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The Murmurs


Country of origin:

U.S.

Type of music generally:

Alternative, contemporary folk, alternative pop

Status:

Final release was Blender (1998)

See also:

Wikipedia's entry on The Murmurs

Comparisons:

Sort of like The Story meets The Roches—thus negating all dissonance—while on their way to a The Nields show. (meth@smoe.org)

Covers/own material:

Most original, a few covers

General comments:

If the idea of two young women and a lot of acoustic instruments and harmonies appeals to you, then do check The Murmurs out. You might want to do the listening station thing, or borrow the disc from a friend. (meth@smoe.org)

if you value your brain, stay away from the murmurs! (zoe@clark.net)

Someone asked about The Murmurs and I just wanted to warn you: they're horrible. They are incredibly pretentious, talentless wannabees, whose favorite color is probably orange. I saw them open for Joe Jackson, and I have not been so repelled by a musical act for years. Their big hit, "you suck", is reflexive. Stay Away. (mjmjminla@yahoo.com)

a girl duo with great voices and harmonies who were discovered by their record company on the new york subway! (enzo1@idt.net)

This page may say The Murmurs have four albums, but it's really two (one other one is an ep, the other is basically a re-issue of another). And those two albums could not be more different. The first, the eponymous debut, is very wan female duet harmonies. Despite really liking the snappy "You Suck" and "Bad Mood", I found the album really mediocre, much too precious for my tastes. However, Pristine Smut, the band's second album, is excellent. I picked it for the best album of all of 1997. Phenomenal production and lyrics, with a punched up sound and superb songs. The jury is still kind of out from me, however...they re-released Pristine Smut, switching a couple tracks, as Blender, which seemed geared specifically for top-40 radio success. I'm sure their record company had more to do with it than them, but that kind of blatant commercialism still bugs me. (miazgama@pilot.msu.edu)

they've come a long way, i think, really, no really, i mean it! and i saw them on tv once covering some Beatles song and i'm not even a real Beatles fan and still i thought it was sacrilege, and painful and i could not watch it. but the drugs worked, or something, like uncle Tim always promised and now they're just *so* much better! still a poor caffeine to the crystal meth of Veruca Salt...but oh well. (winona@mildh.pair.com)

Recommended first album:

It depends. Fans of spare acoustic folk harmonies should check out The Murmurs. Fans of indie rock/contemporary folk should check out Pristine Smut or Blender. (miazgama@pilot.msu.edu)

Recordings:


The Murmurs

Release info:

1994—MCA Records—MCAD-11086

Availability:

Widely available

Ecto priority:

High for fans of acoustic harmonies

Group members:

Heather Grody and Leisha Hailey—both play acoustic guitars and sing

Produced by:

Roger Greenawalt, Billy Basinski, and Larry Klein

Comments:

the first self-titled album is just so beautifully simple with their voices and guitar, drums occasionally. (enzo1@idt.net)

i can't understand why this song ("You Suck") was the single or anything. i think it's one of their weakest songs, and i always skip over it. weird. (winona@mildh.pair.com)

For fans of female folk harmony duos...I found it wan and precious, although I did enjoy the fabulously catty "You Suck" and "Bad Mood". "Butterflies" is very pretty, as well. (miazgama@pilot.msu.edu)

Very pleasing to my ears. (Riphug@aol.com)


White Rabbit ep

Release info:

1994—MCA Records—macadm-55040

Availability:

Hard to find. Check used CD stores.

Ecto priority:

Fun, but it's really for fans only

Group members:

Heather Grody and Leisha Hailey—both play acoustic guitars and sing

Produced by:

Larry Klein, Tim O'Heir, and Billy Basinski

Comments:

It's basically just a novelty item, but it shows The Murmurs maturing from their formerly wan selves into a more full-blooded rock band. It contains a credible version of Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit," and an energetic live version of the song. Three remixes of songs from their first album also appear. (miazgama@pilot.msu.edu)

Pristine Smut

Release info:

1997—MCA Records—MCAD-11637

Availability:

Was discontinued after Blender was released, can find it in used record stores

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended for fans of female-fronted folky alternative-indie rock

Group members:

Heather Grody and Leisha Hailey—both play acoustic guitars and sing

Guest artists:

Sherri Solinger—drums
Sheri Ozeki—bass

Produced by:

kd lang and Larry Klein

Comments:

pristine smut is ok, not as good as the first i think though. it has a more electric feel to it (influenced by kd lang maybe...?). (enzo1@idt.net)

In my opinion one of the finest albums of the 1990s. Criminally ignored by almost everyone—including the band, which re-released it as a slicked-up version a year later called Blender—it is modern rock at its finest. Angsty yet strangely beautiful, with kd lang's production being exquisite, the album is powerful and funny. "Big Talker", "I'm a Mess" and the phenomenal "Genius" display the band's wit and energy, and"About Nothin" and the gorgeous "Squeezebox Days" are beautiful. A unique sound, comparable to some of Jewel's best live work...rich in humor but deeply beautiful at times. (miazgama@pilot.msu.edu)


Blender

Release info:

1998—MCA Records—mcad11802

Availability:

Wide release

Ecto priority:

Recommended for fans of edgy pop-rock

Group members:

Heather Grody and Leisha Hailey—both play acoustic guitars and sing

Guest artists:

Sherri Solinger—drums
Sheri Ozeki—bass

Produced by:

kd lang, Matthew Wilder, and Larry Klein

Comments:

A re-packaged version of Pristine Smut, but it inexplicably eliminates the hilarious "Toy", the seething "Squeezebox Days" and the lovely "Sleepless Commotion" in favor of the dippy pop of "La Di Da", new-wavey "Smash", and "Misfit". They're unfortunate decisions, because even though the three new tracks have their merits, they aren't as good as the ones they replaced. The brilliant photo of a white trash goddess on the cover of Pristine Smut has been replaced by dolled-up photos of Leisha and Heather on the cover as well. Because it retains the best elements of Pristine Smut, this is a worthy listen, but try to find the real thing. (miazgama@pilot.msu.edu)

Further info:

Leisha Hailey co-starred in the 1997 movie All Over Me, and The Murmurs' song "Squeezebox Days" appears on the soundtrack to the film.


Thanks to Mark Miazga for work on this entry.

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Entry last updated 2012-05-19 21:51:06.
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