Category Archives: rock

Murp proves metal is no kid’s game, well maybe a little

MURP is Aaralyn and Izzy
Murp is Izzy on drums and his sister Aaralyn on vocals. There is also their dad, Jason, who never appears on camera who plays lead guitar and the occasional guest appearance from the odd uncle, who also remains out of the camera’s view. Izzy provides a steady driving beat. He’s the strong foundation for their songs. Aaralyn, on the other hand, is some wild, untamed force of nature. Grown-ups in metal bands can sing about their disgust with humanity, or Viking adventures, or the devil or whatevever. Aaralyn is passionate about such things and unknotted hair or the power of lightening, or the death of red ants or the pain and itchiness of her poor brother’s poison ivy. 
I jokingly call Murp kindercore, in that, their sound is basically deathcore, performed by children. Murp might come off like a cute home movie or a joke. But I think there are bigger things afoot here. Like any good death metal song, it evokes some strong emotions. And other ways, Murp sounds like the preschool prototype for The Velvet Underground. No, I am not kidding. The bottomline is that if you want to experience the spectrum that is metal, you must listen to Murp.
Izzy, Aarlyn and Jason replied to some questions via email. I could be wrong, but this may be the first official Murp interview. A Metallomusikum EXCLUSIVE!!!
Why did you decide to form a band? 
Jason: Izzy and I started jamming in 2010 and Aaralyn kept peeking her head in. So I put a microphone in her hand so she could participate. She really liked it. Then one day the kids came to me and said they wanted to go on iCarley. I told them to go write a song and we’ll send it in. They were downstairs in the music room for all of 10 minutes before they came back up and told me they were ready. So I grabbed the video camera, and Izzy told me what kind of guitar sound he wanted. I hit record and out came “Don’t Brush My Hair in Knots”. We made it official when the video went semi-viral and the requests poured in. 

How do you come up with songs? 

Jason: Kinda depends on the mood of the kids, which, oddly enough, seem to coincide with the time of day. The earlier in the day the more energetic the song, the later in the day will be a mellow song…. most times. As far as the theme of the songs we are on a rotation. One week will be Izzy’s idea, then Aaralyn then me. Once a month or so we’ll do a cover, and more recently we have been doing fan dedication songs. 

Who writes the words? 
Jason: Aaralyn does them on the fly. One of us will come up with a ‘theme’ and she does the rest. Like when Izzy had a bad case of poison ivy last year, he wanted a song about how horrible it was, and boy did Aaralyn deliver.

How do you work the band around school and social life? 

Jason: Well the school part is easy, we practice and record as a band on the weekends (it only takes about an hour). Since we don’t spend a ton of time in the music room it really doesn’t interfere with our social life.
Where did the band name come from? 
Jason: Ireland 1995 Feile Festival. At our camp site was this completely inebriated guy from Belfast. He kept screaming “MURP!!!” I asked him what it meant, he told me it means really happy, to be with your mates having a good time, it’s a feeling. He made me promise to bring it back to America…….promise kept.
Do you do live performances? And if so where?
Jason: Not at the moment. If we ever did I kinda envision it as like a one or two song opener for some one. Metalfest! Call me! lol
Are you going to record and album? 

Jason: We’ve been approached, but 99% of what makes Murp endearing is seeing the kids rock out, not so much just listening. It’s performance art I guess.

Who are your guest musicians? 

Jason: Uncle Boru! The guitarist from Dark Passenger will play guitar for us sometimes. Uncle Mike plays the bass for us as well. It’s good to have different styles come in so people don’t get too burnt out on my three chord’s.
When did you first learn to play the drums, and how did you learn?
Izzy: I got my drum set for Christmas when I was six. I had two teachers, my Uncle Boru and Chris (my parents paid him but he moved to California).  Now I am just waiting to get into the third grade so I can start taking lessons again. I still take piano lessons.
Who are your favorite drummers and why? 
Izzy: Ummm, I don’t know their names except Meytal. But I do like the drummer from Nirvana and Amon Amarth (best band to listen to while I play Battlefield 3).

What are your favorite bands?

Izzy: Guns-n-Roses, Opeth, Rob Zombie (he’s from Haverhill close to where I live!!). Ummmm anything with a good beat that sounds good really. Oh and Black Sabbath!!!
 
What instruments do you play and when did you first start singing? 
Aaralyn: I play harmonica and daddy just got me a little bass guitar even though it is a little heavy for me still. I was 3 years old when I started singing.Who are your favorite singers and why?
Aaralyn: Victorious is my favorite singer and Miss Angela (Gossow) and Janice (Joplin).

What are your favorite bands?

Aaralyn: Umm rock-n-roll band’s and dancing bands and bands for banging my hair. I just kinda like all bands.
 
What is the best thing about being in Murp? 
Izzy: Um, everything. Playing drums and playing music with my family.
Aaralyn: I love singing, it’s like the best thing ever I get to do whatever song I want, and it’s great to do songs and scream sometimes.
What is the worst thing about being in Murp?
Izzy: When we don’t get it right we gotta keep doing it.
Aaralyn: Sometimes I forget the chorus, and we have to practice more. I also don’t like when the camera runs out of batteries and when I cough.

What do you want to be when you grow up? 
Izzy: An astrophysicist, and if that doesn’t work out I want to be some one who helps people learn about guns.

Aaralyn: I want to be a scientist because I want to make a lot of potions for making people smarter and to help them with math.

Is there anything else you want everyone to know about Murp?
Jason: Murp is evolution in motion. While the music may be metal or punk in nature, Aaralyn’s imagination continues to grow as she experiments with different styles of singing. Of course I hope that music will always be apart of our lives, but Murp will only be around for as long as it remains fun for the kids. In the mean time, enjoy the ride everyone! 
________
Thank you Murp! I hope you all achieve your dreams, but in the meantime, please keep cranking out the tunes!
 
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Graveyard resurrects psychedelic garage rock for the end of days

If you were one of those kids who snuck a listen to your parent’s 70s psychedelic rock records (think Cream, Hot Tuna, Blue Cheer on vinyl) then you’ll be glad to know that a host of musicians are re-interpreting that groove for the 21st century. Three such groups played a sold-out show at Baltimore’s Golden West Sunday, Jan. 15, 2012: Sweden’s Graveyard, Iowa’s Radio Moscow and Daniel Davies of Los Angeles.

While so many bands today are lured into using sampled sounds and synthesizers, it feels good to just bask in the aural presence of that fuzzy, stripped down sound upon which my own musical sensibilities were nourished and weaned. And clearly I am not alone, since Golden West was packed with fans of the genre who were enthusiastic as I was.

Before the show started I had a few minutes to chat with members of Graveyard. Every show so far on their tour has sold out starting with a 600 capacity venue in New York City. Bassist Rikard Edlund showed me his Blue Cheer tattoo (“My first tattoo!” he said), a clear indication of his permanent devotion to the musical style. Neither he nor drummer Axel Sjöberg really understood why this type of music seems to be making a comeback.

“Maybe it’s time,” Edlund said. “It’s been 40 years. People are realizing how great it is and it is time to bring it back.”

“I hope it never stops!” Sjöberg added.

The show got rolling with Daniel Davies, who presented a solid set. I had never heard them before, but Davies was a perfect complement for what was to come. Here’s a sample:

Next up was Radio Moscow. Apparently this group has had a bit of a personnel “shake up” in recent days that left lead singer and guitarist Parker Griggs with a hefty gash on his forehead and 14 nasty looking stitches. The current rhythm section consisting of Billy Ellsworth on bass and Lonnie Blanton on drums have only been playing for a week, but that fact was not apparent. Radio Moscow certainly picked up new fans from Baltimore.

I spoke with Griggs after the show. I recorded it, so rather than me type all that out, why don’t you give a listen and hear what he has to say for himself. Griggs provided me with a copy of his new CD, “The Great Escape of Leslie Magnafuzz.” I will review it in the near future. Do yourself a favor and go see the new and improved Radio Moscow. Great sounds, great guys.
INTERVIEW: Parker Griggs of Radio Moscow 1-15-12 by MetalMaven
Graveyard’s show was everything I expected and more. The sound in Golden West was surprisingly clear, which was a happy discovery since I was a little worried about how it might be, the place being a restaurant and all. Joakim Nilsson’s vocals sounded just as bluesy and soulful as in studio recordings. The stage was small and barely large enough to contain the four of them but they managed. The melody interplay between Nilsson and lead guitarist Jonatan Larocca Grimm was perfect. Sjöberg is a bat-shit crazy good drummer that pulls a large sound out of a fairly minimalistic kit. And bassist Edlund blew everyone away with his aggressive and frenetic technique on songs like “Ain’t Fit to Live Here.”

The entire show was my “favorite” since this band evokes such visceral musical memories from my childhood (I was that 3-year-old who listened to Cream), but highlights included “Satan’s Finest” and “The Siren.” Along with the fantastic music, the entire show was accompanied by a good old-fashioned colored-water and oil, overhead projector light show courtesy of “Lance.” Groovy man.

Graveyard plays Washington DC’s DC9 Club January 16 and then move on to Richmond and North Carolina and points west before heading back over to Europe. If they come within 200 miles, I recommend you make the pilgrimage to see them, as well as Radio Moscow and Daniel Davies. And don’t forget to wear your fringed leather vest.

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