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Studio Session: Houndstooth

As seems to happen so often in Portland, the members of Houndstooth all came from elsewhere to find each other. John Gnorski and Katie Bernstein each claim Southern roots, while bassist Courtney Sheedy and guitarist Michael Yun hail from Detroit. Drummer Graeme Gibson, who recorded and produced Ride Out the Dark and is the newest member of the group, is Canadian.

The result of that equation is a remarkably accomplished and confident-sounding collection that is both fresh and familiar. Houndstooth evokes the likes of the Paisley Underground and early Cowboy Junkies (among others) with Bernstein’s understated vocals complemented perfectly by Gnorski’s weaving guitar lines.

Ride Out the Dark is the culmination of three years of writing and recording after core duo Gnorski and Bernstein began working on songs together in 2010. Gibson recorded the album in the former space of famed ’90s grunge venue La Luna, which he jokes will make sense if the music sounds “like ’90s grunge, when flannel was cool for the 40th time, not the 45th time.”

Truthfully, the album is more a melange of the quintet’s collective influences. “I think we bring different things to a song, which I think makes it really round and interesting,” Bernstein says.

The group of Portland transplants were serendipitously signed to the New York-based No Quarter label while creating the album. The label saw the group in a recorded PDX Pop Now performance.

The band joined opbmusic to play songs from the debut, as well as a new song in the works.

Watch and listen to the full opbmusic session.

Houndstooth opbmusic studio session

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