blue horns
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blue horns

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"SOUND Album Review"

SOUND'S Review of the Record. Grab a copy, they get you all pumped for Sasquatch this year..

(Four) Stars
Portland's Blue Horns' debut album begins with "Shotgun Wedding," a smashing King's-of-Leon-type tune, but with none of the incidental southern swing. The first 12 seconds will tell you almost everything you need to know: This band creates energetic pop ditties led by clean guitars and drums reminiscent of American grange hall rock of the 50's and 60's.

Frontman Brian Park's vocals interact with the stringent but joyous melodies like a drunk moth against a porch light, making for a fresh riff-heavy rock that is as much classic as it is unpredictable. Songs like "Lets Go Hunting" --which has an incredibly catchy riff as infectious as that of "I Can't Get No (Satisfaction)" --and "Boots On" don't let up until the final seconds of the last waning note, much like the album in total.

-Michael Dallas Miller - SOUND MAGAZINE


I’m a scavenger. I always have been. I’m the type of guy that will peruse the internet until my eyeballs glaze over and trace circles on the page; pixels, links, kilobytes, and code sprawl endlessly until hours pass by into the cracking dawn. I don’t do well with open space. I inevitably tangle idle time with branching arms of thought, and the wholly depressing picture appears with, usually, very little to show for it. You said it, my friend, the internet is an expansive place, and I can play dead-eye assassin or wandering toddler equally as well.

Sometimes my darts of research land squarely on the bullseye, while others send pointed metal far from the board itself. With the Blue Horns, an unsigned band out of Portland, I think I’m going to beat some people at the pub this year. I’m throwing rocks, and you fellas are dead in the water….

While I was looking for something to do on December 31st, and also preparing for our launch, I stumbled upon a concert announcement for Starfucker and Blue Horns on New Year’s Eve in Portland. I realize that’s a couple thousand miles away from Cleveland, but I decided to check out Blue Horns. I was already familiar with Starfucker, and figured the opener must not be all that bad. I checked them out on CD Baby, and shortly thereafter, on Emusic. I downloaded the album, and within one listen I was emailing the band for some info. Blue Horns’ self-titled debut is a piece of pie, full of promise; wicked success may be on the horizon here.

The band is currently opening quite a few eyes in the diversified Portland music scene, and this album’s overall sense of promise makes it immediately spin-worthy. I briefly interviewed the band and there is some interesting history behind the album’s inception. Vocalist Brian Park showed up in Portland with a sack full of songs, including the jangly title track, “Shotgun Wedding,” a warbly-vocaled boot stomp, filled with jazzy percussion and ambitious rhythm. Lead guitarist Colin Howard hooked up with Brian through mutual friends, followed soon by bassist Andrew Stern and drummer Brian Kramer. Initially, the band raced through the song-writing process, recording in their gracious parents’ basements and playing local gigs, honing their raw and spastic sounds until a late night drunken set on a pub floor inspired the moniker, Blue Horns.2718502942_ab645f232a

This raw and DIY approach to recording is definitely evident in the album, but that’s also what gives it some of its more visceral qualities. Colin Howard and Andrew Stern’s one-two rhythmic jabbing is what drives a majority of this record, and the slight echoing and fuzz of the recording process directly adds to the aural underlayer only a basement dub can yield. Some of the press coming out of Portland points directly to the dance-your-ass-off sensibilities of the album, but tracks like “Boots On” and “Ghosts” cannot be pigeonholed so easily. ”Ghosts” is centered around a disonant rhythm riff, slower bluesy guitar fills, and delicious background vocal wailing. Likewise, “Boots On” is a raucous jumper, much like the title track, but Stern’s dirty bass hooks lock the song in underneath, steering the song clear away from a pop label. Through repeated listens, the album blossoms into several distinct layers. Upbeat dance-rock, bluesy northwestern grunge, and a hint of arena hook mentality each have their entrances and exits, leaving us extremely excited about where this band heads next.

The track that glues this album into place is the middle-of the pack rocker, “Ships Sink.” Equal parts of Park’s energetic warble-infused vocals, Kramer’s crashing percussion, and Howard’s axe work blend together in what can best described as a pirate fightin’, anthemic, booze guzzling motherfucker of a jam. The hook keeps us coming back for more, and in Colin Howard’s words, “It’s difficult to stay on my feet when I play that song.” This is definitely apparent, as this track hits all markers of the extreme potential of this band once it hits the studios armed with a producer and extra recording goodies within reach.

Currently the band is beginning a more national push of the album, and if a little blog like citizendick can catch the buzz wind from Portland, certainly so can our readers. Enjoy the two tunes we’ve offered up, but do yourself the favor and put Blue Horns in your arsenal.–K -

"Blue Horns June 08"

I got this nice little capsule of skittering disco pop-punk from Portland's Blue Horns in the email a week or two back, and it got me stoked. Angular Wire-style guitars are always a plus, and coupling 'em with vocals as wavery as Jello Biafra's just means the teenager inside me starts smashing shit out of pure joy (and when you're a teenager, isn't the absolute pinnacle of joy smashing shit? Maybe that was just me). This is a faster track than stuff LC has heard from Blue Horns in the past, and Brian Park actually seems more comfortable with his vocals (they're as odd as ever, but sounding less like a drunk British ambassador and more like a wobbly punk rocker), and the recording (courtesy of Justin Higgins' Old Standard Studio) is obviously a step up from the band's previous work. So it would appear as though Paige Richmond's words ("Just give these guys a little time to polish their sound, and they'll be more than just your friend's band") seem to be coming true. Looking forward to hearing the upcoming album.

Casey Jarman, Local Cut - Willamette Week

"Blue Horns July 08"

Bridging the gap between airy, toe-tappin' jangle pop and angular post-punk, local trio Blue Horns would often get lumped in with a band like the Shaky Hands if not for singer Brian Park's distinctive yelp. Dude's already earned a few Jello Biafra comparisons, but I hear a more expressive version of Wilderness' James Johnson, with a little extra kick in his near-monotone delivery. With guitars bouncing along to the beat, Park makes a call to "start dancing!" -and, unless you're tone deaf, that surely won't be a problem.

-Micheal Mannhiemer - Willamette Week

"Blue Horns June 08 (blog)"

"...The second band, Blue Horns, was terrific. They were like a garagafied mid-point between Rademacher and The Deadly Syndrome. I spoke to their singer Brian for a while. He said his two biggest influences are Bo Didley and Television. Sounds about right.."

-Mouse, Towne Lounge Review - Classic Geek Theatre Blog

"Blue Horns April 08"

{Swamp Thing}Having fairly recently conceded its former name, Oh Captain, to a certain Bladen County band, Blue Horns continues to celebrate jangly, off kilter swamp rock under said new moniker. The songs are peppy, but there is also a blissful insanity in their execution - unintelligible lyrics that sound at once psychedelically soothing and like an aggressive Southern evangelist, stark breaks in time, intentional disorientation - that gives that band more substance (and less predictability) that other more polished bands of the same ilk.
-AP Kryza in the April 16-22 Willamette Week - Willamette Week


Album out Summer/ Fall of 2008.



“Blue Horns has the punk aesthetic of 1970’s
pioneers Television, but the mass appeal of
Bowie. What was once just a Portland band
with promise is on its way to gaining a
reputation in the Northwest scene.”
- Seattle Weekly

“A blissful insanity in their execution that gives
that band more substance (and less predict-
ability) than other morepolished bands of the
same ilk.” –WillametteWeek

“BrianPark’svocals have a joyous, snotty
energy, and the whole band sounds like the
soundtrackto a glorious, sun-bakedPortland

"BlueHorns self-titled debut is a piece of pie,
full of promise; wicked success may be on the
horizon" –

From the dark woods of Portland, OR, Blue
Horns have been converting the
beautifully dressed and charmingly
demure denizens of their city into
wild-eyed beasts, taken in by the band’s
pummeling beats and warbling cries.
Numerous raved about shows at
Holocene, Backspace and Doug Fir Lounge
along the likes of Starfucker, Blue Giant,
The Evangelicals and Hockey have vaulted them toward the front of a
new batch of band’s emerging from the northwest.
Blue Horns rose out of an evolving cast of Portland musicians recruited to
fill out the songs written by Brian Park over the last three years. Blue
Horns came together in ’07 as the most collaborative of these
incarnations. At this point, a more focused eye fell on all parts of the
songwriting..lyrics, guitar interplay, the visceral nature of the drum
beats..all of these things put in place to send each song running head
over heals at the listener. In addition to Park on vocals and guitar, Blue
Horns features Colin Howard (guitar, vocals), Brian Kramer (drums, vocals)
and Andrew Stern (bass).
The band has been playing shows relentlessly all over Portland for the last
year and a half shaping their sound and relationships with other great
local bands. Focusing on smaller face-to-face clubs, gave the band a more
immediate reaction from the crowd on the evolving sound. The crowd
has steadily grown with the venue size, leading to a raucous album
release at Portland’s Backspace.
The Record was recorded in a weekend in July of ’08 with a few overdubs
added at Old Standard Studio in Portland. The recording survived a flood
and postponed the record for over a month before the band was able to
go in and frantically lay down the final touches. Blue Horns is 8 tracks of
rolling drums, agile bass lines and frenetic guitar lines interplaying with
one another as if the band resides on Marquee Moon and the yelps and
howls of Park’s unique vocals bring to mind classic T. Rex or the more
contemporary Wolf Parade. Standout tracks include “Shotgun Wedding”,
“Let’s Go Hunting” and “Ships Sink.”