Mom-Approved Modern Music for Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day can often mean a trip back home to spend the day with a certain woman who raised you. I love a good family tradition (and I love my mom even more), but let’s face it: A day of listening to music released circa your mom’s high school years can get a little, well… old. Here are three suggestions to bring your mom into the 21st century, music-wise, this Mother’s Day. Take them for a spin this Sunday—they’re guaranteed to not contain too many lyrics that will make family listening time uncomfortable. (Author’s Note: All albums have been successfully test-driven by my mom.)

MI0003392585Channel Orange
Frank Ocean

This 2012 record was the beginning of something big: Frank Ocean is one of the most incredibly talented singers and songwriters of our time. This record is packed full of the stuff of legends: One-of-a-kind lyrics, an ambitious sound, and a sizable helping of passion and philosophy. Ocean is a storyteller, and his stories highlight the best and the worst of what it’s like to be alive.

Musically, this album is a mishmash in the best possible way. It fuses influences from decades past (think ’70s funk sounds and ’90s hip-hop) with a new and thoroughly modern groove, including truly awesome use of quiet electronic percussion. There’s also heavy soul influence here–moments on this album suggest flashbacks to Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye. I rarely listen to R&B, but I sure would if it all sounded like this. The songs have tight verses that hit you with incredible impact. The sheer force of emotion on this album hits you hard, creating a soundtrack for those who have lived, loved–and most of all, lost.

Don’t Miss Tracks: “Bad Religion”, “Pyramids”

MI0003341793Blunderbuss
Jack White

Up until now, Jack White has been part of a group, whether alongside Meg White of The White Stripes or the rest of The Raconteurs. On this album, however, he’s the star: Not only is this a great solo record, it also holds its own among White’s incredible discography as part of a band. White’s reflections on life and love might tear you apart, but you’ll manage to enjoy every moment of the gut-wrenching process.

For White, going solo means that all his crazy musical ideas and influences find a home. This album contains traces of everything from old-school R&B all the way through modern country music. From his cover of Little Willie John‘s 1960 hit “I’m Shakin” to his use of fiddles and mandolins on “Blunderbuss”, a lot of ground is covered here. Jack White isn’t an easy man to figure out-—nor does he want to be: despite track after track lamenting the heartbreak of love, his female backup chorus includes his ex-wife Karen Elson. A few listens of this album, however, leave you with the impression that Jack White does his best work when he’s a little shrouded in mystery.

Don’t Miss Tracks: “Love Interruption”, “Sixteen Saltines”

MI0002921033Brothers
The Black Keys

For a group with such a stellar big-band sound, it’s hard to believe that The Black Keys are a two-man show. This album comes after both members took some time away from their main band, trying their hand at other projects. It was a well-needed break: This album is their best release in years, cementing their own unique sound and their position atop the blues-rock food chain. This is nothing incredibly new or different, but that’s why I love them: Consistency is key with a group that constantly delivers music that just sounds like a good time.

This album very successfully plays around with a variety of styles, incorporating everything from up-tempo beats on “Howlin’ For You” to quiet, haunting harpsichord on “Too Afraid to Love You”. My personal favorite addition, however, is vocalist Dan Auerbach’s incorporation of falsetto, For a band that’s made a name with its bluesy sound, a falsetto was certainly a surprise (and a welcome one at that). He nails the sound on tracks like “Everlasting Light”, bringing a much-needed new edge into the mix. For longtime fans like myself, this album set a new standard for the band, turning classic bluesy sounds into something fresh and creative.

Don’t Miss Tracks: “Everlasting Light”, “Howlin’ For You”

Shopkeep of the Week

It was June, 2011 when Kevin joined Murfie. Since then, he’s sent three kits with over 600 discs all the way from the Pacific shores of California to the Madison Isthmus.

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Murfie: How did you originally learn about Murfie?
Kevin: I discovered Murfie while looking for a place to sell my CDs. I did a Google search, and voila! I now have a lot of music on MP3, and the storage and accessibility are no longer a problem.

M: When did you purchase your first CD? What was it?
K: I have no idea when I purchased my first CD. Suffice to say—a long time ago. I used to belong to some of those mail CD clubs, but the selection was pretty bad and I had trouble finding good CDs to meet the minimum membership requirement, so I quit.

M: How many CDs do you own (or did you own at your peak)?
K: I still have about 100 or so CDs (along with LPs, audio cassettes, and reel to reel tapes. Sorry, no 8 tracks!). At the height of my collection, I probably had at least 600-700 CDs.

M: How tall are you?
K: How tall am I? Taller than Billy Barty and shorter than Wilt Chamberlain.

M: Tell us about your musical tastes.
K: My musical tastes lean mostly towards blues and jazz, although I like some rock (usually more blues based), Neil Young, Dylan, classical (modern), opera, what I consider alternative (Songs Ohia, Cat Power, Portishead, etc.), and even some new age stuff. I don’t like rap or hip hop much, and my country tastes ends not far south of Lyle Lovett and Junior Brown.

M: What can folks expect to find in your store (if different than above)?
K: Folks can expect to find a lot of the stuff above in my store, as well as some of the traditional classical music on some of the BBC Music discs. I have a monthly subscription, but I don’t listen to them much unless it’s someone I’ve never heard of.

M: If you could meet any musician or band in person, who would it be and why?
K: The late Michael Bloomfield, my all-time guitar hero, whose playing still sends shivers down my back. Not likely.

M: What is your favorite album at the moment?
K: Favorite album at the moment is tough, but I keep playing Joe Bonamassa‘s version of “Sloe Gin” and “Reconsider Baby”. I listen to a lot of genres and I have three internet radios strewn about the house, playing the Croatian Jazz station and the 8-9 Pandora stations I’ve put together, which range from Archie Shepp-type jazz to Kronos.

M: What do you plan to do with the millions of dollars you’re making from your Murfie shop?
K: Millions of dollars? I must have missed something in the agreement. Please send the Brinks truck here immediately!

M: Which Beatle was your favorite?
K: Since I never cared much for The Beatles (always more of a Stones guy), I can’t say that I have a favorite. I realize this is a minority opinion that confounds many of my friends, but I never felt there was much feeling in their music. Same reason I dislike 50’s rock!

Check out Kevin’s shop on Murfie!

Shopkeep of the Week is a weekly feature that focuses on our most interesting Murfie shopkeepers. These are music lovers like you who have sold hundreds of pre-loved CDs on Murfie and have hundreds more at the ready to please your ears! If you’d like your Murfie Shop to be featured, or if you’d like to nominate a shop to be featured, please e-mail us at info@murfie.com and let us know.

5 Reasons I Love The Black Keys

(and why I know they will be rock legends forever)

1. The Look (Or Lack Thereof)
Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney don’t mess around. They aren’t caught up in projecting an image to the masses, and in doing that, they’ve created their own unique look. I give them props for rocking the beard and glasses.

2. Timelessness
Just like their look, their sound is not fake, or trying to sell anything. They sound timeless. When I first heard their bluesy riffs, I couldn’t believe they came from that year (2007). Since 2002, they’ve been putting out original blues rock music with deep roots.

3. Blakroc
Me? Listen to hip-hop? Never. Not before Blakroc, at least! Blakroc is the supreme fusion of rock and hip-hop, delivered by The Black Keys and celebrated hip-hop artists like Mos Def, Q-Tip, and Pharoahe Monch. Blakroc retains great melodies that can only come from The Black Keys, but steps them up to being more badass. I was so shocked when I heard “What You Do to Me,” with stunning vocals featuring Nicole Wray – I know you will be too if you haven’t heard it yet!

4. Consistency
The Big Come Up, Thickfreakness, Rubber Factory, Magic Potion, Attack & Release, Blakroc, Brothers, El Camino…all released in the past decade without losing their originality and momentum, and all met with positive reviews.

5. Less Is More
I’m finding this to be true for a lot of things. This guitar and drum-driven duo are strong and uncluttered à la The White Stripes. Need I say more?

With El Camino available now, I have yet another reason to gush about this awesome band!