Target for Tomorrow and the Horns of Destruction are a seven-piece progressive, experimental rock group from Corvallis and Portland, Oregon. While they can be compared to a small handful of other rock groups today, they seek to follow in no one’s footsteps. What started as a lighthearted 3rd wave ska band has become so much more, as every step they take with ever newer material carves their niche deeper and deeper. All multi-instrumentalists of diverse musical backgrounds, Target for Tomorrow aims to bowl over barriers and craft a sound apart from the rest.
Aaron Broussard - Guitar, Lead Vocals
Charley McGowan - Drums
Michael Bode - Vocals, Tenor Saxophone
Brian Fitzsimmons - Vocals, Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Orin Clark - keys, Trombone, Accordion
Joanna Rightmer - Vocals, keys
Ryan Lund - Vocals, Bass
Volume One: The Devastator
Both can be streamed for free at targetfortomorrow.com
Buskers bring melodies to streets of downtown Portland
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It may be hard to believe, but the three guys in the retro-jug-jazz-blues band Gone Fishin' are at t...It may be hard to believe, but the three guys in the retro-jug-jazz-blues band Gone Fishin' are at this very moment enacting a ritual as old as the first societies known to man. Don't worry about the discordant bell blaring from the streetcar. Or the fact the singer/guitar player keeps dropping his kazoo.
Just listen to "Hesitation Blues," feel the sun on your shoulders and the breeze in your hair, and realize, possibly for the first time, that busking runs as deep in the human experience as the simple act of walking on the street.
And as human experiences go, you could do a lot worse. Free music! Cheerful performers! A shred of melody to lace through your ears and lift your spirits for a block, or just a few footsteps! You could toss in a dollar or two and get a smile to go with it.
Which is precisely why Richard Mavis came up with the idea for Saturday afternoon's Big Busk.
The lightly organized conglomeration of street performers is designed to transform Portland's downtown hub into a movable entertainment festival. Take a stroll through downtown, particularly up and down the Morrison/Yamhill corridor, and you'll find dozens of performers: a jazz trio on one corner, a folk duo on the next, dreamy alt-pop ballads on the one after that and then the Gone Fishin' guys, whose percussionist keeps time on a cardboard poster tube and a little crash cymbal. Which he plays with his knees.
All that and the Portland International Beer Festival on the Park Blocks, the Sand in the City sand sculpture event in Pioneer Courthouse Square, plus open stores, sidewalk cafes and the swirl of coffee shops.
"I love downtown," Mavis says, recalling the moment he dreamed up the first Big Busk last year. "Though actually, it's more of a love/hate, because it's not always as lively as I'd like it to be. So this is an effort to bring more people downtown and make the scene better, somehow."
Mavis, a 27-year-old Web designer who moved up from Long Beach, Calif., in early 2008, first mentioned the idea to some friends at the start of last summer. The friends were immediately skeptical, not because they didn't think it was a fine notion, but because they figured their pal had no intention or ability to make it happen.
"I just said, 'OK, I'm starting right now.'"
Five weeks later, Mavis had 19 performers livening up street corners all over downtown. All it took to get the word out was a website, an announcement on Craigslist, some well-timed publicity on the pdx.fm online radio site and a listing or two in the local newspapers. Mavis also touched base with people at City Hall, girding himself for a terse lecture about rules, permits and other bureaucratic requirements. Instead, city officials were encouraging and even happy to hear about it. "They were really cool," Mavis says. They told him about the Street Musician Partnership agreement -- salient rules: Don't be too loud; don't block anyone's door; don't stay in any one place for more than an hour -- and sent him away with a benediction. "Basically, they told me to go with it and have fun."
Last year's event went swimmingly, and with a few friends pitching in this time around Mavis got more than 35 performers to sign up. As 1 p.m. rolled around on Saturday, the musicians strolling to the event's base camp in Director Square stepped to the music of Jonah Luke, a tall, dreamy-eyed Lewis & Clark student whose alt-folk originals attracted a line of 15 or so teenage girls who no longer found the fountain quite so compelling.
Mavis and his compatriot Shannon Larson greet the musicians, hand them "Big Busk" buttons and direct them to their suggested corners. The Non, a group of Oklahoma college kids who describe their sound as "experimental ambient rock," arrive early, thoroughly happy to have a Portland stop on their six-week summer tour. The Cleveland High School-based Half Way There ("jazz-rock, with classical influences and Japanese timing," according to leader Tag Bleiler), show up looking vaguely piratical and entirely ready to rock, even if their violin player can't make it.
By 1:30 a guitarist/drummer named Sage (more officially: Shri Yannam) has teamed with friend Lindsay Goldsmith to perform a loose but spirited rendition of "I Want to Hold Your Hand." They met at a group for musicians whose talents are hampered by stage fright. Street performance, Sage explains from his wheelchair, was a big part of stripping away the anxiety.
"It develops your chops like nothing else," tosses in Vere McCarty, a third friend who brings his guitar just in time to pitch in on "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out."
Just outside the Pioneer Place door at Southwest Fourth Avenue and Morrison Street, Julie Lucille and Barra Brown play their jazzy compositions. Just around the corner from them, the six-piece rock-with-horns band Target for Tomorrow kicks up a brassy racket that enraptures a 1-year-old boy leaning almost entirely out of his father's arms. Drummer Charley McGowan reaches into his bag and hands the boy a pair of drumsticks, instructs the dad to "start him early!" and counts off another tune.
Then comes the funky urban acoustics of Oxbow Drive, the old-time folk of Doug 5 and UkuWilly, the steel guitarist near the library, the bucket drummer outside the courthouse, and on and on, right back to the laconic trio in Gone Fishin', just now playing "Move to Alabama," an old-time standard singer/guitarist Robert Randall has invested with his own lyrics.
Taking a break, Randall and band mates James Luster and Justin L'Amie explain their choice of Depression-era music as their inspiration.
"It just kind of fits these times, I guess," muses Randall, as a slight young man in a Bob Dylan T-shirt chimes in from near a parking meter, just wanting to thank them for these past few minutes.
"I'm a cancer survivor," he explains. "So music means more than money to me."
He waves, and then he's gone, floating up Southwest 10th like a melody on the breeze.
-- Peter Ames Carlin
Portland's Big Busk
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Trombonist Orin Clark of the six-piece band Target for Tomorrow and the Horns of Destruction during ...Trombonist Orin Clark of the six-piece band Target for Tomorrow and the Horns of Destruction during The Big Busk, Saturday, the annual event in downtown Portland. Ross William Hamilton/The Oregonian
Portland's Big Busk (2)
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Emily Teyema, 6, and her uncle James Eriksen watched the six-piece band Target for Tomorrow and the ...Emily Teyema, 6, and her uncle James Eriksen watched the six-piece band Target for Tomorrow and the Horns of Destruction during The Big Busk Saturday, an annual event in downtown Portland where street performers flock to the streets and fill them with music. Ross William Hamilton/The Oregonian
Portland's Big Busk (3)
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Target for Tomorrow and the Horns of Destruction performed on the northwest corner of SW Broadway an...Target for Tomorrow and the Horns of Destruction performed on the northwest corner of SW Broadway and Morrison from 5 to 6 pm Saturday during The Big Busk, the annual event in downtown Portland. Ross William Hamilton/The Oregonian
Target For Tomorrow & The Horns of Destruction
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Ska isn’t something that you hear everyday, even when ska was big there were only a few band that re...Ska isn’t something that you hear everyday, even when ska was big there were only a few band that really breached the mass public. I had heard of Target For Tomorrow and the Horns of Destrction for sometime, but had never seen them live nor heard any of their music as it has only been recently that they added selections to their myspace page. As I understand though, ska has been alive and well throughout the Oregon State University campus and much of that is owed to TFT and their unique brand of ska.
For those that don’t know what ska is, I think it is best explained as a melding of elements of punk and swing/big band. Within this genre there are those bands that are heavier to one side or the other. As with all things, there are those elements that are ransacked by pop or other genres, not always to the benefit of the ideal. Target for Tomorrow and the Horns of Destruction is both and neither – they were heavily punk influenced even at times angrier than most ska bands that I have heard (or even some metal/hardcore bands of late) while utilizing the horns to bring the music to life and creating opportunities for solos within each element.
While ska as a whole may not be making a mass comeback, TFT is certainly relevant. TFT is a band you can bob, slam and skank to, so there isn’t any reason why you shouldn’t attend their next show. Check out their Myspace page to get a taste of what they are offering and keep an eye out for local dates throughout Corvallis and beyond.
Best People (Target for Tomorrow declared best local band!)
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Local band Local Band Winner: Target for Tomorrow Finalists: Gumbo, Norman, Xenatra, John Frohnmay...Local band
Local Band Winner: Target for Tomorrow
Finalists: Gumbo, Norman, Xenatra, John Frohnmayer, Bon Ton Roulet, Pseudoboss, Tirade, The Flow
Target for Tomorrow and the Horns of Destruction are a six-piece progressive, ska and experimental rock group from Corvallis and Portland.
Target For Tomorrow and the Horns of Destruction – Volume Zero
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Ska music, if it is done well, never gets old. This upbeat, horn-saturated variation on Jamaican mus...Ska music, if it is done well, never gets old. This upbeat, horn-saturated variation on Jamaican music has been around since the early ‘60s. It made a comeback in the ‘70s, with groups like The Specials, Madness and The Selector. It returned again in the ‘80s in the form of The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. It’s even shown up in the work of No Doubt, Sublime and Reel Big Fish. In other words, it’s a style of music that never quite goes away entirely.
Target For Tomorrow and the Horns of Destruction aims to bring some of yesterday’s ska back to life with its Volume Zero release. The band is riding what’s been termed the Fourth Wave, which is really just another way of describing contemporary ska.
This group is right on target, too. Its key aural weapon is lead vocalist, Aaron Broussard, a passionate and expressive front man. He’s not about just sounding cool. Instead, his voice gets a little rough as he sings his guts out.
The song “Now Boarding” may have a dance-worthy groove, but its lyric appears to be about the ins and outs of the music business. With “The Kings”, on the other hand, the group turns its attention to religion. This song, however, does not seem to take any particular religious position.
“Now Boarding” has the most varied instrumental part. It begins with a funky guitar figure. That same funky guitar pattern returns again at various points during the track. It may remind you of The Edge’s guitar section in U2’s “Mysterious Ways”. The song also has a fine rumbling bass line. There is even a dueling horn section. Broussard must contend with a rapid fire vocal part to sing it, which he handles beautifully.
The downside to ska is that there isn’t a whole lot of room for slower tunes. With dance music, and ska music is dance music, it’s all about keeping the energy level high. Therefore, this song-set never has a chance to show us what Target For Tomorrow and the Horns of Destruction can do with quieter material. Nevertheless, “What Else” features a few softer portions, which shows that the group has, at the very minimum, some dynamic range.
Much like punk rock, ska music requires vocalists to sing a lot of words, in a very short amount of time. This factor sometimes makes it difficult to pick up on what Broussard is singing. And that’s a shame because all indications suggest this is an intelligent group, with intelligent songs to sing. One is left with the impression Target For Tomorrow and the Horns of Destruction has a political agenda. However, it’s kind of tough to figure out just exactly what that agenda may be.
Who knows if ska music has another revival left in it? It may come back strong again, or just continue — No Doubt-like — to get incorporated in various strains of rock and pop music. However, if ska gets a fresh go of it for a new generation, one that may not have experienced it the last time around, Target For Tomorrow and the Horns of Destruction is a worthy act to lead the new breed.
Artist: Target for Tomorrow and the Horns of Destruction
Album: Volume Zero
Release Date: 5/30/2009
Genre(s): Ska, Progressive Rock, Fourth Wave
Location: Corvallis, OR
Band members - Aaron Broussard: Lead Vocals, Guitar, Clarinet - Ryan Lund: Bass - Charley McGowan: Drums - Joanna Rightmer: Backup Vocals - Brian Fitzsimmons: Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Backup Vocals - Michael Bode: Tenor Saxophone, Backup Vocals - Orin Clark: Trombone, Keyboards, Accordion
Pertinent Album Information: Engineered, mixed and produced by Aaron Broussard, Mastered by Erik Ames of SuperDigital, Album art by Evan Prochaska, Charley McGowan, and Aaron Broussard.
Rating: 4/5 Stars!!!
Original Music (in no particular order):
- Now Boarding
- The Kings
- What Else
- Need your Goodnight
- Code Names
- Going Down
- Won't You
- Caricaturea (I)
- Silence (II)
- Penance (III)
Covers (Current and past)
- Thriller :: Michael Jackson
- Sellout :: Reel Big Fish
- Who do you want to be? :: Oingo Boingo
- Blues Brothers Theme Song
- Mastering the List :: RX Bandits
- Apparition :: RX Bandits
- Somewhere in the Between :: Streetlight Manifesto
PDF RiderTarget for Tomorrow Rider
There are no upcoming dates at this time.