Interview with Colorphase [Podcast]

Colorphase is an up-and-coming rock group, fresh outta the underground college music scene, featuring an interesting mix of talent. A hippie, an old soul, a hard rocker and a seemingly quiet girl with a booming stage presence, all come together to make some seriously awesome noise.

The band thinks “Everyone can use a little color in their lives”—and true to form, check out the colorful interview with the four bandmates of Colorphase.

Who: Colorphase; interviewed by Kayla Liederbach
What: The band is making quite a stir… and they’re just getting started!
Where: Murfie HQ, Madison, WI
When: Tuesday, September 25, 2012
How: Recorded by Kayla Liederbach; special thanks to Gao Vang and D.J. Buchanan
File: WAV version

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Interview with Lydia Loveless [Podcast]

Lydia Loveless is a small-town gal with “a commanding, blast-it-to-the-back-of-the-room voice.” Her music combines threads of classic country and punk rock; get to know the singer by lending an ear to our interview…

Who: Lydia Loveless; interviewed by Kayla Liederbach
What: This country-rock sweetheart is tougher than you think!
Where: The Frequency, Madison, WI
When: Thursday, July 19, 2012
How: Recorded by Kayla Liederbach
File: mp3 version

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Rock Wednesday, Vol. 1

It is my great pleasure to introduce our latest “curated music” series: Rock Wednesday. Check back every other week or so for a fresh selection of the most rocking albums out there; as always, handpicked by the crew at Murfie.

Keep tabs on all our Rock Wednesday picks by following the tag archive for “Rock Wednesday”.

Social Distortion – Social Distortion
“What I love about this album is that it’s a throwback to a simpler Rock & Roll style without being a complete parody of the genre. It’s very accessible and has served as a ‘gateway record’ for many a rockabilly fan.” – Jason

Set Em Wild, Set Em Free – Akron/Family
“I’m not totally sure you’d call this album ‘rock’ but I would certainly say I’ve ‘rocked out’ to this one before. Akron/Family has a tendency to rapidly change genres, to the point that it almost has a compilation feel.” – Corey

Appetite for Destruction – Guns N Roses
“One of the best of all time. ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine,’ need I say more?” – Matt

Rage Against the Machine – Rage Against the Machine
“Zack de la Rocha and co successfully blend hard rock and rap with incredibly poetic lyrics and emtionally charged subjects in one of the greatest rock albums ever. ‘Bombtrack’ is the title of the first track, but it should be the title of every track.” – Jon

Who’s Next – The Who
“Because it’s one of the greatest rock albums of all time. The whole album is epic.” – Steve

Weezer (Blue Album) – Weezer
“I’m gonna be that lame-o and go to Weezer. Might not be my ‘favorite of all time,’ but man, when I discovered this album, I was 14, had an emo haircut, black plastic rim glasses, and my boyfriend had blue hair. Need I say more?” – Eileen

Operation Ivy – Operation Ivy
“This album has influenced a wide number of modern punk rock, hardcore, ska, and rock artists today. Although not my all-time favorite album, this one has inspired the music I listen to more than any other album.” – Keith

Dueling Discs, Vol. 1: Frat Rock 70s vs Frat Rock 80s

Yes, you read that correctly. Frat Rock. What the “Now That’s What I Call Music!” series is to radio friendly pop hits, the “Frat Rock” franchise is to songs my dad did some serious broing out to (if that’s what they even called it back then). Lucky for you, in this inaugural installment of Dueling Discs, the “Frat Rock” albums from the 70s and 80s will do battle, giving you a better idea of which decade Belushied better.

Let’s start this clash with a breakdown of the track list from Frat Rock: The 70s. The album hits you in the face with frat by “Takin’ Care of Business” (Bachman-Turner Overdrive) and then shows you just how few shits it gives about the administration by “Smokin’ in the Boys’ Room” (Brownsville Station). Despite their improper use of the gerund, both of these tracks suggest that the 70s bro was a badass who laughed in the face of education, leaving plenty of time to be free, free as a bird. You guessed it; “Free Bird” (Lynyrd Skynyrd) makes an appearance on the album. At a whopping 9:08, this track is by far the…second longest track on the disc, topped by “Do You Feel Like We Do” (Peter Frampton). The length of these tracks surely means they were used as background music during late night hours at the frat, bringing new meaning to being a fan of Skynyrd or Frampton.

“Hey bro, heard you were singing with the talk box last night, awww yeeeaaa…”

Rounding out a solid lineup of tunes, none other than the live version of “Lola” by The Kinks adds that sensitive side to the album that every frat boy yearns to posses (in order to win the heart of his sorority crush of course). In total, Frat Rock: The 70s scores well on the Bromometer at 7 out of 10.

Next up we’ll take a look at Frat Rock: The 80s to see if more hair makes for a better brand of bro. The track that stands out immediately on the 80’s edition of Frat Rock is “Our House” (Madness). There aren’t many things more frat-tastic than sitting on your porch yelling at a gaggle of passing rival bros “This is our House… in the middle of our street… that isn’t technically ours; it actually belongs to a bunch of rich dudes.” Other highlights on the album include “Hot Hot Hot” by Buster Poindexter (just look at him, that guy is frat) and “867-5309/Jenny” by Tommy Tutone. Both of these songs could still get a rise out of a party, crafting a conga line or a late night sing along. Finally, “Whip It” by Devo gives this album some much-needed kinkiness. But will it be enough to top the brotastic lineup of songs from Frat Rock: The 70s???

Nope. This album comes in at a 6.5 on the Bromometer, making it the runner-up in this first ever Dueling Discs post. Confratulations to Frat Rock: The 70s on its big win! Those bros sure knew how to jive.

Album Reviews: Bad as Me

His voice sounds “like it was soaked in a vat of bourbon, left hanging in the smokehouse for a few months, and then taken outside and run over with a car” (Daniel Durchholz). Who could that be? Mr. Tom Waits, of course. Murfie staffer who’s not Tom Waits, Tom, takes on his October-released album Bad as Me.

~ Music’s resident avant-bard has been at it for quite some time. His latest effort, Bad as Me, proves he’s still got it (though did anyone actually doubt he didn’t?). Released October 21, it’s Waits’ seventeenth studio album and first album of all new material in seven years. Writing and producing responsibilities are shared between Waits and his wife Kathleen Brennan. Together, they’ve assembled an all-star group of players to help fill out the tracks. Long-time Waits collaborator and guitarist Marc Ribot lends his idiosyncratic voice to the album, and adds to the sonic heap of crack musicians featured on the project, including guitarist Keith Richards and bassists Les Claypool and Flea, among others.

One listen to the album gives the feeling that this collection is much tighter and more focused than some of Waits’ other works. Most tracks land at the three to four minute mark, and gone are the schizophrenic spoken word pieces and wild cemetery polkas of his late 80’s and 90’s material. In a recent interview, Waits revealed this to have been a deliberate production strategy not-so-subtly proposed to him by Brennan: “Get in, get out. No f***ing around.”

Often, the first thing that comes to mind when someone name-drops Tom Waits is the strange, dark aesthetic he’s crafted over the years, that sound of a drunken carnie howling to an empty lot under the freeway, with a half-imagined band of junkyard dogs beating on tin and bones to back him up. On this release, though, we hear a Waits who has traveled back to a previous self, to a self before the release of such influential and experimental works as Swordfishtrombones and Rain Dogs. This is still a Waits record though, and the spotlight is still centered on that notorious formaldehyde growl. But here, that growl is working in the context of traditional song forms, mostly ballads, with the occasional bar-waltz or rockabilly ramble thrown in. Of course, these forms are mutated by forays into tonal and rhythmic experimentation, but they still have the appearance of being quintessentially American. And as a Waits record, the songs are built on the shoulders of his characters, purveyors of classic American magic and dread: we get stories of middle-class relocation in hopes of a better life (“Chicago”), the lamentations of old and dusty love (“Kiss Me”), and the hellish and thunder-fried landscape of war (“Hell Broke Luce”). Waits is doing what he’s always done, but now he’s doing it with almost sixty-two years under his belt, and the added lifeblood makes for an evocative and romantic tour de force.

Veteran listeners of Waits will find both familiarity and newness in this album. Greenhorn listeners will discover Bad as Me to be a great addition to any music lover’s collection, and a stellar opportunity to get acquainted with one of the great experimenters in contemporary rock music.
     – Tom Fullmer

Staff Picks: That’s What He Said

Staffer Mitch (that’s his proper name ;-), per usual, gives us some fantastic albums, with excellent commentary, to check out. Don’t wait! – get ’em while they’re still hot + fresh.

Game Theory – The Roots
One of the best hip hop albums to come out in the last decade. A perfect balance of The Roots’ grimy aesthetic and top-notch songwriting. This record transcends genre, creating a sonic experience that is a true piece of art. From the furiously energetic “Don’t Feel Right” to the deeply personal, hauntingly beautiful “Clock with No Hands,” Game Theory is an incredible record from an incredible band.

Blur – Blur
For those who aren’t dedicated fans, Blur is defined by “Song 2”: the WOO-HOO! song. Though it was turned into a mindless party anthem through commercial placement, and written off as such, it resides on one of the most brilliant rock albums released during the 90s. While the observational Britpop of their previous album Parklife bleeds over into this record, it’s balanced out by a huge diversity of sounds reflecting punk rock, country, hip hop, and even calliope, and somehow retains cohesiveness and narrative.

Music to Make Love to Your Old Lady By – Lovage
Dan the Automator is the producer behind a number of excellent (and unusual) hip-hop concept projects, including Deltron 3030 and the first album from Gorillaz. On this record, he teams up with Mike Patton and Jennifer Charles, crafting a collection of sultry male/female duets over laid-back, almost Gainsbourgesque beats. Other contributors on this album include turntable virtuoso Kid Koala, producer Prince Paul, Blur’s Damon Albarn, and even Afrika Bambaataa.