Thursday, February 18, 2010

murphy's kids (plays all your favorite songs)

Disclaimer: most of what's below is a recollection of events that occurred before yesterday,
so the details will be entirely made up fuzzy.

 Kind of like Motown and AC/DC had a baby. With horns.

Murphy's Kids was the coolest band in my high school when I was growing up. I remember seeing them get the plug pulled at a high school talent show because of their excellent (and mostly true) song, "Everyone's an Asshole" (I still hear it in my head when I'm sitting in meetings). And getting the plug pulled on you at a high school talent show is actually cooler than playing a high school talent show. That band went from being high school heroes to one of my legit favorite bands.

Well, being a wannabe musician myself, I had a band in high school --- I was the guitar player for an 8 piece funk band.

I'm in yellow, using most of my brainpower to count to 4.

The band that I was in, the embarrassingly named "Graham Funk Railroad," (we were pandering to Mrs. Graham, the judge for talent show auditions), had a bass player and saxophone player that were in Murphy's Kids. In this small world, I got to know the other fellas from Murphy's Kids a little bit, but not really.

Fast forward to college. The aforementioned bass player, who had become one of my best friends, is writing music with me all the time, spending long hours in my basement with a crappy stolen microphone and whatever guitars we had. He was still playing bass in Murphy's Kids, and they were coming up to do a gig, but didn't have anywhere to practice, or stay for that matter.

I told them they could practice in our basement. Again, after this the details get fuzzy, so be warned that most some of this could be entirely made-up inaccurate.

A short while after I told them they could come practice in our basement, my roommate Dan came home with a keg and said, well, "KEG!"

This, my friends, is what we call the perfect storm for A GREAT MOMENT IN PARTY HISTORY.

Predictably, we ended up having a full-on rock show in our basement, featuring Murphy's Kids and as many people as would fit into our basement.
That PA speaker remained in the basement of that house literally until the day we moved out.

Since then, I have been the biggest of MK fans, and do my best to keep in touch with the band, who are now long-time brohams of mine.The current lineup no longer includes the aforementioned bass playing buddy, but rest easy - his riffs live on, and he was replaced with a long-time friend and musician extraordinaire. Long-time. Betcha didn't think I could get three in there.

Their latest album is "Departures," an album that's a perfect soundtrack for your house party / beach trip / BBQ needs.

The album is strong from start to finish with an obvious focus on rock songwriting, adding to their already fun ska sound. I Still Miss You (Alex Levine) has a Pink Floyd vibe at the beginning, and is one of the few songs you'll hear in modern music that has DYNAMICS, our long forgotten friend. This song has a clear buildup and climax, a very well composed song.

Hands On is a perfect driving-with-the-windows-down or grilling-a-burger song, a positive mood-changer for sure. Whenever I hear it, I want to do that high-knees, side-to-side rasta walk that you see white people do at festivals.

Me toil part-time at jah Cold Stone Creamery!

Plans is a good representative of the change in style, the "departure" if you will, from Murphy's Kids' long-time (that's 4!!!) ska sound. I hear jazzy chord voicings in here that give me the same thoughts I get when I hear any of my favorite guitarists: "How in the hell did he come up with that? And why didn't I?"

To me, this album is definitely "rock with horns," not "ska with rock," although the integration of ska and rock throughout the album is seamless. I am impressed with how much the horn section is brought into the riffing as well --- the horns aren't just there for accents, they absolutely drive the band. You'll hear what I mean.

I won't review the rest for you because I have work to do spoil the first listen - but I will say that I bet you'll enjoy it.

I would be remiss in describing the band if I didn't tell you that their live show is bad-ass. Nothing against their album, but their album compared to their live show is kind of like...a globe compared to THE PLANET EARTH.

This was 2 or 3 years and bandmates ago

Also, MK hosts an annual holiday charity event called SKALIDAYS that supports a charity that is "helping victims of domestic violence through advocacy, support and empowerment. Simply put, their goal is to help people with no other place to turn get the counseling, support (even housing in some cases!), and knowledge they need to become healthy and self sufficient."  This past year was the event's 10th. Ain't a damn thing wrong with that.

Are you with me?


No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts with Thumbnails