I first saw Kevin Murphy perform at a "dirty 30" art school party. He was all of 17 at the time, but carried himself with the quiet confidence of a rock 'n' roll vet as he banged out Stooges-inspired jams with his high school bros. It was paradoxical and perfect. My generally jaded ears perked; it seemed to me that these youngsters were the real deal—knowledgeable and kind to boot.
That was 10 years ago and at least one band away. The Moondoggies, Murphy's current band for which he sings and plays guitar, lays down an entirely different brand of rock. The newest release, Tidelands, finds these stellar musicians building on the strengths of their 2008 debut, with harmony-rich tunes that rock more like Crazy Horse than CSNY, and feature delightfully depressive moments that evoke the gray coastlines of the Pacific Northwest. Live shows simmer with the energy of a band confident in its craft, doing what comes naturally. Hearty, hook-laden songs swirl around your head for days after.
If the often-misappropriated Americana label that's being slapped on any band with a bearded bass player has you wanting to jam a pencil in your ear hole, don't fret. These dudes defy that trendy definition.
Moondoggies plays the Palace Saturday, May 28, at 9 PM with Fiancee and Airstream Safari. $5.