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A Cry Out for Prize Country

A Cry Out for Prize Country


Just over three-and-a-half years ago in our wonderfully eclectic city of music, a band was birthed with just a little more to offer than empathetic words or methodical beats. Rising “post-core” group Prize Country has been throwing out more than simple head-banging distortion and fist-pumping vocals, to much more than just their West Coast or even East Coast brethren. At the start of this month, Prize County’s new album …With Love has gained not only the gaze of the local eye, but also widespread overseas attention, including two front-page magazine covers. “With Love is 30+ minutes of surging, beautifully rhythmic music, lead by tantalizing dual guitars, a sharp-toothed bass drum pedal, and the soft-spoken, but pointed vocals of Aaron Blanchard,” states Jordan of PastePunk.com.

Being unfamiliar with Prize County’s previous recordings, I am surprised to say that …With Love is actually a big step in what seems to be the right direction. “The album definitely picks up right where they left off on Lottery of Recognition, with maybe even more of an emphasis on their Bay Area post-hardcore influences of old this time around” (Built on a Weak Spot). Although a lot of albums like to cover the obvious aspects of love and loss and blah blah blah, Prize Country seems to have taken a different route, focusing on love with an “eh, who gives a shit?” attitude. “‘Lyrically, it’s supposed to be kinda sexy, dirty and nasty,’ explains vocalist/guitarist Aaron Blanchard. ‘Originally, the [album] title was From the Gutter With Love, and it was this dirty, sexy thing all about drinking, partying and having a good time. It just seemed right’ (Decibel Magazine).

Well the CD is out, the reviews are in, and now the group is on the move. Just finishing up 2009 with a lineup of over 30 stops spread across the U.S., 2010 holds expectations the band is sure to uphold. But for now, it’s time for Portland’s three-and-a-half-year-old kindred to play for their family. Come the 6th of February, when Prize Country will be crying out to the masses at Portland’s Ash Street Saloon. Show starts at 9:30 pm with three opening acts including Portland's Microtia, Monterey, CA's thrashers Razorhoof, and Willamette Valley-reps Norska. The $5 cover hardly seems like a charge. If you’re at all curious about what these guys will be offering up, I highly suggest making this your late-night Saturday rendezvous.

“We play music because we have to. It’s inside of us. We make music we want, and its pretty awesome” (Prize Country, 2009).

- Michael Miller

Published: January 30, 2010 |

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