Following the spirit of Portland-based acts The Shins, The Decemberists and rock legends, The Kingsmen, local Portland band Painted Grey has been quietly and actively spreading it's roots and honing it's sound over the last few years. This four-piece finds inspiration and openly acknowledges it's alternative/pop/rock roots within the modern rock scene (Coldplay, The Killers, Kings of Leon, Death Cab For Cutie). After a bit of lineup shuffling over the last few months, the group has settled on a mix that is comprised of singer/songwriter Caleb Roloff, lead guitar player Andrew Tewson, bassist Ben Geist and drummer Dominic Biscarret. Painted Grey is actively gigging all over the greater Portland area and released their debut full-length album in January 2011.
"A sparklingly pristine exercise in perfected pop, Away with Words can charm the khakis off any Chris Martin supporter with its delicate harmonies and anthemic song structure." Ezra Caraeff, The Portland Mercury
"Painted Grey’s Away with Words is a fine album, although it’s difficult to put your finger on just why it’s so good. The correct descriptive words have been seemingly swept away, in much the same way they are windswept in the album’s title. Nevertheless, fans of excellent music will recognize the goodness in Painted Grey’s work right away. These are sincere songs, which are played well and performed with great care." Dan MacIntosh, Review You
"commanding, catchy and classic with a formidable sense of romance." Stephanie Fine Sasse, Daily Vanguard
"skilled musicians with strong songwriting abilities. On "You’re Not So Good", they teeter on the edge of an emotional cliff, bringing poignant young bands like Mumford & Sons to mind." Chris Barth, Ariel Publicity
Caleb Roloff - Vocals, Guitar
Andrew Tewson - Guitar
Ben Geist - Bass
Dominic Biscarret - Drums
Self-Titled EP - Released January 2009
Debut Full Length Album "Away With Words" - Released January 2011
Painted Grey "Away With Words"
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Painted Grey “Away With Words” Posted on January 24, 2011 by Phil Painted Grey’s Away with Words...Painted Grey “Away With Words”
Posted on January 24, 2011 by Phil
Painted Grey’s Away with Words is a fine album, although it’s difficult to put your finger on just why it’s so good. The correct descriptive words have been seemingly swept away, in much the same way they are windswept in the album’s title. Nevertheless, fans of excellent music will recognize the goodness in Painted Grey’s work right away. These are sincere songs, which are played well and performed with great care.
This act sounds like a lot of other acts, while at the same time, akin to no particular act at all. One unlikely comparison comes immediately to mind, although it’s questionable if this analogy is even helpful at all. But here goes: vocalist Caleb Roloff many times sings like another famous “Caleb”, Caleb Followill of Kings Of Leon. This happens when Roloff gets a kind of world weariness in his voice, which is also similar to the woebegone sound of Counting Crows’ Adam Duritz. We like it when singers vocalize this way because they never come off sounding like they have all the answers. Instead, they’re seekers and searchers, just like most of us. This sort of insecurity would never work in rap music, by the way, where men are expected to be not just tough men, but the lyrical equivalent to Shell Answer Men, as well.
Yet musically, Painted Grey is really nothing like Kings Of Leon or Counting Crows. There are none of the Southern Strokes-isms one hears so clearly in Kings Of Leon, especially the group’s earliest recordings, nor is there the sort of overriding Van Morrison influence heard throughout Counting Crows’ catalogue. Instead, Painted Grey’s sound is most comparable to Toad The Wet Sprocket. So if the aural picture of Caleb Followill and/or Adam Duritz fronting Toad The Wet Sprocket works for you in any way, well, that’s a real good place to start.
Lead guitarist Andrew Tewson also has a unique approach to coloring Painted Grey songs with six-string sounds. Similar to, say, The Cure and The Church, Tewson fills out these eleven tracks with sonic tone strums, rather than gutsy lead lines or chunky power chords. This approach is particularly effective during “Falling,” which begins quietly, and then builds to an emotional climax. The next song, “Right Now,” finds Tewson acting beautifully stingy with his melodic notes. At the same time, vocalist Roloff enunciates the chorus’ central words, “right now,” with perhaps the CD’s most Followill-ish intonation. Lyrically, Painted Grey has much in common with moody groups like The Church. None of these songs are written with cinematic-like plot lines where the story moves naturally from point A to point B. Instead, Painted Grey songs appear to extract pivotal life moments, and then build songs around them. One is left with the feeling that many of these songs were likely inspired by the strategic negotiations that go on every day in relationships everywhere. Song titles, like “We Wage War” and “Settle” particularly leave that planning-and-execution impression. One called “So Sure” wonders aloud just how certain anyone can be, when it comes to the direction of an oftentimes volatile romantic relationship. After all, the emotions of two unique individuals can push even the sturdiest sailing vessel off course, its lyrics suggest.
Humans may fool themselves into believing the world is black and white, but upon closer inspection, everything begins to look a little grey after a while. Painted Grey paints the world as they see it, and their music brings out the more subtle variations in human behavior. If you’re looking for Painted Grey’s immediate influences, you might never find any one or two primary inspirations. But this is likely not what the band wants you to do, anyhow. Away With Words is all about triggering emotions, rather than pointing out specific details. If words could describe exactly what Painted Grey is singing about, they probably would have already would done so.
Review by Dan MacIntosh, ReviewYou.com
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)
Grey skies ahead: Painted Grey colonizes Portland one hook at a time
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Painted Grey has spent the last nine months trimming their sound, evolving gradually from their fo...
Painted Grey has spent the last nine months trimming their sound, evolving gradually from their folksy Montana roots to their current position on the cusp of Portland’s music world. The lovechild of lead guitarist Andrew Tewson, vocalist/keyboardist Deanna Walten and lead singer/rhythm guitarist Caleb Roloff, Painted Grey have relentlessly sought top-notch musicians to round out their crew.
“We’re not super trendy,” Roloff says. “We all have a certain style of music we really enjoy playing. So it’s challenging finding musicians who are as serious about it and at the same time really talented.”
Such a package was recently snagged with bass player Dusty Richards and drummer Wylie Foster, formerly of turbo-rock sensation Powder. The quintet is a compilation of gifted musicians, each with individual experience and drive, who work in impressively complimentary ways. Each song is full-bodied, with the different instrumental melodies balancing poignantly with the rhythm section and effectively enhancing rather than distracting from the vocal qualities.
“I think for a couple songs I’ve written, it’s almost like I’ve taken a true story, then made a movie about it, then turned it into a song,” says Roloff. “Not in a sense of making it more elaborate than it was, but making it slightly different, emotionally driven.”
This romanticizing of life adds to the band’s mass appeal. Inspired by blockbuster bands like Coldplay, Blind Pilot, Rogue Wave and Death Cab for Cutie, each with a similar sense of sentiment, Painted Grey are setting their aims high, with a heavy focus on sharing their somewhat medicinal formula with an emotionally scarred or particularly sentimental public.
“Music is probably the greatest self-outlet one can have,” explains Roloff. “It’s probably one of the coolest experiences when you write something that helps you for a period of time, then you talk to someone else and they’re like, ‘That song really means a lot to me.’”
Last December, just months after their inception, Painted Grey released a self-titled EP with the help of Stephan Hawkes. They are aiming for a spring 2010 full-album release, and in the meantime intend to focus their efforts on crafting songs with staying power and building a Portland presence.
“I think that the next step, becoming recognized in Portland, is very challenging,” Roloff admits. “It’s kind of an insider’s club … The reason being, there are a huge number of bands from Portland that are amazing.”
True as that may be, Portland music aficionados are extremely trustworthy in nurturing talent, as are local venues. And with their charisma, curb appeal and optimist approach, it won’t be long before Painted Grey are joining the ranks of respected local performers. This weekend they share the stage with several impressive PDX acts—Violet Isle, Russell Stafford, The Seatbelt Tragedy and The Standoffs.
Nevertheless, the band is taking it step by step. Roloff explains their first stepping-stone toward self-identified success.
“Everybody in the band just loves music and we’d really like to make a career that way,” Roloff says. “We want to be able to quit our day jobs; Lord knows I don’t want to be serving crappy food for the rest of my life.”
With what little time it’s had, this band has done a stand-up job of creating an attractive and affective body of work, while marketing it appropriately for their style and charm.
The name itself, Painted Grey, is apropos in evoking a feeling of artistically spun nostalgia; commanding, catchy and classic with a formidable sense of romance. The name also, of course, pays homage to the archetypal skies of the city it plans to conquer. Painted Grey may be traditionally ear catching in their inspirations, reverence and musical methods, but in a city where unique is often reliant upon a band’s brand of eyewear, old-school convention and genuine talent may be the only novel thing we have left.
Painted Grey "Away With Words"
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"skilled musicians with strong songwriting abilities. On "You’re Not So Good", they teeter on the ed..."skilled musicians with strong songwriting abilities. On "You’re Not So Good", they teeter on the edge of an emotional cliff, bringing poignant young bands like Mumford & Sons to mind."
Loaded for Bear, Christian Burghardt, Painted Grey and John Thayer Band
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Looks like Thursday night is double release night inside the wooden Doug Fir concert cave. Painted G...Looks like Thursday night is double release night inside the wooden Doug Fir concert cave. Painted Grey's days of hovering beneath your radar—and off the FM airwaves—should abruptly come to an end with the release of their debut long-player, Away with Words. The Portland quartet lists Coldplay, the Killers, Kings of Leon, and DCFC as influences, but you needed look much further than the first one. A sparklingly pristine exercise in perfected pop, Away with Words can charm the khakis off any Chris Martin supporter with its delicate harmonies and anthemic song structure. It veers toward the pedestrian in later tracks like "Head on Her Sleeve" and "Right Now," but for an initial recording, Painted Grey should be proud.
Typically play 30-60 minute set.
1. You're Not So Good
2. Saving Me
3. Oh My
4. Let Me Go
5. Two Week Guy
7. Right Now
8. Head On Her Sleeve
9. 2 Min Song
10. So Sure
12. We Wage War
No covers as of now.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.