Murfie’s Year-End List: Favorite Albums of 2014

Time for us to give you some real information about the most impressive albums that came out this year. This is an eclectic list of the music that genuinely stands out to us for all kinds of reasons. If you don’t know, there are many musicians, music buffs, and music lovers that work here at Murfie, and our recommendations are not influenced from outside sources—they’re coming straight from the heart!

Here are the albums that we consider the absolute best of 2014.

Damien Rice – My Favourite Faded Fantasy

This is only his third album, and it’s been eight years since his last. The album was produced by Rick Rubin and it pretty much continues where he left off. – Pete

Eric Hutchinson – Pure Fiction

Great vocals and feel-good instrumentals are present on just about every track on this album. Play Pure Fiction anytime you want to put a smile on your face. – Matt

Fartbarf – Dirty Power

I first learned of Fartbarf putting together a list of preorders earlier this year. With a stupid name like that, I had to know what was going on. Listening to Dirty Power, I was shocked to learn Fartbarf was an impressive, dirty analog vocoder synth rock band, and not a terrible metal or punk band of some sort. This album was the biggest surprise of 2014 for me. – John

The Flaming Lips – With a Little Help From My Fwends

Come on, who doesn’t love the original Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band? The Flaming Lips have given us a new twist on the classic, full of their signature (and awesome) sonic extravagance. – Brandon

FKA Twigs – LP1

This was the year I really got into FKA Twigs and a lot of her contemporaries. There was a huge influx of creative production and sound design in 2014, and FKA Twigs was a solid part of that. While I enjoyed her two previous EPs a bit more than LP1, I still really looked forward to this album. I was not disappointed. – John

Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad – Steady

Check out GPGDS if you haven’t already—for real! Their music blends elements of roots reggae with totally fun, bouncy jam rock. Most importantly, their lyrics are socially conscious. The energy at their shows is amazing, along with their ability to give you an uplifting and psychedelic experience caused by their dubby vibrations alone. This studio album is equally awesome to their live persona, and listening to it makes you feel like you’ve teleported to a venue where they’re playing. – Kayla

John Frusciante – Enclosure

John Frusciante shows again he can do so much more than we expected. A bold departure from the sweeping melodies of 2009’s The Empyrean. – Brandon

John Luther Adams – Become Ocean

If you want to know more about Become Ocean, check out my full review. As I mention in the review, I learned about John Luther Adams’ work via the excellent podcast Radiolab. I’ve been listening to Become Ocean regularly since. It’s an astonishing feat of orchestration, and it’s hard to recommend anything this year over it. – John

Phantogram – Voices

Phantogram has definitely expanded their horizons. Eleven tracks with distinct voices, all uniquely groovy. – Brandon

tUnE-yArDs – Nikki-Nack

There is probably nothing I’ve listened to as much this year as tUnE-yArDs’ newest album Nikki-Nack. I’ve been a fan of Merrill Garbus’ completely unique songwriting and structure for years, but I think Nikki-Nack is really the album that has cemented her in the public eye as a master of her craft. Seeing tUnE-yArDs play live on King Street was also one of my most memorable shows of the year. – John

Thanks to all our members for making this a great 2014. We’re excited for what’s to come in 2015! Have a happy and safe New Year everyone!

xoxo
The crew at Murfie

Top Posts of 2013: Murfie Blog

We’re almost there—2013 ends today, and I know that everyone at Murfie is happy to have had an exciting year. Social media is a big part of my role here, and writing for the Murfie Blog is always fun. Our blog not only keeps you up-to-date about new features, but it gives you a good look at what goes on behind the scenes: our staffers, our favorite music, and our holiday memories, for starters.

WordPress, the site that hosts our blog, gave us some statistics that point out our most popular posts of the year. Here are those posts, along with a bit of commentary by yours truly.

1. Creative Cover Caption Contest: Finalists! 
Remember how competitive all the finalists were in the #MurfieVOCO contest?! That was a fun time for all of us. It was great to see the creativity of our members shine through. And, it was awesome to celebrate the fact that Murfie now offers lossless streaming with VOCO! That’s really boss!

2. About Murfie
Well hey, it’s good to know people want to learn more about us! Hehe. Our service is definitely unique as ever, and a lot of what we do is communicating what we do.

3. Staff Picks: Top Albums for Lossless Listening (FLAC & ALAC)
This post totally earns its spot high on the list of popular posts. A lot of audiophiles out there swear by lossless listening: It’s higher quality, and it makes certain recordings sound even more rich. John, our Murfie staffer, is without a doubt an audiophile who can recommend what sounds good in lossless format.

4. Music not on iTunes
You guessed right—this post talks about what music is not available on iTunes, and why it’s not available. At Murfie, you’re buying real, physical CDs—not copies or licensed files. Since you own a CD, you get unlimited downloads and streaming of the music on your CD. So you’ll find stuff on Murfie that’s not on iTunes. Nice, eh?

5. Creative Cover Caption Contest
See #1 on the list (above). We owe it to Shawn Broderick for thinking of this tongue-twisting title for our contest.

6. Henry Mackaman
This year, we lost our friend Henry very suddenly. It really shook our staff and everyone else who Henry touched during his lifetime. It was an absolute honor to have him as a friend and creative collaborator. He will always be remembered and missed, and he is a source of inspiration for the people who were lucky enough to know him.

7. Download FLAC at Murfie
So often, we come across people online who are asking, “Where can I download FLAC music LEGALLY?”  Murfie is happy to provide this high-quality format as an option for downloads (and now streaming). I totally admit: Before I worked and shopped at Murfie, I had no idea that FLAC music sounded so much better than other formats. This is because I was stuck downloading mp3s, which is often the only file type that is provided by other music services.

8. Get Lossless Streaming with Murfie + VOCO!
Okay, if for some reason you haven’t noticed #1 and #5 on this list, let me know and I can go into more detail about this one.

9. The Move, Part 1: “Out with the old…”
A BIG change in 2013 was our office location! In order to have room for our growing inventory, we had to move our office…all the way down the street! We even made a fun video documenting the move. We like our new digs at 7 N. Pinckney Street a lot. There’s tons of good photos in this post!

10. Interview with the Simpkin Project [Podcast]
Cooool! I’m so happy to see this on the top ten posts. The Simpkin Project is a band that was recommended to me by Chris from Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad (one of my favoritest bands in the whole entire universe). In a time where modern reggae goes in all directions, The Simpkin Project holds a true rootsy style. And hey guess what…I’m flying out to California to see them play in January. Wheee!

As our main blog contributor, I want to say thanks for reading our posts, and thanks for following us on Facebook and Twitter. I couldn’t do this without the help of other blog contributors including John Kruse and Ally Boutelle. Social Media is a fun window to the goings-on in Murfieland. I can’t wait to share what’s new in 2014! Happy New Year everyone! :)

-Kayla

The Best Albums of 2013

With 2013 coming to a close, it’s time to hear what our Murfie staffers have to say about the best albums that were released this year.

Innocents – Moby

Everything by Moby is pretty much awesome. He manages to evolve his style with each album while still appealing to his core fan base.
-Tiffany

On the Move – Kiwi

I’ve spent a lot of time in the Caribbean, so I’m always looking for new sources of great reggae music. A colleague of mine at Murfie turned me onto Kiwi. They do an amazing job of mixing in traditional rhythms and chords with a few modern twists.
-Matt

Kings and Queens – John Brown’s Body

This is hard-hitting future roots reggae with elements of rock, rap and electronic. The buzz around this album is well earned—it’s arguably JBB’s best album ever during their 18-year career.
-Kayla

Pure Heroine – Lorde

“Royals” blew up the radio, but the rest of this album is pretty awesome. Check out “Team”. This really stands out as something different this year. Also, she is only 16!
-Steve

Silence Yourself – Savages

Just relentless intensity rarely seen outside of hardcore or metal. Equally desperate and commanding.
-Jeff

Baths – Obsidian

Obsidian takes some of the best elements of Will Wiesenfeld’s debut Cerulean and reinvents them in such a way as to broaden the range of genres you’d expect to hear from him. Unlike Wiesenfeld’s other work, this material could be played by a band and proves that he’s not just a DJ behind all his gear. There were a lot of albums out this year that I absolutely loved, but this was one that I came back to over and over again.
-John

Next up is 2014! Let’s see what we get :-)

New Year’s Resolutions by the Crew

We got guts, yes we do! The crew at Murfie is willing to share – with you, you, and YOU! – their most deepest, most heartfelt, most ambitious resolutions for the New Year. Please, be gentle in your reaction, or better yet: share YOUR resolution to level the playing field.

I’ll start: For once, I’d like to learn all the lyrics to a song. I’m shockingly inept at memorizing the words of a song.

“I’m going to play ice hockey, or release a new album.” – Jason Gullickson

“To learn Television’s classic album Marquee Moon note for note on the guitar, while also becoming a table tennis master. Needless to say, my work is cut out for me this year.” – Henry Mackaman

“I resolve to get each and every CD I own into my Murfie shop. Boom.” – Alyssa Severn

“I’m going to make a renewed effort to sell my Milli Vanilli CD. It seems like there must be a good home for this disc out there somewhere.” – Matt Younkle

“To benefit others with my own self-righteousness!” – Keith Knutson

“I resolve to explore a wider variety of music genres and give some artists more of a chance than I have in the past.” – Andrew Hinkens

“To do ONE pull-up! Right now I can’t do a single one. I just need to know that I can pull myself up if I was hanging off a cliff or something.” – Kayla Liederbach

“To accept the things I cannot change (and build a team of superpowered misfits to change the rest).” – Preston Austin