Preview The Rosebuds, a dance-folk duo out of North Carolina, formed their marriage and musical endeavor in 2001. Composed of Ivan Howard and Kelly Crisp, the duo was recognized by local indie label Merge Records two short years later, and subsequently released their debut record, The Rosebuds Make Out.
While the band has been prolific throughout their tenure, releasing six full lengths and three digital LPs in eleven years, they’ve worked tirelessly with other groups as well. In 2010, Howard contritubed his skills to Midwestern R&B supergroup Gayngs‘ only release thus-far, Relayted. And in 2011, The duo also toured with Bon Iver behind their enormous release, Bon Iver, Bon Iver.
Just before the release of their fifth LP, 2011’s emotionally devastating Loud Planes Fly Low, the husband and wife announced they had filed for divorce. While the divorce would surely mark the demise of other music groups, Howard and Crisp have continued to make music together. Next week marks a new chapter for the duo, as they’re set to release Sand + Silence, their first album since the split and the first for for their new label, Western Vinyl.
Preview Phox is perhaps one of Wisconsin’s most popular musical acts right now. Mainly from Baraboo, the six-piece band brings a solid indie pop sound that can easily be enjoyed by just about anyone.
Their big breakthrough was in 2013 during the release of their album Friendship, when they had a string of successful gigs and positive reviews by national press. They toured with Blitzen Trapper, and opened for The Lumineers in London. They also scored spots playing at some of the nation’s most popular music festivals, SXSW and Lollapalooza.
The new album, self-titled Phox, is up on NPR’s First Listen to stream. It was recorded at Bon Iver-frontman Justin Vernon’s home studio in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. The album shows off a sound that only an eclectic six-piece band can pull off: Layered soundscapes, songs that build, interesting instruments like the clarinet and trumpet, lots of “oooh”s and “aaah”s, whistles, hand clapping, and lead singer Monica’s breathy, airy voice.
Murfie Preview Kayla:Phox has a lot going for them! They’re a band of talented people who work well as a cohesive unit, while letting every person shine. They’ve got a layered, interesting indie pop sound with never a dull moment. Monica’s voice compliments the music so well—it beautifully blends with it, and is not overpowering like some vocals are. I think that’s important for a band who wants you to hear the depth of their sound, the overlapping musical textures that are like landscapes. The notes she sings really travel—single syllables in a word can move up and down like butterfly wings. Their music can be mellow at times, but not depressing like some mellow music can be. Mixed with the mellow moments on the new self-titled album Phox, you’ll hear more catchy songs like “Slow Motion”, “1936”, and “Evil”. Phox is from Baraboo, Wisconsin, and they are in Madison often. I’ve met a few members and they are really nice. They have two shows celebrating their album release at High Noon Saloon in Madison, and both are sold out! Darn!! :-)
Murfie may be an internet-based company, but there’s a group of real peeps who work here (super-cool peeps, may I add!), all currently living around the Madison area. It’s our team of developers here at Murfie who are responsible for building the features on our site: everything from Wishlists and the album pages to the Android app and more. You can meet one of these folks today:
Where are you from? > I’m from a little town about 20 minutes north of Milwaukee called Cedarburg. It’s a quaint little town with a rustic main street. At some point, in some magazine or something, it was said to be number three on the top tourist attractions in Wisconsin, but though it’s cute, it’s not that cute.
How long have you been working at Murfie? What is your role? > I’ve been working at Murfie since August of 2011. I originally started as an Ops member, but gained enough knowledge to move into a developer role. I’ve been developing for almost a year now, and I absolutely love it.
What do you like about working at Murfie? > My favorite part of the job is my group of coworkers. I love having really motivated and creative people around me, and every day, Murfie employees are doing awesome things around Madison. Our gang is making Madison a better community, while making Murfie a better company. There’s nothing like good people.
What kind of music can be found in your collection? > Since I was gifted roughly 500 discs, my collection is a mess. That being said, it’s full of some of my favorites, artists like: Andrew Bird, Bon Iver, Bright Eyes, Phosphorescent, and The National. I drift heavily into the Folk/Indie/Americana side, songs with good lyrics and peaceful, spare melodies.
Who are your favorite artists/bands of all time? > Oddly enough, this is an easy question for me, I’ll give you three, two of which I already mentioned: Bright Eyes, Phosphorescent, and Bob Dylan. You’d be surprised by how similar they all are.
If you could have coffee with any musician, from any time, who would it be any why? > Definitely Dylan, but it would have to be when he was just getting started releasing albums, around when he released the self-titled. I don’t think I am interested in anything he’d have to say, but boy, I would love to hear him speak.
Are you a Beyoncé fan? > I went through a phase because I grew up with a sister three years older than me. That’s all I can reveal.
What album are you really digging right now? >Volcano Choir‘s Repave. I think “Comrade”, the third track, is etching itself onto my plaque of all time favorites.
Do you have any pets? > I do. I have two turtles who were given to me by Tyler, another sMurf, and I have a 1-year-old kitten named Matilda. She’s quite the little bundle.
What is your favorite food? > Curry. 4 stars.
What can people find you doing when you’re not at Murfie? > Too many things. I’m not good at sitting still and doing nothing. My current obsessions are exercising, watching Miyazaki films, and reading. I’m working on a couple side projects, including a social app for new parents and their children, and a developer bootcamp for others interested in obtaining job skills that one may not learn in school.
Now you know more about Zach, someone who does a lot for Murfie! Behind the scenes, we have a lot going on here!
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.
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”
It’s Halloweeeen time! Even though it’s not the 31st, it’s safe to say that many folks will be celebrating the year’s spookiest holiday this weekend.
Our staffers have some great Halloween album picks for you, along with great stories to share (with pictures)!
Name: Gao Favorite album for fall/Halloween:Thriller (by Michael Jackson) has always been a favorite. In fact, my family did the Thriller dance at my sister’s wedding reception. Best Halloween costume ever: My sisters made me a dinosaur costume one year. They even built a tail! I stomped around and called myself Gaozilla. What I plan to dress up as this year: This is the first year I’ve bought a costume and didn’t make it. I’ll be a pirate. ARGH!
Name: Daniella Favorite album for fall/Halloween:Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas by Danny Elfman. Best Halloween costume ever: Nerd costumes have included Companion Cube (from Portal), Cthulhu, Harry Potter, and more nerdiness… What I plan to dress up as this year: This year I’m going as Lumpy Space Princess (assuming I can find myself a purple beehive wig).
Name: Tiffany Favorite album for fall/Halloween:Bloodletting by Concrete Blonde. Best Halloween costume ever: It’s a toss-up between Poison Ivy, Medusa, and a dead woman. I don’t have a digital picture of any of those, but I’ve got a picture of my costume as the Moon a few years back. What I plan to dress up as this year: Not sure yet. And even if I knew, I never reveal my costumes before Halloween.
Name: Zach Favorite album for fall/Halloween:Scary Sound Effects (because I remember ripping it). Best Halloween costume ever: Rorschach because I have a mask with an ink blot that warps because of the temperature of your breathing vs. the cold air. What I plan to dress up as this year: I’ll probably hand out candy.
Name: John Favorite album for fall/Halloween:Litanies of Satan by Diamanda Galàs (Close second: Schrei X). Best Halloween costume ever: A few years ago, my band Fambly Fun! performed a Halloween show as Will Smith. That’s right, we had FIVE Will Smiths. We played all the classics from Big Willie Style and Willennium, and even Willow Smith’s then-new “Whip My Hair.” It was a ton of fun. What I plan to dress up as this year: I like to dress up as something timely, yet unexpected. Last year, I dressed up as the Russian feminist punk rock protest band Pussy Riot. This year, who knows!
Name: Steve Favorite album for fall/Halloween:John Denver, classic fall Americana. Best Halloween costume ever: I went as a Power Ranger when I was about 9. I had a glove that makes karate chop noises when you squeezed the thumb to the rest of the fingers. It was sooooo freaking cool. What I plan to dress up as this year: The Man in the Yellow Hat. My girlfriend is going as Curious George.
Name: Noah Favorite album for fall/Halloween: Halloween’s all about the movies, right? And what’s a better combination than Bernard Herrmann’s unforgettable scores to Alfred Hitchcock’s most terrifying movies. Best Halloween costume ever: I went as Sally Bowles from Cabaret, but the makeup ended up looking a bit like Malcolm McDowell from A Clockwork Orange. It kind of worked anyway. What I plan to dress up as this year: I’m thinking of going as a Mondrian painting, but I have a habit of changing my mind at the last minute.
Name: Matt Favorite album for fall/Halloween:Watermark by Enya (music for relaxing until Halloween is over). Best Halloween costume ever: I’ll be the party pooper in the group and go on the record that I’ve never really enjoyed dressing up for Halloween—not as a kid, and certainly not as an adult. I find it a bit disturbing that Halloween has become a bigger draw for adults than children. If Halloween need be celebrated at all, at least let the kids regain the run of things. What I plan to dress up as this year: I’m not planning to dress up again this year, for obvious reasons.
Name: Marc Favorite album for fall/Halloween:The Good, the Bad & the Queen. Meticulously somber, strolling music for when chill winds throw leaves past your feet. Best Halloween costume ever: A few years over the past decade I’ve iterated a costume inspired by a recurrent nightmare I used to have. I once made a bellhop at the Concourse jump back as I crept along the street. What I plan to dress up as this year: Probably no costume, since I probably won’t have the time to put into making one.
Name: Preston Favorite album for fall/Halloween:October Project:) Best Halloween costume ever: My best? That was Satan working to recruit a manager ready to to Sell Their Soul to get in “Below Ground Level!!” managing the exclusive franchise I had just negotiated to open a line of Starbucks cafes in The 9th Circle of Hell. My pitch was that it’s “…the only place in the universe where another Starbucks can possibly improve the neighborhood.” It was a play on a joke in this animation, but you might want to watch the whole set for context. What I plan to dress up as this year: It’ll be a game day decision. One possibility is that I’ll dress in a suit with a giant American flag lapel clip holding a pacifier on a red, white, and blue ribbon, with “I <3 Ayn Rand” stenciled on an Elephant on a T-shirt underneath. I’ll blackmail people into giving me some of their candy by threatening to do something that would embarrass us both. If they foolishly give me candy, I’ll come back later, scream and cry loud enough to be heard that they have way too much candy, and whine that they won’t negotiate with me to meet me part way and give me some of the rest. Ideally, this will be a team costume and include someone who plays the world’s tiniest violin each time I don’t get what I want. If things go poorly for them, I might also just go as The Ghost of The Republican Party, or conversely if democrats cooperate in sacking the poor, I might be an old person looking for information on which cat food tastes best.
Name: Leah Favorite album for fall/Halloween: Something about Nick Drake is just perfect for an autumn stroll. Best Halloween costume ever: A tie between Pam from the Office (I found Jim on State St!) and a Frenchman (fake cigarette, I promise). Oh and I went as an old woman when I was in second or third grade, which was hilarious. What I plan to dress up as this year: A flower :D I found directions for an awesome DIY flower headpiece thing online, and my rest of the body will be the stem – a “Leahlac”, you might say.
Name: Tyler Favorite album for fall/Halloween:For Emma, Forever Ago by Bon Iver. An album to listen to bundled up with your favorite blanket and a cup of hot chocolate. Best Halloween costume ever: Don’t know what the name of the costume is, but I was dressed as a headless guy who was carrying his own head in his hands and the head was my head. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a picture :(
What I plan to dress up as this year: I’ll be handing out candy this year, so no dressing up for me. But our two dogs will be dressed in Packer uniforms!
Name: Kayla Favorite album for fall/Halloween: Anything with The Monster Mash. Best Halloween costume ever: Probably last year when I was a strawberry, since I made the costume by myself. The only thing is, everyone thought I was a watermelon—even though I had yellow seeds! =\ Some other notable costumes: Esmeralda, Avril Lavigne, and Zombie Tinkerbell. What I plan to dress up as this year:Amy Winehouse (I bought a wig!). I’ll have fake tattoos, thick eyeliner, an empty bottle of Jack, and all that good stuff. My roommate and I are planning on having a séance for her on the 31st.
Big thank you to all the moms who had fun picking out pictures for this post! Have a fun and safe Halloween, everyone!
What were you up to on April 15th, 2011? Micah was joining Murfie on that day! (Woot!)
Shortly after that, he sent a kit of about 500 discs all the way from Mequon, WI…to Madison, WI! And he’s sold a bunch of them so far. We asked this hardcore Murfie guy a few questions about him and his collection.
Murfie: How did you originally learn about Murfie? Micah: My first exposure to Murfie was completely random. I was waiting in reception, a bit early for a meeting with a client (I’m in marketing), and was paging through their Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Or perhaps it was their WSJ. Regardless, it was an interview with the founders during the first year of business I believe…pretty early on. It really caught my attention because I am a total tech nerd, always looking for ways to digitize my life. I’ve been into digital (web, mobile, etc.) visual design and interaction design for years, and their concept seemed really intriguing to me. It reminded me of my pre-marketing days when I worked at a music shop in CA, turning people on to rare finds and great deals in the used department. And hey, they were right in my backyard…Madison! I got home, went online, and requested a couple 500 count boxes, filling them up and shipping them out immediately. My shop was up and running in no time.
Murfie: When did you purchase your first CD? What was it? Micah: My first CD ever, or Murfie? Can’t remember on Murfie, but I actually bought two CD’s as my first purchase. Jellyfish‘s Bellybutton album and Presto by Rush.
Murfie: How many CDs do you own (or did you own at peak)? Micah: Probably over 1200 for a while.
Murfie: How tall are you? Micah: 6 feet tall.
Murfie: Tell us about your musical tastes. Micah: My tastes are pretty varied as I have musical loves from jazz to musicals, from classical to some classic rock gems, but what I mainly listen to falls into indie rock, 80’s wave, smart pop, and intelligent heavy rock.
Murfie: What can folks expect to find in your store (if different than the above)? Micah:
Murfie: If you could meet any musician or band in person, who would it be and why? Micah: It would have to be Robert Smith of The Cure. He and the band have meant so much to me over the years. I’d love to hear stories from the 34 years of history, find out what he’s listening to nowadays…heck, if I’m dreamin’ here I’d throw in a jam session and see if I can get in the band.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know.