Murfie Staff Picks: August 2015 Edition

August is right around the corner. Are you listening to something new, or recycling some favorite albums from long ago? Our staff is doing a mix of both, and we have some music picks you should hear. For more staff picks, check out our Staff Picks Cool Collection, which we update often!

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Aja
Steely Dan
1977

“A genre-busing masterpiece.”
—Andrew

80280-largeDying to Say This to You
The Sounds
2006

“New Wave inspired Swedish band with a lead singer who sets a new bar for ‘bad ass’ with her stage presence.” —Steve

377178-largeNikki-Nack
tUnE-yArDs
2014

“Merrill Garbus is the master of weirdly-catchy & just-plain-weird pop songs, and Nikki Nack is her best work yet.” —John

418070-largeWormfood
Jamaican Queens
2013

“I recently saw these guys live at the Frequency and they were awesome. They are a unique electronic, pop/rock band from MI and they kill it!” —Nate

82739-largeOne Time for All Time
65daysofstatic
2005

“One Time for All Time is full of top-notch math rock instrumentals and unique beats, check out all of 65daysofstatic!” —Kael

51527-largeMarcus Garvey
Burning Spear
1975

“Powerful. A must-have in your roots reggae collection.” —Kayla

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

My Favorite Albums of 2014 (So Far)

They say that time flies when you’re having fun—and if there’s even an ounce of truth to that statement, 2014 has been an all-around blast. Being a music junkie, album releases obviously impact how I’m feeling about any given year. And so far, 2014 has been hitting the high bar that 2013 set.

Here are five of my favorites albums, so far.

Against Me! – Transgender Dysphoria Blues

Transgender Dysphoria BluesAgainst Me! have been making pop-friendly punk for nearly two decades now, but the late 2000’s found the band lacking the ferocity they once harnessed. That all changed with this year’s Transgender Dysphoria Bluesa semi-autobiographical account of the life of front woman Laura Jane Grace, who publicly came out as a transgender woman in 2012. The album’s lyrical content is hands-down the most important you’re going to hear all year, but Transgender‘s musical content nearly matches in quality, having found a drive of its own.

Cloud Nothings – Here and Nowhere Else

Here and Nowhere ElseIn 2012, Dylan Baldi took his musical venture Cloud Nothings from a bedroom project to a full-blown rock outfit. Here and Nowhere Else, Cloud Nothings’ second release as a full band, is another healthy dose of raw guitars, ferocious drums and yelping vocals. The record gets in and out in half an hour, not wasting any time in rocking the heck out. And though its heavier than some Cloud Nothings fans may be used to, Here and Nowhere Else is just as full of hooks and catchy choruses as the ones Baldi used to pen alone in his bedroom.

Modern Baseball – You’re Gonna Miss It All

I’m only 22,You're Gonna Miss It All but sometimes I feel too old to appreciate Modern Baseball. The band is technically of the “emo” variety, but that tag is most assuredly due to front man Brendan Lukens’ memorable but sulky vocals. The actual music that Modern Baseball dabbles in is all over the map, ranging from pop to punk to acoustic ballads. Their second record, You’re Gonna Miss It All, caught me completely off guard — but its quietly become my most spun record of the year.

tUnE-yArDs – Nikki NackNikki Nack

Nikki Nack finds Merrirl Garbus (AKA tUnE-yArDs) perfecting her unique brand of progressive pop; it’s weird, it’s fun and, above all, it’s just good music. For anybody who’s sick of the blandness surrounding today’s indie pop scene, Nikki Nack will be just the breath of fresh air they crave.

The War on Drugs – Lost in the Dream

Lost in the DreamThe War on Drugs‘ Lost in the Dream brings to mind Springsteen, Petty and Dylan, but the album stands alone because it takes those influences and crafts something sprawling and unique out of them. Every track here sifts into the next, crafting one seamless, beautiful blur. I have a hard time believing a more cohesive, front-to-back record will be released this year—and that doesn’t bother me one bit.

Luckily for us, the second half of 2014 is looking just as juicy as the first. I’m already looking forward to Spoon‘s They Want My Soul (8/05), and self-titled debuts from Alvvays (7/22) and Jungle (7/15).



Andrew Brandt
@andrewtbrandt

Andrew is a communications intern at Murfie. When he’s not blogging here, you can probably find him blogging at a handful of other music sites. And when he’s not blogging at all, you can probably find him curled up with a good beer and a great book.