By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Jul 27, 2004 at 5:30 AM

{image1}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.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.