Last Call: Your Murfie Week in Review

 

Monday
7/21

[Blog] Grant picked the top 5 albums by Pink Floyd, one of rock music’s most influential bands.

Tuesday
7/22

[Blog] We previewed Lese Majesty by experimental hip hop/electronic collective Shabazz Palaces.

[Blog] We previewed Jenny Lewis’ upcoming album The Voyager.

Wednesday
7/23

[Blog] We previewed The Breeze: An Appreciation of JJ Cale, by Eric Clapton & Friends.

Thursday
7/24

[Twitter] Any good #ThrowbackThursday albums? Bueller? Bueller?

Friday
7/25

[Blog] When Andrew bought a copy of Gwen Stefani’s Love. Angel. Music. Baby., things went bananas.


 

Last Call: Your Murfie Week in Review

 

Mon.
7/7


[Twitter] We recommended pre-ordering new albums by Anand Wilder and Cloud Boat.

[Twitter] We bumped some reggae tunes on the office Sonos PLAY:5.

Tues.
7/8


[Blog] We previewed the upcoming album Terms of My Surrender by John Hiatt.

[Website] We re-vamped and improved search on murfie.com.

Weds.
7/9


[Blog] Wishy Wednesday delighted a few lucky Murfie members.

[Twitter] Our CEO Matt Younkle shared a cool article about music ownership vs. rental.

[Blog] We previewed Weird Al’s newest album Mandatory Fun.

[Twitter] We recommended pre-ordering Trampled by Turtles’ upcoming album.

Thurs.
7/10


[Blog] Andrew wrote a review of Radiohead’s career.

[Twitter] We reacted to an awesome article about CD collecting.

Fri.
7/11


[Blog] Andrew recommended a few albums to fans of Bruce Springsteen.

[Twitter] We suggested Murfie as a way to #declutter CDs.


Album Preview: “Mandatory Fun” by Weird Al Yankovic

Mandatory FunAlbum
Mandatory Fun

Artist
Weird Al Yankovic

Release Date
Tuesday, July 15

Label
RCA

Pre-order Link
Pre-order album

Preview
Very few artists are able to successfully splice comedy into music, yet Weird Al Yankovic has enjoyed a prolific career spanning over three decades. From his humble beginnings with comedy radio in the late 1970’s, Weird Al has established himself as the uncontested King of Pop Parody.

Michael Jackson even worseWeird Al has sold over 12 million albums and has won 3 Grammy Awards. He is a cultural chameleon: The 1980s saw Weird Al portraying comical caricatures of Michael Jackson and Devo. The 1990s brought iconic parodies of Nirvana and Coolio. Recently, Weird Al earned his first Top-Ten Billboard album with his 2006 release Straight Outta Lynwood

Weird Al - Off the Deep EndThe release of Mandatory Fun has been shrouded in mystery. Weird Al himself began to release mysterious images and teaser trailers only last month. Al commented on his own Facebook page, “A lot of people have been wondering when I’m going to release the lead single for “Mandatory Fun.” Well, here’s the thing… there IS no “lead single” for my new album. I’ll be releasing 12 “singles” all at once on July 15 – so you can decide for YOURSELF which songs are the hits!”

The Essential Weird AlAdditionally, Weird Al plans to release no less than 8 new music videos to promote the album. It seems safe to say that Mandatory Fun will be a massively entertaining and extremely listenable satire on today’s pop music.

Pre-order Mandatory Fun today on Murfie, and get it in your collection on July 15th! Each CD comes with unlimited streaming (Web, iOS, Android, Sonos) and downloads in mp3, aac, FLAC and ALAC. 

Sounds Like New York: The Best of the Empire State

This week, we’re heading east. Check out our reviews of three of the best albums by New York artists!

Paul Simon GracelandPaul Simon
Graceland

Simply put: this album is one of my absolute favorites of all time, and it should be on your list as well. As a solo artist, Simon is like a musical archaeologist, digging up influences from styles of music ranging from blues to salsa to reggae. Graceland represents his move even further away from the pop-rock mainstream charts he topped as part of Simon & Garfunkel. It’s heavily influenced by both South African music and culture, exploring both new sounds and new political statements.

Rather that simply merging African influence with traditional Western sounds, this album commits: Nine of its eleven songs contain elements of mbaqanga, or South African pop music. Much of the recording was done in Johannesberg, and the songs truly soak up the local sound. They also absorb the local politics; Simon’s collaborations with local musicians inherently address controversial issues like apartheid. On the standout track “Homeless”, harmonies by vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambazo suggest the possibility of peaceful resolution.

The title track, one of Simon’s greatest songs, best represents the album’s attitude. Although the song’s narrator is running from a broken relationship, he runs towards what he believes to be a place of happiness and redemption. Simon is unafraid to examine the dark sides of people and societies, but remains hopeful that there is always light to be found.

Don’t Miss Tracks: “Graceland”, “Homeless”

Jay-Z Reasonable DoubtJay-Z
Reasonable Doubt

Although this album was rap legend’s Jay-Z’s first and lowest selling, he himself calls it his best album to date. I’d have to agree: This album is a classic that belongs on the top shelf of any rap lover’s collection. It’s a mastery of execution-—smoothly delivered, easy to listen to, and filled with top-notch collaborations and quick, clever wordplay. In a genre that’s all about delivery, few have mastered the craft as well as Jay-Z does here.

What separates this album from the hundreds of other rap albums released in the ’90s? Jay-Z’s steady flow, witty lyrics, and confident delivery that put him on the map. Although it certainly contains tried-and-true themes of crime tales and street stories, his charisma is all his own. His humor and presence on each track make him a relatable figure who can sell to Middle America as well as he can to his native Brooklyn neighborhoods. This album establishes Jay not only as a rapper, but as a storyteller.

Another highlight on this album is the fantastic array of collaborations that blends in seamlessly. On highlight “Brooklyn’s Finest”, Jay-Z raps along with New York legend Notorious B.I.G. in a track that allows them to work together as equals, but also suggests subtle competition between the two for the song’s title. It seems only fitting that one of rap’s all-time greats would lend a hand on the debut of one of modern music’s most recognizable figures.

Don’t Miss Tracks: “Brooklyn’s Finest”, “Politics as Usual”

MI0000832128The Velvet Underground
The Velvet Underground & Nico

Velvet Underground vocalist and guitarist Lou Reed‘s death last fall brought this album back into heavy rotation in my collection. It was a reminder of how influential this band has really been: Despite the fact that this album only sold 30,000 copies when it was released, British musician Brian Eno famously said that “everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band”. Despite its initial commercial flop, this album has gone on to become one of the most influential of its generation.

This record is, in a word, fearless: In an era most noted for the Summer of Love, it combined lyrics about drug addiction and despair with pounding force and throbbing basslines. Despite its bold statement, it still contains surprising diversity. It moves from the smooth and stripped-down R&B sounds of “There She Goes Again” to the tough punk rock of “Waiting for the Man” without skipping a beat. Although the album’s controversial lyrics have ultimately gained it the most attention (and notoriety), they’re matched by a solid music backing that is equally unique and compelling.

What’s most fascinating is listening to this album after hearing decades of rock and roll develop from the late 1960s onward. After just a few songs in, it’s easy to see that nearly every brand of rock owes credit to this album.  From punk to new wave and everything in between, nearly everything in the rock genre has been influenced by the Velvet Underground’s sound.

Don’t Miss Tracks: “There She Goes Again”, “Sunday Morning”


Ally Boutelle
@arboutelle

Ally is a communications intern at Murfie, blogging about all things music. When she’s not typing away, she cooks spicy food, does hot yoga, and reads weird history books. She’s also a college student double majoring in history and journalism.


This Week in Music History (May 21st-27th)

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

300492-large5/21- On this day in 1970, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young released the single “Ohio” in reaction to the May 4, 1970 Kent State shootings during which unarmed college students were shot by members of the Ohio National Guard.

2174-large5/22- On this day in 1965, The Beatles reached No.1 on the US singles chart with their track “Ticket to Ride”. The song was the group’s eighth No.1 hit. It was also used in the Beatles’ second film Help! and was a part of the film’s soundtrack.

375787-large5/23- On this day in 1970, Paul McCartney‘s debut solo album McCartney began a three-week run atop the US album chart. Apart from a few vocal contributions by Linda McCartney, McCartney performed and recorded the entire album as a solo project.

101405-large5/24- On this day in 1974, jazz legend, bandleader, composer and pianist Duke Ellington died of lung cancer and pneumonia at age 75. Ellington’s career spanned over 50 years; he was awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement award in 1966, and the United States Mint launched a new coin featuring his face in 2009.

32093-large5/25– On this day in 1968, Simon and Garfunkel‘s fourth studio album Bookends became the duo’s second US No.1 hit. The album was a breakthrough for the pair, launching them to superstar status. It contained their No.1 hit single “Mrs. Robinson”, which went on to win a Grammy Award for Record of the Year.

12589-large5/26- On this day in 1990, the top five positions on the US singles chart were held by female artists for the first time. Madonna was at No.1 with “Vogue”, members of Heart were at No.2, Sinead O’Connor at No.3, Wilson Phillips at No.4, and Janet Jackson at No. 5.

114141-large5/27- On this day in 1977, The Sex Pistols‘ single “God Save the Queen” was released in the United Kingdom. Although the track sold over 200,000 copies in one week and peaked at No.2 on the UK charts, it was banned by TV, radio, and stores because of its controversial lyrics.

Pick up these pieces of music history in our CD marketplace! Every album purchase comes with unlimited streaming and downloads in mp3, aac, and lossless formats FLAC and ALAC. :-)

Last Call: Your Murfie Week in Review


 Monday 5/5 

shinsOn Twitter: @bradleege won a copy of Chutes too Narrow by The Shins in our first #FreeFriday giveaway!

On the Blog: Ally reviewed three of her favorite folk albums (Let’s Be Still by The Head and The Heart, Indigo Girls by Indigo Girls, and Diamonds and Rust by Joan Baez) in Staff Picks: Ally’s Folk Picks.

On Twitter: We responded to a Forbes article called “Taking The Collecting Out Of Music“, letting them know that the spirit of the music collector is alive and well at Murfie.

In the Press: AudioStream wrote an article about us called “Murfie: A New Home for Your CDs in the Cloud“.


 Tuesday 5/6 

377182-largeIn the marketplace: 5 brand new album releases by Atmosphere, Lily Allen, Natalie Merchant, Sarah McLachlan and The Horrors were added to the Murfie marketplace.

On Twitter: We congratulated Musaic for the success of their Kickstarter campaign and expressed our excitement for being a streaming partner!


 Wednesday 5/7 

– On the Blog: Ally gave us our weekly dose of music history in This Week in Music HIstory (May 7th-13th).



 Thursday 5/8 

tbt– On Twitter: Throwback Thursday! Out #tbt tweet included an article and a picture of Matt and Preston from 2011, back when Murfie had “a couple hundred” members.

– In the Press: AV Specialists posted our guest article, called How Does Murfie Work? A Murfie Employee Explains. The post includes a special offer!


 Friday 5/9 

mouse– On the Blog: Andrew posted our #FreeFriday giveaway: The Mouse and the Mask by DANGERDOOM. You still have a chance to win if you retweet us or share our Facebook post!

– On Twitter: We got a shout-out all the way from Australia! The locals love us! :-)


Saturday 5/10

– On the Blog: Ally told us about some Mom-Approved Modern Music for Mother’s Day.


 

Mom-Approved Modern Music for Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day can often mean a trip back home to spend the day with a certain woman who raised you. I love a good family tradition (and I love my mom even more), but let’s face it: A day of listening to music released circa your mom’s high school years can get a little, well… old. Here are three suggestions to bring your mom into the 21st century, music-wise, this Mother’s Day. Take them for a spin this Sunday—they’re guaranteed to not contain too many lyrics that will make family listening time uncomfortable. (Author’s Note: All albums have been successfully test-driven by my mom.)

MI0003392585Channel Orange
Frank Ocean

This 2012 record was the beginning of something big: Frank Ocean is one of the most incredibly talented singers and songwriters of our time. This record is packed full of the stuff of legends: One-of-a-kind lyrics, an ambitious sound, and a sizable helping of passion and philosophy. Ocean is a storyteller, and his stories highlight the best and the worst of what it’s like to be alive.

Musically, this album is a mishmash in the best possible way. It fuses influences from decades past (think ’70s funk sounds and ’90s hip-hop) with a new and thoroughly modern groove, including truly awesome use of quiet electronic percussion. There’s also heavy soul influence here–moments on this album suggest flashbacks to Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye. I rarely listen to R&B, but I sure would if it all sounded like this. The songs have tight verses that hit you with incredible impact. The sheer force of emotion on this album hits you hard, creating a soundtrack for those who have lived, loved–and most of all, lost.

Don’t Miss Tracks: “Bad Religion”, “Pyramids”

MI0003341793Blunderbuss
Jack White

Up until now, Jack White has been part of a group, whether alongside Meg White of The White Stripes or the rest of The Raconteurs. On this album, however, he’s the star: Not only is this a great solo record, it also holds its own among White’s incredible discography as part of a band. White’s reflections on life and love might tear you apart, but you’ll manage to enjoy every moment of the gut-wrenching process.

For White, going solo means that all his crazy musical ideas and influences find a home. This album contains traces of everything from old-school R&B all the way through modern country music. From his cover of Little Willie John‘s 1960 hit “I’m Shakin” to his use of fiddles and mandolins on “Blunderbuss”, a lot of ground is covered here. Jack White isn’t an easy man to figure out-—nor does he want to be: despite track after track lamenting the heartbreak of love, his female backup chorus includes his ex-wife Karen Elson. A few listens of this album, however, leave you with the impression that Jack White does his best work when he’s a little shrouded in mystery.

Don’t Miss Tracks: “Love Interruption”, “Sixteen Saltines”

MI0002921033Brothers
The Black Keys

For a group with such a stellar big-band sound, it’s hard to believe that The Black Keys are a two-man show. This album comes after both members took some time away from their main band, trying their hand at other projects. It was a well-needed break: This album is their best release in years, cementing their own unique sound and their position atop the blues-rock food chain. This is nothing incredibly new or different, but that’s why I love them: Consistency is key with a group that constantly delivers music that just sounds like a good time.

This album very successfully plays around with a variety of styles, incorporating everything from up-tempo beats on “Howlin’ For You” to quiet, haunting harpsichord on “Too Afraid to Love You”. My personal favorite addition, however, is vocalist Dan Auerbach’s incorporation of falsetto, For a band that’s made a name with its bluesy sound, a falsetto was certainly a surprise (and a welcome one at that). He nails the sound on tracks like “Everlasting Light”, bringing a much-needed new edge into the mix. For longtime fans like myself, this album set a new standard for the band, turning classic bluesy sounds into something fresh and creative.

Don’t Miss Tracks: “Everlasting Light”, “Howlin’ For You”