No Kind of Rider
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No Kind of Rider

Portland, Oregon, United States | SELF

Portland, Oregon, United States | SELF
Band Alternative World




"Five Great Bands from Portland You Need to Know"

Many a Portland band has attempted to bring the urgent, often dream-like tones of British pop to Stumptown, but the only group who has brought it to bear with any success is this batch of former Oklahomans. As such, guitars and keyboards take the lead, working through a variety of effects that when combined with Sam Alexander’s slowly melting vocals provide maximum emotional affect. - Viacom

"Five Great Bands from Portland You Need to Know"

Many a Portland band has attempted to bring the urgent, often dream-like tones of British pop to Stumptown, but the only group who has brought it to bear with any success is this batch of former Oklahomans. As such, guitars and keyboards take the lead, working through a variety of effects that when combined with Sam Alexander’s slowly melting vocals provide maximum emotional affect. - Viacom

"Local Artist Spotlight (August 2012 Edition)"

No Kind of Rider is onto something special. - Eleven PDX

"Local Artist Spotlight (August 2012 Edition)"

No Kind of Rider is onto something special. - Eleven PDX

"Collection of Press Materials"

Follow the review URL to a link to a pdf w/ press mentions. - No Kind of Rider

"Ghost Riders"

On a chilly Sunday this past September, I settled in at Rontoms for one of the club’s weekly music showcases, mentally steeling myself for the psych-noise onslaught of White Hills. But by the end of the evening, all I wanted to talk about was the band that played first: No Kind of Rider.

The young quintet played a jaw-dropping set of lush, introspective pop that was obviously modeled after the shoegazer movement of the ’90s—lots of dynamic shifts, guitar effects and buttery vocals)­—but with its own modern, moody twist. It scratched that deep, Brit-pop-adoring itch I carry with me at all times. I was instantly smitten.

I grabbed vocalist-guitarist Sam Alexander after the band’s set, professing my newfound love and peppering the members with questions, chiefly: “Where are you from?” The band was from Portland. So, where had No Kind of Rider been hiding?

“We get that a lot,” Alexander says two months later, digging into some tacos at the Cruzroom on Northeast Alberta Street. “‘How come we’ve never heard of you guys before?’ You never hang out at the Red Room, I guess.”

No one in No Kind of Rider can pinpoint why the band has been flying under the radar since arriving here from Tulsa, Okla., two years ago. All five gents in the group—Alexander, drummer Jon Van Patten, guitarist Jeremy Louis, bassist Wes Johnson and keyboardist Joe Page—arrived in 2008, leaving a healthy fan base and a former name (Black Swan) behind. The quintet hit the ground running in Portland, playing at any venue that would have it and offering up a pair of fantastic self-released recordings (The Black Swan EP and the slow-burning single “Danger”) for free download via its website.

NKOR is making all the right moves to get noticed in Portland’s overstuffed music scene, but still remains on the verge. For any young band, this would be par for the course, but for No Kind of Rider, it’s a bit of a step back from the acclaim it received in Tulsa. In NKOR’s former hometown, the band stood out not only because the majority of its members were black (that attention had its drawbacks, according to Alexander: “Without fail, every one who wrote about us would compare us to Bloc Party and TV on the Radio”), but also because “there wasn’t anything happening in Tulsa when we first started,” Page says. “There was no scene. There were maybe eight other bands that were playing stuff outside the mainstream.” The quintet’s singular sound helped garner it co-headlining status at the city’s annual Dfest Music Festival and heaps of praise from local media outlets.

No Kind of Rider only left Tulsa because the technology company Alexander worked for relocated to Portland. Realizing he didn’t want to break up the group, he offered to help move his bandmates here as well. It was, according to Johnson, the perfect opportunity. “I always thought that if we had the chance to move out to the West Coast, we should take it.”

Two years on, No Kind of Rider is edging closer to the spotlight: its first show at the Doug Fir, more recordings on the way, and a mockumentary film about the band (produced by musician Jen Moon and featuring folks like Bladen County Records owner Joe Bowden) that has been making the rounds at Portland short-film fests. No Kind of Rider should hear that buzz grow louder once it wraps up its next EP, a self-recorded project that has been going on in fits and starts for the past eight months.

“I think we’re deceptively ambitious,” says Alexander. “It doesn’t seem like people see that until we play out.” Johnson nods and adds, “People at my work find out I play music and say, ‘Oh, that’s nice, you’re in a little band.’ Then they come see us, and they’re, like, ‘Whoa! You guys are for real!’” NKOR seems to get more real every day.

-Robert Ham - Willamette Week

"Maritime Wraps indie-emo in an ocean of pop-rock."

Saturday night’s openers will be local standouts Black Swan.

11/16/2007 - Tulsa World

"Alt everything with monster indie show"

We’re calling it the Monsters of Indie Rock show — three of Tulsa’s most popular bands are together— at last! — for a fun-filled night of alt-everything music. And the show’s free. How awesome is that?!

It’s been compared to bands such as Interpol, Minus the Bear, the Stills and Engine Down, but know that Black Swan is a unique melodic phenomenon. This band rocks.

12/7/2007 - Tulsa World

"Rock of the Indies: Black Swan shaping the future of a new movement for Tulsa's indie-rock scene"


It's hard not to notice that during the last year and a half, Tulsa's local music movement has taken on a new life. Sure, the old stalwarts are still hammering away: The Plumbers, Imzadi and Snapdragon continue to draw the covers crowd; Red Dirt and Honky Tonk still have The Rangers, Boland and LaRue as well as a new breed in the likes of Brandon Clark Band, South 40 and Turnpike Troubadours; and the pop and rock crowd still has MWK, Admiral Twin and Steve Liddell. But the vibes, they are a'changin'.

There's no doubt this town has talent--witness the continual mining of the area by Hollywood and the likes of "American Idol" which just can't get enough of Tulsa-based and Oklahoma bred performers.

Although there are still a plethora of emo and screamo bands bandying about, the underground scene has been blossoming with a new breed of imaginative and eclectic new "indie" acts, most of which seem intent on pushing boundaries and making their own statements.

With that movement a handful of new venues have emerged or adapted and few have even run their course and closed (R.I.P. Mooch & Burn), but mostly what we've been witnessing is an arguable rebirth of Tulsa's local music community. And it's not just the indie bands--the creative flux has also overflowed into other genres, seeing more commercial and hard rock bands expand their palettes, ala My Solstice and Congress of a Crow.

What's to explain this phenomena and the inventiveness of the new breed? I figured the answer would be best found by stepping into the midst of the activity and picking from among the most promising of the young newcomers. Black Swan, for instance, a band that's been floating around Tulsa under the radar for a little more than a year now, is poised to become the next big thing.

Looking Indie

Gathered around a table in a local bookstore coffee shop, the members of Black Swan appear to be just another group of friends hanging out, much like any other band. Spend some time talking with them, however, and they also prove a theory that I've held for quite some time now, that the members of most successful bands not only share a common vision, but also fill different roles in attaining it.

No, I'm not talking about the obvious: bass, guitar, drum positions in a band. On an extended level, the players also fill different responsibilities and characteristics to balance the group. On that level, Black Swan is something of a character study.

Guitarist/vocalist Sam Alexander tends to fill the role of primary spokesperson during the course of the conversation, thoughtfully considering his words. Jeremy Louis, who also plays guitar and sings backing vocals appears the laid back, jovial soul of the group. Bassist Wes Johnson is soft-spoken, speaking up and answering succinctly when he's got an opinion or viewpoint to share. Keyboardist Joe Page is content to sit back and take it all in, adding his input when addressed or when he sees something being overlooked.

And drummer Jon Van Patten? Well, if you're familiar with "That 70's Show," he's the Steven Hyde of the group. Not only does he bear a slight resemblance to Danny Masterson, but he's also sarcastic, slightly antagonistic, and more knowing than he lets on at first. And while there's definitely a creative energy among band members, it's not hard to imagine that he's the sparkplug of the group that makes everything come together.

Lumped into the "indie rock" category of the local music scene, Black Swan has a distinctly more pop edge than what most people associate with the overall indie movement. Although the band does have an ethereal quality to its music, as displayed by singles like "Temporary" and "Carpathia," there is also an attention to song structure and melody that many others in the category tend to dismiss. And while not as over the top as local contemporaries like GHOSTS, the band definitely has strong pop sensibilities.

When discussing the Black Swan's music and the indie movement in Tulsa, the band definitely has its own take on the term.

"We've decided it means just a melding of genres," Johnson explained.

Alexander continued the thought, adding "We're not, like, experimental rock, but we do want to be pushing the envelope..."

" . . . within the pop format," Van Patten followed, completing the thought. "I would say its kind of a dark 'indie pop' with maybe a little more subtlety."

"I'd even go so far as saying were not trying to be indie," concluded Johnson, drawing agreement from the rest of the band.

Van Patten went on to explain "I think when we say indie, though we're referring to . . . Well, obviously, we're independent in the literal sense, financially, but we're the opposite of the mainstream rock thing going on---which has been going on in Tulsa for a long time. We're definitely not that, so I think we associate it with indie because that's the only other thing to call it."

"You've got two choices: mainstream o - Urban Tulsa Weekly - Gary Hizer

"Before and After:Overground Film Festival books a standout musical soundtrack"


Melodic and calculated, dissonant and intense, this alternative rock act stands out in any lineup.

12/14/2007 - Tulsa World

"Looking Forward, Back"

Up and comers Black Swan show a lot of promise.

-G.K. Hizer - Urban Tulsa Weekly

"Jailbait-Catch a Rising Star at Dirty Carny and ringing in the New Year with all sorts of parties and projects of potential."

"...I'm looking forward to catching (Black Swan), either because they've started to create a buzz or just for the sheer curiosity factor..."

December 27, 2006 Urban Tulsa Weekly - Gary Hizer

"A Melodic Duel"

A Melodic Duel
Our music writers offer their top picks and sleepers for the festival weekend.

If you still haven't heard Black Swan's (8PM, The Continental) dark, emotive take on mainstream-friendly post-punk, this show is a must. Never has a band so consistently impressed its crowd--this is perhaps the most audience-friendly band in Tulsa.

-Josh Kline
Urban Tulsa Weekly Columnist

If you're looking for a few no-brainers, there are definitely some sure things waiting for you out there on Friday evening. Indie rock fans have plenty to look forward too this weekend as well, especially with Black Swan (8pm, Continental) throwing down a groove heavy set.

-Gary Hizer
Urban Tulsa Weekly Columnist - Urban Tulsa Weekly


The Black Swan EP (2008 Self-Released)
Away Colors EP (Aug 2011 Self-Released)
RMXS (June 2012 Self-Released)



No Kind of Rider sits somewhere between heaven and earth with an open arm invitation to all who want to meet them there. Complex interwoven guitar lines, bass that ventures into clever, and synth lines that shift from ambient to angry find their purchase in the footholds meticulously carved out by a rhythm section that blurs the lines between man and machine.

As heard on their 2008 EP, The Black Swan EP and their freshly released EP Away Colors (2011) their sophisticated, bare-knuckled rock ‘n roll comes complete with well-crafted melodies, revealing lyrics, delirious harmonies, galactic keyboards, slick bass, buzz saw percussions and dual guitar work that ranges from sonic to spectral. There’s an uprooting quality to the music, as if the earth is being churned in a steady metrical fashion. And just as a listener may feel careened too far ahead or flung too deeply into a well-plotted turn, No Kind of Rider pulls them back with grace and ease.

Individually and as a group, their blue-collar musical sensibilities spring from the desire to sweat over their instruments and create something they haven’t heard before. And while their musical tastes come from a range of post-rock, garage, blues, and even shoegaze elements, their direct influences point back to one an- other, driving them to act and respond to what each other is creating in order to generate a unique sound that pushes against the center.