Caroline Smith Interview

Caroline SmithMy first interaction with Caroline Smith was way back in July 2012, when her band still went by Caroline Smith & the Good Night Sleeps. Caroline and her bassist Jesse Schuster agreed to record an interview during a house show in Madison, and the entire night was a lot of fun!

Over the past two years, Caroline developed a different style. The release of her 2013 album Half About Being a Woman marked a departure from her indie rock outfit to a more soulful sound. In my opinion, the new direction suits her well. It’s fun, and it’s completely genuine. It’s 100% Caroline.

From the beginning, I certainly knew she was talented—heck, that’s why I asked her to do a Murfie podcast. But ever since she tapped into her soulful roots, I’ve become really hooked on her music and current collaborations. In April of this year, we caught up again for another Murfie podcast, before her show with Dessa at The Majestic. The audio version is a lot of fun, but I’ve transcribed most of it below for your reading pleasure!


K: Right now I’m at Ancora Coffee in downtown Madison with Caroline Smith over here sipping her coffee.

C: Hi!

K: Thanks for meeting me! You mentioned you just drove here from Rochester, Minnesota, not Rochester, New York. So how are things in Minnesota?

C: Things are really great in Minnesota right now. I mean, if we’re just talking lifestyle-wise, the snow is finally gone, so life can begin again. People can start to smile again. But for us musically—for my band in Minnesota, things are better than ever. The regional music scene is just bar-none.

K: I’ve found a lot of bands now—I don’t think this has to do with the fact that we’re in Wisconsin—but Minnesota seems to be a hub for music now.

C: Yeah!

K: All kinds of music. Hip-hop….

C: Mm-hmm.

Half About Being a WomanK: Indie rock, stuff like that. I like the new direction that your album, Half About Being a Woman, is going in.

C: Thank you!

K: It’s kind of soul, R&B. The first few seconds of the first song, you know that something, something different is going down…

C: Something has changed, yes!

K: So tell me a bit about the evolution of your music—is this something you always saw coming, something that you always wanted to try?

Continue reading Caroline Smith Interview

Album Preview: “They Want My Soul” by Spoon

They Want My SoulAlbum
They Want My Soul

Artist
Spoon

Release Date
August 5, 2014

Label
Loma Vista/Republic

Pre-order Link
Pre-order Album

Preview
Indie-rockers Spoon are set to release their newest album They Want My Soul next week. It has been four years since the band’s last major release, and although the album is being released on a new label, it is shaping up to deliver classic Spoon brilliance.Love Ways

Ga Ga Ga Ga GaSpoon has persisted throughout an erratic career in the music industry. The band released a string of EPs in the 1990s that were met with various modicums of positivity. Their first release on a major label in 1998 was a hard commercial failure, and the band was quickly dropped. After signing with an indie label a few years later, Spoon erupted in popularity. The 2000 release Love Ways began a renaissance era for the band. Kill the Moonlight was released in 2002, followed by Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga in 2007. Songs from each album were featured in several TV shows and movies throughout the decade. In 2009, the popular review aggregator Metacritic ranked Spoon as the top overall artist of the decade.

They Want My SoulKill the Moonlight is the first Spoon release on Loma Vista Recordings, and features a new guitarist/keyboardist. Thankfully, the changes in production and direction seem to suit the band’s classic sound. You can listen for yourself below and enjoy the official music video for the track “Do You,” which is featured on the new album. If the rest of the album is anything like “Do You,” longtime fans of the band should expect quite an appealing experience.

Preorder your copy of They Want My Soul at Murfie today! Each CD comes with unlimited streaming (Web, iOS, Android, Sonos) and downloads in mp3, aac, FLAC and ALAC.

Album Preview: “Sand + Silence” by The Rosebuds

Sand + SilenceAlbum
Sand + Silence

Artist
The Rosebuds

Release Date
August 5, 2014

Label
Western Vinyl

Pre-order Link
Pre-order Album

Preview
The Rosebuds Make OutThe 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.

Gayngs RelaytedWhile 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.

Bon Iver, Bon IverJust 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.

A teaser from Sand + Silence:

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

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.  

#FreeFriday: The Rhumb Line

Time for our third edition of #FreeFriday! Each week we’ll review an album, and give it away to one lucky winner. For a chance to win the album, all you have to do is read this post, then share on social media at least one of these ways:

  • Share this blog post on Twitter—use the hashtag #FreeFriday and tag @murfiemusic
  • Retweet one of the #FreeFriday tweets we send via @murfiemusic
  • Share our #FreeFriday Facebook post (in a public post)

Now, on to this week’s featured album…

Ra Ra Riot - The Rhumb Line

The Rhumb Line (Ra Ra Riot, 2008)

Different doesn’t necessarily mean good. I once tried to convince my friends that my root vegetable pancakes would taste awesome, but found that significant twists on traditional methods should be handled with great care (and much less allspice). When Ra Ra Riot decided to mix up the standard pop/rock recipe and layer cello and violin over a standard four-piece, they too faced the challenge of overcoming the ground-in tastes of tradition, but their results were much more tasteful than my heavy-handed attempt at making a meal of cupboard scraps when I should have just gone to the grocery store.

The Rhumb Line, Ra Ra Riot’s first full-length release, is a beautiful mélange of seemingly contradictory flavors. Frontman Wes Miles’ voice is equally well suited for dramatically stretching notes (like on “Oh, La”) as it is for playfully harmonizing with the bands’ several backup singers as it does on “Ghost Under Rocks”. He also has just the voice for covering Kate Bush‘s single “Suspended in Gaffa.” One would expect the 80’s basslines of “Run My Mouth” and synth riffs of “Too Too Too Fast” to clash with the classical elements of the band, but instead their rhythm creates a wonderful background for the sweeping strings that drive most of their songs. It’s a wonder that there’s any room left for different accents with all these tastes on the listener’s palate, but Ra Ra dares to blend in some rock and roll undertones with an electric guitar and a well-handled drum kit. The overall result is a delectable chamber pop dish infused with contemporary indie rock.

Connoisseurs of the genre may already know the group for their involvement with independent superstars Vampire Weekend. Wes Miles joined with VW’s keyboardist Rostam Batmanglij in 2005 to form Discovery, an excellent electronic group that unfortunately only has one LP to their name. He was also childhood friends with lead singer Ezra Koenig and even starred in a short film Koenig made in college.

If you haven’t heard it already, you should definitely give The Rhumb Line a listen. It’s a nice treat for springtime, and who can argue with free music?

Share this post in one of the ways listed above for a chance to win a copy of The Rhumb Line, and we’ll let you know if you’re the winner next week! Good luck!


Andrew Hinkens

Andrew works in Operations at Murfie, taking great care to make sure all your albums are ripped quickly and accurately. He enjoys collecting vinyl, going to concerts, longboarding, and playing with just about any dog he can get close to.



#FreeFriday

Nothing sounds quite as good as a giveaway.

On Murfie, we’ve got tons of albums in the marketplace (literally—tons!), just hangin’ out, waiting to be bought and listened to. We thought we’d give these lil’ fellas a quicker chance to be enjoyed—as they’re supposed to be—by giving them away to one lucky winner each week!

Introducing…#FreeFriday!

On #FreeFriday, one of our Murfie staffers will give you the rundown about a cool album in our marketplace. For a chance to win the album, all you gotta do is read the post, then share on social media at least one of these ways (the more you share, the better your chance):

  • Share this blog post on Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag #FreeFriday (visibility settings on public)
  • Retweet one of the #FreeFriday tweets we send via @murfiemusic
  • Share our #FreeFriday Facebook post (in a public post)

Enough with the nitty gritty details. Now on to the free album we’re featuring!

the shins - chutes too narrowChutes too Narrow (The Shins, 2003)

Are you a lover of great indie rock? I’m talking about the fun, undeniably poppy, sing-along kind of indie rock, with just the proper amount of introspective lyrics and deep textured sounds. If that sounds right to you, then your collection will not be complete without Chutes too Narrow by The Shins.

James Mercer, lead singer and songwriter of the Shins and frontman of the newer indie rock outfit Broken Bells, is one of the best lyric writers that I’ve ever heard. His songs are saturated with imagery, and are mercilessly honest about the way people are. The songs on this album flow together quite well—the track list gives you plenty of opportunity to groove along with the hooky, melodic upbeat tunes, mixed with enough downtime during the more subtle songs. This album contains some of The Shins’ most popular and recognizable songs, but since every song is so different and unique, you’ll never get bored.

Share this post in one of the ways listed above, and I’ll let you know if you’re the winner on Monday! Best of luck!


Kayla Liederbach
@djkaylakush

Kayla manages social media and customer support at Murfie. You can hear her on the radio hosting U DUB, the reggae show, Wednesdays on WSUM. She enjoys hosting the Murfie podcast, cooking, traveling, going to concerts, and snuggling with kittycats.


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!