The Key Studio Sessions: Ape School

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Michael Johnson’s adventurous psych-rock ensemble Ape School released its fantastic full-length Junior Violence on Home Tapes Records last month, and the subsequent record release show at Johnny Brenda’s meant a rare convening of all half-dozen working musicians in the band. (That includes Dr. Dog’s Eric Slick on drums and The Extraordinaires’ Zach Poyatt on guitar.) Thankfully we were able to grab them to play live in our studio while everybody was in town, and you can hear the results in this week’s Key Studio Session. There’s a raw immediacy to these tracks, something a bit different from the band’s intricately layered studio work, but no less engrossing. The guitar interplay on “Ready for Duty” is hypnotic, Liz Boyd’s singalong harmonies on b-side “Blame Mark Griffey” are enchanting, and the phasing / pulsing keyboard on “Beneficiary” adds a space rock flair to the proceedings. Overall, we got to see how on Ape School is as a live act, and it makes us hope the group convenes onstage again very soon. Dig in below.