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MKE Music Premiere: Get comfy on Vanity Plates’ ‘Murphy Bunkbed’

Omar Lozano

Every week, Milwaukee Music Premiere connects the city’s artists with our listening audience. If you’re an artist with a track you’d like us to debut exclusively on Radio Milwaukee, head over to our Music Submission page to learn how.

For 55 years, Milwaukee has thirsted for one of its talented local bands to provide music fans a spiritual follow-up to The Stooges’ 1969 ode to submissiveness, “I Wanna Be Your Dog.” Was this a conscious desire on the part of Milwaukee? Questionable. But we’re here to slake that thirst anyway with today’s premiere of Vanity Plates’ “Murphy Bunkbed.”

For a band that describes itself as “post-butt-rock” (i.e., the wave that follows the likes of Creed, Nickelback, Buckcherry, etc.), releasing a track of this ilk seems like a very appropriate thing to do. It’s also remarkable that Vanity Plates’ lead vocalist/guitarist Alex Shah is able to intelligibly deliver all those lyrics with his tongue so firmly in cheek.

Perhaps I should make it more clear at this point that this is a fun listen precisely because those involved aren’t taking things too seriously — besides making a goofy-yet-polished bit of pop rock. If you’re familiar with both the singing and songwriting style of indie-rock band The Front Bottoms (who have their own bedding-themed tune), “Murphy Bunkbed” should vibrate that same enjoyable tuning fork thanks to Shah’s quavering vocals and lyrics like:

I’m a terrier, I come when you call
I never beg and above all
I will live for you and I don’t need much
Just food and water and a little touch

I’m a lizard in your terrarium
I’m happiest under your thumb
I’m a calico batting at your string
I will disappear ’til you need comforting
Yeah yeah yeah

This is pit stop number two along the way to Vanity Plates’ sophomore album, Good Grief, following the release of lead single “Posthumous Fame” back in January. “Murphy Bunkbed” will officially hit streaming platforms Friday, but you can obviously listen to the track right here and on the 88Nine airwaves throughout the day today (7:30 and 11:30 a.m.; 3:30, 7:30 and 10:30 p.m.).

If you’ve got your eye on that full-length effort, Good Grief will enter the world May 24, and the band will celebrate that night with a cassette-release show at Linneman’s.