Corner Gospel Explosion
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Corner Gospel Explosion

Bend, Oregon, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

Bend, Oregon, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Rock Indie




"Corner Gospel Explosion's Tension"

Corner Gospel Explosion’s debut full-length album “Tension” is comparable to standing next to an oil painting you’ve long admired from afar.

If you’re familiar with the band live, you’ve heard most of the 10 tracks on “Tension” before, but never like this. The album reins in the band’s energetic, nearly unhinged live performances just enough to allow all those details you may have missed while headbanging away to shine through.

The immediate takeaway is that singer/drummer Bradley David Parsons is one hell of a songwriter, with a knack for eerie melodies (“Disappear”), soaring choruses (“Song in the Trees,” “Taking Place,” just about any other song on the record) and intricate arrangements (epic seven-minute plus album closer “Through the Fence & Out”). Again, fans have known this for some time, but the crisp production (Parsons engineered along with John Theesen) makes it that much more apparent.

Parsons and his brother, Tyler, make for a rock-solid rhythm section, providing an unwavering back beat for keyboardist Chase Mickel and guitarist Brandon Prinzing to soar over. Prinzing’s heroics are most apparent, especially in the punishing riffs of “Type… Type… Type …” and “Sky is Falling (Na Na Na).” Mickel’s contributions are more subtle, but no less important, coloring in the gaps and pushing songs such as the aforementioned “Taking Place” into the stratosphere.

Speaking of that song, it’s the album’s highlight, hands down, combining all the stylistic threads this band explores (huge riffs, lockstep rhythms, acoustic atmospherics) and pointing to what could lie ahead.

Corner Gospel Explosion album release show; 7 p.m. today; free; The Old Stone Church, 157 NW Franklin Ave., Bend; . —Brian McElhiney - The Bend Bulletin

"Corner Gospel Explosion finds stability, preps new album"

Don’t expect any gospel music at a Corner Gospel Explosion show.

But you could see keyboard player Chase Mickel dressed as a cow, which happened at a benefit show for the Humane Society of Central Oregon this summer. Or you could watch Mickel make sandwiches onstage, as he did at Bite of Bend this year during his first show with the band.

“I took such a huge bite of your sandwich right as we were supposed to start playing,” frontman and drummer Bradley Parsons said recently, remembering the incident with his bandmates at a local coffee shop. “And the problem is I was stuck just chewing —”

“It was PB and bread,” bassist (and Parson’s brother) Tyler Parsons interjected.

“No, it was turkey and bread. I just took a huge bite, and I don’t think I had anything to drink with me onstage, and so for like two minutes I was just like, I’m just gonna have to start singing with food in my mouth,” Brad said. “So we just had to start the song off because, this bite is not going down.”

Then there’s the band’s rocked-out cover of Britney Spears’ late ’90s breakthrough “… Baby One More Time,” which earned the band a following of bachelorette party attendees at a recent show at Atlas Cider — at least for the few minutes the song lasted.

“I think when it comes to covers, it’s fun to be slightly self-deprecating, and go like, this is … slightly embarrassing, but we’re gonna do it,” Brad said. “Every show is quite embarrassing, actually,” Mickel quipped.

This sense of irreverence extends to the band’s music, a driving mix of indie pop hooks, grunge-addled guitar riffs and otherworldly sounds that has pushed the four-piece to the forefront of the local scene this year. Earlier this year, the group was voted “Best Band” in the Source Weekly’s 2015 reader’s poll.

The band’s success could also be due to the sheer volume of gigs it plays. This weekend, the band will open for Portland group Madam Officer at Silver Moon Brewing tonight, then hit the stage outside at Crow’s Feet Commons for the season’s first Apres Ski Bash on Saturday with Beaverton’s Helio Sequence.

“That’s the thing I think we found the most this year, was just knocking on the door has worked really well for us,” Brad said. “And I think that I have enough confidence to go like — not that we deserve what we have to this point — but to go like, yeah, cool. … We put all this effort into getting us to this place, so it’s great to see that the hard work we put in is coming out to the level that we were kind of hoping for.”

While the band’s success might have seemed overnight, it’s been a long time in the making. The current lineup — featuring the Parsons brothers, Mickel and guitarist Brandon Prinzing — is the third the band has had this year.

Brad, known on the local scene for his work behind the kit with Wilderness, launched CGE about 2½ years ago with a batch of 25 self-recorded song demos. The band he built around those demos was originally a six piece that also featured Prinzing, along with former guitarist Nick Graham. At this point, Brad was playing guitar.

After nine months, the lineup imploded. Brad set his sights smaller and recruited Prinzing and Graham again for a trio lineup, which expanded to a four-piece with Tyler on bass.

“And then (we) just continued to add members until we were a five-piece again,” Brad said.

“And so at this point the group had conceptually been around for like a year and a half and we hadn’t done anything. We just gained members, members falling apart, getting so close and then falling apart again.”

When the band finally played its first gig in January of this year, the lineup was Brad on drums and vocals, Tyler on bass, Andrew Harris on guitar and Graham on guitar and keyboards. Harris and Graham eventually both moved to Portland (Graham also played bass with Wilderness), and the final lineup — with Prinzing returning to the band he helped create — fell into place in September.

“But the good news is like with anything — like 409, that was the 409th thing they had done until they found the perfect cleaner, so it’s sort of that situation,” Brad said.

“We are the 409 of Bend,” Tyler added.

Because of the many lineup shifts, Brad has remained the band’s primary songwriter. However, the band’s self-described “knock-your-socks-off indie rock” sound now bears little resemblance to those initial demos Brad recorded by himself, or the self-titled EP the band released earlier this year (also recorded almost entirely by Brad).

“I kind of grew up playing in punk rock and rock bands, and that was always my huge influence,” Prinzing said. “So then when I came in and joined and there was like — I mean, I definitely take my own style, that version of it, and put it in. But it was just, when I rejoined, it was way more there than it was when we were originally playing two years ago. It was like there was this huge amount of rock style — fun, drivey excitement — that was there, and that’s nice.”

With a lineup finally in place, the band is set to drop its first full-length album, “Tension,” at a CD release show at the Old Stone Church on Feb. 5. The band plans to play the album in its entirety, then invite other local singers to perform their favorite “guilty pleasure” songs with CGE backing them up.

“We just wanted to like — let’s think of a weird concept,” Brad said. “We sort of like to think outside of the box anyway, and we’re not afraid to make fun of ourselves.”

— Reporter: 541-617-7814, - The Bend Bulletin

"Album Review: "Tension" by Corner Gospel Explosion"

Corner Gospel Explosion shall not be pigeonholed. The debut album, "Tension," bounces between styles that most bands need years to gain the confidence to pull off. From the dance rock album opener, "Sky is Falling (Na Na Na)," to the epic, seven-and-a-half minute closer, "Through the Fence and Out," Corner Gospel Explosion is ready to be heard now.

CGE is the brainchild of lead singer and multi-instrumentalist Bradley David Parsons, formerly of the band Wilderness.

"I started the band about a year-and- a-half ago as a way to get some song writing jitters out. The original lineup consisted of myself, my brother Tyler Parsons on bass, Nick Graham (from Wilderness) on guitar/keyboards and Andrew Harris on guitar. Over the last year both Andrew and Nick made separate moves to Portland and were replaced by our longtime friends and musicians Chase Mickel (keyboards) and Brandon Prinzing (guitar/vocals). Brandon and I had previously played in four other projects; they all failed miserably... so we have our fingers crossed."

"Tension" might seem like a straight ahead rock record at first listen, but that isn't giving this selection of songs a fair shake. "Song in the Trees" is a space lounge odyssey, whereas "Under the Covers" is a throwback to 90s alt-radio. The album stretches and contracts as it goes.

The direction and focus of the album even came as somewhat of a surprise for Parsons. "When writing the album, I didn't intend there to be a concept. Once we finalized the track listing, I realized that there was a very consistent theme: the push and pull that exists in all of our lives. The place between being comfortable and making a difficult, but crucial move forward. A lot of the songs parallel things that happened in my life during the last few years and it just bled into the storytelling."

Following Corner Gospel Explosion where it goes next will be interesting and worth the ride. - The Source Weekly


Corner Gospel Explosion EP by Corner Gospel Explosion (2015)
Untethered (Single) by Corner Gospel Explosion (2015)
Tension by Corner Gospel Explosion (2016, Train Sound Studio ASCAP)



"You guys could seriously be the second coming of The Police" - Drunk guy at bar.

  If that statement doesn't give you full confidence in the Bend, OR Indie rock quartet "Corner Gospel Explosion", then I don't know what will. The sound is aggressive and melodic, filled with full guitars and soaring synth lines. Drawing comparisons from The Killers, Manchester Orchestra, The Police and Muse.

 The quintessential example of their sound is track #2 (Sky is Falling) on their debut album "Tension". From the arpeggiated synthesizers, to the driving drums and bass, to the post-apocalyptic storytelling, it sums up what this band is about: creating a unique musical experience that will also make you want to move. Their live show mirrors their record, it's engaging, energetic and is always a special experience. They were named "Best Band of 2015" by the Source Weekly and plan on venturing out across the northwest to spread their gospel of indie rock.

 “Bradley David Parsons is one hell of a songwriter, with a knack for eerie melodies (“Disappear”), soaring choruses (“Song in the Trees,” “Taking Place,” just about any other song on the record) and intricate arrangements (epic seven-minute plus album closer “Through the Fence & Out”).

– Brian McElhiney Bend Bulletin

Band Members