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!

Happy Thanksgiving 2013!

Thanksgiving is just around the corner…and it’s a perfect time to remember to be grateful for all the good things in life. (And to eat!). Here are some albums that our Murfie staffers are grateful for as the holiday approaches.

Name: John
Thanksgiving plans: I think I’m going to go chill with my grandma. Not entirely sure yet.
Album I’m thankful for: I’m thankful for Ambient 1 by Brian Eno. This was one of the first albums that introduced me to ambient, experimental and avant-garde music, and it really introduced me to a ton of amazing and artistically satisfying music and people in my life.

Name: Daniella
Thanksgiving plans: Every year my family drives Up North and we have a big bonfire, eat tons of food, and take lots of naps.
Album I’m thankful for: Teaser and the Firecat by Cat Stevens.

Name: Marc
Thanksgiving plans: None in particular, although I imagine I’ll cook food :)
Album I’m thankful for: My Early Burglary Years by Morrissey – Not necessarily the best collection of his you can buy, but it does pack in several of my favorite Morrissey tracks.

Name: Leah
Thanksgiving plans: Headed home to a cozy family Thanksgiving at my aunt and uncle’s place in Chicago (fireplace, comfy couch, great conversation) and spending quality time together at our family’s restaurant.
Album I’m thankful for: The Life Pursuit by Belle & Sebastian – this album was my first foray into the always-fun Belle & Sebastian, and as I dug back through their earlier stuff I found many of what are now my go-to tunes when I’m feeling down or stressed-out.

Name: Adam
Thanksgiving plans: Spending quality time with my beloved family in Minnesota. Eating ridiculous amounts of food and watching football. Maybe looking through Black Friday ads.
Album I’m thankful for: Classics by Ratatat. It’s one of the first albums I can remember that made me think, “Hmmmm, music doesn’t always need lyrics to paint a picture.” And for that I’m thankful.

Name: Gao
Thanksgiving plans: Watching the Packers destroy the Lions with my boyfriend’s family.
Album I’m thankful for: Backstreet Boys’ self-titled album. The sappy love songs always cheer me up. Plus, I’ve perfected the reach and grab move.

Name: Zach
Thanksgiving plans: Going up north to my grandparents house for good food and spirits.
Album I’m thankful for: Amelie (Soundtrack) by Yann Tiersen.

Name: Elsa
Thanksgiving plans: Going to a family friend’s farm in Monroe, WI for a big potluck dinner.
Album I’m thankful for: #1 Record by Big Star (1972). The quintessential power pop album, from a band that only became semi-known decades after their demise. This one is particularly special because it has the original lineup of the band, with the songwriting team of Alex Chilton & Chris Bell, both truly gifted singer/guitarists who deserved a lot more recognition than they received. You can hear the album’s influence in a lot of indie rock groups that came out of the ’80s and ’90s.

Name: Matt
Thanksgiving plans: Thanksgiving day for football watching and turkey #1 with the in-laws, and Thanksgiving night for turkey #2 with my family. I’ll have to pace myself :)
Album I’m thankful for: Moving Up, Living Down by Eric Hutchinson. I’m thankful for having discovered Eric during his live show in Madison over the summer. He’s a terrific performer, and every track on his latest album is terrific, fun listening.

Name: Tyler
Thanksgiving plans: Eat, eat…and eat! And of course, watch the Packers. Go Pack Go!
Album I’m thankful for: I’m really digging the new Avicii album True. I’ll have a fun time listening to it with my brothers when they are in town for Thanksgiving.

Name: Kayla
Thanksgiving plans: Visiting my friends in Milwaukee and eating at my parents’ house (word on the street is my mom’s making gluten free pumpkin cheesecake…yummm).
Album I’m thankful for: Is This It by the Strokes. For some reason I feel like my life would not be the same if I never discovered this album in particular. The lyrics, melodies, hooks, and layered instruments really speak to me. And I luuurrve Julian Casablancas :)

What album are you thankful for this year? Let us know in the comments!

Happy Thanksgiving from the crew at Murfie!