Saul Williams: MartyrLoserKing (Album Review)

Saul Williams continues to frustrate my writer’s pen (ok, keyboard) with his brilliance and artistry. How can one capture in mere words the expertly, intricately woven tapestry of experimental sound, song and poetry that is his new album, MartyrLoserKing?



Created during Saul’s travels throughout Eastern Europe, Africa, and America, the album centers on a fictional hacktivist in the third world country of Burundi. However, knowledge of this concept is not required to enjoy and admire the album as a whole or its individual tracks.

Even after repeated listens, my head still spins trying to pin down just one element of the album, of any individual song, to describe, yet there isn’t ever just one element at play here.

Every note of this album churns punked up, politically, socially and historically conscious spoken word poetry, hip hop, EDM, Industrial rock, soul, classical and jazz piano, and steampunk clockwork gear sound effects like a musical genre-welding time machine.

This cornucopia of genius is most evident in the astounding standout singles “Horn of the Clock Bike,” “They Think Like They Book Say” and “The Noise Came From Here.”

Other tracks of note are “Ashes,” “The Bear/Coltan as Cotton,” “Burundi” (feat. Emily Kokal of Warpaint) and the aptly titled “All Coltrane Solos at Once.”

Buy @ Amazon

Saul Williams Official Site

Saul will perform at a record release show at Rough Trade in Brooklyn NY on February 2nd before embarking on his European Tour…

Feb 2 – New York, NY – Rough Trade
Feb 8 – Toronto – Tattoo
Feb 9 – London, UK – Rough Trade
Feb 13 – Bristol, UK – BBC Radio 6 Music Festival
Feb 19 – Montreal, QC – Kanaval Kanpe
Mar 3 – Bristol, UK – The Lantern
Mar 4 – Cardiff, UK – Clwb Ifor Bach
Mar 5 – Liverpool, UK – Kitchen Street
Mar 6 – London, UK – The Garage
Mar 8 – Oslo, Norway – Bla
Mar 9 – Turku, Norway – Klubi
Mar 10 – Helsinki, Finland – Elmun Baari
Mar 11 – Tampere, Finland – Klubi
Mar 12 – Jyvaskyla, Finland – Lutakko
Mar 13 – Amsterdam, The Netherlands – Melkweg
Mar 15 – Riorges, France – Salle du Grand Marais
Mar 16 – Vaulx en Velin, France – A Vaulx Jazz
Mar 17 – Fribourg, Switzerland – Fri-Son
Mar 18 – Geneve, Switzerland – La Graviere
Mar 19 – Bale, Switzerland – La Caserne
Mar 20 – Zurich, Switzerland – Moods
Mar 22 – Antwerp, Belgium – Arenberg Theatre
Mar 23 – The Hague, Netherlands – Paard Van Troje
Mar 24 – Sally-Lez-Lannoy, France – Salle Clovis Defrenne
Mar 25 – Niort, France – Le Camji
Mar 26 – St Nazaire, France – Le Vip
April 9 – Iowa City, IA – Mission Creek Festival
Jun 12 – Morrison, CO – Red Rocks Amphitheatre

Brooke Waggoner: Sweven (Album Review)

Brooke Waggoner just released her new album, Sweven. Brooke has gradually become one of my favorite artists after her beautiful debut, Go Easy Little Doves, and the exhilarating followup, Originator – not to mention her thrilling 2012 live performance at Mountain Stage. So Sweven was definitely my most anticipated album of the new year. I’m happy to say it exceeds even my high expectations of this singularly spectacular artist.



This glorious album somehow manages to marry old-fashioned player piano jauntiness with a futuristic, spatial – as in outer space as well as scope – flow. Think Scott Joplin meets David Bowie.

Even such lofty points of reference are tenuous comparisons at best. Brooke Waggoner’s music continues to be extraordinarily original. Even when you think you have her unique sound pegged down, she throws something even more unexpected into the mix.

Brooke’s deft, playfully beautiful touch on piano is especially distinctive and bewitching in “Proof,” the album’s title track and the exquisite instrumental “Egg Shells.”

The gorgeous song “Fellow” redefines the critically-overused adjective haunting.

“Cherry-Pick” is a spoken word poem set to music. The poem and melody are Brooke’s, but the voice is that of an elderly man. Said man is a geriatric patient of Brooke’s husband, his recitation was recorded by iPhone and his haggard voice is not dissimilar to that of William S. Burroughs.

Other tracks like “Widow Maker” and “Pennies & Youth” have a different kind of unusual juxtaposition, one of catchy pop and dark strings that is reminiscent of The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby.”

If Brooke Waggoner’s Sweven is not my #1 album of 2016, it’s gonna be a mind-blowing year for music. It already is.

Brooke will return to Mountain Stage on February 14th.

Download a free, legal EP comprised of 3 mp3s from the album and 2 alternative tracks at Noisetrade.

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Brooke Waggoner Official Site

Muruch.com’s Top Albums of 2015

20 Beth May: The Family Arsonist (poetry)


19 Wolf Alice: My Love is Cool

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Wolf Alice Official Site


18 Elise Cabrét (EP)


17 Anielle Reid: Ain’t Like Them (EP)

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Anielle Reid Official Site


16 Kat Robichaud & The Darling Misfits

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Kat Robichaud Official Site


15 Dengue Fever: The Deepest Lake

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Dengue Fever Official Site


14 The Innocence Mission: Hello I Feel the Same

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The Innocence Mission Official Site


13 Darlingside: Birds Say

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Darlingside Official Site


12 Alela Diane & Ryan Francesconi: Cold Moon

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Alela Diane Official Site


11 Hayley Cannon: Who Are You

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Hayley Cannon Official Site


10 Allison Crowe: Sylvan Hour


9 Alessia Cara: Know It All

Buy @ Amazon

Alessia Cara Official Site


8 Chris Stapleton: Traveler

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Chris Stapleton Official Site


7 Andra Day: Cheers to the Fall

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Andra Day Official Site


6 Rhiannen Giddens: Tomorrow is My Turn

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Rhiannen Giddens Official Site


5 Lizabett Russo: Running With the Wolves

(album review)

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Lizabett Russo Official Site


4 V V Brown: Glitch

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V V Brown Official Site


3 Muruch.com Presents: Allison Crowe

(best of)

Allison Crowe Official Site


2 Muruch.com for RAINN benefit album

(more info)

Donate $10 (or more) at Muruch’s RAINN.org fundraising page to receive the free 25-mp3 album.


1 Brandi Carlile: The Firewatcher’s Daughter

(album review)

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Brandi Carlile Official Site

I debated including the Muruch-curated albums, but they are truly the two albums I have listened to most frequently and loved most intensely this year. Besides, it’s the artists and their music that make them so undeniably spectacular. I was just the DJ. That being said, every time I’ve been asked during the year what I think my #1 album of 2015 would be, my immediate answer has been: “Brandi Carlile’s The Firewatcher’s Daughter.” I love it more with each listen and it has the timelessness of the greatest classic albums.

The Bird & the Bee: Recreational Love (Album Review)

No one does pop better than The Bird & the Bee. Inara George and co. make a very welcome return with the July 17th release of their new album, Recreational Love. You can stream the entire album via Spotify below.



“Young and Dumb” opens the album with The Bird & the Bee’s unmistakablly signature, insanely catchy indie-pop sound with a nice piano flourish at the end.

“Doctor” is a clever satire on our modern pill-popping culture with the refrain “Doctor give me pills or give me love.” The B&B take their cybered 80s nostalgia to a new level with some E Street sax embellishments.

The Office Spacesque video for “Will You Dance?” (see below) features comedian Patton Oswald and The Big Bang Theory‘s Simon Helberg.

The moody undercurrent of “We’re Coming to You” makes it the standout track.

Recreational Love ends with the lovely lullaby “Lovey Dovey.”



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The Bird & the Bee Official Site

Florence + the Machine: How Big How Blue How Beautiful (Album Review)

Florence + the Machine’s third studio release, How Big How Blue How Beautiful is possibly the most aptly titled album ever with its big, brassy orchestral sound, beautiful vocals and wistful, poetic lyrics.



I am teaching myself how to be free.

Lungs and Ceremonials are among my all-time favorite albums and this new collection is a very worthy followup. I purchased the Target version of the album (yes a physical CD in a brick and mortar store!), which contains two exclusive additional tracks plus the Deluxe Edition’s four bonus tracks for a total of eighteen new Florence songs.

How Big How Blue How Beautiful bursts open with the singles “Ship to Wreck” and “What Kind of Man” before sliding into the gorgeously symphonic title track.

Standout tracks “Queen of Peace” and “Various Storms & Saints” recall the exquisite, operatic pop drama of Ceremonials before “Delilah” dances in.

The demo “Which Witch” is such a dazzling, intricately constructed piece of wonderment, it boggles my mind that it’s only a bonus track. It’s unfathomable that a song this good was not considered worthy of inclusion on the final album tracklist. Whether you purhase the Deluxe Edition as a whole or the individual mp3, you need to hear “Which Witch.”

The two Target bonus tracks are lovely, especially the finale “Conductor.” The song uses a symphony metaphor for a turbulent relationship and ends with the line “I am the orchestra, the conductor too. My heart is a concert hall and I filled it with you.”

With three magnificent albums under her belt, Florence Welch and her machine have cemented their place as my favorite modern band.

Florence + the Machine Official Site