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Show Review

Priory's Brandon Rush and Kyle Sears met as new roommates in a rundown flat in Portland OR. House chores were apparently not the only thing the two shared. A love of music lead to the folkie foundations of the band we're psyched to be featuring in our newest Front Row Encounter. Almost immediately, you'll notice the term "folk" doesn't really apply.

That's because the songs the duo and their band share for a boozy afternoon get together at SXSW are of a decidedly poppier nature. Pulled from their major label debut Need To Know, Rush and Sears are serious, pop operators, driving their sound with quirky synth work, percolating bits of chirpy guitar, a beat worth bouncing to, and a host of other playful trinkets of sound.

Now calling Los Angeles home, songs like "Put 'Em Up" - the wicked set kicker that leads with a message of love and tolerance and acceptance for all - "Weekend" ("Hell yeah, I just got paid!"), and the surprisingly gospel-tinged tune "Mother Mary" are perfectly suited for the months of warm-weather listening to come. If you fell for Passion Pit or Foster The People, this joyful offering might cement Priory as your new favorite band.

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Transcript

- We're gonna play a song called "Put them up.
" This song is about equality.
All I'm saying is love on us.
I love on you guys, even though this is... They said when I was young, I had some kind of sickness.
See how I have weathered.
You tell me if I'm better.
If my mother had her way, her son would be a preacher.
You're looking for redemption.
We're bringing that old-fashioned healing.
Don't make me put 'em up.
Don't make me put 'em up.
You won't like me.
Don't make me put 'em up.
Don't make me put 'em up.
It's not like me.
Boys will be boys who like boys who just like girls, and that's all right.
We're hanging with the boys that look like girls tonight.
Girls will be girls who like girls who just like boys. Stand and fight.
We're hanging with the girls who look like boys. All right.
Don't make me put 'em up.
Don't make me put 'em up.
You won't like me.
Don't make me put 'em up.
Don't make me put 'em up.
It's not like me.
If my mother had her way, her son would be a preacher.
You're looking for redemption.
I bring that old-fashioned healing.
I don't care if you're a Christian or a Hari Krishna.
Who gave you the right to judge another's lover?
Now's the times are changing.
So keep the hate from creeping in,
Because the bed that you're building is the one you got to sleep in.
Don't make me put 'em up.
Don't make me put 'em up.
You won't like me.
Don't make me put 'em up.
Don't make me put 'em up.
It's not like me.
Boys will be boys who like boys who just like girls,
and that's all right.
We're hanging with the boys that look like girls tonight.
Girls will be girls who like girls who just like boys. Stand and fight.
We're hanging with the girls that look like boys. All right.
- I'm not scared of monsters.
Monsters are scared of me.
This feeling, my friends and my demons
They're calling me out.
This feeling, my friends and my demons. You're calling me out.
Live fast.
Live young.
Play with fire. Play with guns.
If they knew what we had done, would they stay? Or would they run tonight?
That kid's gonna be all right.
I'm searching for the voice of reason, but reason never speaks.
So all these little monsters showing off their teeth tonight.
That kids gonna be all right.
This feeling, my friends and my demons. They're calling me out.
This feeling, my friends and my demons They're calling me out.
Grab a brick.
Grab a bottle.
Molotovs just for fun.
If you hear the sirens, run.
They come looking but we're gone tonight.
Slash a tire.
Start a fire.
Gun the car into a drift.
Stumble home.
Scraped knees, ripped T's, fat lip tonight.
All the king's horses and all the king's men
couldn't put the kid back together again, from last night.
That kid's gonna be all right.
Sirens, sirens call all your friends,
couldn't put the kid back together again, from last night.
That kid's gonna be all right.
This feeling, my friends and my demons They're calling me out.
This feeling, my friends and my demons. They're calling me out
Searching for the voice of reason.
My friends and my demons They're calling me out.
All the king's horses and all the king's men
My friends and my demons They're calling me out.
All the king's horses, all the king's men,
couldn't put the kid back together again.
- Tonight.
Call me if you want.
Please, call me if you're able.
It's better this way, to lay it all out on the table.
You're a work of fiction a sleight of hand
acting like a lion laying with the lamb.
You know my seeds won't grow unless I tend the land.
Now watch my seeds.
They grow.
I'm not some paper tiger.
I've got teeth now watch me start a fire.
The other boys, they've got no desire
They're just lazy boys.
I'm not some paper tiger.
I've got teeth, watch me start a fire
The other boys, they've got no desire.
They're just lazy boys
You get tired of giving all the reasons
Bury your head amidst the changing of the seasons.
The noise and dust and change in time,
I know it's hard to trust when a loved one dies.
Eyes dry out if you never cry, oh your eyes dried out
I'm not a paper tiger.
I've got teeth now watch me start a fire
The other boys, they've got no desire.
They're just lazy boys.
I'm not some paper tiger.
I've got teeth, now watch me start a fire
The other boys, they've got no desire.
They're just lazy boys
Good, bad, and in between.
Say things that we don't mean.
It's cold against our naked skin.
Scared, but we learn to swim.
Young love and their sweet caress
Heart beating out of your chest, the cry of a baby born,
All things we're fighting for
I'm not some paper tiger.
I've got teeth, now watch me start a fire.
The other boys, they've got no desire.
They're just lazy boys.
I'm not some paper tiger.
I've got teeth, now watch me start a fire
The other boys, they've got no desire.
They're just lazy boys.
I'm not some paper tiger, I've got teeth, not watch me start a fire
The other boys, they've got no desire.
They're just lazy boys.
I'm not some paper tiger
It's supper time, but he stays outside
He tends the field while the sun is high.
He drowns himself in a bottle of rye.
The young men live while the old men, oh
Mother Mary, won't you bury me?
Oh, mother Mary, won't you carry my soul?
Oh, mother Mary, won't you carry me
to a place where I can sleep?
Oh, mother Mary, won't you marry me?
Oh, mother Mary, won't you carry my soul?
Oh, mother Mary, won't you carry me to the place where I can sleep?
The days are hard, but there's mouths to feed,
and his old hands still sowing seeds.
Remember when he was young, he made that creed
until the morning call you, he will leave.
Oh, mother Mary, won't you bury me?
Oh, mother Mary, won't you carry my soul?
Oh, mother Mary, won't you bury me in a place where I can sleep?
Oh, mother Mary, won't you bury me?
Oh, mother Mary, won't you carry my soul?
Oh, mother Mary, won't you carry me to a place where I can sleep?
The days are hard.
The days are hard.
The days are hard.
The days are hard.
Mother Mary, won't you bury me? Oh, mother Mary, won't you carry my soul?
Oh, mother Mary, won't you carry me to a place where I can sleep?
- Thanks, guys.
All right.
We got two more songs for you.
This one is called "Weekend.
" And all the kids now, they come running.
It's the weekend.
It's the weekend.
And all the parents, they keep calling, but there's no answer
because it's the weekend.
Working-class to the bone, and I know you're tired of hearing it.
It's the weekend.
It's the weekend.
This right here is the deal proletariat.
It's the weekend.
Come on the weekend.
Hell yeah.
I just got paid.
It's time to get this started.
Wait till I stick my crane.
Forget that I was ever your whipping boy.
Tonight, I might just lose my way, but I'll never get down-hearted.
Friends keep enemies at bay.
Forget that I was ever your whipping boy.
And all the kids now, they come running.
It's the weekend. It's the weekend.
And all the parents, they keep calling,
but there's no answer, because it's the weekend.
Hell yeah.
I just got paid.
It's time to get this started.
Wait till I stake my grave.
Forget that I was ever a whipping boy.
Tonight, I might just lose my way, but I'll never get down-hearted.
Friends keep enemies at bay.
Forget that I was ever your whipping boy.
Rest when we're old, should do as we're told,
but I just can't help it.
I reach for the stove.
The knot closes in.
Now for the second act,
and now friends go in because we're hanging back.
You trip like a spark.
You light up the dark.
We unlock the mystery.
I knew that you missed me.
My mouth on your neck, your touch on my cheek,
the heads gather way as we play hide-and-seek.
Oh, baby.
Please, stay true.
What you gonna do
when I come for you? Oh, baby. Please, stay true.
What you gonna do? Yeah, my arrows shoot for you.
These arrows shoot so true.
These arrows shoot for you.
These arrows shoot so true.
Hell yeah.
I just got paid.
It's time to get this started.
Wait till I stake my claim.
Forget that I was ever your whipping boy.
Tonight, I might just lose my way, but I'll never get down-hearted.
Friends keep enemies at bay.
Forget that I was ever your whipping boy.
Hell yeah.
I just got paid.
It's time to get this started.
Wait till I stake my claim.
Forget that I was ever your whipping boy.
Tonight, I might just lose my way, but I'll never get down-hearted.
Friends keep enemies at bay.
Forget that I was ever your whipping boy.
- All right.
Last one.
So crisp.
Yeah, I must be freezing.
Give it up like it's hunting season.
I know mama said don't do drugs, but a little smoke's fun when I make love.
Always looking out for my best interest,
but my mind's made up.
You can't win this.
Gonna do what it takes, yeah, to feel right,
even if it means staying up all night.
Give it up, give it up.
Yeah, it's big love.
Give it up.
Give the world a fucking big hug.
Give it up, give it up.
Yeah, it's big love.
Big love's gonna knock you out.
Big love's gonna knock you out.
Big love's gonna knock you out.
Big love's gonna knock you out.
So close, I can almost taste it.
Life's short. So you better not waste it.
Throw it out if it gives you the wrong road,
and play it off like an album, the "best of."
Give it up, give it up till it hurts,
till your legs give out, till your heart bursts.
You'll be singing from the car, front and the back, hers.
Give it up when the shit can't get worse.
Give it up, give it up.
Yeah, it's big love.
Give it up.
Give the world a fucking big hug.
Give it up, give it up.
Yeah, it's big love.
Big love's gonna knock you out.
Big love's gonna knock you out.
Big love's gonna knock you out.
Big love's gonna knock you out.
Big love's gonna knock you out.
I get the feeling someone wants to love me.
I get the feeling someone's gonna do me right.
I get the feeling someone wants to love me.
Someone's gonna do me right.
I get the feeling you might be that someone.
We can make it work tonight.
Big love's gonna knock you out.
Big love's gonna knock you out.
Big love's gonna knock you out.
My love, my love, my love is big love.
Your love, your love, your love is big love.
Our love, our love, our love is big love.
Big love's gonna knock you out.
My love, my love, my love is big love.
Your love, your love, your love is big love.
Our love, our love, our love is big love.
Big love's gonna knock you out.
- We fucking love you guys.
Thanks for hanging out.
See you soon.
They said when I was young, I had some kind of sickness.
See how I have risen.
You tell me if I'm better.
If my mother had her way, her son would be a preacher.

Artist Bio

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. "Priory" will be released on June 21, 2011 via Portland's Expunged Records (home of 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."

Defined as a house of men or women under religious vows headed by a prior or prioress, a priory is a place of seclusion. A fitting name for a band that made this record, with close friend Skyler Norwood (Blind Pilot, Horsefeathers) at his Miracle Lake Studios, shutting out the rest of the world and focusing on one thing: making the best record they could.

"The members of our band are family, and a priory of sorts," comments Johnson. "We are a group of people with the same obsession and in pursuit of a singular goal."

That goal culminated in their self-titled debut, a record the whole band agrees says: "Hello, we're Priory."

"We set out to make a strong complete record, keeping it self-titled was the best way we knew how to describe the record. It really is a 'Priory'-collection of songs and ideas that speak to us collectively but also individually," explains Dieker.

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.

One might ask, did the band accomplish their goal? The band asked themselves this the minute they got the final, mastered copy back. And, everyone looked at each other and answered with a resounding "yes."

"We came out of the studio with a record that sounds like we actually sound, and that is something Priory is quite proud of," says Dieker.

Songs were recorded. Lessons were learned. And one amazing debut album was born.

"I learned to trust myself in the recording process," Johnson says of the studio experience. "I have also learned that rabbit trails can lead to amazing places."

Dieker adds, "Pay attention. Amazing things can take place if you have patience and listen."

Priory's record is certainly the result of patience and listening. Whether it's listening to your band mates and their ideas, listening to the engineer, or just listening to yourself and going with your gut.

Now, with the record done, the band has a new goal, which they plan to accomplish with relentless touring.

"We want the opportunity to play for as many people as are willing to listen. Our goal is do this for a very long time," says Johnson.

"We want the album to impact people in a way that encourages and inspires them. We want to continue creating records that challenge us as musicians," adds Dieker. "We are probably more of a pop band than an indie band. We just love great songs and great songwriting."

After listening to Priory's self-titled full-length, great song and great songwriting is what everyone can, and will, agree on.

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Priory

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