Get to Know a Murfie Staffer!

Murfie may be an internet-based company, but there’s a group of real peeps who work here (super-cool peeps, may I add!), all currently living around the Madison area. It’s our team of developers here at Murfie who are responsible for building the features on our site: everything from Wishlists and the album pages to the Android app and more. You can meet one of these folks today:

ZACH FOSTER

Where are you from? > I’m from a little town about 20 minutes north of Milwaukee called Cedarburg. It’s a quaint little town with a rustic main street. At some point, in some magazine or something, it was said to be number three on the top tourist attractions in Wisconsin, but though it’s cute, it’s not that cute.

How long have you been working at Murfie? What is your role? > I’ve been working at Murfie since August of 2011. I originally started as an Ops member, but gained enough knowledge to move into a developer role. I’ve been developing for almost a year now, and I absolutely love it.

What do you like about working at Murfie? > My favorite part of the job is my group of coworkers. I love having really motivated and creative people around me, and every day, Murfie employees are doing awesome things around Madison. Our gang is making Madison a better community, while making Murfie a better company. There’s nothing like good people.

What kind of music can be found in your collection? > Since I was gifted roughly 500 discs, my collection is a mess. That being said, it’s full of some of my favorites, artists like: Andrew Bird, Bon Iver, Bright Eyes, Phosphorescent, and The National. I drift heavily into the Folk/Indie/Americana side, songs with good lyrics and peaceful, spare melodies.

Who are your favorite artists/bands of all time? > Oddly enough, this is an easy question for me, I’ll give you three, two of which I already mentioned: Bright Eyes, Phosphorescent, and Bob Dylan. You’d be surprised by how similar they all are.

If you could have coffee with any musician, from any time, who would it be any why? > Definitely Dylan, but it would have to be when he was just getting started releasing albums, around when he released the self-titled. I don’t think I am interested in anything he’d have to say, but boy, I would love to hear him speak.

Are you a Beyoncé fan? > I went through a phase because I grew up with a sister three years older than me. That’s all I can reveal.

What album are you really digging right now? > Volcano Choir‘s Repave. I think “Comrade”, the third track, is etching itself onto my plaque of all time favorites.

Do you have any pets? > I do. I have two turtles who were given to me by Tyler, another sMurf, and I have a 1-year-old kitten named Matilda. She’s quite the little bundle.

What is your favorite food? > Curry. 4 stars.

What can people find you doing when you’re not at Murfie? > Too many things. I’m not good at sitting still and doing nothing. My current obsessions are exercising, watching Miyazaki films, and reading. I’m working on a couple side projects, including a social app for new parents and their children, and a developer bootcamp for others interested in obtaining job skills that one may not learn in school.

Now you know more about Zach, someone who does a lot for Murfie! Behind the scenes, we have a lot going on here!

Sounds Like Wisconsin: Hometown Acts Both Big and Small

Volcano Choir
Repave

We’ve already shown our love for Wisconsin native Justin Vernon for his work on Bon Iver, but Repave shows an entirely different side of him: this album makes him look like he’s just a guy having fun. Collaborating with members of another local favorite band, Collections of Colonies of Bees, Vernon and company have created a record with a fresh rock sound, killer lyrics, and most importantly of all, the ability to stick in your head.

Repave is in many ways all about power. The album sounds absolutely fantastic, and powerfully so—truly unique guitar lines effortlessly combine with a deep and incredibly clear sound. Even amidst all that power, Vernon never allows his voice to be outshone. He sings with all the guts of a power ballad while maintaining his trademark dark mood. Unlike Vernon’s work with Bon Iver, however, this album has potential for real stadium sound.

Don’t miss tracks: “Alaskans”, “Comrade”

Violent Femmes
Permanent Record: The Very Best of the Violent Femmes

Some of Wisconsin’s most famous musical natives released this essential collection of their all-time greatest tracks in 2005. This album is really mood music, but not in the way you’d usually picture that phrase. The mood here is teenage angst and ecstasy, bouncing off the walls and sometimes falling to the ground. It’s also just really, really wanting to party. This album captures that scream-it-at-the-top-of-your-lungs vibe that was so essential to the band’s success.

This album makes a good call in focusing largely on tracks from self-titled debut album Violent Femmes, an incredibly fun collection of songs that was nearly impossible to follow. These songs are instantly and insanely catchy, but not without the music clout to back it up. There’s a fantastic minimalism going on here—acoustics, a single drum—but it’s far from boring. These Milwaukee natives know how to keep a party going, wherever that party may be.

Don’t miss tracks: “Blister in the Sun”, “Kiss Off”

PHOX
Friendship

Don’t be intimidated by the impossibly long tracklist here. Those 19 tracks look deceptively long. About half the songs, however, are in the 20-second range, creating an album that actually comes to feel like the perfect length.

Part of that perfect length feeling comes from the fact that this is just a really nice listen. Friendship has an eclectic, indie-pop sound that blends seamlessly from track to track. The seven-piece PHOX, originally Baraboo natives, have created a unique combination of longer songs and shorter, transitional musical arrangements that tie together into a tight album that’s fun all the way through.

Instrumentally, the album focuses on crystal-clear vocals and awesome instrumentation, featuring horns, banjos, synths and the whole nine yards. This band is certainly up-and-coming—time to get on the bandwagon!

Don’t miss tracks: “Clubs and Spades”, “Shrinking Violets”