Muruch’s musical mascot Allison Crowe will release a new album on June 25th! Inspired by her work on the play Newfoundland Vinyl, the album will be Allison’s first available as a vinyl LP. More details on the album will be made known in May.
As we first announced here last March, Muruch’s musical mascot Allison Crowe has recorded an all-new, live album of her annual Tidings concert. The album features 19 in-concert performances and previously unreleased audio from Crowe’s popular “Hallelujah” video.
Though Tidings does include some holiday songs, which I’m not into, it has several other great, non-seasonal covers as well as Allison Crowe originals. My personal favorites are her covers of Joni Mitchell’s “River,” Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” and Aretha Franklin’s “I Never Loved a Man (Like I Love You),” the mp3s of which you can download below.
Other highlights include Allison’s renditions of The Beatles’ “Let It Be” and “In My Life” and John Lennon’s “Imagine.”
The album also features a gorgeous, epic, extended, live version of “Disease” (originally featured on Live at Wood Hall and Little Light), which begins with a haunting piano instrumental intro of “Carol of the Bells.” You can stream or download the song via the SoundCloud widget below.
*mp3s provided by & posted w/ permission of artist’s mgmt
Muruch’s musical mascot Allison Crowe has recorded another exquisite cover song, this time of Leonard Cohen’s “Bird on a Wire.” Born of her work with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, the song is a perfect fit for Allison’s lovely voice. You can download the free, legal mp3 below…
*mp3 provided by & posted w/ permission of artist’s manager
Allison CroweMuruch Allison Crowe Reviews
Allison Crowe will release all-new live video and audio recordings of her annual Tidings concerts later this year, and she is allowing us to premiere a free, legal mp3 from the upcoming live Tidings album. Allison’s haunting piano instrumental of “Carol of the Bells” serves as the introduction to this gorgeous, epic, extended, live Tidings version of “Disease” (originally featured on Live at Wood Hall and Little Light). You can stream or download the song via the SoundCloud widget below…
Muruch has long championed the music of brilliant, incomparable Canadian singer-songwriter, Allison Crowe and she often rewards our loyalty with exclusives such as this one. Allison will soon release a “Double-A Side Single” of her original piano song “Arthur” and a guitar cover of Patty Griffin’s “Up to the Mountain.” This year also marks the tenth anniversary of Allison’s record label, Rubenesque Records Ltd. To celebrate, she is generously allowing us here at Muruch to exclusively premiere the following free, 100% legal mp3s of her two new songs for two weeks. So download the mp3s while you can, enjoy the YouTube Videos, then go buy the digital double single and/or Allison’s other albums – I promise they’re all worth every penny!
Allison Crowe – Arthur (mp3 expired)*
Allison Crowe – Up to the Mountain (mp3 expired)*
*mp3s provided by & posted for 2 weeks w/ permission of artist’s manager – after that purchase the mp3s via Allison’s Bandcamp
*videos uploaded by artist’s manager
Allison Crowe Official Site (Buy Music)
It’s that time again! Following are my Top 25 Albums of 2010. Like ‘em or not, these are the albums I’ve personally enjoyed and listened to most often in the past year. Click on the album titles to read the full reviews, purchase the albums, and, in some cases, download mp3s…
*Honorable mention to Florence + the Machine’s Lungs, which would have been #2 on this list had it been released this year.
“…I was so excited to see Sheila Nicholls name on a new press release!…genre-hopping…moody experience…Sheila’s lovely vocals drive every song“
“…sultry and atmospheric…blends mellow electro-pop melodies with ambient beats beneath new lead singer Lisa Milberg’s whisper soft vocals“
“…a step back from the pop-rock endeavors of recent decades in favor of a multi-instrumental style…perfect display of Ann’s astounding vocal power and Nancy’s searing guitar riffs.“
“…The deep resonance of Warner’s cello is juxtaposed and intertwined with the emotive peels of Nuzova’s piano, resulting in a sound full of somber beauty and classical romance.“
“…loud, exhilarating, wailing punk rockers…a spectacular cacophony of ferocious growls, frenzied shrieks, scorching guitar licks and tempestuous rhythm“
“…a collection of subtle folk-influenced melodies and pretty, infectious pop fleshed out with innovative arrangements and all wrapped up in Brooke’s warm voice“
“…churns atmospheric retro pop-rock with modern rock riffs, handclap percussion, and girl group harmony. The result is somewhere between The Zombies and The Shangri-Las.“
“…With the help of his backing band The 3DVB’s and his The Office co-star Ed Helms, Creed has made an unusual, funny, funky, and all around awesome album.“
Creed Bratton – Rubber Tree (mp3)*
“…an almost perfect marriage of Robert Plant’s psychedelic sway and Buddy Miller’s freight train of rocked up Americana“
“…The combination of that kind of sweetly self-deprecating humor and Danielle’s clear, warm voice along with some very pretty acoustic melodies make this album a charmer.“
“…Whether you’re a classical aficionado or simply enjoy pretty instrumental music, this lovely album is definitely one to try…Simply put, The Nightingale in Love is beautiful. So very beautiful.“
“…an album everyone should hear…strong artistic integrity combined with an exquisitely exotic voice and elegant melodies give Sade’s music a rare grace and beauty.“
“…an excellent mix of infectious pop melodies and singer-songwriter acoustics…Her multi-faceted voice effortlessly flows from impressive Divaesque acrobatics to a warmer, relaxed charm reminiscent of classic Carole King.“
“…brimming with a heady mix of Celtic and folk instrumentation…Loreena’s supernatural soprano is on gorgeous display“
“…tribute to 1980s pop icons Hall & Oates is no parody, instead this is a sincere and happy homage to one of my favorite guilty pleasure bands…the perfect soundtrack for summer.“
“…a wide variety of charming, serene covers by various indie acts…The entire Sing Me To Sleep album flows together to create a lovely, gentle mood.“
“…one of the most excellent, enjoyable rock albums I’ve heard in years…infectious but substantial rock – settled delciously somewhere between arena and roots.“
“…Her voice flawlessly flows between the most pristine soprano and gut-wrenching, full-bodied wails…I hear Allison Crowe sing, and I remember the effect music is supposed to have on you.“
“…pristinely pretty…Sparse arrangements are coupled with poetic lyrics full of scenic imagery and bittersweet emotion – all carried by the lovely soprano of Karen Peris.“
“…If Moreland & Arbuckle’s upcoming album Flood is any indication, 2010 is gonna be a great year for music…this mix of Delta blues, folk, country, soul, and rock is one wild ride.“
“…another collection of airy, retro-styled pop songs fleshed out with folk instrumenation…a breezy pop soundtrack for summer.“
“…like a collaboration between Kate Bush and Lady Gaga. Mainstream pop fans will definitely enjoy this disc, as will those searching for catchy tunes with lyrical substance.“
“…Conceptually and musically, this multi-facted, genre-mashing masterpiece has everything you could want in an album and then some. And Janelle’s supernatural vocal range is as chameleonic as the songs she sings.“
“…Xavier Rudd is my favorite artist, full stop…yet another breathtaking masterpiece that’s sure to land Xavier Rudd at the top of my year end list again.“
“…transforms the ancient Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice into a post-apocalyptic American fable with Depression era style and indie-folk sensibility. This gorgeous, exciting project reminds me why I love music so much and why I love writing about music so much.”
*all mp3s hosted by & posted w/ permission of artists, labels and/or their PR reps
This month marks a decade of Muruch! Well, I created the original site in 1999, but didn’t post music on it until July, 2000. If you’re interested in the site’s convoluted history, you can read the saga on the About page. To celebrate Muruch‘s 10th anniversary, I asked my very favorite artists if I could share some of their mp3s with you (see below). And I also have a favor to ask you readers at the end of this post…
Anyone who’s read Muruch over the years knows that I like and write about music in just about every genre imaginable. The five artists that this site has helped promote more than any other (because they are my favorites) are: Allison Crowe, Gaba Kulka, Hannah Fury, Xavier Rudd, and The Dresden Dolls (part of Muruch’s “demented circus genre“). If you click on their names, you can read most of my reviews (sadly, the early archives were lost during a domain shuffle).
Unfortunately, The Dresden Dolls and Xavier Rudd albums were released on labels that aren’t mp3-friendly, so I couldn’t obtain permission to share their music. But my favorite independent gals Allison Crowe, Gaba Kulka, and Hannah Fury were all very enthusiastic and generous in granting me permission to include their mp3s in this celebratory post. I’ve chosen to share two songs from their early recordings with a more recent track to show the progression of each artist over the years…
Hannah Fury – The Necklace of Marie Antoinette (mp3)*
Hannah Fury – It Was Her House That Killed Nessarose (mp3)*
Hannah Fury – Beware The Touch (mp3)*
Does anyone remember the music site Epitonic.com? That’s where I first heard Hannah Fury’s music 10 years ago. Hannah is the prime example of how a random mp3 on a music site can create a devoted fan (that would be me) and she is one of the more unique artists I’ve written about over the years. The eerie “The Necklace of Marie Antoinette” first reeled me in and her Wicked-inspired songs (like “It Was Her House That Killed Nessarose”) on The Thing That Feels sealed the deal. “Beware The Touch” is from Hannah’s haunting last album Through The Gash.
Gaba Kulka – Detuned Radio (mp3)*
Gaba Kulka – Coup d’etat (mp3)*
Gaba Kulka – Hat Meet Rabbit (mp3)*
I can’t remember if it was 2000 or 2001, but sometime around then a mutual friend introduced me to Gabriela Kulka (now known as Gaba Kulka) on an old journaling site we used to frequent. Back then I thought of Gabriela much more as an online friend than as an artist, though she did share her pretty cover of Sting’s “Russians” with me. In the years that followed, I had the privilege of learning through her of the joys and difficulties that go into the writing and recording process of an album. I saw how Gabriela struggled to balance her then “real job” with her artistic pursuits, and I’ve been so happy to see that music has since become her very successful “real job.” In the decade I’ve known her, Gaba has gone from releasing her own CDs through DIY sites like mp3.com to performing with Amanda Palmer and becoming quite the rising star in Poland. And her impressive catalogue of music over the past decade has been prolific and genre-defying. “Detuned Radio” is one of the first songs of hers that I heard, from her now out of print Mp3.com demo King of Rats. “Coup d’etat” is from her second album Miss Scylla and a Hard Place. The last song is the frenetic title track from Gaba’s latest release Hat, Rabbit (one of my Best of the Decade) and better represents the music she makes now. I’m happy to say you can now purchase her last two albums (which are also her best) on Amazon.
Allison Crowe – By Your Side (mp3)*
Allison Crowe – Independence Day (mp3)*
Allison Crowe – I Don’t Know (mp3)*
As I’ve said before, I consider Allison Crowe to be Muruch‘s true musical mascot. A friend sent me Allison’s cover of a Tori Amos song about five or six years ago and it was love at first listen. Back then, no one seemed to be writing about this Canadian wonder and over the years I’ve seen other bloggers credit this site as where they first heard her music. Allison has also consistently been supportive of mp3 blogs and file sharing in general, recognizing the value of this new form of “word of mouth” as the best way to spread music that doesn’t get played on mainstream radio. She is still relatively unknown in the U.S., but her astounding cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” has brought her international attention in recent years. Her extraordinarily emotive way of singing and the subtle beauty of her songs stand out from just about any other artist ever. I think Allison has inspired more writing on this site than anyone else, though she may be tied with Gaba Kulka on that. “By Your Side” and “Independence Day” are from her spectacular Live at Wood Hall album (another of my Best of the Decade), and “I Don’t Know” is from her most recent release Spiral.
I want to thank Hannah Fury, Gaba Kulka, and Allison Crowe (also Allison’s manager Adrian) for being so generous with their music. And a huge thanks to my host Song, By Toad, without whom this site would no longer exist. Also, thanks to all of the artists, labels, agents, PR companies, and everyone else who has supported this site over the years – especially all of you readers. Oh, and a special thanks to my oldest friend “Grasshopper” since most of the time I think she’s the only one who actually reads my reviews.
Now, since I’ve spent the past 10 years rambling to you about music and sharing mp3s, I would love if everyone reading this would comment! Share how long you’ve been reading Muruch, how you first found it, any music you’ve liked, loved, and/or bought because of this site, and any other memories you have about it. But even if you just say hi, please comment just this once. And link to this post anywhere and everywhere. I’d like a big crowd to help me celebrate the decade I’ve devoted to this site and to the music I love.
*all mp3s hosted for 2 weeks w/ permission of each artist
I have 2 copies of Allison Crowe’s wonderful new CD Spiral (click on album title for review) to give away. See contest details and download 3 mp3s below.
2 winners will receive:
1 copy of Allison Crowe’s new CD Spiral
Comment to this entry with “Spiral” and your email address. All new comments are moderated to avoid spam (which is why you must include the name of the artist in your comment), so it may take a day for your comment to appear if you haven’t commented on Muruch before.
Note: This contest is open to everyone, but all contestants must enter with a valid email address and the name of the album in order to qualify. The winner of the contest will also be required to provide me with their full name and postal address for shipping purposes.
The contest will end on Friday, April 30th. The winners will be chosen at random and contacted via email.
Go now go! And tell others.
Allison Crowe Official Site (Buy directly from artist)
Allison Crowe‘s new CD Spiral finally arrived! I posted mp3s from it last November and last month, and the entire album was released digitally on March 17th. But the physical release was delayed due to printing issues, so I didn’t receive my copy until this week. It was well worth the wait. Spiral is Allison Crowe’s best album since Live at Wood Hall (one of my Best of the Decade picks), and is possibly her best studio album ever.
I don’t know what is wrong with everyone,
but I guess I don’t even know what’s wrong with me,
& I won’t try to be judgemental, I won’t try to be holier-than-thou,
but I don’t get this & I’m not going to pretend I do.
Spiral is a prime example of why I will always prefer physical albums over digital ones. The beautiful gold and silver embossed cover has a lovely peacock painting by Tara Thelen. Cover art and liner notes enhance the listening experience, and mp3s can never capture a moment in time the way holding an album in your hands does. An old album can conjure up the same sense of nostalgia as a photograph.
Onto the music…Spiral opens on a somewhat lighter note. The twangy “Dearly” and “Double-Edged Sword” have a buoyant folk-pop style akin to Dar Williams. But the meat of the album is Allison’s voice and piano, both of which take a more prominent position in the third track.
Allison is probably best known for her astounding rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” which has become one of my favorite songs of all time. This time around, Allison tackles Cohen’s “Chelsea Hotel No. 2.” Her emotive vocal gives the usually sedate song a whole new sense of desperation.
Yet it’s the acoustic transformation of Annie Lennox’s “Why” that proves to be the album’s most captivating cover. Allison’s heartfelt voice drives the song with some help by a lovely, subdued string arrangement. The album includes two bonus alternative versions of “Why” and the album’s other cover of Hunters & Collectors’ “Throw Your Arms Around Me.”
The stand out track “I Don’t Know” is one of those Allison Crowe stunners. Her voice flawlessly flows between the most pristine soprano and gut-wrenching, full-bodied wails. Her intimate, emotional lyrics are layered over a soul-stirring piano melody.
The album’s title track is just as haunting, but has a more frenetic energy to the instrumentation. Allison’s frenzied piano playing is juxtaposed with fiercely low vocals that give the song a murky, seething mood. I bet it’s particularly chilling and spectacular live.
I hear so much music these days, too much for one person really. I’m inundated with such a flood of sounds both good and bad that I sometimes forget what it feels like when a song literally produces chills on your arms.
Then I hear Allison Crowe sing, and I remember the effect music is supposed to have on you. That awe-inspired rush, that indescribable feeling of communion between artist and audience. The gratitude that someone gifted has expressed through their art an emotion you personally lack the talent to articulate. To quote Allison: “Why music? Why breathing?“
Allison and her manager are exceptionally generous when it comes to sharing mp3s, so I have three free, legal mp3s from Spiral for you. Please support this extraordinary artist by purchasing her album at the links below.
Allison Crowe – I Don’t Know*
Allison Crowe – Oceans *
Allison Crowe – Going Home Tonight **
*mp3s posted w/ permission of artist’s manager
**mp3 hosted by & posted w/ permission of artist’s manager
Allison Crowe Official Site (Buy directly from artist)
Here’s another beautiful new song from Canadian singer-songwriter Allison Crowe‘s upcoming seventh album Spiral. I first posted “Going Home Tonight” from the album last November. “Oceans” will be track number five. The song is apparently the mid-point of the album, which is described as an eleven song collection with a two-song reprise.
The entire Spiral album will be made available for purchase as a digital download on March 17, along with a series of fourteen videos to be posted on Allison’s site, Facebook, and YouTube. The physical CD is scheduled to start shipping the same day.
I’ve been offered a digital advance, but I prefer to keep it old school with my favorite artists. So my full album review will be published after I receive the physical CD. Until then, enjoy these mp3s…
Allison Crowe – Oceans (mp3 expired) *
Allison Crowe – Going Home Tonight (mp3) **
*mp3 provided by & posted w/ permission of artist’s manager
**mp3 hosted by & posted w/ permission of artist’s manager