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Portland, Oregon, United States | INDIE

Portland, Oregon, United States | INDIE
Band Rock




"Free Music: Priory, “Lady of Late” and “Kings of Troy”"

Portland, Oregon-based indie-pop/electronic-folk outfit Priory, comprised of Brandon Johnson (vocals, bass), Kyle Dieker (acoustic guitar, keys, bells, falsetto), Rich Preinesberger (drums), and Greg Harpel (lead guitar, bells, keys), follow up 2010's “Cold Hands” EP with their debut, self-titled full-length on Portland, Oregon-based indie Expunged Records (home to Blind Pilot).

Instantly infectious, yet not a sugar-pop album that will be easily discarded, Priory walks a tightrope between immediately catchy, instantly warming songs, and subdued, complex layers that take multiple listens to start to unravel and understand the true depth of their work.

“It’s finding that balance between the standard acoustic instruments and partnering them with huge electronic bass and keyboard licks,” says the band’s Kyle Dieker when asked to describe their sound. “Priory is all about tones and where those sounds sit in a song. Blending folk melodies with pop sensibility, Priory takes from a collection of sounds and brings them together into something that is familiar yet innovative.”

Besides layers of instrumentation that help develop the complexity of the songs, contrasting with the ease of the melodies and hooky-ness of their songwriting, Priory also puts a lot of time into their lyrics. Developing stories that also take the listener more than a few listens to start to completely digest the power of the music.

From comparing a drug addition to a bad relationship (“Devil vs. Heater”), how our perception of family and the importance of it changes as we age (“Searching”), and self-assessment in dying moments (“Coal Mine”). To songs about fighting for what you believe in (“Worthy Dreams”), being in a relationship with someone who is always being pursued by others (“Kings of Troy”), and realizing life is short (“Cold Hands”), the latter of which is about a couple dying together in a car crash. Priory doesn’t shy away from tackling some of life’s scariest questions or the thoughts that we all think, but oft-try to suppress.

They come out swinging; creating music that could simply be described as “beautiful,” reeling you in, but offering up much more for those that take the journey and visit it over and over again.

“I want people that hear our album to feel something,” admits Johnson. “Some of our subject matter is not all that light and fluffy, not unlike life, but I believe there is always a positive side. There is a glass half full, if we choose to perceive it that way. And, a little nursery rhyme melody can often add a sense of whimsy to a dark subject matter.”

It is that contradiction that builds up and develops throughout the album, with the band toying with the playfulness of it all, while taking everything very seriously.

“Every song on the album means something to us. We did not want there to be any filler,” Johnson adds.

With the record complete, and a band itching to play live, the group plans to hit the road throughout spring, summer, and fall and tour relentlessly. In their new, revamped bus, putting on an amazing live show and converting people the old-fashioned way: one fan at a time, one club at a time, one city at a time. And, for Priory, that just feels right. As organic and natural as their songwriting process comes an organically grown fan base.
- Pop Dose

"Get your Priory Straight"

Check out Priory, a band from Portland, Oregon that brings folk/indie rock to a new level. Both of these songs have a rock base to them with a folky overlay. They are pretty catchy too. Sample the tracks above a listen in.

"Your Next Portland Indie Band Crush"

Your Next Portland Indie Band Crush - Indie College


Four out of the five bands listed below were bands that I just discovered today. While searching through friends pages on Facebook, I was able to find a few bands that I’ve never even heard of. Lucky for me, I was able to add to my musical library and now present even more new music to you. When it comes to great music, the band Hark the Herons say it best, “Stop, breathe, feel, listen, love.”

Priory – Lady of Late - Sound That Matters

"Priory Makes Full Length Debut"

Portland, Oregon band Priory have a debut album that slithers and storms with vibrant builds, folky accents, and resulting momentum. I don’t have a decimal score to accompany the post, but instead can offer superior evidence with a listen to “Lady of Late” and “Kings of Troy”. Enjoy if you want, leave if you don’t. Salut. - Parasites and Sycophants

"New Today: Debut Record from PDX's PRIORY"

his happens all the time. I look into a band for the first time the day after they play in town only to discover I made a huge mistake. So it goes with the discovery of today’s gem, the just-released self-titled debut record from Portland’s Priory, who just swung by the Comet Tavern last Saturday. Whoops…

Though I hesitate to use the word “indie” to generally describe a sound, for Priory via a modern mish-mash of folk, electronic, and pop, that designation feels inescapable. Beyond calling them a pop band, the songs pull from so many places that putting any sort of genre to it will inevitably miss part of the attraction. To say that they’re taking hints from old and new Bright Eyes’, including the Digital Ash… tangent but minus the sad-bastard angle, only scratches the surface. More currently one could just as accurately drop them in the Local Natives’ bucket’o'harmonies or Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.’s synth-happy discotheque. And there’s glockenspiel all over this record… so… “indie” it is, I guess.

Get a listen to what I’m talking about below with two of the stronger tracks from the record, “King of Troy” and “Lady of Late.” - Sound on the Sound

"Introducing: Priory"

Portland, Oregon has produced yet another indie-folk-electro-pop winner with Priory. Lady of Late had me hooked immediately with its poppy edge and soaring vocal harmonies. The video accurately portrays how easy it is to become lost in our lady of late. And just as you finally reach her, you are just as quickly shut out.

If this song is any indication of what this band is capable of, I can’t wait to get my hands on a full length album. Be on the look out for updates on tour dates, hopefully they hit the area soon. Chao - Rarity in Form

"Film at 11: PRIORY"

Priory has followed up last year’s Cold Hands EP with its self-titled debut LP (on Expunged Records). The Portland, Ore., quartet is on the road now supporting the album. Says multi-instrumentalist Kyle Dieker of the band’s sound, “It’s finding that balance between the standard acoustic instruments and partnering them with huge electronic bass and keyboard licks. Priory is all about tones and where those sounds sit in a song. Blending folk melodies with pop sensibility, Priory takes from a collection of sounds and brings them together into something that is familiar yet innovative.” We couldn’t agree more. Check out the Aaron Cronan-directed video for “Lady Of Late” below, which we are proud to premiere on today. - Magnet Magazine

"PRIORY Release Music Video for "Lady Of Late" Online"

Portland, Oregon-based indie-pop/electronic-folk outfit Priory, comprised of Brandon Johnson (vocals, bass), Kyle Dieker (acoustic guitar, keys, bells, falsetto), Joe Mingus (drums), and Greg Harpel (lead guitar, bells, keys), have returned home from their first (of many) U.S. tours promoting their debut, self-titled ful-length. Continuing to promote their album, which is hot off the presses, they have released a video for the album's first single, "Lady Of Late." The video can be viewed below.

Instantly infectious, yet not a sugar-pop album that will be easily discarded, Priory walks a tightrope between immediately catchy, instantly warming songs, and subdued, complex layers that take multiple listens to start to unravel and understand the true depth of their work. - Pure Grain Audio

"Priory Lady of Late"

posted by 8 blogs - The Hype Machine

"Lady of Late"

Portland-based indie-pop/electronic-folk four-piece Priory has followed up their 2010 EP, Cold Hands, with their self-titled debut full length.

“It’s finding that balance between the standard acoustic instruments and partnering them with huge electronic bass and keyboard licks,” says the band’s Kyle Dieker when asked to describe their sound. “Priory is all about tones and where those sounds sit in a song. Blending folk melodies with pop sensibility, Priory takes from a collection of sounds and brings them together into something that is familiar yet innovative.” - Explore Music

"Priory Video"

The consensus around here is that Priory is going to be huge. Despite the fact that the band is altogether too saccharine and slick to fit the current, vaguely shambolic Portland aesthetic, it seems primed for the national limelight. The members' beards and tattoos suggest a certain rebelliousness, but its lyrics are often achingly straightforward and the music (recorded by Portland's Skyler Norwood, who also worked with Priory's Expunged Records labelmates Blind Pilot) rockets off in all the right places to capture the radio-pop listener's imagination—one not need be a musical rebel to get the gist of the song.

"Lady of Late" is the new Aaron Cronan-directed video (it just premiered over at Magnet) from Priory's just-released debut full-length. The song is a standout love song on an album full of love songs—reminds of post-"Float On" Modest Mouse and any number of post-Bright Eyes heartthrob balladeers, and its lovesick verses and fairy tale video (combined with the slightly distant charms of handsome frontman Brandon Johnson) are going to speak to teenage girls. As everyone knows, teenage girls run America...which is how we know that Priory is going to be huge.

None of which is to bash the band—first off, they're incredibly nice guys. Secondly, there's a lot of cool stuff going on here, from the chintzy drum machine/Casio intro to the sparkling guitarwork and legitimately stirring background vocals (yes, that's a man hitting the extremely high notes). Johnson's lead vox are delivered with just a touch of an accent—not British so much as Shakespearean...something the lyrics and look of the "Lady of Late" video compound—and that's going to be a bit of a sticking point, for better or for worse, for some listeners. All I'm saying is that I wouldn't be surprised to hear "Lady of Late" during the closing credits of the next Twilight film. Not that I watch Twilight films. But so what if I did? - Willamette Week

"Baeble Music Current Favorites"

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[This Sucks] [This is kinda bad] [This is OK] [This is Pretty Good] [This ROCKS!]


Priory, a Portland-based and self proclaimed indie-pop/electronic-folk band, has a new music video by 10 Bridges Media for their song "Lady of Late," off their upcoming self-titled debut album. The video directed by Aaron Cronan, features the lead singer, Brandon Johnson, repeatedly chasing after a mysterious blonde who "came along/and broke [his] throne" leaving his bandmates constantly searching for their missing frontman in various scenarios.

Read more: Music Video - Priory - Lady of Late
Live Music, Right Now
- Baeble Music


This is how you perfect electronic-folk music. With a hip-hop beat, smooth synth throughout and vocals I can only describe as a more confident Bright Eyes, Priory’s “Lady of Late” has great musical diversity. - Pop Stache

"Priory 2011"

The Northwest is a fertile breeding ground for original sounds and Priory is rooted in that innovation. This group of four handsome fellas from Portland got together to flood your senses with a cocktail of folk-electro fusion. Mixing tambourine, guitar, bells, bass, keyboards, xylophone and hard-hitting drums to make a tasty treat for your ears.

Comprised of Brandon Johnson (vocals, bass), Kyle Dieker (acoustic guitar, keys, bells, falsetto), Rich Preinesberger (drums) and Greg Harpel (lead guitar, bells, keys). Brandon and Kyle combine forces to bring you the emotionally driven lyrics on the self-titled debut from Priory on Expunged Records. It’s pop deliciousness with the depth of folk music and electro backbeats that makes you want to dance. They find the right moments to introduce new ingredients into each song to create a rich and layered texture without overdoing it.

You can hear elements of Death Cab For Cutie and The Postal Service throughout Priory. The album covers everything from finding the love that will help you put your life back together to the inevitability of death and the importance of family. The boys of Priory aren’t afraid to tackle difficult subjects; in fact they dive right in.

The song “Worthy Dreams” is one of my favorites. The nuances of sound in this song create a whimsical atmosphere that draws you in. It’s fleeting and beautiful, like a meteor shower. Another song that set up camp in my heart was Lady of Late, which lingers eloquently between electro-pop and indie folk. The simple Casio synth melody and electronic drum sample lay the groundwork for this song and lead seamlessly into a delicate guitar riff. When they come together it’s like pure indulgence and Brandon Johnson’s impassioned vocals tell a story of a man who finally allows love into his heart again.

There is something about each track that is intriguing, but there were a couple that stood out to me. It’s really just a well put together album, especially for their first. They will be touring the US by bus to support the new album. If their live show is anything like the album, I can’t wait to see them. They may be coming to a town near you. - Mezzic

"Good-time pop with a darker edge"

Local up-and-comer Priory loosely falls into the popular indie-folk camp, with pastoral melodies, giddy choral touches and references to simpler times. But there's something infinitely darker and -- contradictorily -- miles more playful to the band's self-titled full-length that puts the group closer to Arcade Fire's triumphant take on tragedy than The Head and The Heart's wide-eyed, hand-clapping campfire pop.

Death, confusion, addiction, the messiness of interpersonal relationships, the looming threat of "white coats" -- it's all there on this record, lurking in plain view amid some of the most buoyant, carefree-sounding melodies to blossom in quite a while.

It's tricky to craft deep stories without bludgeoning the listener or burdening the song, but Priory has delivered an album that's equally suitable for sunny summer road-tripping or dark-night-of-the-soul-searching. In some camps, that would be called a miracle.

Review: Priory
Artist: Priory
Grade: A-
Label: Expunged Records
Coming up: 9 p.m. Friday, Mississippi Studios, 3939 N. Mississippi Ave.; tickets $8 advance, $10 day of show,
And there is something miraculous to these tunes. They're instantly arresting, but -- unlike disposable pop songs that you find yourself mindlessly humming days later -- they subtly demand further attention. Stray words or phrases set off muted alarm bells that there's something under the relatively innocuous surface that's worth digging for.

There's nothing wrong with taking these songs at face value, either. Great pop songs function at multiple levels, and the sugar-loving, instant-gratification-seeking part of the brain has plenty to feast on as well.

-- Barbara Mitchell - Oregonian

"Priory: Marrying pop warmth with the here and the now"

The Northwest's brimming with bands who combine folk tinges with indie-rock sensibilities. So many proliferate the regional landscape that--good as a lot of them are--it can be hard to distinguish one from the other at times. Fortunately, bands like Priory come around to shake the tree some. This Portland four-piece shares a fondness for warm two-and-three-part vocal harmonies and acoustic-guitar-based melodies with many of their local brethren, but they're not afraid to infuse that mix with other disparate (and welcome) influences.

Right off the bat, "Worthy Dreams," the lead track on Priory's debut full-length, signals a restlessness that roams outside the box: Singer Brandon Johnson and guitarist Kyle Dieker's dual vocals combine with the stutter of a Casio drum machine, synthesized strings, and a chiming xylophone; in a wonderfully kitchen-sink package that seasons the melodic warmth of folk with the busy clatter of found electronic sounds. The combination recalls one of the best bands of the early 2000's, Grandaddy. Hints of The Arcade Fire's brand of exultant pop and the New Pornographers' bold harmonies surface as well.

The strength of Priory's material and presentation transcend mere influence-counting, though. Johnson's a great, confident singer, whose voice blends beautifully with Dieker's oddly-pretty falsetto. And the band brings more than enough strong tunes to the table on their new disc. It's impossible not to bob your head in approval to the irresistible xylophone hook that begins "White Coats," and the band augments Rich Prienesberger's hopscotching drums on the joyous "Wait" with handclaps as hooky as the melody. Best of all, they manage to sneak in strangely dark lyrics that manage to touch on questions of sanity and alienation, without ever detracting from their considerable gifts as pop songwriters.

Priory play Capitol Hill's Comet Tavern this Sunday, and it should be a treat hearing them translate their combination of acoustic and electric sensibilities to a live setting.

Continue reading on Priory: Marrying pop warmth with the here and the now - Seattle Concerts |

"Priory Album Review"

like to come off as that hard rocker and metal head, but even I need to unwind with the right soundtrack. The self-titled debut from the Portland, Oregon based indie pop/electro-folk band Priory allows me to do just that. It’s a light-hearted collection of 11 tracks that blend simple yet complex rhythms using acoustic instruments, electronic elements (almost midi-file-like from the track “Lady of Late”) and a well-constructed blend of layered vocal talent that combines for great listening.

It’s not a hard album to get into. The music stays with you in a way that’s pleasant and not intrusive. Good to have playing in the background, or you can sit back and dive deeper into the lyrics that tell a more intricate story. “Devil vs. Heater” describes a bad relationship like a drug addiction while “Kings of Troy” sums up being involved with someone who is the object of everyone else’s attention. Despite the light-hearted music, the poetry that Priory weaves into their music is something that anyone can gravitate to and hang on.

Priory is comprised of Brandon Johnson (vocals, bass), Kyle Dieker (acoustic guitar, keys, bells, falsetto), Rich Preinesberger (drums), and Greg Harpel (lead guitar, bells, keys). The layers of vocals are well orchestrated and blend seamlessly and balance well with the instrumentation. Their talents both vocally and instrumentally provide music that speaks to that inner part of you that, despite what you may tune in to regularly, needs to sit back, relax and become introspective.
- Lithium Magazine

"Priory- Lady of Late"

Portland, Oregon-based indie-pop/electronic-folk outfit Priory, consists of Brandon Johnson, Kyle Dieker, Rich Preinesberger, and Greg Harpel; follow-up 2010's “Cold Hands” EP with their début, self-titled full-length on Portland-based indie Expunged Records.

Priory walks a tightrope between immediately catchy, instantly warming songs, and subdued, complex layers that take multiple listens to start to unravel and understand the true depth of their work.

“It’s finding that balance between the standard acoustic instruments and partnering them with huge electronic bass and keyboard licks,” says the band’s Kyle Dieker when asked to describe their sound.

I think fans of Local Natives and Fleet Foxes may find this quite enjoyable; as well as those Tom Petty fans who have waited for a modern update of “Don’t Come Around Here No More”.

Feel free to download another song off the album, Kings of Troy, below. - Sock Monkey Sound

"Halfway there/ BEST OF 2011"

Priory makes the list of the top artists so far in 2011 - Speakers in Code

"Jam of The Day"

You know what sucks? Purposely avoiding the lures of love, accidentally falling into it, and finally having your heart stomped flat by a dude in baseball cleats. Or a chick in stilettos. Either way.

That's the saga that Priory's "Lady of Late" tells (and, you have to keep in mind the title of the song, otherwise you might think that the terrifying Lady Elaine Fairchilde is the one doing the heart stomping). And the Portland foursome does so against a collection of sounds that ever-so-slightly dips a big toe in the indie-folk pond (after all, this is a Northwestern band). However, Priory favors the complexity of combining the electro with the acoustic, and "Lady of Late" is prominently backed with what I can best figure is an electric harmonica. Rock on.

Priory - Lady of Late

Priory is out now on Portland's Expunged Records (home of Blind Pilot). The debut album is good, y'all. It's time to be an early adopter. - Speakers in Code

"Flourishing Portland band Priory plays Walnut Room on June 24th"

Priory is not just another group of Portlanders with interesting facial hair and a knack for catchy tunes. Yes, the hooks are there, seamlessly blended with a folky backbone and electronic inklings, but there character piercing lyrics set them apart from other summer stocking cap supporters. By singling out their essence, varying guitar and commanding vocals with rolling drums, hits a chord with music lovers galore.

And there is something to be said about a band that migrates by bus and only touring as far as their gas money will take them. Their current tour only reaches as far east as Kansas City, hopefully building a strong backbone of support from newly won-over fans and setting the ground for more touring in the future.

The quartet is hitting Denver’s Walnut Room on June 24th with We Are Willows, Rachel Eisenstat & Iron City and Jay J Matott & the Arctic. Tickets are $8, for all you mathematicians that’s $2 a band, and are for sale through The Walnut Room.

Priory’s self-titled album, their first full-length, is set to release on June 21st and will quickly makes its way to your choice music player. Their sometimes haunting vocals, diverse themes, and their mastering of the subtle use of electronics with heavy folk guitar is bound to set them apart from the rest of your music collection while also making it more complete.

Greg Harpel of Priory was kind enough to answer a few of my questions. Below are his responses.


You guys are pulling influences from everywhere it seems, who are some of your main influences?

It's true, our influences seem to draw from a wide spectrum of artists. Some of the greats who we consider most impactful include: David Bowie, The Police, Elvis Costello, Daft Punk, Dead Kennedys,
the Mammas and the Papas, Sigur Ros. Also lyricists Pete Seeger and Leonard Cohen.

Every one of your songs stands on its own with vivid imagery, how did you go about putting it in the specific order for the album?

Although we believe the songs do stand out on their own, we do consider the songs within the structure an album to be one cohesive thematic movement. The album and live set begins and ends with renditions of the song "Worthy Dreams". This is to portray the strong subject matter of the songs as contemplative as one might do moving through thoughts and memories throughout the night.

Where do the images, feelings, more specifically lyrics, come from?

All come from life experiences and relationships. For example, the song “Searching” reflects on the sense of lost connection with family that comes with age.

I’ve tried to put my finger on it, but what do you think sets you guys apart from the vast number of acts exploding from the great Northwest?

We are certainly happy to be part of the music community of the region. There's a lot of inspiring stuff coming out from here. I think that what perhaps sets us apart is our decisions for widely dynamic arrangement and use of diverse sonic space. You won't find much repetition in the songs, especially in the newer material. For example we'll choose to introduce a new melody rather than repeat a chorus multiple times.

What are the perks of touring by bus?

Well luckily we were fortunate enough to purchase a nice bus. We've got four full length bunks in there. We've worked out our method of travel so that we can come home still feeling well slept and healthy.

How did you guys get together and start making music?

Brandon and Kyle have been musically involved for a long time, though never to the extent of collaboration that has occurred with the priory project. It was a few years ago that the two found themselves at the stage of life where they could focus on these particular songs. Greg joined shortly adding another voice to the melodies. Although drummers have changed a few times over the years, the addition of Joe Mengis has clearly brought the bands sound to new level of distinction.

Have you found that the band has taken a different direction since the beginning?

We've certainly been growing as musicians and as individuals since the beginning. I think we've become more confident in going with our gut instincts as to what will or won’t make the music engaging.

Everything seems to be coming out of Portland lately, what is the biggest myth pertaining to Portland?

That everything that comes from Portland originates from Portland. Portland is really just a collection of people and ideas from all over that congregate in one place. But that says a lot about the community as
a place that nurtures such projects.

What are you guys listening to on the road?

At this second, Billy Idol.

You guys hit some pretty heavy themes in your songs; “Searching” and “Devil vs. Heater” come to mind. How do you go about tackling the serious topics of personal relationships and evolving feelings with family?

We just write songs about things we feel strongly about. If we perform candidly people will relate on multiple levels.

“Kings of Troy” has become a personal favorite of mine and is something that everyone can relate to on some level (having a relationship with someone who is constantly being chased). Can you expand on how this song came to be and how you made the lyrics work flawlessly with the rising and falling of the instrumentation?

The interaction between lyrical content and the musicality of all songs should be complementary, although the type of role each holds is different for every artist. For us, each element of the instrumentation has a strong voice and narrative value. We started with the concept of the relationship where your loved one is constantly being sought after by others but decided to tell it through the natural way the story was told became both playful and charging in conjunction with the lyrical context.

Your current tour is pretty packed, typically playing in a different city/state every night and at most only having a day or two between shows. What do you guys like to do in your little free time while on tour?

We've got 24 Hour Fitness memberships, so we often stop to get some exercise and stay presentable. Also we just love exploring. There's a lot to see in this country, and good people to see it with.

And lastly, just so readers can get some perspective on what kind of people you really are, would you rather be able to fly at half the speed you can walk or be semi-transparent? Now to clarify, if you choose semi-transparent you can have half your body completely invisible or walk around looking like a ghostly figure.

Fly, absolutely.

Continue reading on Flourishing Portland band Priory plays Walnut Room on June 24th - Denver Music |

"Portland Indie Moving Forward"

Portland Indie Rockers, Priory are back at it with a new self-titled CD which will be released June 21, 2011. The band has been rapidly making its way onto the scene with an indie sound and mild folk undertones since the release of its EP, “Cold Hands” in 2010. The lineup includes Brandon Johnson on bass and vocals, Greg Harpel on lead guitar, Kyle Dieker on acoustic guitar and Rich Preinesberger on drums.

“The Kings of Troy” is Priory’s take on “Helen of Troy.” This acoustic based song has a medley of percussion instruments and electronics seamlessly woven in giving the band a sound of its own. The folk harmonies are pleasing to the ears, as the song leaves its audience eager to hear what’s next.

“Lady of Late” is next! The song’s surprising change-over arises with key boards beaming of joy before the listener even realizes the heartbroken nature of the lyrics. The upbeat sounds combined with the tragedy of heartbreak create the perfect recipe for irony.

This album is a must have for fans of the indie genre. - The Celebrity Cafe

"CD Review"

Though they’ve only been together since 2008, Priory, a pop-soaked, electronic-folk band from Portland, Oregon; these sonically sparkling indie-rockers have quickly mastered a commanding sound and musical presence that’s rapidly propelling their name and music out into the vast universe, which conversely can be found right there inside their anthemic-sized songs. On their self-titled, full-length debut, which just dropped days ago, fans of electronic beauty merged with folky acoustic instruments and sublime vocal arrangements will find themselves happily clinging for dear life on the fantastical journey of vivid imagery and dynamic arrangements within this twelve-song set. Brandon Johnson, Kyle Dieker, Greg Harpel and Joe Mingus have an almost palpable earnestness dripping from their voices and instruments while they create a richly diverse yet cohesive sound that’s wholly stirring and engaging. Songs such as Cold Hands, Searching and Lady of Late have a dark, graceful lullaby quality to them, with hushed spaces and soaring peaks that take the listener through ever-changing soundscapes both tangible and surreal. On the folkier side of things there’s King of Troy and Alone which both have a warmer, grounded, country ramblin’ vibe mashed with a 60’s sunshine pop, where twangin’ guitars meet rousing, chiming vocals. And Devil vs. Heater and Wait both crash and wallop with catchy, bouncing beats and cheeky electronic inklings. Saturated with infectious hooks, dazzling vocals and attentive, well-crafted storytelling, it’s no surprise Priory are swiftly making their mark on the local and national scene. With their debut on Expunged Records reaching towards such stratospheric heights, surely the stars are not even the limit for this Portland band. - My Old Kentucky Blog


At the expense of simmering tempers and conflictingly opinionated views, chances are that countless times we've all seen the same conversation recited as to what is controversially deemed more important when it comes to the art of making and finding enjoyment out of music. Some will argue that without luscious soundscapes of instrumentation, music somewhat loses its power and conviction. Others lose interest when a record doesn't have signature hooks, irresistible choruses, powerchords and an abundance of melodies. Then there are some that require thoughtfully constructed lyrics that are glazed with sincerity and candidness; lyrics that blossom artistically to paint the vivid imagery of storytelling. Keeping the aforementioned directly in mind, Portland Oregon based quartet, Priory may not have the catchiest hooks or melodies that propel themselves to unreachable heights, but their lyrics are compelling, their music is a charming and delicate composition of indie folk/pop and elements of playful electronics, and there's also an unmistakable feeling of vulnerability, tenderness and reflection that gives this debut a sense of melancholy, stability and balance.

Beginning with nothing more than elegant and intimate guitar strumming, "Kings Of Troy" showcases Priory's eclectic nature and underlying musical direction. There are multiple cases of high rising falsetto notes from Kyle Dieker that soar and cascade together seamlessly in order to manufacture and produce enchanting and equally unforgettable harmonies. Lyrically it's quite open to individual interpretation and encourages freedom of exploration, but despite the light-hearted instrumentation and simplicity of the arrangements, the poetry-like vibe within the lyrics combines adequately with synth flourishes to become more than enough for listens to gravitate towards. "Lady Of Late" serves to be arguably the catchiest number on the release with its frequent use of harmonica and pulsating machine driven drumbeats. The beauty behind the track itself is in its haunting, dark and graceful atmosphere that it's able to conjure, as lead vocalist Brandon Johnson sings solemnly whilst being accompanied by a gorgeously mesmerizing, lullaby inducing electric guitar, "Just a sinner, I was lost at sea / and I, I heard you calling, it was calling to me / so I went ashore to never be seen again".

As the record drifts onwards it becomes noticeable how the band appear to find comfort and enjoyment from delivering simplistic melodies that are automatically identifiable and radiating with youthful innocence. It's almost as though Priory have perfected the art of intertwining light, breezy and childhood melodies with subject manners that are slightly more dark and sinister in order to create and convey a surreal and melancholy landscape. "Cold Hands" for instance, is a predominantly slow-tempo oriented five minute spectacle that hints at haunting ambiance as the lyrical theme revolves around the tale of a young loving couple dying with their hands held defiantly and tightly together as they gradually feel the heat turn to permanent coldness. Likewise, "Coal Mine" evokes vivid images of an individual who appears trapped and isolated with only critical self-assessments and a waveringly fragile and erratic mindset as the only semblance of company buried in that coalmine as air continues to thin. Both dark, gripping and captivating themes, but the atmosphere rarely transcends into utmost negativity and gloominess due to the glistening major key melodies and triple layered harmonies that are frequently present throughout the contemplative duration of Priory's self-titled debut release.

If you wanted a four minute track that best exemplifies exactly who this band is and what they're trying to achieve, you needn't look much further than the stunning, "White Coats". It opens cheerfully with a prominent xylophone and what appears to be a glockenspiel but like a compelling illusion, the track soon transforms and twists itself in a darker direction with every new instrument played, vocal layer sung, and verse completed. What seemingly started as a quiet and unassuming track suddenly gains tremendous power and momentum as instruments all pile on top of one another frenetically. And as lyrics are repeated steadily it all culminates in the song becoming more paranoiac and unsettling by the second. "So don't you worry about the white coats / when you're lying in your bedroom / just try to get some sleep" are the final words able to be deciphered before everything immediately is rendered inaudible. Album highlight, "Alone" has a distinctly enduring roaming restlessness surrounding it that causes it to stand out from anything you'll hear and find elsewhere on the record. It's a direction that I certainly wouldn't mind the band exploring and experimenting with in future releases for it has a beautifully melodic and undeniably hook-laden opening verse that showcases Johnson's vocal prowess to superb effect. There are handclaps, tambourines and delicately delivered, high rising backing vocals that assist in generating and capturing perhaps the most memorable, finest and striking moment Priory has ever yet created.

However, as with any debut release, there are several missteps and flaws that too need to be addressed and mentioned. One of the biggest criticisms I found is the inability for the opening track to convince you to keep listening. In essence, it's a two minute track that meanders along atmospherically and unconvincingly without purpose or direction. When you're a new and previously unheard band vying for the attention and affection of listeners, an album opener such as this certainly won't help many potential causes. Disappointingly, they also make the same mistake by closing the album in much the same fashion. It all feels kind of needless and it takes away from the overall cohesiveness the band had managed to tirelessly and painstakingly build in the previous ten tracks. Alas, focusing for too long upon negatives would be doing the band and record a terrible disservice and injustice. Slight negatives certainly shouldn't detract from what is a wonderful and compelling debut release full of introspection and the seamless balance between warm folk tunes, pop sensibilities, dark lyrical textures and classy touches of electronic synthesizer thrown in for good measure.
- Absolute Punk

"Shiny Indie Power Pop"

[SHINY INDIE POWER POP] “It feels like we’ve been doing this forever,” says Brandon Johnson, lead vocalist for indie-pop quartet Priory. The statement is hard to believe because Priory, having formed in 2009, plays live shows like it’s still on a honeymoon with the mere idea of being a band.

The Portland quartet—consisting of Johnson, Kyle Dieker, Greg Harpel and Joe Mengis (a new addition not yet pictured in the band’s press photos)—plays a comfortably overstuffed brand of indie pop characterized by gleefully enjambed hooks and sparkling, upper-register harmonies. Though veterans of the Northwest music scene (Johnson is a well-regarded session bassist, and Dieker has worked with independent record labels), the group’s passion for its music can almost be described as “teenaged.” Priory’s debut record features at least twice as many hooks as there are tracks, and its live shows are studies in guitar-bound calisthenics. Prior to their first tour, members of the band all bought memberships to 24-Hour Fitness so they could stay healthy while on the road.

“There came a point where we were all thinking, ‘Hey, this is actually happening. How are we gonna get out of our jobs?’” says Johnson.


“And we had made up our minds…we were gonna go out, get into a bus and travel around and push ourselves like crazy and find out what it actually takes to do this, because we all love it.”

Taking to the road is exactly what the group did, touring across the West Coast and building an ever-greater stable of admirers.

For a band with what might be described as a modest hometown profile, Priory has managed to gain entry to a surprising number of Portland’s most exclusive musical clubs. The quartet is signed to Expunged Records, the boutique home of such acts as Blind Pilot and Sexton Blake. It has played most of Portland’s A-list venues, been featured on the radio show Live Wire!, and cut a debut record whose advance buzz is already evoking calls for songs to soundtrack next summer’s blockbuster films.

It’s easy to see how Priory’s self-titled LP would foment such interest. The record shows a remarkable talent for hooks, mixed with an enthusiasm that suggests a group merely 20 shows into its career, rather than 200. The group adds meat to the bones of Johnson’s earnest songwriting by means of bass guitar, keyboard and glockenspiel, venturing into contorted song structures that happily exploit its talent for daisy-chaining compelling melodies. There is a ghost of Beulah’s flourishing pop in Priory’s arrangements, but wit is subbed out here for earnestness.

On “Kings of Troy,” Johnson describes sexual archery in the grand terms of armies and “the one who’s always been here by my side.” Clichés pop up occasionally: A “heart of stone” and “the end of time” both populate the liner notes for “Lady of Late”—but one gets the feeling these guys mean every word of it.

“We love these simplistic, almost nursery rhyme melodies,” says Johnson. “Melodies that are automatically identifiable, that bring you back to youth or innocence or childhood. You mix that with some subject matter that’s a little bit dark, it creates this kind of melancholy, surreal landscape, and I think that that’s something throughout the album that we try to convey.”

Like so many aspects of Priory’s ongoing enterprises, it’s a balance that the group has been a quick study at achieving.

SEE IT: Priory releases its self-titled debut Friday, June 17, at Mississippi Studios. 9 pm. $8 advance, $10 day of show. 21+.

* Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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- Willamette Week

"Album Review"

The first full-length album from Portland’s Priory is a delightful, catchy and wonderfully fresh record. The fantastic imagery is set up by smart lyrics in wonderful balance with the lovely harmonies and lush melodies. Put all that together and you get a record that is easily accessible to fans of a variety of genres, from pop to folk to math-rock to straight up indie. The production is top notch too, and the influence of Skyler Norwood (who has also produced Priory’s Expunged Records label-mates Blind Pilot and Horse Feathers, among others) is both obvious and very much welcome. The first single “Kings of Troy” is an excellent entry point for the uninitiated and serves as a great example of what else you can expect to find on this refreshingly fun record. Already huge local favorites in their native Pacific Northwest, here’s to hoping they hit the road to spread the love around and continue making this sweet, sweet music. Priory’s self-titled full-length truly is a pleasant surprise and makes this a band to keep an eye on. - The Owl Mag

"Priory-Lady of Late"

ust ran across this band a few moments ago thanks to a finely tuned email from theirs truly. Priory is they type of indie I strive to find, and I am so thankful that they dropped me their info. This indie-pop/electronic-folk quartet from Prtland, Oregon is a breath of fresh air in such a drunken and beat-happy musical society we live in. “It’s finding that balance between the standard acoustic instruments and partnering them with huge electronic bass and keyboard licks,” says the band’s Kyle Dieker when asked to describe their sound. I’d describe it as Indie-Folk with meshed with a drum kit. Or Electronic-pop meshed with Indie-Folk. Or Indie-Rock meshed with Electro-Folk. Or one could just call them their own genre because they blend so many together in such a great way.

Their Self -Titled debut album dropped today and you should definitely check it out if you haven’t. Check out the track “Lady of Late” to get a taste of the band’s style, and watch out for them in the future. - EARMILK

"Priory Album Review"

Priory is a quartet hailing from that lovely pocket of the Pacific Northwest, Portland, to be exact, and they make the kind of songs one would expect to hail from Portland: folky pop songs.

What sets Priory apart from their contemporaries, or such a group as Band of Horses (that was my first impression upon first listen)? Oh, just their lovely vocal melodies weaved in; and maybe their way of crafting super catchy sing-along songs stuck on repeat in your head, like Kings of Troy, Lady of Late or White Coat.

And how could I not mention the touch of warm synth sounds?
I can think of a few bands who have infused their folky songs with synthesizers, but I haven’t heard a folky band from up North, without trying to be cutesy, adding synths to their slightly melancholy sounding songs in quite some time, so it’s fair to say that this self-titled piece is quite a breath of fresh air in terms of the genre of indie pop folk (if that’s even a genre).

Most will be quick to judge their sound and write them off as another indie-folk band, but it’s the poppy sound that truly sets them apart, making you want to keep listening.

Maybe it’s because I know where this band comes from, but I can’t help but to feel compelled to take this album along with me on a hike through Runyon Canyon, or some other lovely hike trail here in Los Angeles (yes, we have quite a collection of lovely hiking trails here).

This album pairs well with a lovely, foresty setting and comfy hiking shoes, and since we have plenty here in LA, the warm embrace of the sun to balance out that poppy element I can’t stop talking about. - MV Remix Rock

"New Track from Priory"

Yesterday was a long day for me, just dancing about in my chair. But, today I think I’ve become refocused after discovering Portland band Priory. At first, I thought I had stumbled upon this great bit of forestry folk, you know, the softer type that takes you to the woods. Then, a bit of a bounce was introduced in the middle of this track, which, while welcome, completely caught me off guard. It’s nice to find a little blend between true folk and street pop, so it’s easy to say that I got hooked on this track from minute one. You’ll be able to find this song, as well as ten others the group has been working on for their self-titled, Priory, record. It will be out on June 21st on Expunged Records, so get into it before you’re too late.
- Austin Town Hall


Since becoming a part of the Ripple Clan I have been given twenty six (give or take one or two) artists to listen to and I have only reviewed eight (this is the ninth). No, it isn't slack of me, the others just didn't click. Priory didn't click with me either. It snapped. So loudly my hermit crab hid in its shell. So loudly that there was a noise complaint put in by the neighbours. So loudly the stray cat that insists on sleeping on my car and getting it's foot prints everywhere didn't show up for a week. So loudly... Well, you get the picture.

This is Priory's debut full length release and it is self titled earlier they released an EP titled Cold Hands. They describe themselves as indie-pop/electronic-folk and are based in Oregon. They consist of four members- Brandon Johnson (vocals, bass) Kyle Deiker (acoustic guitar, keys, bells, falsetto), Rich Preinesberger (drums) and Greg Harpel (lead guitae, bells, keys) Priory is released in June this year.

The songs on the album are catchy, electronic, acoustic, brilliantly written and sung perfectly. It is important to note that despite their catchy, pop appearance some of the songs tackle some quite dark subjects.

“Worthy Dreams” is the first song on the album and it is mirrored with the last song. “smearD yhtroW” is the reverse of the first and it is an interesting way to tie things off. It sounds quite electric and is a happy, cheery way to start us off.

It is then followed with the clean, acoustic “Kings of Troy” being about a man who's girlfriend is constantly sought after by other men.

“Lady of Late” goes back into the more electronic sounds. It has catchy lyrics that are quite heavy.
“I was born, with a heart of stone
Till you came along, and you broke my throne
Now, Here I stand with your hand in mine
Still a humble man till the end of time”

“Don't look in my face, said the girl with a scar”
However, it is paired with really, really good music.

Following the electronic “Coal Mine”, “Red Sun” and the acoustic “Searching” and “Devil vs Heater” is “Cold Hands.” A song about two lovers dying in a car accident together.
“I was by your side when your hands went cold
When your hands went cold
You were by my side when my eyes went closed”

“Wait” has lighter content compared to the other songs on the album and it is accompanied by a mixture of acoustic and electronic sounds.
“I think I'm falling in love again,
I think I'm falling out of love again”

“White Coats” a predominately acoustic song follows, then the reverse song, “smaerD yhtroW”.

Priory is a pretty fun album music wise as it is varied, interesting and well composed. The lyrics add a darker meaning that you sometimes have to listen a few times to really get. Over all, very good.

-Koala - The Ripple Effect

"Priory Mixes It Up With Kings of Troy"

Portland indie rockers Priory take this track all over the place. It is quite catchy and easy to warm up to, but possesses a bit of a melancholy side that begs for a second listen. I recommend this one for a listen to brighten your Thursday. - Ruckus

"Seismic-Sound Featured Track"

If you haven’t heard of Priory out of Portland, Oregon; I imagine it is just a matter of time, because these boys have some infectious indie-pop/electronic-folk music, that’s bound to get under your skin. Their new self titled LP will be hitting the stores on June 21st under the Expunged Records label, so make sure you keep your eyes peeled, cause our sister city varries butt-loads of talent and I predict Priory to make some waves. - Seismic Sound

"Future Sounds; Song of the Day "Kings of Troy""

We’ve been fans of Portland’s PRIORY ever since we first heard “Devil Vs Heater“ and then booked them for The Rumble: Portland party last June, and since then we’ve watched these guys grow and produce an album, “Cold Hands” that’s jammed with great songs, such as this one, “Kings Of Troy”. They release their record on Expunged Records on June 17th at Mississippi Studios and here’s a taste of what’s on there. - Future Sounds

"Live Wire Radio- musical guest Priory"

Formed by old friends and a mix of styles, this unique blend of forms and personalities creates a profound sound and inspiring live show. - Live Wire

"Featured Show @ High Dive"

We always have advice on shows to go see....our "featured" show is tonight. Get there early to see if BEARS were BEES, Priory and More Than Lester. I'm telling you this show will be sick! We will be there! For more options look at our show page and or click on poster for more details. - Sesmic Sound

"Priory -- Indie-folk yes, pretentious no"

Priory looks how a Portland indie-folk band is expected to look, all tattoos and hipster facial hair and kaffiyehs and whatnot.

If you're at all familiar with the Northwest music scene, you've seen bands that look like this for years and have become wary of their painfully precious music, songs that sound like little Fabergé eggs. As a guy who prefers a bit of sand in his rock 'n' roll, I don't begrudge you that wariness. But before writing off Priory as yet another purveyor of self-consciously quirky Northwest indie sensitivity, you should probably listen to their stuff.

Because it's good. Like, really good.

Their debut EP, seven songs of catchy hooks and impeccable vocal harmonies, keeps all the best aspects of the Northwest indie-folk genre while replacing the pained wimpiness of it with solid pop sensibilities and just a bit of raucous noise. You can hear influences as disparate as The Cure, Hank Williams and The Beach Boys.

"It's a marriage between the pop of the '80s and the twang of the '50s and '60s," says Kyle Dieker, who plays guitar and keyboards and sings harmony. "It's like this idea of having a little Hank Williams along with a big, fuzzy bass line."

In its earliest form, the band started when Dieker, a Yakima native, was living in Portland with his friend Brandon Johnson. Johnson, who plays bass and is the band's lead singer, had studied music in college and Dieker was, as Johnson puts it, "an electro-kid whiz."

(An aside: This story comes from a speaker-phone interview earlier this week with three members of the band. When Dieker hears Johnson describe him, he says, "Electro-kid whiz? I want that in print." Here you go, Kyle.)

"I immediately knew we played well together," Johnson says of those early days.

But it was just a couple of friends, messing around with songs in a shared kitchen full of beer cans, and nothing came of it. They both moved on. Johnson became a blacksmith in Oklahoma -- no, seriously -- and Dieker got a job working at a group home for people with disabilities. Then, a couple of years ago, they found themselves married and back in the Portland area. They hadn't talked in a while, but their wives hit it off. So Johnson and Dieker started playing together again.

"We'd get together and drink a bunch of beer and just write," Johnson says.

The partnership was easy, they say, but the songs were sprawling and sloppy until they enlisted another old friend, drummer Richard Joachim Preinesberger.

"He came in and immediately brought solidarity to our music and gave it a backbone," Johnson says.

Priory rounded out its lineup with Greg Harpel, another Yakima native, on guitar, keyboards and backing vocals. His guitar playing, which leans toward the classic Americana style of Chet Atkins or Woody Guthrie with a little reverb thrown in, kind of ties it all together, Johnson and Dieker say.

"Greg is a poet in real life, and he's a poet when he plays," Dieker says.

This lineup caught the ear of Anthony McNamer, founder of Expunged Records and impresario of Portland's indie music scene. With that first EP already recorded for Coat-Tail Records, Priory returned to the studio to further hone those songs and create new ones for a full-length album to be released this spring. They also booked gigs at some of the best "scene" joints in the Northwest, including Portland's Doug Fir Lounge and the High Dive in Seattle. The tour that's bringing them through Yakima next week is the first that will take them outside the Northwest, hitting Denver, Phoenix and Austin, Texas.

"We've all basically gotten to the point where we're quitting our jobs and putting all our eggs in one basket," Johnson says.

They're at the right place to do that, with Expunged Records and McNamer backing them and a new album ready for release.

"I really like our EP, but this blows our EP away," Johnson says. "We wrote the songs together for both, and when you start to write together there's insecurity involved. Now we're at this point where we can all get together in a room and it just flows."

If that is, indeed, the case, then Priory will only further separate itself from the crowded indie-folk pack.
- Yakima Herald


Slap the folk label on a band is kind of a sweeping generalization -- simplicity in instrumentation and a focus on vocals might be a better way to describe Portland's Priory, who come through Denver tonight for the second time in the past few months. Reminiscent of Wolf Parade and the Anniversary, Priory pulls it all back with gorgeous melodies shared between synth lines and vocals.
Signed to Expunged Records, Priory is gearing up for the release of it's first full-length this spring, but in the mean time you can buy the band's 2010 seven-song EP, Cold Hands, from them directly at the show tonight. And you should, because merch money is how bands put gas in their tanks. - WESTWORD

"Deli Magazine Best of 2010 Readers Poll (TOP 5)"

Voted on by the fans Priory makes top 5 New bands in Portland OR - Deli Magazine

"Devil VS Heater"

nice melodic guitar riff permeates this great tune. I really like the vocals, especially the harmonies. Also, they make good use of percussion. All-in-all I really enjoy this one. - musicthatisntbad

"Larry Little"

Larry Little Owner of Future Sounds
"I have to say that 'Devil Vs Heater' is one of my favorite songs of the year. my wife walks around singing it. the whole release is strong." Larry - Future Sounds

"Future Sounds Song of the Day!"


PrioryWe finally got a copy of the first EP from the Portland band, PRIORY, and some instant classics jumped out at us – the first being this one, “Devil Vs Heater“. Our buddy Jake turned us onto them and we booked them for THE RUMBLE: PORTLAND back in June and they were a fan favorite.The Pacific Northwest seems to specialize in bands that are fuzzy and folkie and use the time inside during the rains wisely, crafting tunes that stick and make an emotional impact. The EP is called “Cold Hands“, and it’ll hit you like a freight train.

SONG OF THE DAY: Priory “Devil Vs Heater” - Future Sounds


We finally got a copy of the first EP from the Portland band, PRIORY, and some instant classics jumped out at us – the first being this one, “Devil Vs Heater“. Our buddy Jake turned us onto them and we booked them for THE RUMBLE: PORTLAND back in June and they were a fan favorite.The Pacific Northwest seems to specialize in bands that are fuzzy and folkie and use the time inside during the rains wisely, crafting tunes that stick and make an emotional impact. The EP is called “Cold Hands“, and it’ll hit you like a freight train. - Future Sounds

"The Rumble Portland"

"Guys that we've quickly called 'friends' - PRIORY - a PDX four-piece calling themselves spacious folk rockers with touches of classic rock and soul with their debut scheduled to come out in June. Track “Devil vs. Heater” is sprawling number peppered with three part a cappella harmonies." Future Sounds - Future Sounds


Cold Hands, EP- September 2010
PRIORY, Full Length LP- June 21st 2011

Expunged Records

Streaming: Kings of Troy, Devil vs. Heater, Lady of Late
Radio airplay: Devil vs. Heater, Lady of Late, Kings of Troy



From the within the boundaries of the Northwest, Priory is comprised of four members who have convened to assemble the variances of their musical convictions. Songwriting began with the reunion of long time collaborators Brandon Johnson and Kyle Dieker in 2008. Greg Harpel was soon added to the roster on guitar. Recent addition of renowned Portland drummer Joe Mingus (Climber) on drums rounds out the sound. Using Portland as a base of operations and strong support of the community therein, Priory has successfully honed in on the infectious sound.

The sound is rooted in folk, with the hooks of the best pop, the energy of electronic instrumentation, and the solid backbone of punk rock percussion. In addition, the use of eclectic vocal harmonies bring an anthemic charge. Truly such a dynamic sound cannot be found elsewhere.

Beyond appearances at such festivals as Neon Reverb in Las Vegas, Priory has been making friends and gaining avid fans along every stop on the road. More evidence of Priory’s accomplishment include a recent guest appearance on the nationally renowned radio program, Live Wire, choice pick for Future Sound’s Song-of-the-Day, as well as a spot on Deli Magazine’s list of top five emerging bands from Portland in 2010 (popularly voted).

Priory has played at Portland's top venues, packing out the Doug Fir, the Holocene and Mississippi Studios. Priory is sponsored by clothing company Tank Farm, and is a part of the Future Sounds family.

In 2010 Priory recorded an EP with Skyler Norwood who produced Priory and indie favorites such as Talk Demonic, Viva Voce, Blind Pilot and Horse Feathers. In 2011 Priory went back into the studio to finish the self titled full length PRIORY coming out on Expunged Record in June 21st 2011!