Thursday, November 29, 2012

Naked Ape - 2 EPs

This flyer would have been a dream show for me back in the 90's. Some people might not be familiar with Triggerman (featuring future Ignite/Killing Flame singer and ex No For An Answer guitarist), but Naked Ape are probably the underdog on this bill.

I've always loved OC hardcore, going back to Uniform Choice and the more straight forward bands. But in the late 80's and early 90's, that area seemed to expand the sound in the best ways, mixing in pop punk, indie rock, DC influences and more. Back then I mail ordered everything I could from labels like Workshed, Nemesis, Ringside, etc. When I finally got to visit the area, I went nuts at Zed's Records and got to see a show representative of the area and time: Ignite, Circle Storm, 1134 and Gameface (although they didn't end up playing).

So in the course of my record buying frenzy, I discovered Network Records. I believe the label was started by an ex Outspoken (and many other OC bands) member and showcased the more varied side of the OC hardcore scene. The label already had a good track record with a Gameface 7" and the Stone Telling album, so I took a chance on a band called Naked Ape.

Naked Ape were definitely the farthest outside the hardcore scope at the time, even for the Orange County stuff I was into. Very "alternative" sounding, but with strong vocals and a little bit of bite. Gameface might have been poppy, but these guys almost sounded like the Gin Blossoms! (The other day I actually tried to revisit the Gin Blossoms to see maybe I didn't give them a fair chance back in the day. Nope, they still stink.) There are some "cooler" influences going on, like post Taang Lemonheads or maybe Buffalo Tom, but I could have seen these guys getting bigger in the alterna boom of the 90's if they would have had the same media saturation as similar bands on big labels. Or if you dig later Gameface or Jeff Caudill's side project, March, this really isn't too far off.

They only left us with a small recorded discography, but according to an old Myspace page, they also had a demo and an unreleased album, both of which I would love to hear. (ahem!)

Until then, enjoy their 2 eps.

Laws Of Gravity CDep (Network Sound, 1994)
   01) Lazy Saturday
   02) Green Light
   03) Loaded
   04) Mine Tastes Like Purple
The Band Without Fear 7" (Lethal, 1995)
   01) Understand
   02) Mr. Man
   03) Somebody's Out There

Naked Ape - 2 EPs (vbr 0)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Check Out: Murmurs

Probably one of the most criminally unknown pop punk bands in recent years is the Seattle band, Snuggle! Their sole album Zero Real Hearts (on 1-2-3-4 Go! Records), blends speedy guitars, rapidfire drums and cool basslines with a singer who more than resembles Jason from Samiam. Probably the best East Bay (sounding) record since the glory days of Lookout.

Unfortunately, I don't think Snuggle! ventures out too far from Seattle and they have little to no web presence, so I'm not even sure if they're still around, although they did just release a song on a 7" compilation recently. And from looking for information on them yesterday, I came across Murmurs.

Murmurs features at least one member of Snuggle! (the singer, who also has an acoustic project called Pipsqueak). Their sound is a little beefier than Snuggle!, reminding me a little of The Fucking Cops. With the same familiar voice that I really enjoy.

They're set to release a limited CD and cassette called Fly With The Unkindness, which can only be streamed from their bandcamp page as of yet. Of course they're playing SF soon when I'm not there anymore. Hopefully I can get the album somehow soon.