Misses Murphy
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Misses Murphy

Band Alternative Adult Contemporary


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The best kept secret in music


"The Axis E.P. - CD Review"

Misses Murphy
The Axis E. P. (Self released)

The attempt at combining bluegrass, folk, rock and blues to create a "radio ready" adult contemporary sound may seem challenging at the very least, yet, Milwaukee's Misses Murphy has managed to do just that. For over two years now, the band has built a solid reputation for quality recordings backed up with over the top live performances The follow up to their 2002 debut cd Bits & Pieces entitled The Axis E.P. is a cleanly recorded testament to their dedication for achieving a truly identifiable sound. Throughout the disc, lead vocalist Brian Kramp uses his Eddie Vedder like croon to draw the listener in with a style that is both intriguing and inviting. Guitarist Chris Brockland is afforded the opportunity to use a vast array of technique and sounds with the solid accompaniment of drummer Tony Keller and bassist extraordinaire Matt Miller. Winding in and out of every track, the violin of Kimberly Unger spans the chasm between ambience and up front solo work, with an effect that truly defines this band's identity. Opening track Chicago Blonde would appeal to any Dave Matthews fan with its' lilting melody and lightly skipping tempo while cuts like Carbon Copies show languid flow interspersed with lush six string and heartbreaking violin lines. Standout tracks include Random Bits and Pieces where down home one step is laced with soaring vocal lines and break downs creating a feel that is almost Celtic, and Layover Love showing top notch counter melody work and hit worthy catchiness. Closing number Mystery Horizon seals the deal with sweet melody meeting exceptional arrangement for an accessibility that is trademark. As far as the future goes, Kramp sums things up with philosophical ease and resignation. "We have reached a point where we can continue to play WI venues, or step it up and get connected regionally" states Kramp. We're moving in the right direction with this album to turn some heads outside Milwaukee." The true Misses Murphy experience is best captured with their live performance, and you can do just that when they hold their official cd release party for The Axis E.P. Friday, July 30th at Shank hall with special guest Repertoire.

-Brian Barney
- The Shepherd Express

"Misses Murphy rocks in the moment"

Misses Murphy lives in the moment and it's worked well for this Milwaukee quintet, which formed about two years ago and already has two CDs and a long list of gigs to its credit. There's no grand plan, according to singer Brian Kramp, no great agenda, beyond making music.
"Even if we wanted to have an agenda or message we would never be able to agree on one," he says. "One thing is for sure though, the music comes from the moment and the lyrics come from everything around that moment. Whether they
are situations, relations, expectations or revelation a meaning is always on the forefront of my mind, but I love songs that allow the listener to ponder. Music should be tangible. I feel our music is. It doesn't hurt that girls like to dance to it either!"
One thing the band can agree on is music. Comparisons to Pearl Jam -- for the masculine vocals and heavy thump -- and Dave Matthews Band -- for the violin of Kimberly Unger, mostly, but also for the band's accomplished sound -- abound and, according to Kramp, they're not off the mark.
"Those bands have been and always will be huge influences especially to myself, Kimmy and Chris (Brockland, guitarist). I'm intrigued by the progression of Pearl Jam and their sound, Kimmy has always stated that Boyd Tinsley (of Dave Matthews Band) is an idol of hers and Chris taught himself how to play guitar by listening to DMB. Now, if you ask us who is currently influencing us, in no particular order I'd say artists like Howie Day, Damien Rice, Colin Hay, Nickel Creek and Peter Mulvey."
Kramp says the band formed in early 2002 and has undergone some changes, but he, Unger and Brockland have been constants. Tony Keller (formerly of Modern Giants), on percussion, and Matt Miller (formerly of American Standard and currently of Reverser), on bass, were added in the past year.
And, we have to ask, where did the name come from?
"We agreed on Misses Murphy because we needed a band name for our first gig at Shank Hall," Kramp says. "I was pushing "Absence Of Argyle" but the rest of the band wasn't biting. Sean, a smooth-talking buddy of mine, was always telling jokes like, "Your momma is so fat she sat on a dollar bill and made change." I told him that someday it would bite him in the ass. So we named our band after his mom. The rest is history including the momma jokes."
Misses Murphy is preparing to release "The Axis EP," which is something of a stop-gap until the band dishes up its second full-length disc. It's a way of preserving how the band sounds at the moment.
"Because the rhythm section changed so dramatically we wanted to record something that would better represent our sound," Kramp says. "We knew we wanted to go in and record, but we weren't sure whether or not we would do three songs or 13 songs, so we just started.
"The first session went so smooth that we packed up our stuff and decided to stick with the seven songs we recorded. Everyone went back in to re-record various parts, but the thought of recording more songs never crossed our minds. Once they were done, we never looked back. Very little "tweaking" was done and we had a great mixer/engineer in Vinny Millevolte (Axis Recording). It truly was an amazing experience. No quarreling. No regrets. And most important we came out with a group of songs that captured that moment."
That second full length is likely in the cards, but there's no plans yet, according to Kramp.
"No full-length disc is in the works ... yet, but I think the same attitude will be taken with whatever is next. I don't think an album should be made when you are stressed to record, it should happen because it is time. If you look back at artists from the '60s and '70s, they released shorter albums more frequently. I see us doing something similar. I would love to have another short album out next summer."
In the meantime, Misses Murphy has a string of summer dates on the books and some other projects.
"I am inspired about what is to come with this band. We have been asked to have our music and band be in a short
film that is going to be at Sundance Film Festival. That's pretty sweet!"
You can celebrate the release of "The Axis EP" with the band, Friday, July 30 at Shank Hall, 1434 N. Farwell Ave. Repertoire opens the show. Other dates can be found on the band's Web site, which is missesmurphy.com.

by Bobby Tanzilo

- OnMilwaukee.com

"Misses Murphy turns bits and pieces into own sound"

Local Riffs

Misses Murphy will be playing at 10 p.m. June 7 at Shank Hall.

Band name
Misses Murphy

Who's who:
Volinist Kimy Unger, guitarist Chris Brockland, bassist Dave Smid, drummer Glen Moncatch and vocalist Brian Kramp, an on-air personality at WLZR-FM (102.9), who spoke for the band by phone.

When formed:
"2002. We debuted at Shank Hall on June 1 of last year. The club liked our demo and took a chance on us, even though we didn't have a proven following at the time."

Web site: www.missesmurphy.com

Most recent album
"Random Bits & Pieces."

They say they sound like:
"Dave Matthews Band but with Eddie Vedder on vocals."

We say they sound like:
A little DMB, but combined with touches more mindful of Live than Pearl Jam.

Describe your look:
"Jeans, T-shirts - we got that regular-Joe whip appeal. Beer bellies are present."

Sell yourself in 20 words or less:
"We offer a compelling sound by taking several popular and familiar styles and blending it into something of our own, which results in fans leaving our shows humming our tunes."

Favorite food on the road:
"Irish car bombs: a combination of Guinness Irish Stout, Bailey's Irish Cream and Jameson's whiskey."

What other band or musician could you take in a fight:
"Dee Snider."

Worst gig:
"Truth is, we haven't had a bad gig - yet."

Weirdest fan encounter:
"There's this old guy who shows up whenever we play at the downtown bar and grill, Flannery's. He's always there and always gives us a tip, but he doesn't say much, and no one knows anything else about him."

Song you've written that you're most proud of:
"Dance With Me."

Why do you do this?
"The love of music, what else?"

Where do you want to be in five years?
"Playing our anniversary show as a headliner at the Marcus Amphitheater."

What's the greatest song ever written?
" 'No Surprises' by Radiohead."

Next gig:
10 p.m. Saturday at Shank Hall, 1434 N. Farwell Ave. Alt-pop rockers Capital 8 open. Cover is $5.

- Nick Carter
- The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

"Fiddler Raises the Roof"

Sound check. The drums are tested at a stifling level. The snare is struck over and over again. “Too much treble,” the sound mixer bellows over the microphone. The group stands in a circle next to the stage, talking shop and laughing to one another. The guys are dressed casually in jeans and t-shirts. I glance around the long narrow hall to find Kimberly. She is making social rounds, moving from circle to circle and saying hello to familiar faces. Kimberly is dressed elegantly and wearing glitter on her face. Her hair is newly dyed in silky dark amber. She meets with the sound mixers, smoking a cigarette and holding a bottle of beer.
The band is MISSES MURPHY, formed in 2001 with four members. The singer performs in a gritty, grunge-style voice. The guitar player, bassist and drummer follow his lead — playing with a murky, but polished sound. Then enters Kimberly Unger, a classically trained violinist who joined the group in 2002. Her string and vocal contributions are both masterful and playful. Tonight they are performing at Mary Vnuk’s Tavern in Cudahy.
“On the one hand, it is difficult being the only female in the band,” Kimberly tells me while we sit at the bar before the show. “On the other hand, I like being the only woman. They treat me just like one of the guys.” Kimberly sometimes brings her friend Sarah Smith along to band practice and to the concerts for moral support. The band calls her ‘Kimmy’s estrogen fix.’ “I have only missed one gig,” she chimes in. “We are a package deal. I love the concerts and it’s fun seeing the group’s progress. They refer to me as their number one groupie.”
I asked Sarah what she thought of Kimberly being the only female in the group. “She adds a unique flavor you don’t get in a lot of local bands. She is very conscious of being female and projects a feminine aura from the group.” Kimberly admits the social demands occasionally affect her playing. “There is a disadvantage to being a female in a male-dominated band. Sometimes I worry more about what I am going to wear. It becomes about body image.”
You would never be able to tell, watching her perform. Raised in a musical family, she started playing the violin at the age of 7 after seeing her first musical, Fiddler on the Roof. Kimberly was self-motivated, her parents never having to push her to play or make her practice. In 1987, she began playing with the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra and continued playing until she graduated from high school in 1992. Since then, her participation in music ran hot and cold up until 4 years ago, when she was encouraged to try out for the Racine Symphony Orchestra. She has been performing professionally ever since.
Kimberly draws her rock influence from another Milwaukee band, The Danglers. Member and friend Jason Lovell introduced her to the world of acoustic pick-ups and amplifiers. He helped perpetuate Kimberly’s interest in playing a different style of music. I asked which style of playing she preferred, classical or rock. “Classical is very structured with little room for interpretation as a musician. It is written to be played in a certain style, with very specific dynamic, rhythm and notes. An appealing aspect of rock and roll is having the freedom to play pretty much whatever I want. During some of the solos, everything the audience hears is improvised. I think playing in the band makes me a better player with the symphony.”
Misses Murphy had the honor of performing at Summerfest in 2002 on the Lazer Rock Stage. “It was our second show ever. We all stood backstage while The Buzzhorn was doing their sound check. I surveyed the enormous stage and the never-ending rows of bleachers and all I could think was, ‘Holy shit, we are playing the Lazer Rock stage!’ Before the show, we weren’t able to do a conventional sound check and the violin was drowned out. It didn’t get balanced out until about the fourth song. It was quite a learning experience.” The band will be returning to Summerfest in June 2003.
The group continues to perform locally at places such as Shank Hall and every third Tuesday at Flannery’s Pub on Water Street. “I would love to be able to make a living playing music, but the most important thing is just being able to play.”
In late August 2002, the group produced their first album, Random Bits and Pieces. They worked with Bill Stace, owner of Walls Have Ears Recording Studio on Milwaukee’s east side. One day, they hope to find a label.
I asked Kimberly if there were other areas in Misses Murphy she would like to contribute. “I would like to sing more. The guys are open to the idea of me writing a song and bringing it to the table, but I am having a difficult time lyrically. I have blurbs that can be used, but have a hard time making them into a complete song. I get hung up on the structure.”
One thing is for sure. This fiddler is not just on the roof. She knows how to raise it.

by Stefanie Klopp
- Boxx

"Local Riffs"

Local band Misses Murphy hasn’t played many shows, but it’s already grown a fan base and a solid collection of songs – enough, in fact, to fill out a debut CD. Fronted by Lazer 103 DJ Brian “Krampmaster” Kramp, the group recently recorded Random Bits and Pieces, a professional-sounding, passionate album. Touchstones include the usual modern-rock suspects, but Misses Murphy mixes things up with the addition of a well-placed violin that gives the songs weight they might not otherwise possess. - The Onion


Random Bits & Pieces - 2002
The Axis E.P. - 2004

“Slogan,” from the band’s debut Random Bits & Pieces and “Layover Love” from their follow up The Axis E.P. are both currently receiving spins on “Lazer Local Lix” (102.9 WLZR-Milwaukee), while “Chicago Blonde” from The Axis E.P. has become a staple on “Milwaukee Rocks” (102.1 WLUM-Milwaukee). Other stations that have featured MISSES MURPHY include 90fm WWSP-Stevens Point, 91.7fm WMSE-Milwaukee, 101.7fm WIPZ – Parkside, 90.3 WRST – Oshkosh, and 91.7 WSUW Whitewater.


Feeling a bit camera shy


Committed to the audience and faithful to the message, Brian Kramp (vocals) delivers lyrics like a preacher on Sunday morning. Brian’s soaring vocals bring knowledge of communication through music, experience and life. Chris Brockland (guitars) finds inspiration in musicians who continually struggle to find the “perfect” sound from the guitar. Pop, rhythm, and blues flow through his fingers as he barrels his way through chord progressions. Jay Jurci (drums) beautifully lays beats in the pocket allowing the music to come together. Matt Miller (bass) fills the spaces in between with his funk inspired grooves. Kim Unger (violin) puts the finishing touch on MISSES MURPHY’s distinct sound, using delay, distortion and other effects to create a vibe all of her own. Kim brings vibrant and rare reverberations to the music and has voice of a Southern opera singer. She compliments Brian’s voice with amazing harmonies.