Thankful for Music!

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we at Murfie wanted to share some music that we’re most thankful for. Music is what we’re all about—we listen to it all the time at work, at home, and everywhere. Here are the bands and genres that we couldn’t possibly live without.

Matt is thankful for Latin Jazz.

“I’m quite thankful for latin jazz. I’ve always been fascinated with the intricate rhythms and thick chord structures present in the genre. Plus, the music is downright fun. I had the privilege of taking in one Tito Puente‘s final concerts, and have been hooked for life. As a piano player, most of my favorite latin jazz picks involve strong keyboard parts. Just about everything by Eddie Palmieri is amazing. Learning latin jazz piano is on my bucket list.”

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Brandon is thankful for music recommended by his friend Cole.

“These are some of my good friend Cole’s favorite albums. I am thankful for them because even though Cole passed away in 2012, I still feel close to him when I play these tunes. It’s amazing how music can do that!”

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Kayla is thankful for Reggae.

“I am most thankful for reggae music. Ever since I started listening to it, my life has become so much more positive. This music has connected me to the most amazing people, and being able to play it for people on the radio gives me a sense of purpose and meaning. Older artists like King Tubby, Burning Spear, The Gladiators, Augustus Pablo and Barrington Levy drew me in deep. Later on I fell in love with new bands like Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad, 10 Ft. Ganja Plant and John Brown’s Body, and I’ll travel far and wide to see them play, whenever I can!”

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Jeff is thankful for Noise Rock.

“What is that ungodly sound? Noise rock is an inverted umbrella of bands using standard rock instruments to deconstruct, mangle, and reassemble popular music into new challenging styles, often pushing as many buttons as boundaries. Bands like Big BlackUnwound, The Jesus Lizard and US Maple use weird tunings, nonsensical rhythms, and a healthy dose of nails on a chalkboard singing. More diaspora than unified camp, noise rock emerged from post punk, no wave and art school experimental scenes (Sonic Youth, Swans) but it’s knotty tendrils stretch into metal (Helmet, Melvins, UnsaneToday is the Day), mathcore (Dillinger Escape Plan, The Locust) and electronic music (Space Streakings).”

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Andrew is thankful for Hip-Hop.

“I’m thankful for hip-hop. I’d like to thank great producers like Madlib, Prince Paul, and Cut Chemist for perfecting the art of recycling music. Digging through crates of vinyl and old tapes to find and reshape long-forgotten music is a true art form, and it’s an added bonus when DJs use samples that introduce you to new styles or artists. I’d also like to thank longtime MCs like MF DOOM, Aesop Rock, and Del The Funky Homosapien and newcomers like Joey Bada$$, Chance The Rapper, and Chuck Inglish. To all hip-hop artists out there, your creative use of drum machines and the English language is marvelous and fascinating, and I look forward to spending the rest of my life geeking out over new beats. Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of great hip-hop, and I strongly suggest that anyone who shares my feelings of gratitude ought to check out some Zion I (Amp Live is another great DJ) or some Busdriver.”

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We are also very thankful for you, our Murfie members! Have a very Happy Thanksgiving! :)
—The crew at Murfie

#FreeFriday: The Mouse and the Mask

Time for our second 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 awesome featured album…

The Mouse and the Mask (DANGERDOOM, 2005)

DANGERDOOM’s 2005 album The Mouse and the Mask begins with a very interesting question. The first voice on the album isn’t either of the group’s two members but rather the voice of Brak (the catlike alien you may remember from Space Ghost) asking the listener “Why did you buy this album? …I don’t know why you did, you’re stupid.” Aside from bringing up deep questions about the appeal of physical music in a digital age (which we at Murfie know all too well) this opening perfectly sets the tone for the rest of the album. The Cartoon Network samples may make it difficult to take the album seriously, but the combined talents of Daniel Dumile and Brian Burton make it an album that, despite Brak’s protests, is definitely worth buying (or winning from #FreeFriday).

Dumile and Burton, better known by their stage names MF DOOM and Danger Mouse, are two of the most innovative and prolific hip hop artists of the last decade, and both were at the top of their game on this album. At the time of The Mouse and the Mask’s release, Dumile had released a plethora of material both lyrical and instrumental under several different names including Viktor Vaughn, King Geedorah, and Madvillain. Burton’s history isn’t anything to sneeze at either. By 2005 Danger Mouse had already gained national attention from his mixtape The Grey Album, a mashup of Jay-Z’s The Black Album with The Beatleseponymous white album. He went on to start Gnarls Barkley with Cee-Lo Green and Broken Bells with The Shins’ James Mercer. Burton was also credited with production on GorillazDemon Days, The Black KeysAttack & Release, and Beck’s Modern Guilt. It really is quite the resumé.

DOOM’s intricate rhyme schemes, Danger Mouse’s sampling skills, and the duo’s extensive experience make this album a great listen, but they’re not the only big names on the record. Burton’s pal Cee-Lo croons the silky smooth hook on “Benzie Box” while Doom spits alongside fellow New Yorkers Talib Kweli (on “Old School”) and Wu Tang’s Ghostface Killah (on “The Mask”). The album also features dialog from various characters from Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim, including the casts of Space Ghost Coast to Coast, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, and Sealab 2021.

The Mouse and the Mask follows a storyline in which Aqua Teen’s Master Shake keeps trying to convince Danger Mouse to help him produce a new rap album, but the goofy dialogue is just a frilly garnish atop a rich and complex musical feast. No matter where Danger Mouse goes with his samples, DOOM is right behind him with a mind-blowing string of carefully veiled puns and tongue-twisting alliteration. I’d love to tell you more about it, but in a single line Dumile gives a summary better than I could ever hope to provide with a thousand words. At the end of “Mince Meat,” he boasts: “Off a DAT tape of rap, country or deep house / I’ll make mincemeat out of that beat, Mouse.”

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

Emma’s Picks

Albums you can’t find on iTunes: Rap/Hip Hop

52528-largeOne of the greatest aspects of the Murfie marketplace is that it contains hidden gems that you really can’t find elsewhere, for less money. One of my favorite finds is the Rhymesayers 2005 Label Sampler. For those of us who follow midwest hip hop, it’s a delightful mixtape of some of the best: Brother Ali, P.O.S., Eyedea & Abilities, Blueprint and MF Doom to name a few. Capturing the cooperative’s sound and style at that point in time, this collection is an excellent album that flows seamlessly from artist to artist, giving you a sample of mid-2000’s midwest flavor. It’s difficult to find a cooperative record label mix like this elsewhere, so it’s a real treasure to have on Murfie.

ef1c9a24-d351-11e1-ab5a-22000a8c42aeAnother great album I stumbled across is this Uprok Records Sampler. I accepted it during a trade with another member and didn’t really know what to expect. The first listen was a pleasant surprise, and I have enjoyed going back to it time and time again. This record label has since fallen by the wayside as many of its artists joined other cooperatives or bigger labels, so this is a very unique capture of hip hop artists who eventually went in many different artistic directions. Since I traded this disc for one of my older discs at no cost, I got to experience some new sounds and explore more of who is out there and what they’re rapping about virtually free. Trading is great for exploration. Plus, many discs on Murfie are underground or local groups. I highly recommend poking around and seeing what you can find!

Record Store Day 2013 Recap

I’m a big fan of Record Store Day.  It’s an excuse to throw a big chunk of my tax return at the artists I like the most, and I’m not ashamed of how much great music I walked away with this past weekend.  Did you participate in Record Store Day?  If so, what did you snag?  Let me know in the comments!

Thao With The Get Down Stay Down - We The CommonThao & the Get Down Stay Down – We The Common (2013)
I’m a big fan of Thao Nguyen, but I can’t say that I’ve ever snagged one of her albums brand new.  That changed the second I heard that Joanna Newsom (possibly my favorite songwriter ever) would be featured on We The Common.  The cover is the work of Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii, who created some of the earliest color photography.  Some of his images also happen to be on the cover of a CD I’m recording with my band Pushmi-Pullyu, so that doesn’t hurt either.

Benoit Pioulard - HymnalBenoît Pioulard – Hymnal (2013)
Thomus Meluch has made quite a range of sounds under the name Benoît Pioulard.  I first heard him making dreamy, ambient-based acoustic pop tunes on his Krankey debut, Précis, and I fell in love with his style right away.  Meluch returns to Kranky with Hymnal, and I was lucky enough to snag the last copy at my local music store.  This time around, he’s created some really great sprawling landscapes that really make you question the range of a singer/songwriter in the digital age.  Hymnal reminds me of a denser take on the “laptop folk” genre, which pairs minimalist electronics with acoustic instruments in an organic fashion.

Clutchy Hopkins - The Life of Clutchy HopkinsClutchy Hopkins – The Life of Clutchy Hopkins (2006)
This was a complete shot in the dark for me.  I’ll point you in the direction of a review taped to the CD: “We love Clutchy Hopkins.  His creepily sparse bass-lite remixes of MF Doom cuts and various instruments of his own accord keep us going when the work overflows and we want to reach out and pat the young man on his back.”  No one really knows who Clutchy Hopkins is, but I’m intrigued enough to see what’s up.  If it’s anything like MF Doom, I’m going to enjoy it.


Sigur Rós – Takk… (2005)
I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve owned and lost Takk… For some reason, it’s a disc that I loan out to friends and never see again.  Luckily for me, this copy went straight into my Murfie collection, and no, you can’t borrow it!  I was fortunate enough to see Sigur Rós two or three times at the height of my fandom, and Takk… was a big favorite of mine.  This album has, arguably, some of the best tracks the band has ever put out.  Hoppípolla, Glósóli, Sæglópur – the list goes on.  I encourage you to seek out some of the music videos that go along with these songs as well, because Sigur Rós really outdo themselves in that regard.

Licensed to Ill Beastie Boys – Licensed to Ill (1986)
I will be the first to admit that I’m not a very big Beastie Boys fan.  They’re a group that I just want to love, but for some reason they never click.  Maybe it’s because Licensed to Ill came out a year before I was born, and maybe I just don’t have the background that made their work revolutionary.  Nevertheless, I find myself snagging a Beastie Boys album every 6 months or so, just to see if anything has changed.  I can’t honestly say that Licensed to Ill has really hit the spot for me this time around, but with so many friends claiming them as an early influence for their work and musical tastes, it’s at least good to know what they’re about.  I’ll pass on the Boys for now, but if you’re into their brand of hip-hop, we’ve got it at Murfie almost always for $1.

Those are just a few of my finds from Record Store Day 2013.  Some honorable mentions include Eskimo Snow by WHY?, Rainbow by Boris with Michio Krihara and Indian Classical Maestros Vol. 2: Sarod by Ustad Amjad Ali Khan.  While I may have missed out on most of the Record Store Day exclusives (I went kind of late), as you can see, I still have plenty of new music to catch up with!