New to Me: Newly-found music gems

It’s funny when you stumble across music that’s new to you, only to find out it’s been around a while! That’s happened to us here more than once.

Sometimes these discoveries are intentional. For example, it can be as simple as finally getting around to checking out a band you’ve been meaning to check out, and getting a copy of their album. But other times it’s not-so-intentional. Since thousands of members all across the country send CDs here, we have an incredibly eclectic mix of albums and artists, including some of the rarest stuff you can find. Often, we’ve found ourselves accidentally discovering something awesome!

Bad BrainsKayla found Bad Brains by Bad Brains

I was initially drawn to the awesome rasta-colored cover art on this album. I found out Bad Brains is influential hardcore punk / reggae crossover band from the 80s who inspired bands like Sublime. Skunk Records’ 30th Anniversary set at Cali Roots Fest in May 2014 was shrouded in mystery, and said to have “surprise performances.” During the set, a group came out and started playing the song “Leaving Babylon,” sung by someone I recognized as H.R. Everyone around me was wondering who this surprise guest was, so of course I said “Bad Brains!”

6 Feet Deep GravediggazAndrew found 6 Feet Deep by Gravediggaz

I started listening to hip-hop just a couple years ago and for the most part my friends introduced me to newer acts like Danny Brown and Kendrick Lamar. After exploring the genre on my own for a couple years, I’ve found that I also really appreciate older artists like Jurassic 5 and A Tribe Called Quest. I had never heard of Gravediggaz until a couple weeks ago, but it caught my attention when I noticed that Prince Paul and RZA, two of my favorite producers from the genre’s earlier days, were members of the group. It was cool to find music from 20 years ago that I didn’t even know existed but was still relevant to my taste.

Something Else The KinksJeff found Something Else by The Kinks

I can’t believe I went 36 years without hearing “Waterloo Sunset” by The Kinks, but all was put right thanks to a recent recommendation from ex-Opster, Elsa. Now I sing it to my dogs on a daily basis: “Everyday I chomp at the world out my windooooow!”

What’s a gem that you found on Murfie? Let us know in the comments!

Album Preview: “Get Hurt” by The Gaslight Anthem

AlbumGet Hurt
Get Hurt

Artist
The Gaslight Anthem

Release Date
August 19, 2014

Label
Island

Pre-order Link
Pre-order Album

Preview
The Gaslight Anthem is four dudes from New Jersey who know a thing or five about making the place they call home proud. To the delight of both those who hail from the Garden State and those who don’t, the band (comprised of Brian Fallon, Benny Horowitz, Alex Levine and Alex Rosamilla) has been  churning out consistent, quality rock ‘n’ roll since the release of their 2007 debut, Sink or Swim.

The '59 SoundThe band gained considerable praise for their debut, but things really picked up with the release of their next two records, The ’59 Sound and American Slang. Both albums found the boys nailing down their sound, which meshes the pop-punk aesthetics of bands like Against Me! and the American desire for lost youth and faded lovers made most famous by none other than Bruce Springsteen.

In 2012, Handwrittenthe Gaslight Anthem released their fourth—and arguably best—record, the angst-ridden Handwritten. And now, they look to cement their status as one of the hardest working bands in the game by releasing a follow-up, Get Hurt, just two years later. Get Hurt‘s mid-August release date couldn’t be a more proper one, as the band’s heart-tugging lyrics are sure to soothe the burn from your summer-romance fall-out; if you can’t beat ’em, might as well join ’em.

A teaser from Get Hurt:

Pre-order your copy of Get Hurt at Murfie today! Each CD comes with unlimited streaming (Web, iOS, Android, Sonos) and downloads in mp3, aac, FLAC and ALAC.

Interview with Paper Bird

Mark Anderson was a really great person to chat with earlier this year on the Murfie Podcast. He plays percussion in Paper Bird, a harmonious seven-piece band that’s gaining more and more national buzz each day. Here’s a transcript of our interview, and another chance to dig in to the interesting world of up-and-coming music.

INTRO: This is Kayla here, with your Murfie podcast, right from murfie.com: the world’s largest used and new CD store online. So, one band that I’m really diggin’ right now is Paper Bird. They’re a seven-piece indie folk band from Colorado. I had a chat with one of the band members, Mark, right after they released their new album, Rooms.

[MUSIC: “As I Am” by Paper Bird]

Kayla: Alright, so right now I have Mark on the phone, from Paper Bird. Where are you calling from?

Mark: I’m just calling from my apartment in Denver, Colorado.

Kayla: Ok, yes, I saw that you guys are from Colorado, and I’ve never been there, but I’ve heard a lot of great things about that place. So, are a lot of people in the band from Colorado, originally, or did you guys end up there?

Mark: Um, most of us are from here, originally. Some of us were born other places—like Sarah, my sister, and I, were born in Ohio, but moved here when we were really young—and then a couple of members were born in Texas. But all of us say we’re from Colorado—it’s where we grew up.

Kayla: Right—it’s your home, totally! You and Sarah are brother and sister—I did not know that.

Mark: Yeah, yeah. There’s another set of siblings in the band, too: Genny and Esme are sisters.

Kayla: Oh, awesome! That’s fun.

Mark: Yeah.

Kayla: How did you all meet each other?

Mark: Well, we’ve known each other for a long time—it kind of was a culmination of coincidence and then also just like, common interest. Like, we all moved to Denver—um, god, I don’t know, we’ve lived in Denver for a long time. And I think just like, through random acquaintances, and some people through school and things like that, a loose group of us started getting together—and then music is what pulled us in farther, and slowly our friendships culminated into the band, and we’ve been doing it for like, six years now.

Kayla: That’s the best way to get started, you know—the music brings you together, the common interests. And you guys have developed a really unique sound, because basically everybody in the band contributes to writing songs and that sort of thing; so is that how it usually works? Do you guys kind of come to each other and say, “I have an idea for a song,” and then do you work on it together?

Continue reading Interview with Paper Bird

Sounds Like California: The Best of the Golden State

Last week, we brought you the best music that Murfie’s lovely home state has to offer. As in love as we are with the Wisconsin music scene, it’s time to take this nationwide. This week, check out reviews of three of the best albums by California bands!

Red Hot Chili Peppers
By the Way

In a blog post all about music from California, it was tempting to review RHCP’s Californication. I finally decided, though, that By the Way is just too good to miss; it’s like an answer to Californication’s question.

This is the first RHCP album that fully moves away from its ‘80s funk/rap/rock sound and pioneers a fresh new rock-pop sound. And what a successful move it was—along the way, the Peppers’ songs became more intricate, with guitar and string riffs and hooks for days. This album does the seemingly impossible: it creates music that sounds right at home on your radio, but that you’re not the least bit embarrassed to declare your love for.

This album was a big undertaking, chasing that pop-rock bliss that only masters like The Beatles have previously captured. It succeeds with catchy song after catchy song, complete with powerful melodic punches and existential lyrics galore. This is the band’s most consistent album to date, and it shows: this album is a timeless example of an already much-loved band evolving and expanding upon its sound to keep creating an even better album, without losing its signature touch.

Don’t Miss Tracks: “Universally Speaking”, “The Zephyr Song”

Queens of the Stone Age
Rated R

If you’re a hard rock fan still mourning the loss of decades past, Rated R is likely the answer. It’s been hard to make a hard rock album in the last 20 years, but this 2000 album is one of the greatest of them all. Furthermore, this is a true California album, written in the desert of Joshua Tree.

Josh Homme and company have used this album to firmly establish their place as the reigning kings of the riff-heavy rock album in this new millennium. Full of low-guitar-string riffs and the band’s signature category-evading sound, this album is hard to pin down. Rather than being a weakness, however, that evasiveness turns this album into an experimental, instrumental album full of unique arrangements and unusual sounds, most notably electric piano and steel guitar.

What really makes this album fantastic, though, is that it’s totally fearless. There’s so many different styles and sounds represented here, each one cooler and more original than the last. Queens of the Stone Age is definitely made up of a bunch of weirdos, but here’s the thing: they figured out how to do whatever they want, all at the same time, and still make it sound pretty fantastic.

Don’t Miss Tracks: “Better Living Through Chemistry”, “Auto Pilot”

No Doubt
Tragic Kingdom

I should preface this with my undying love for Gwen Stefani. Regardless of that fact, however, Anaheim, California-based No Doubt knocked this one of the park with an unbeatable combination of fantastic beats and one of the few female lead singers in alt-rock.

This album is at heart the most fun thing you’ll listen to all week, or maybe even all year. It’s on a whole new playing field from No Doubt’s previous albums, with hard-hitting rhythms and great instrumentation. Most importantly, though, is the ear candy factor: it’s an exuberant genre-bending collection of tracks, covering ground from punk to pop to ska and back again.

All the fun is backed up with some real musical achievements. The horn sections are killer, and Stefani’s vocals have several true shining moments. The combination of power ballads and poppy tracks with a bit of punk mixed in are a don’t-miss combo for when you’re just looking for a little sunshine.

Don’t Miss Tracks: “Spiderwebs”, “Don’t Speak”

Interview with Amy Ray

One of my favorite Murfie podcasts is the Amy Ray podcast. Not only did I have a great chat with her in the basement of The Frequency, surrounded by walls that are covered in thousands of band stickers, paintings, and initials, but I stuck around for her show—and it was rockin’! We even got her song “Glow” on video!

Here’s a transcript of that podcast from May 2012. Read on!

INTRO: This is Kayla here, with your Murfie podcast. I’m pleased to say that I got to meet Amy Ray when she came to town. You probably know her as part of the Indigo Girls, the award-winning folk-rock duo from Georgia. Now, she has a solo career to go alongside that, and a rockin’ new album called Lung of Love. Here’s a clip from the chat that we had before her show at The Frequency.

[MUSIC: “Glow” by Amy Ray]

Kayla: So I’m talking to Amy Ray right now, at The Frequency in downtown Madison. Welcome to Madison, first of all.

Amy: Thanks, I always love bein’ in Madison—always, always.

Kayla: Awesome. So you’re here debuting your new CD—you’re on tour for that. And for the past ten years, about, you’ve been going solo; so what’s that like after two decades with the Indigo Girls?

Amy: Well actually, I still do both, so it’s like, I started going solo around 2000 and just interspersing it with Indigo Girls stuff. And so, I mean, at first, it was kind of crazy because we Indigos were playing kind of big places and then when I started doing solo, I started just doing small clubs like The Frequency—which I’m still doing. So, it was kind of at first like I adjusted, and just learned how to— We drive ourselves, you know, fix my own amp, fix my guitars, you know, whatever needs to be done. And so, for me it’s like kind of, extremely DIY [laughs], is what it is, and Indigo Girls are extremely the other way. So, it’s like this great sort of thing that I just go back and forth between, and it gives me perspective on both things.

Kayla: Awesome. So, is it different putting out music nowadays, compared to the earlier days when you got started?

Amy: Yeah, ‘cause when we started, it was still, like, ’85. I mean, we started in ’80, but we were putting out music starting in ’85, and we were just out of high school. And we were doing cassettes—like how you made your friend mix tapes, we would make our little cassettes of our songs, and we did like a little vinyl single, and a little vinyl EP, and LP. Yeah, and college radio was a really big deal then, so that’s what you wanted: you wanted to get on college radio—and you still do, but now it’s harder. And um, you just had like a network—like in each city, you sort of had this network: you had the record store, the indie art paper, the college radio station, and the venue, and you tried to get all those things to kind of stick together. And that’s still what you should do, but like the difference now is that we have so many great tools—Facebook and Twitter and all these things—and ways to record music, and ways to get music out there, and everything’s cheaper. It’s either like, a really great thing, or it can be a really bad thing, but I think personally I like to look at it as a really great thing, cause I think it’s like tools that we can use to sort of get music out there, and cross-pollinate more, and share with our friends, and have music take its place as more of a community thing.

Continue reading Interview with Amy Ray

Red Velvet Crush

Not too long ago, Jillian Riscoe from Red Velvet Crush got in touch with us about making the band’s new EP available on Murfie! Since the discs are posted and ready to go, the time is perfect for a little Q & A session with Jillian and Daniel from the band.

303462-largeHow long has RVC been around? > We played our first acoustic show in February 2012. Since then we’ve been building the full band.

Where are you from? > Kansas City, Missouri.

How is the music scene there? > Eclectic.

Who are your hard rock influences? > Guns N’ Roses, Our Lady Peace, Deftones and many more.

Can you tell us a bit about your new EP, Smoke and Mirrors, and what to expect from it? > Pop/rock with hints of dance, electronic, hard rock and punk elements; this is just the first to come from us.

“Girls Rock TOO” is the name of one of your songs—and that’s true! Can you explain what motivated you to express that so directly? > We wanted to express that girls can rock just as hard as guys can, no matter what society says.

Is there another female lead singer that inspired you when you were young (and now)? > Christina Aguilera has always been an inspiration to me.

What new album are you really digging right now? > Blood by In This Moment. Bury Me in Vegas by Eskimo Callboy.

What are your upcoming plans with RVC? > Finish building our stage show, touring in the fall, releasing our first music video and hitting the studio at the end of the year.

Thanks to RVC for the interview! You can learn more about the band at facebook.com/redvelvetcrush. Smoke and Mirrors is available in RVC’s Murfie shop.

Enabler takes Milwaukee Hardcore to Australia

Catching up with Jeff Lohrber

Way back in May 2012, Murfie was lucky enough to record a podcast with the band Enabler, a harcore/metal/punk crossover band from Milwaukee’s Riverwest neighborhood that is making quite a national stir. [Click here to listen to the podcast!]

With a few more tours under their belt, as well as an upcoming trip to Australia, the time is right to catch up a bit with the band’s frontman, Jeff Lohrber.

How’s everyone in the band doing?
Everyone’s good! We’ve had some personnel changes since the last time we talked. Greg and Andy both had to leave due to their commitments to Misery Signals and Fall Out Boy, so we have a guitarist by the name of Eric Dunn and a drummer by the name of Chris Zugschwert. Most of us have been busy with home life and jobs.

What’ve you all been up to since last time we talked? (May 2012!)MI0003369104
Well we put out our second LP All Hail the Void in July of last year as well as a new EP titled Shift of Redemption this past April. We’ve done 4 US tours and a European tour. This band is constantly in motion.

I hear you’re going to Australia soon—tell us about that!
We are touring Australia in July with the band Urns. We’re doing about 11 shows on the Southeastern coast. I’m really looking forward to it. I feel like I’ve done more interviews in the past month regarding the Australian tour than ever before. People seem very excited to see us in Australia.

What’s the music scene like there? Is it similar to the U.S.?
>
 I’m not really 100% sure to be honest with you. I think it’s similar to the US, but on a smaller scale. There are less cities in Australia, it’s just not as big of a country, and most of the country is jungle or desert. I’m assuming it’s similar to touring Canada, where there are some amazing cities and amazing bands, but it’s just a lot more spread out than the States are.

Is there anywhere else that you’d really like to tour someday?
>
 We’re looking at hitting Southeast Asia next. We’ve had offers to play in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, etc. and we were actually trying to make it coincide with the Australian tour, but one thing at a time. I would really love to be able to play Japan as well as South America at some point.

Last time, you mentioned that a few of you in the band are vegan. How’s that going?
>
 Well the newer members are not vegan, to each their own. Amanda is very into being vegan and will always be, I eat 99.9% vegan but I’ve found myself giving in to the veggie patties at Subway once in a while with the excessive amount of touring that we’ve been doing.

I tried quitting cheese, but I can’t! Any advice?
>
 I never really had this problem except with pizza, which Whole Foods and Ian’s have actually made this pretty easy (the vegan mac n’ cheese pizza at Ian’s is choice). Cheese is a hard thing to replace, so I just found other things that I would eat instead, which was actually good for me. When I decided to go vegan, I was at a point where almost every meal was a frozen cheese pizza, so I definitely needed a change of diet, and luckily I found other foods that were just as cheap and easy to make and I didn’t have any problems. I can relate with cigarettes though, I would love to quit, I’ve tried time and time again, and I just fail miserably every time.

creativedestructiveBesides the Australia shows, what are Enabler’s upcoming plans?
We are playing This is Hardcore Fest in Philly in August and doing a short tour around that, and then this fall we are going to be tracking a new record!

It’s starting to get nicer out…are there any summer activities you’re looking forward to doing?
>
 I really miss going running in the winter, I like biking up to the park and reading from time to time, and of course I love a good barbecue, etc. Winter seemed to last exceptionally long this year, so it’s nice to just get out of the house and have it not be miserable outside!

Are there any new bands that you’re really digging right now?
>
 Agrimonia, Nails, Darkthrone, Ghost, Integrity, and Portal have all put out records this year that are awesome. The new Black Sabbath record is actually really good as well.

What are some of the best summer albums of all time?
>
 I don’t know if I would describe these as summer albums, but I love driving around with my windows down blaring these records full blast! Led Zeppelin – IV, Deep Purple – Machine Head, Judas Priest – Painkiller, Dead Kennedys – Fresh Fruit, and Cannibal Corpse – Bloodthirst.

Describing your music, your band has stated that “The world is f***** and this is the soundtrack to its demise.” Any advice for us folks regarding that? :-)
>
 Well I’ve always looked at this band as an outlet for my frustrations. There are just so many wrongs in this world that we have so little power to make right, and I have to be able to vent these frustrations or else it’s just going to build up inside of me and I would turn to violence. There are so many just wrong things happening at all times, and my advice to any angry or frustrated person out there would be to find some sort of creative outlet and let it flow into whatever you choose to create. Essentially then you are creating something positive with your negativity, because if you just try to ignore all of the negative things in life, they will catch up to you and the aftermath will be ugly for yourself and the people that surround you. As a fan of heavy music, when I was a kid and discovered hardcore/punk music and heavy metal, I related to it, and I knew that I wasn’t the only person that felt this way. It’s important to know that you aren’t alone, and it’s important to be creative in times where so many people are so destructive.

Thanks again to Jeff Lohrber for catching up with us here at Murfie, and for sharing words of wisdom! You can learn more about Enabler at facebook.com/enablermke.


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.