Priceless Grains of Sand is the third release by one of Portland, Oregon’s most lovable power pop bands - The Quags. This much-anticipated follow-up to 2005’s Devil’s Music (produced by local legend Brian Berg of 44 Long), was recorded throughout 2010 in a DIY studio set up in drummer Jon Beyer’s basement. The Quags, consisting of Beyer, zealous Guitarist/singer/songwriter Dennis Mitchell, and longtime bassist Andy Ricker (of Pok Pok fame), have turned out another memorable album, energetic, rough and ready with a sense of musical history yet channeled for the 21st century.
According to singer Dennis Mitchell, the same things that caused this record to be particularly long in the making, are the same things that help make for an interesting batch of songs: “Life happens… Breakdowns, breakups, cats die, memory loss, restaurants open, deaths, and births. The usual and unusual complexities of life.”
The title “I Can Face the World Now, Now That you’re With Me” was lifted from an imaginary song by the imaginary band, Geoff Lovestone and the Love Gods. The inspiration for “Little Effigy” came about when Dennis Mitchell woke one morning to find cardboard cut outs of Keith Richards hanging from a tree in front of his apartment. “Dear Memory” reflects upon the concussion and final tragic decision of a good friend. Ultimately, Priceless Grains of Sand finds the Quags, in top form once again.
Brian Berg, who also played piano on their 2002’s debut release Out in the Community, steps in again, this time not only as producer/engineer but as a band member, contributing beautiful harmonies and supplying some wild lead guitar.
The Quags-Priceless Grains of Sand. It's great to have this Oregon band back for the first time since 2005's Devil's Music. The Quags are on the Paisley Pop label and for those unfamiliar it means classic rock-infused power pop, in this case reminiscent of bands like The Kinks and The Figgs. The opening 1-2 of "Human Thing" and "Favorite Parasite" drive this comparison home, and the laidback "Beautifully Insane" is another treat. Elsewhere, "It Takes Heart" is a Rockpile-styled delight, "Going Through the Convulsions" rocks out, and "Do Yourself a Mischief" closes things on a wonderfully jangly note with a hint of The Who. Here's hoping we won't have to wait six years for the next one. REVIEW FROM ABSOLUTE POWERPOP
Hailing from Portland, OR and featuring the songs, voice and guitar of Tucson expat Dennis Mitchell (Brementown Musicians, Dennis Mitchell and the Wilsons, Crack City Rockers), the Quags are quite simply a good old fashioned 4 piece rock band. Dennis is joined by Andy Ricker on guitar and bass (44 Long, Vehicle, J Hell, Nancy Hess Band, Moxy Love Crux), Jon Beyer on drums (Mission 5, Pacific Wonderland) all veterans of the diverse Portland music scene who have found common ground in Dennis' songs. Mining influences like the Kinks, Buzzcocks, Big Star, Small Faces, Curtis Mayfield, and The Jam, the Quags turn out the type of smart, fun, hooky and rocking tunes that back in the day were trotted out to the masses under the moniker ..powerpop... Though looking to the past for inspiration, the Quags are firmly grounded in the present, equally at home in front of a crowd of young indie popsters or old school rockers. .