Naked Soul

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Naked Soul might have been just another of the seemingly 100s of subpar bands to be signed to major labels in the early-'90s feeding frenzy for "alternative" music, except that this Costa Mesa, CA-based…
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Naked Soul might have been just another of the seemingly 100s of subpar bands to be signed to major labels in the early-'90s feeding frenzy for "alternative" music, except that this Costa Mesa, CA-based power trio had a secret weapon in singer/songwriter Mike Conley. Conley had previously been in the legendary MIA in the early '80s (with future Big Drill Car members Frank Daly and Mark Arnold), one of the first Southern-California bands to move from the stylistic straitjacket of hardcore into a more melodic and poppy territory. When MIA broke up in 1987, Conley laid low for a few years, guesting on a Thin White Rope album and otherwise taking low-profile gigs. He formed Naked Soul in 1990 with bassist Jeff Sewell and drummer Larry Pearson (another former MIA member).

RCA signed Naked Soul after Nirvana suggested that melodic-but-powerful guitar trios could be big, and released their debut EP, Seed, in 1992. The record was highlighted by a sterling version of the Who's "So Sad About Us" that highlighted Conley's power pop roots, but an indifferent public meant that the trio was kicked down to the minors (the obscure RCA subsidiary Scotti Bros.) for their sole full-length release, 1994's Visiting Your Planet. All but ignored upon its release, the album is actually a surprisingly strong artifact of the alternative rock era. Naked Soul released a self-titled 7" EP in 1995 on the small indie Planet Noise, having been dropped by Scotti Bros., but the group split up shortly after that.