeks is a really, really doofy record. But there’s a bigger part of me that loves hearing Davis pluck that first bassline on the title track–that loves knowing I’m about to get lost in Van Morrison’s surreal, harmonious vision for the next hour.

The albums listed above are available for FLAC downloads and FLAC streaming on Murfie!

Album Review: ‘Is This It’ by The Strokes

Is This It was one of the first records I ever bought. Even back then–nearly ten years ago–the album had already earned its place in rock ‘n’ roll’s pantheon. Like the “classic” records it nods to, there isn’t any other way to consume it: Is This It was made for wax.

Maybe it’s because The Strokes arrived before the social media era, or because I was just a teenager in Wisconsin at the time, but, on its debut, the band felt fully-formed. From the downwinding tape that kicks off the title track to Julian Casablancas’ closing howls on “Take It or Leave It,” Is This It emanates effortlessness, self-assurance and, in a way, perfection.

Of course, Is This It is basically the work of a classically trained musician (Casablancas) hell-bent on rehearsing and rehashing his favorite garage and rock records until he’s achieved said perfection. “Rock ‘n’ roll” is supposed to be unrehearsed and raw, and this record is technically anything but. Somehow, though, the Strokes pulled it off, releasing a nearly-untouchable, instant-classic debut.

We all know what happened next: For the Strokes, Is This It was it. But, when your biggest hit blatantly rips off Tom Petty and he responds by inviting you to tour with him, you can really only go downhill from there.

Murfie is Moving (Again)!

With over 750,000 CDs in the Murfie warehouse, the time has come for the company to relocate to bigger digs!

It’s been truly enjoyable having Murfie on Madison’s Capitol Square surrounded by fantastic companies and people. However, Murfie has simply outgrown the space! With the amount of physical music being sent in to be digitized and stored, the best solution was to find a warehouse where there’s plenty of room for the growing amount of CDs and vinyl….plus all the Murfie staffers of course!

Murfie is moving to Middleton, Wisconsin, in the old Full Compass building. Full Compass is a Madison-based music company as well. The new neighborhood is looking beautiful as can be, and the staff is relieved to be able to keep all of Murfie operations under one spacious roof.

Starting today, Murfie will begin to move all inventory to the new Middleton warehouse, which will continue for 1-2 weeks. In the meantime, you can still access your music digitally, so no worries there!

Murfie has a new focus of maintaining the largest and most diverse source of lossless music on the web.  So—see you on the other side, in Middleton!

– The Murfie Crew

Murfie, Inc.
8001 Terrace Ave, Suite 201
Middleton, WI 53562

 

New Direction for Murfie

Many changes are underway in 2016 at Murfie. As the world’s first streaming music service for CD and vinyl owners, our focus has long been on building the cloud infrastructure and processing capability required for moving CD and vinyl collections online. With this foundation in place, we’re shifting our focus in 2016 to our marketplace of albums, with the goal of murfie.com having the largest selection of lossless music on the web.

In conjunction with this new focus, Murfie has raised additional capital, led by WISC Partners, LP, and is in the process of relocating its offices from the Capitol Square in Madison to a larger facility better able to support our growth trajectory.

Murfie’s Board has named Chris Wheeler as CEO, replacing co-founder Matt Younkle who, along with Preston Austin, had led the company since its inception in 2010. Wheeler, a UW-Madison engineering alumnus, Harvard Business School graduate, and founder of Heritage Ventures, brings significant growth management and capital sourcing experience to Murfie. We’re excited to have his expertise as we scale our offering for music enthusiasts and expand our work with independent artists.

Austin and Younkle will continue as strategic advisors to Murfie. In addition, Younkle will continue to serve on the Murfie Board of Directors, along with Wheeler and WISC Partners principal Mike Splinter. Austin, with Kelly Hiser, will continue as co-founder of Rabble LLC, Murfie’s library-focused spinoff.