Staff Picks: Spring Edition!

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Spring began Monday, March 20th this year, but it wasn’t until this week we really began to feel it. The birds are chirping, the clouds are shapely and voluminous, and with all the rain we’ve been experiencing in Madison the grass has finally started to turn green.

The world is alive and we have fresh ideas about how we’ll spend our summers. For us music lovers, you can guarantee a lot of time will be spent listening to our favorite albums,  kicking back, enjoying barbecued meat and craft beer with friends and family.

However you enjoy your time this spring and summer, on the golf course, at the park or in your own backyard, make sure you have the right tunes in your proverbial jukebox. Below is a list of staff picks we thought you might enjoy…

Steven chose Sabotage by Black Sabbath

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“Sabbath truly is one of the bands that started it all. When it comes to modern doom metal/sludge metal/stoner rock, Sabotage is one of my favorites in their discography. It also takes the cake as my second favorite Black Sabbath album cover (the self-titled being the obvious first choice).”

 

Nate chose Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots by The Flaming Lips

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“Released in 2002, this album features electronic-influenced, psychedelic, indie rock compositions. Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots tells a story of how Yoshimi battles mechanical monsters, drawing on a wide range of emotions. It is a great album to turn on when in a melancholy mood and take in the beautiful tracks. Fun fact, it was later turned into a musical in 2012!” 

Jason chose Kala by M.I.A.

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“The first time I heard M.I.A.’s song “Paper Planes” off her album ‘Kala’, I was watching Slumdog Millionaire in theaters. It was one of those rare occurrences when I was so captivated by a song in a movie I went out and bought the album.  M.I.A.’s music is pop, but it is soulful, artsy and perfectly imperfect. To this day I see Kala as a shining beacon in a sea of cookie cutter pop albums.”

Maren chose Soundtrack to the End by Communist Daughter

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“The debut release from indie rock band, Communist Daughter (St. Paul, MN), will sooth your soul, quiet your mind, and set your feet to dancing. It’s simply aural bliss.” 

 

 

Andrew chose Psychocandy by The Jesus and Mary Chain

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“I gotta say I only picked this because “Just Like Honey” came on the radio this morning. The fuzzy guitars and lackadaisical vocals were the perfect backdrop to an otherwise quite drab commute on this rainy spring day.”

 

 

What suggestions do you have for our listeners? Please let us know if there are any albums you think people should know about and we will do our best to spread the word!

We hope you enjoy our picks and as always, check out Murfie.com for other great albums!

90s music gems, Vol. 1

When you think of 90s music, what pops up in your mind? Hootie & the Blowfish? Nirvana? Dare I say… Sugar Ray? :)

Back in the day I hosted a radio show called Freaks in Flannel. Despite the name, I tried to stay away from flannel and pop, and instead played a mix of 90s music that I acquired from my dad’s CD collection and the radio station’s library.

Here are some 90s music gems that I highly recommend, if you’re feeling like jumping back in time.

PortisheadDummy (1994)

Portishead DummyIf you haven’t listened to Portishead yet, do it now—right now! Dummy is the debut album from this England-based trip hop group. In a nutshell, Portishead’s music contains slower tempos, hip hop samples, and bluesy introspective lyrics sung by Beth Gibbons. Dummy contains some of their signature tracks, including “Sour Times”, “Wandering Star”, “Roads”, and one of my favorite gal anthems, “Glory Box”.

 

BeckOdelay (1996)

Beck Odelay

I’d confidently say that Odelay is one of the greatest albums of all time. Beck is pure musical genius, and this entire album lays it all out for you. His vocals are somewhat more spoken than sung, dense with rhymes reminiscent of old school hip hop. Odelay has a hip hop vibe, mixed with southern-sounding rock and plenty of samples and distortions. Amazing tracks on here are “Devil’s Haircut”, “Hotwax”, “The New Pollution”, “Novacane” and “Where It’s At”. This is a must-have in your collection—check out the full review here.

Fatboy SlimYou’ve Come a Long Way, Baby (1998)

Fatboy Slim

Whether you know it or not, you’ve probably heard tracks from You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby played on radio stations and in clubs throughout the 90s. Fatboy Slim, aka Norman Cook,  is an English musician and DJ who masterfully uses samples and beats to create highly danceable tunes. Great tracks on this album include “Right Here, Right Now”, “The Rockafeller Skank”, and “Praise You”.

 

The Flaming LipsTransmissions from the Satellite Heart (1993)

The Flaming Lips

The Flaming Lips are a bunch of weirdos. When they’re not tripping on acid, they’re writing quirky songs that range from super simple rock tunes to all-encompassing soundscapes. Transmissions is actually their 6th album, and it brought us the unforgettable tune “She Don’t Use Jelly”. “Turn It On” is another great track, very raw-and-gritty-sounding like the majority of their early work. This album is lovably odd. There’s a chance you’ll hate it, but maybe not!


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.


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

Thankful for Music!

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we at Murfie wanted to share some music that we’re most thankful for. Music is what we’re all about—we listen to it all the time at work, at home, and everywhere. Here are the bands and genres that we couldn’t possibly live without.

Matt is thankful for Latin Jazz.

“I’m quite thankful for latin jazz. I’ve always been fascinated with the intricate rhythms and thick chord structures present in the genre. Plus, the music is downright fun. I had the privilege of taking in one Tito Puente‘s final concerts, and have been hooked for life. As a piano player, most of my favorite latin jazz picks involve strong keyboard parts. Just about everything by Eddie Palmieri is amazing. Learning latin jazz piano is on my bucket list.”

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Brandon is thankful for music recommended by his friend Cole.

“These are some of my good friend Cole’s favorite albums. I am thankful for them because even though Cole passed away in 2012, I still feel close to him when I play these tunes. It’s amazing how music can do that!”

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Kayla is thankful for Reggae.

“I am most thankful for reggae music. Ever since I started listening to it, my life has become so much more positive. This music has connected me to the most amazing people, and being able to play it for people on the radio gives me a sense of purpose and meaning. Older artists like King Tubby, Burning Spear, The Gladiators, Augustus Pablo and Barrington Levy drew me in deep. Later on I fell in love with new bands like Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad, 10 Ft. Ganja Plant and John Brown’s Body, and I’ll travel far and wide to see them play, whenever I can!”

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Jeff is thankful for Noise Rock.

“What is that ungodly sound? Noise rock is an inverted umbrella of bands using standard rock instruments to deconstruct, mangle, and reassemble popular music into new challenging styles, often pushing as many buttons as boundaries. Bands like Big BlackUnwound, The Jesus Lizard and US Maple use weird tunings, nonsensical rhythms, and a healthy dose of nails on a chalkboard singing. More diaspora than unified camp, noise rock emerged from post punk, no wave and art school experimental scenes (Sonic Youth, Swans) but it’s knotty tendrils stretch into metal (Helmet, Melvins, UnsaneToday is the Day), mathcore (Dillinger Escape Plan, The Locust) and electronic music (Space Streakings).”

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Andrew is thankful for Hip-Hop.

“I’m thankful for hip-hop. I’d like to thank great producers like Madlib, Prince Paul, and Cut Chemist for perfecting the art of recycling music. Digging through crates of vinyl and old tapes to find and reshape long-forgotten music is a true art form, and it’s an added bonus when DJs use samples that introduce you to new styles or artists. I’d also like to thank longtime MCs like MF DOOM, Aesop Rock, and Del The Funky Homosapien and newcomers like Joey Bada$$, Chance The Rapper, and Chuck Inglish. To all hip-hop artists out there, your creative use of drum machines and the English language is marvelous and fascinating, and I look forward to spending the rest of my life geeking out over new beats. Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of great hip-hop, and I strongly suggest that anyone who shares my feelings of gratitude ought to check out some Zion I (Amp Live is another great DJ) or some Busdriver.”

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We are also very thankful for you, our Murfie members! Have a very Happy Thanksgiving! :)
—The crew at Murfie

Sounds for a Bargain: Murfie Albums for $2

You might have seen my last blog post about the world’s most expensive CD, in which we had to humbly admit that you won’t be seeing many diamond-studded jewel boxes around here. Quite the opposite, in fact—Murfie is a thrifty music-lover’s paradise. If you’re not quite in the market for a record-breakingly pricey disc, all the better: we’ve compiled a quick list of great and shockingly low-priced CDs. The best part? They’re all $2, or $1 for gold members! We’ve pulled four examples, but there are thousands of $2 CDs waiting in the Murfie marketplace. Remember that every CD purchase includes free streaming in 320kbps mp3, and free downloads in mp3, aac, and lossless formats FLAC and ALAC!

60538-largeLoser by Beck

Alternative rock singer Beck is one of my all-time favorites, and “Loser” stands out as one of his can’t-miss tracks. “Loser” was originally released with this cover art as a single, but Murfie’s version packs four other songs, including “Alcohol” and “Corvette Bummer”. If you’re not already a Beck fan, this quick taste is a fantastic introduction, and it’s currently available for just $2. If you’re already a diehard, it’s an indispensable addition to your collection.

6740-largeTransmissions from the Satellite Heart
by The Flaming Lips

I was incredibly—and pleasantly—surprised to find this album for $2. I’m a huge Flaming Lips fan, and this album is up there with their best. The Flaming Lips are a rock band famous for crazy psychedelic sounds and even crazier song titles. Don’t miss tracks like “Moth in the Incubator” on this ambitious, risk-taking album. The Flaming Lips have an irreplaceable spot in my relaxed-listening rotation.

865-largeGreatest Hits by The Beach Boys

I’ll admit that I’m biased in favor of the Beach Boys. Fun, mellow tracks like “Surfin’ Safari” and “Surfer Girl” have a solid place in the soundtrack of my childhood. Even now, the Beach Boys are often still a go-to for a solo drive. This album just makes you feel good. There’s a lot to be said for a $2 pick-me-up.

22501-largeThe Mirror Conspiracy by Thievery Corporation

Thievery Corporation is a two-man DJ team, but their genre-bending music includes touches of reggae, dub, jazz, Brazilian, and more. The Mirror Conspiracy is a great-sounding, thought-provoking main act, but also blends seamlessly as relaxing background music. I saw Thievery Corporation in concert a few years back, and since then they’ve held a solid place in my chill music library. Check it out, and don’t miss “Lebanese Blonde”.

The lowest-priced copies of albums always show first in the Murfie marketplace, so get these while they’re still $2! You don’t have to go far to find other $2 gems, either!