June albums: 20th anniversary

It’s hard to believe it’s 2015 and the majority of us have been buying CDs for over 20 years. This month marks the 20th anniversary of a few famous albums that were released in 1995. Remember these?

Take That Nobody ElseTake That
Nobody Else
June 8th, 1995

The third album by British boy band Take That, this was the last recording before original band members like Robbie Williams disbanded. It contains their most successful song “Back For Good”.

 

Bjork PostBjörk
Post

June 13th, 1995

This is the third album by Icelandic singer- songwriter Björk, in which she brought an electronic-pop sound with teasers of trip-hop and other styles. The album was met with critical success and was certified platinum in the US, UK, Canada, Europe and Australia.

 

Alanis Morissette Jagged Little PillAlanis Morissette
Jagged Little Pill
June 13th, 1995

One of the most memorable albums of the 90s, Jagged Little Pill put Alanis on the map as an alternative rock goddess. The album was written after a breakup, with singles like “Ironic” and “You Oughta Know”.

 

Selena Dreaming of YouSelena
Dreaming of You
June 18th, 1995

This album made Selena the first Hispanic singer to have an album debut at No.1 on the US Billboard charts. The release was a historic event in terms of album sales from a female singer as well.

 

Michael Jackson HIStoryMichael Jackson
HIStory: Past, Present and Future
June 20th, 1995

This was the first album released on Michael Jackson’s own label, MJJ Productions. Disc 1 is a compilation of greatest hits, and Disc 2 was completely new material at the time.

New to Me: Newly-found music gems (Vol II)

Many times while shopping for music, it’s certain you’ll discover something completely new to you, only to find out it’s been around a while! It’s happened to us a lot, which is why we wanted to share our stories with you on the blog. Here’s some gems we found that we think you’ll enjoy, too.

Mitch Hedberg Strategic Grill LocationsKayla found Strategic Grill Locations by Mitch Hedberg

I’ve never been big on comedians, since I think a lot of their humor comes from two things: ignorance towards others and bodily functions. I’ve heard a little bit of Mitch’s stuff before and thought it was lighthearted and funny, so when I saw this album for sale I scooped it up. His humor isn’t rooted in anything offensive—it’s genuine observations of the world, silly suggestions about what could be, and a unique delivery with one-liners and plays on words. It’s too bad that Mitch’s heavy drug use caused his early death in 2007, but the jokes he left us with, especially the ones on this album, are absolute gold.

My friend asked me if I wanted a frozen banana, I said “No, but I want a regular banana later, so … yeah”.

Matmos The Civil WarJohn found The Civil War by Matmos...

I’ve known Matmos for a long time to make electronic instrumental music with an experimental slant. They do everything from dancey Four Tet-reminiscent tunes to organic hip-hop beats. They’ve even done production work on the excellent Björk albums Vespertine and Medúlla. When I first put on The Civil War, I didn’t know what to expect. I must admit I thought I had the wrong band at first. While thoroughly experimental, The Civil War explores Medieval folk instruments, Americana and even hurdy-gurdy samples. It’s really all over the place, and though it won’t likely be in my regular rotation, The Civil War is certainly worth a listen.

R.A.P. music by Killer MikeMarc found R.A.P. Music by Killer Mike

I’m totally late to getting a clue on this one, but damn. This album is hot. I’ve been digging El-P since his Company Flow days, and he’s on the production here, but this is the first time I’ve heard Killer Mike. I’d read somewhat recently that this album is basically the best punk album to have come out in the last decade, and I’ll agree (it’s an attitude, not a style, dude; just ask Mike Watt). Everything about this album burns.

Life Starts Here Airport 5Jeff found Life Starts Here by Airport 5

I knew Airport 5 was somehow related to Guided By Voices, like a zillion other weirdly named one-off side projects. However, I had no idea Airport 5 was a reunion of Dayton, Ohio’s own Lennon/McCartney style star-crossed bromance of Robert Pollard and Tobin Sprout. That essentially makes this a return to golden age GBV not heard since 1997’s Mag Earwig! Tobin’s relaxed production and chorus-heavy guitars on “We’re in the Business” harken back to the lesser known weird-out earworms of 1996’s Tonics and Twisted Chasers like “The Top Chick’s Silver Chord” and “158 Years of Beautiful Sex”. Sign me the hell up!

Can you admit to recently finding something you really like that’s not all-that-new? Let us know in the comments!

Interview with Zoë Keating

Photo credit: Chase Jarvis

Zoë Keating is a renowned cellist who uses technology to loop tracks and enhance her live and recorded music performances. Her songs tell stories without words—and luckily we have this interview to make up for that! Read on to learn more about Zoë, in her own words. :-)

(This interview was perviously recorded as a podcast back in January 2014. You can listen to the audio version here.)

[MUSIC: “Optimist” by Zoë Keating]

INTRO: This is Kayla here, with your Murfie podcast. A few days ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Zoë Keating at her show in Madison. Zoë is a world-famous cellist who’s crafted a bunch of scores, in addition to playing with musicians like Amanda Palmer and DJ Shadow. Zoë creates amazing layered compositions by looping cello tracks with her laptop. Not only was her show incredible, but her personality is great, and she told the audience funny stories between songs. Here’s a recording of the interview we had backstage at the theater.

Kayla: So, I’m at the Majestic in downtown Madison right now with Zoë Keating—thank you so much for talking with me today, Zoë.

Zoë: Oh, you’re welcome.

Kayla: I’m excited for the show, first of all. Um, did you just arrive today in Madison?

Zoë: Yeah, like two hours ago [laughs].

Kayla: Okay—what do you think of the cold? It’s finally over zero.

Zoë: You know, I arrived in Minnesota the day after the polar vortex left, so that was pretty darn cold…and in comparison, it feels pretty warm now.

Kayla: Yes!

Zoë: I think it’s like fifteen degrees outside, and it feels lovely.

Kayla and Zoë: [Laugh]

Kayla: I know! Who would have thought we would appreciate fifteen degrees. But you’re from Canada, is that right?

Continue reading Interview with Zoë Keating

This Week in Music History (March 5th-11th)

What’s music history got for us this week? Learn up and boogie down!

3/5- On this day in 1983, Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” started a seven-week run at No.1 on the US singles chart. The song was his fourth solo No.1 in the United States, and also went to No.1 in the United Kingdom.

3/6- On this day in 1965, The Temptations became the first male group to have a No.1 hit for Motown with their single “My Girl”, written by Smokey Robinson.

3/7- On this day in 1969, Led Zeppelin appeared at the Bluesville 69 Club at the Hornsey Wood Tavern, Finsbury Park, in London. The venue was a tiny room in back of the pub, with a stage that was so small that only the drum set fit onstage. The rest of the group was forced to stand on the floor with the crowd.

3/8- On this day in 2008, China began to impose tighter regulations on foreign pop stars after singer Björk caused a controversy by screaming “Tibet, Tibet” after performing her song “Declare Independence” at her concert in Shanghai.

3/9- On this day in 1991, British punk band The Clash scored their only UK No.1 single with “Should I Stay or Should I Go”. The song shot to popularity after it was used in a Levi’s TV advertisement.

3/10- On this day in 1964, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel recorded “The Sounds of Silence” as an acoustic duet. The song did not become a hit until late 1965, when record company producers added electric guitar, drums and bass to the track.

3/11– On this day in 2008, Madonna was inducted into the US Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at a ceremony in New York City. The singer thanked her detractors in her acceptance speech, particularly those who “said I couldn’t sing, that I was a one-hit wonder”.

Pick up these pieces of music history in our CD marketplace! Every album you own comes with unlimited streaming and downloads in mp3, aac, FLAC and Apple Lossless! :-)

Bargain Hunt Giveaway: Tom Waits, Björk & Charles Mingus

The Murfie marketplace is full of ridiculous bargains. Working here at Murfie HQ, I see more great deals on the site than I could possibly justify snagging myself. That’s why I’ve decided to start the “Bargain Hunt Giveaway.”

Here’s how it works: When I see an awesome deal on an interesting album, I take note of it. I’ll spend $5 (total) on some great albums, talk about them a bit, then give them away to you!

For a chance to win, either comment below or tweet @murfiemusic with the hashtag #BargainHuntGiveaway, and include the name of the album you’d like to win. Next week, I’ll pick three random winners and gift them the album on Murfie.

Read on for my recent finds, and remember that I only paid $5 for all three of these albums!

First Find: Tom Waits – Bone Machine
Tom Waits has been one of my favorite artists since the day I purchased a copy of Real Gone on vinyl. It was the first of many vinyl purchases made on a whim, and I never regretted it. While Real Gone may have been my gateway album, Bone Machine has some absolute classics. “Earth Died Screaming”, “Dirt in the Ground” and “I Don’t Wanna Grow Up” are the kind of songs you will find on just about every Tom Waits cover album, and Bone Machine was in general a taste of the sort of material he’d release for the next two decades.

This album even includes the quintessential manthem* “Goin’ Out West“.

Well I know karate, voodoo too
I’m gonna make myself available to you
I don’t need no make up
I got real scars
I got hair on my chest
I look good without a shirt

Second Find: Björk – Vespertine
Vespertine is an album I always forget about.  And for no good reason! Perhaps it’s because I really hopped on the Björk train full-bore with Volta in 2007. The rest of her catalog came to me in an attempt to find more of what I loved about Volta. Make no mistake, though – Vespertine is its own beautiful beast. “Hidden Place” is an incredibly subdued starting point for the album, and she somehow brings it down another notch immediately after with “Cocoon”. The glitchy beats spread throughout the album really compliment the ever present harp work and her typically ethereal vocals, and in general, Vespertine is all about the atmosphere.

My favorite track on the album is hands down “Sun in My Mouth”, which draws lyrics directly from the e.e. cummings poem “Wade.” Melodically, the song also reminds me of the more delicate moments in some of Sondheim‘s work.  It’s one of e.e. cummings’ more visually evocative pieces, and the brevity of Björk’s interpretation makes sure it doesn’t overstay its welcome.

Final Find: Charles Mingus – Mingus Ah Um
The year 1959 was a huge one for jazz to say the least. Time Out (specifically the song “Take Five”) made Brubeck a household name, while Miles Davis released the masterpiece that is Kind of Blue. We also got three albums by John Coltrane (including the unforgettable Giant Steps) and Ornette Coleman‘s The Shape of Jazz to Come.

While I love all of those albums, Mingus Ah Um will always have a special place reserved in my heart as one of the first jazz albums I really got to know inside and out. I became a fan of jazz in early high school, and Mingus Ah Um is full of tunes I’ve been listening since then. What I love most about the album is how down to earth it is. It sounds like Mingus and his crew are playing in the room with you. I love the realness of the group clapping and distant preaching in album opener “Better Git It in Your Soul”.

Mingus Ah Um is an album completely filled with these intimate moments, including tributes and homages to the likes of Lester Young, Duke Ellington and Jelly Roll Morton. It even caused a bit of a stir in its own right when Columbia famously refused to let Mingus record the politically charged lyrics for Fables of Faubus (though the validity of this claim is still debated). If you come across it, I highly recommend the 50th anniversary 2-disc Legacy Edition, which includes three alternate takes, as well as the sister album Mingus Dynasty.


If any of these albums sound interesting to you, comment below or tweet @murfiemusic with the hashtag #BargainHuntGiveaway, and include the name of the album you’d like to win. Three random winners will be gifted these albums next week!

*manthem = man + anthem

New Cool Collection: Coachella Headliners!

A new Cool Collection has hit the Murfie marketplace—Coachella Headliners!

This weekend’s festival in California has inspired us to bring some of the music to everyone, whether you are attending in person or not.

In the new collection, you’ll find albums by the artists who have performed at Coachella since way back in 1999:

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Beastie Boys  
Performed in ’03

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Massive Attack
Performed on ’04

54913-largeManu Chao 
Performed in ’07

 

 

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DJ Tiesto
Performed in ’10

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The Black Keys
Performed in ’11

145282-largeTupac 
Performed in ’12
via hologram

 

 

You’ll also find Beck, The Chemical Brothers, Tegan and Sara, Bjork, Modest Mouse, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Jane’s Addiction, Blur, Of Monsters and Men, Rage Against the Machine…and many, many more!

Stay tuned—we’ll give you an update this weekend with info about who is performing in real-time, and link you to the right albums to buy.

Check out the Coachella Headliners Cool Collection, and get groovin’!