Album Preview: “The Voyager” by Jenny Lewis

The VoyagerAlbum
The Voyager

Artist
Jenny Lewis

Release Date
July 29, 2014

Label
Warner Bros.

Pre-order Link
Pre-order Album

Preview
Jenny Lewis‘ third solo album, the soon-to-be-released The Voyager, is aptly titled. The singer-songwriter is now entering her third decade of releasing records, whether it be under her own name with a rotating cast of supporting musicians, with Rilo Kiley or with her boyfriend Johnathan Rice. Yet regardless of the who she’s playing with (or as) Lewis has been both consistent and brilliant, cranking out quality alt-country tunes in automaton-like fashion.

The Execution of All ThingsSurprisingly, Lewis’ first taste of the limelight didn’t come from music, but television. She began her professional career as a child, starring in a Jell-O commercial and a handful of teenage flicks. In fact, it wasn’t until 1998 that she decided to start a band. Rilo Kiley resulted, a band that delivered memorable melodies over a blend of country and indie rock.

In 2002 Rabbit Fur CoatRilo Kiley released The Execution of All Things on Saddle Creek Records and was subsequently signed to Warner Bros. The band went on to record two records under their contract, and in the process they smartly shifted the focus to Lewis’ vocals and lyrics. In 2011 the band announced that they had officially split up.

Acid TongueOne musical endeavor usually isn’t enough for an artist as talented as Lewis, and in 2006 she ventured into solo-artist territory. She released Rabbit Fur Coat to critical praise that year with her backing band, The Watson Twins, and with the help of Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes and Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie. Lewis released her follow-up to Rabbit Fur Coat in 2008 with Acid Tongue, a record that further established the singer-songwriter as one of the most reliable and hardworking artists of the decade.

Lewis is set to put out her third solo record, The Voyager, next Tuesday. And while The Voyager is her first solo release in six years, it doesn’t miss a beat: Lewis’ new song-set is spot-on; the record is a satisfying experience, both musically and lyrically.

Murfie Preview

Video Transcript

Kayla: Hey guys, another album release is coming to Murfie on Tuesday, July 29th. Jenny Lewis is coming out with The Voyager. So John, what are your thoughts on Jenny Lewis?

John: I absolutely love Jenny Lewis. I’ve been a long time fan of her work, most people will know her from Rilo Kiley, a band that put out a lot of popular indie albums. They’ve unfortunately broken up. She’s come out with one other previous solo album called Acid Tongue, which I wasn’t a huge fan of, but it had a lot of great country-influenced indie rock songs. But she’s put out a few singles for this new album that are promising, including “One Of The Boys” which has a really fun music video. So I’m stoked, I’m ready for this album.

Kayla: Awesome. Well you guys can see for yourself, it’s on our pre-order page, murfie.com/preorder.

Soundcloud Version

A teaser from The Voyager:

Pre-order your copy of The Voyager today at Murfie! Each CD comes with unlimited streaming (Web, iOS, Android, Sonos) and downloads in mp3, aac, FLAC and ALAC.  

Album Preview: “Terms of My Surrender” by John Hiatt

Terms of My SurrenderAlbum
Terms of My Surrender

Artist
John Hiatt

Release Date
Tuesday, July 15th

Label
New West Records

Pre-order Link
Pre-order album

Preview
It’s hard to imagine that an artist who’s been covered by Bob Dylan, Iggy Pop, Emmylou Harris and Bruce Springsteen can remain off the radar, but that’s essentially how John Hiatt has spent his entire career.

Best of John HiattHiatt grew up in Indianapolis, where he learned to play the guitar at age 11 as a way to deal with growing pains. He moved to Nashville in his late teens and ended up landing a songwriting gig with the Tree-Music Publishing Company. In 1973 Three Dog Night recorded a track he wrote, “Sure As I’m Sittin’ Here,” and he subsequently signed a contract with Epic Records.

Things wereBring the Family just beginning to look up for John, yet he was dropped from Epic a few years later when his albums failed to chart. After a brief stint with Geffen Records, he finally caught a break in 1987 with Bring the Family and his biggest hit, “Have a Little Faith in Me.” Hiatt continued to harbor critical success during his stay with A&M Records, but he couldn’t match the level of commercial success he found with Bring the Family.

6146-largeThroughout the 90’s, Hiatt continued to perfect his storytelling technique, becoming a masterful lyricist in the process. He also honed a sound that was distinctly American, falling somewhere in between new-wave, country and rock. In 1995 he received his first Grammy nomination for Walk On, and in 2002 he contributed a handful of track’s to the Disney film Country Bears.

Hiatt is set to release his 22nd album, Terms of My Surrender, next week. The record marks a minor departure from his recent country sound, opting instead for something a little more blues influenced. No matter the genre of music, however, it’s sure to be nothing but another worthy album from a well-traveled cult hero.

A teaser from Terms of My Surrender

Pre-order your copy of  Terms of My Surrender on Murfie! Each CD comes with unlimited streaming (Web, iOS, Android, Sonos) and downloads in mp3, aac, FLAC and ALAC. 

Sounds Like Florida: The Best of the Sunshine State

Last week, we brought you the best of the Garden State with New Jersey’s finest. This week, check out the best of Florida!

Lynyrd Skynyrd
Pronounced Leh-Nerd Skin-Nerd

This album is, in a nutshell, the Southern Rock album. Lynyrd Skynyrd, more so than any other band of their time, epitomized that sound by bringing together country, blues and rock to make an incredibly authentic blend. For a debut album—or any album—this is a raw and original sound.

One of this album’s strengths is how concise it is – with only eight songs, the band doesn’t waste a moment on anything unnecessary. Instead, each song is incredibly strong. Another bold move was the sheer variety moving through the tracklist. Opening with “I Ain’t the One” and moving on to the sadder, slower “Tuesday’s Gone”, the band moves through sounds and emotions seamlessly.

These pieces alone make this album good, but it’s Skynyrd’s one-of-a-kind sound that makes them great. It takes a great band to blend hard rock, country and blues into one, and that ‘s exactly what this album does. Not only was this album the birth of a great band, it’s the birth of a genre.

Don’t Miss Tracks: “Sweet Home Alabama”, “I Ain’t the One”

Iron & Winehttps://www.murfie.com/albums/iron-wine-the-shepherd-s-dog
The Shepherd’s Dog

This album, to put it succinctly, made me an Iron & Wine fan. When it was released, it became the band’s most progressive and unique album to date; the kind of record that takes several listenings to fully appreciate. It’s also a turning point for the band, moving them away from lo-fi recordings towards a fuller sound.

Despite this transition, the album is still rooted in vocals, lyrics and guitar, as on its previous albums. These foundations are rock-solid, and the band builds on them by adding blues, dub and numerous other styles on top. These details, however, are the best part of the album: banjos, steel guitars, and vocal harmonies top off an already solid sound.

This album is a foray into new territory for Iron & Wine, and they executed that transition beautifully. It’s rare that I find a record that I can listen to over and over again, but this lends itself easily to repeat. The attention to detail and beautiful flow of these songs is addictive.

Don’t Miss Tracks: “House by the Sea”, “Love Song of the Buzzard”

Trans-Siberian Orchestra
The Christmas Attic

Although this album is not exactly currently seasonal, I’m unashamed to admit that Trans-Siberian Orchestra has year-round rotation in my music collection. This album in particular is a favorite of mine—the orchestra showcases its mastery of composition, storytelling, vocals and instrumentation. It’s a captivating album that puts a great twist on classical musical and holiday tunes.

This album shines on its most animated tracks, which are flawlessly executed and brilliantly original. These songs mix traditional Christmas songs, including “’Tis the Season” and “Joy to the World”, with the Orchestra’s trademark touches. The Orchestra incorporates countless instruments, most notably strings and percussion. The real star here, though, is electric guitar, which shines through on tracks like “March of the Kings – Hark the Herald Angel”.

Although this album certainly draws comparisons to the Orchestra’s previous holiday releases, it’s strong enough to stand alone. Despite these comparisons, it’s impossible to overlook how beautiful the instrumentation and vocals are here, and to forget this group’s mastery of both arrangement and storytelling.

Don’t Miss Tracks: “Midnight Christmas Eve”, “The Snow Came Down”

Interview with Amy Ray

One of my favorite Murfie podcasts is the Amy Ray podcast. Not only did I have a great chat with her in the basement of The Frequency, surrounded by walls that are covered in thousands of band stickers, paintings, and initials, but I stuck around for her show—and it was rockin’! We even got her song “Glow” on video!

Here’s a transcript of that podcast from May 2012. Read on!

INTRO: This is Kayla here, with your Murfie podcast. I’m pleased to say that I got to meet Amy Ray when she came to town. You probably know her as part of the Indigo Girls, the award-winning folk-rock duo from Georgia. Now, she has a solo career to go alongside that, and a rockin’ new album called Lung of Love. Here’s a clip from the chat that we had before her show at The Frequency.

[MUSIC: “Glow” by Amy Ray]

Kayla: So I’m talking to Amy Ray right now, at The Frequency in downtown Madison. Welcome to Madison, first of all.

Amy: Thanks, I always love bein’ in Madison—always, always.

Kayla: Awesome. So you’re here debuting your new CD—you’re on tour for that. And for the past ten years, about, you’ve been going solo; so what’s that like after two decades with the Indigo Girls?

Amy: Well actually, I still do both, so it’s like, I started going solo around 2000 and just interspersing it with Indigo Girls stuff. And so, I mean, at first, it was kind of crazy because we Indigos were playing kind of big places and then when I started doing solo, I started just doing small clubs like The Frequency—which I’m still doing. So, it was kind of at first like I adjusted, and just learned how to— We drive ourselves, you know, fix my own amp, fix my guitars, you know, whatever needs to be done. And so, for me it’s like kind of, extremely DIY [laughs], is what it is, and Indigo Girls are extremely the other way. So, it’s like this great sort of thing that I just go back and forth between, and it gives me perspective on both things.

Kayla: Awesome. So, is it different putting out music nowadays, compared to the earlier days when you got started?

Amy: Yeah, ‘cause when we started, it was still, like, ’85. I mean, we started in ’80, but we were putting out music starting in ’85, and we were just out of high school. And we were doing cassettes—like how you made your friend mix tapes, we would make our little cassettes of our songs, and we did like a little vinyl single, and a little vinyl EP, and LP. Yeah, and college radio was a really big deal then, so that’s what you wanted: you wanted to get on college radio—and you still do, but now it’s harder. And um, you just had like a network—like in each city, you sort of had this network: you had the record store, the indie art paper, the college radio station, and the venue, and you tried to get all those things to kind of stick together. And that’s still what you should do, but like the difference now is that we have so many great tools—Facebook and Twitter and all these things—and ways to record music, and ways to get music out there, and everything’s cheaper. It’s either like, a really great thing, or it can be a really bad thing, but I think personally I like to look at it as a really great thing, cause I think it’s like tools that we can use to sort of get music out there, and cross-pollinate more, and share with our friends, and have music take its place as more of a community thing.

Continue reading Interview with Amy Ray

What’s on Murfie: Tributes to the Beatles

The often-imitated, never-duplicated Paul, John, George and Ringo hold an unmatched place in our hearts and our music collections. Who didn’t grow up with “Yellow Submarine” and “Hey Jude” in the background? Only Paul and Ringo are still around these days, but the Fab Four remain musical icons and the face of an era. It’s no wonder that artists across the globe continue to pay tribute to their legendary tunes. We searched Murfie for four Beatles tribute albums and found these: they may span genres and time periods, but they keep their love of those guys from Liverpool at the forefront.

2159-largeA Tower Records Tribute to the Beatles
1996

There’s nothing quite like having some of music’s biggest stars cover music’s ultimate stars. Famed record company Tower Records released this 10-track collection in 1996, featuring covers of some of The Beatles’ greatest hits. Some of the 20th century’s greatest musicians pay their tribute, including Ike & Tina Turner on “Get Back” and The Beach Boys with “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away”. Doing the Fab Four justice is a tall order, but these Tower Records stars give their classic tracks a twist that’s certainly worth a listen.

129850-largeTropical Tribute to the Beatles
1996

This album features an international interpretation of some of The Beatles’ most famous tracks using Latin rhythms like salsa, merengue, mambo and bolero. Some of Latin music’s biggest names, like Celia Cruz and Manny Manuel, take on 13 of the most famous Beatles songs, including “Can’t Buy Me Love”, “Come Together”, “Let it Be” and “Hey Jude”. If you’re looking for something that closely resembles the original, this is definitely not the album for you. But if you’re open to a rhythm-heavy, genre-bending international take on some of the greatest songs of all time? This album and its dance-hall ready sounds are a great choice.

MI0000874100Easy Star’s Lonely Hearts Dub Band
2009

Reggae collective Easy Star All-Stars have stepped in to provide their 13-track, dub-heavy tribute to Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, arguably one of The Beatles’ most influential and best-loved albums. This tribute is truly easy listening, featuring knockout performances by guest stars the likes of Matisyahu.  It’s groovy without being overly produced or ambitious—the perfect reggae interpretation of one of the best-loved albums of all time. Don’t miss “Within Without You”, featuring Matisyahu, or  Ranking Roger’s “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite”.

08e09b5c-11a7-11e2-bd3a-1231381369e0Pickin’ on the Beatles
1995

This tribute is part of the Pickin’ On Series, which features some of rock’s greatest albums with a bluegrass and country style. This album is no different, with 12 of The Beatles’ most famous tracks gone country. Songs like “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Yellow Submarine” quickly convinced me that these songs are quite a stretch from the originals. This interpretation of The Beatles, with its fiddles, banjos and mandolins, is certainly different, and I would only recommend it for die-hard bluegrass fans.

This Week in Music History (May 1st-May 7th)

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

MI00014412665/1- On this day in 1967, Elvis Presley married Priscilla Beaulieu in Las Vegas. The couple honeymooned in Palm Springs soon after. They were divorced less than five years later…talk about Heartbreak Hotel.

39841-large

5/2- A shopper at a Zales jewelry store was stopped by security guards on this date 1n 1988. The guards were concerned that the shopper was wearing a wig and false mustache. They confronted the disguised man due to the suspicious circumstances, and turns out, it was just Michael Jackson!

49768-large5/3- Bing Crosby was born on this day way back in 1903. His baritone voice is known by many, along with his rendition of the song “White Christmas“.

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5/4- The first ever Grammy Awards ceremony was held on this day in 1959. Some winners that night included Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra.

4999-large5/5- On this day in 1973, Led Zeppelin packed Tampa Bay Stadium for a concert, with a jaw-dropping attendance count of 56,800 people.

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5/6- American country star Tammy Wynette passed away on this day in 1998. The 1970s country music charts were frequently topped with her tunes.

19560-large5/7- Bill Kreutzmann was born on this day in 1946. Kreutzmann was drummer in a very beloved American rock band, the Grateful Dead.

Oh, you wanna own any of these albums, or hear ‘em in lossless format? Well whaddya know…we just so happen to have them for sale! Right now these titles start at just $1!

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.

Kevin_featuredshop

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.