Quaker Gun
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Quaker Gun

Band Rock Pop


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"Quaker Gun Shoots to Thrill"

February 15, 2006
by C.J. Ciaramella

Patrons of Mississippi Pizza were treated to more than a good slice of pie when local band Quaker Gun took the stage for their CD release party on February 5.

Quaker Gun burned through two sets of their patented mix of indie and country rock to celebrate the release of their new, self-titled album, revealing a talent for catchy songs that break out of the standard rock format.

The band was confident and tight as a group. The lead singer kept things steady with his Tele- and Strat-style guitars, while the second guitarist, Jake Spears, played his Gibson hollow body with just the right amount of bite. To his credit as a musician, Spears knew when to lay back and add some six-string shimmer and when to rip into a crowd-pleasing solo.

The other members weren't slouches either. The rhythm section knew how to lay down a groove, filled with punchy bass and clean, tight drumming.

Quaker Gun's sound reflects mainly the alt-country styling of Wilco, modern indie, and some of the laid back rock of yester-year. On some tunes the band even threw out soaring harmony lines that sent the listener into '60s jangle-pop heaven, not to mention a spot-on cover of "Last Dance with Mary Jane" by Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers.

Although they are firmly rooted in their particular style, Quaker Gun's songs managed to run a gamut of sound, from slow, country shuffles to up-tempo barn-burners.

The band refuses to stay put lyrically, either. Some songs were sad and whistful, while others had tongue firmly placed in cheek, such as the epic "Meathead and Barbie," which recounted the tale of a vapid, mall couple. The song also incuded one of my new favorite lines: "So the saga goes/it runs on and on like panty hose."

But perhaps the best feature of Quaker Gun isn't their carefully-crafted country-rock or their weaving harmonies, but simply their attitude. The band is devoid of the indie pretentiousness that is currently clogging up thousands of college kids' iPods. No shoe-gazing introspections. No art for art's sake. Just easy-going rock and roll.

In between songs, and sometimes during them, the band bantered with each other or broke into laughter. They even threw out an impromptu "Happy Birthday" and a polka-ish joke song toward the end of the show as the singer explained, "Our rhythm section thinks it's funny to play the second verse of that song differently every time to see if they can mess Jake Spears up."

Listening to Quaker Gun makes one nostalgic for the early and mid-'90s, when being indie was about the music you made and the chances you took (not to mention having a good time), rather than how ironic and detached you appeared on stage.

So if you are a fan of indie, country-rock or pop music in general, give Quaker Gun a listen. You just might find yourself pleasantly surprised. - The Clackamas Print

"Local Cut: Portland's Music Journal"

Casey Jarman writes a review of Quaker Gun, "The Gallows," of of the Wood & String CD:

This Decemberist-ish tune comes courtesy of Quaker Gun, a young Portland group that’s been hanging at the White Eagle an awful lot lately as host to a monthly showcase that features, primarily, other young Portland indie rock outfits.

“The Gallows,” like many songs in the band’s short repertoire, shows a deep understanding of song structure and a surprising level of musicianship (considering how fresh-faced these guys are); but it also shows a band that’s still finding itself. With the song’s over dramatic old west storyline and fanciful guitar theatrics, Quaker Gun could do well to find some subtlety. But, seeing as how most of the other pieces are in place, when QG finds that balance, it’ll be a band to watch. Until then, just rock out to the swelling drums and crazy guitars.

The band’s next “Unfiltered Indie Rock Showcase” (which takes place every third Wednesday of the month) is Wednesday, March 21, at the White Eagle with Alan Singley & Pants Machine, and Jared Mees. 8:30 pm. Free. 21+.

- Willamette Week

"TAXI Critique of The Gallows"

Hmm. I think this could easily appeal to fans of indie, modern, alternative, or even classic rock material.
Melody: Good music in verses. Good music in choruses. Very memorable throughout.

Structure: Well-written structure. Good sectional contrast. Flows smooth from start to finish. Strong use of dynamics. Very satisfying emotionally.

Lyric: First line makes me want to hear more. Engaging. Cohesive. Good use of imager. Rhymes well. Communicates emotion to listener. Vocal does help to sell song.
The vocal performance contains so much obvious emotion, and the lyrical them and imagery are really distinctive. Great stuff!

Overall Comments: Quite honestly, this is the shit! This track contains everything I look for in music--a solid, dynamic musical arrangement, an expressive vocal performance, and a lyrical theme and imagery that sound truly inspired. Your stylistic approach could be categorized as any number of things, but in fact sounds limply classic to me, which isn't to say this is "classic rock." It just has a classic sensibility. Love the way in which you use dynamics to increase the emotional resonance of the performance. The vocal easily conveys the emotion inherent in the lyrical sentiment. Nothing about the arrangement seems excessive. Each member of the band seems totally focused on the overall group aesthetic. You're all great players as well. I could listen to this 20 times in a row and not grow tired of it!

Overall Rating: On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being best, the song received 9 on Music, Lyrics, Arrangement, Production, and Engineering. An 8 on Marketability.
- TAXI/Disc Makers Free Critique

"UsedWigs Online Zine"

Quaker Gun
Wood & String

Put very simply, I like these guys. A young band out of Portland, Oregon, they are about as indie as they come – and as we know, sometimes that's where the magic happens. At the very least, it's where the magic begins – and while I think it would be a disservice (to them, especially) to say that they've completely arrived with this release, the potential is certainly here.

Their just-released debut Wood & String is a crisp 8-song gem that, like the Happy Hollows disc Bunnies and Bombs, I was perfectly content to let repeat in my car stereo as I wheeled around town, and for many of the same reasons. These guys sound like hard working chaps who believe in what they're doing, and it's hard not to respond to that. Of course, it would be a lot easier to blow off if they sucked; they most certainly do not.

The band is a tight four-piece of very competent musicians with a suburban chip on their shoulder and more of a flair for jumpy roadhouse roots-rock than pop, punk, or the latest wave of 80's overhauls (maybe somewhere between Drive By Truckers and Calexico with a DIY feel to it). That said, they've really tried to kick the cart off the rails a bit and have come up with some interesting new ideas on this record. In the process, they take a few well-played chances, like the incongruous and oh-so-sweet guitar break in "I Told You So" (yes, their guitarist can play that thang), which also boasts some fantastic harmonica and a great sing along chorus. Elsewhere, they incorporate an interesting melody in "The Gallows" that reminds me of the grandeur of the holiday standard "We Three Kings", incorporate a really interesting minimalist falsetto harmony in the chorus of "Mamma's Blues", and throw in some gentle acoustic pieces as well.

For evidence of what this band is capable of, check out their mini-opuses "Davie's Reputation" and "The Maestro". Favorite verse:

bossman steps on the stagecoach
flicks his cigarette
"let's roll"
my piano dances with the flames
and boogies down to charred remains
he says to me "you're good kid, but not great…"
"keep playin'"

This could be the first solid step of an exceptional career — keep up the good work, fellas. - RS

by Russ Starke, Music Reporter
Used Wigs

- Used Wigs


Self Titled CD, Quaker Gun, released in February 2006. New Wood & String CD released mid-January 2007. For streaming or downloads go to www.myspace.com/quakergun. Both complete CDs available at Music Millennium and online at CD Baby.

Photos taken at the White Eagle for Quaker Gun are the work of Jennie Baker, a freelance photographer in Portland, Oregon. Jennie enjoys working with bands and local venues.

Contact Jennie at : www.photomandala.com or photomandala@yahoo.com



Every member of Quaker Gun has an area of expertise, and it's clear by the music they create there's a great deal of shared musical respect. All four band members started their appreciation of music and professional musical educations at a very young age. They have great stage presence and they can always be counted on to give 100% whenever they perform. It is not uncommon to hear hoots and hollers cheering the band on throughout their performances. With influences like Queen, Pink Floyd, Billy Idol, Elliott Smith, Wilco, Engine Down, Thelonius Monk, Miles Davis, Paul McCartney, and Johnny Cash, you can be certain of one thing, these guys know music and they plan to put some serious energy into shaping the music scene of the future.