Posted July 26, 2012 by Mike Mineo in Tracks

Stream: Houndstooth – “Hidden Hollers”

houndstooth portland

Comprised of five members already familiar with Portland’s music scene, Houndstooth produce a mellow style of alt-rock with crunchy distortion and fleeting guitar licks inspired by southern-rock. Katie Bernstein, formerly of The Hunnies, has a caressing voice that sounds gentle but not overly meek, a quality comparable to Jana Hunter and mr. Gnome’s Nicole Barille. Lead guitarist John Gnorski (Inside Voices, Denver, Wet Wool) shows an audible admiration for Tom Verlaine’s twangy virtuosity; his progressions on “Hidden Hollers” alternate brilliantly between steady guitar bends and softly plucked single notes, providing Bernstein with plenty of opportunities to show off her haunting croon. “Where is the light that you once had?” she asks just prior to the three-minute mark, before the track’s perkier transition to the crisp remnants of southern-rock. Houndstooth are more appropriately classified as alternative, but with the flexibility that allows for the occasional entry of New Wave and southern-rock. The result is a satisfying concoction.

The five-piece are only playing around Portland at the moment, but they should be expanding shortly — especially once their new LP, due out early 2013, is released. Two more highlights below:

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Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine. Send your music to [email protected].