44 Long plays roots music, their unique blend of pop, glam, swamp and heavy rock. The band relishes contrast and makes it come together, with the goal of having you feel like you just stumbled onto the best radio station ever. They conjure up the finest of 60's and 70's rock radio, and use it to put a spell on themes of the millennium - simultaneously hopeful and cynical; God-fearing yet given up to lone existentialism.
Their 1997 self released first CD, "Collect Them All" (now sold out), was a smash with record buyers, club-goers and critics in their native Portland, Oregon. It also garnered superlatives with monster tastemakers like CMJ, Puncture, ArtForum International and Stereo Review, along with dailies and weeklies throughout the country. Rock journalist extraordinaire, Greil Marcus (longtime and current Rolling Stone contributing editor), dubbed it #7 of the year among his favorite things. In the Northwest, Seattle's Rocket magazine found a slot at #14 and The Oregonian at #3. All this and not one paid advertisement.
Their appearances at the CMJ Music Marathon in New York City, SXSW in Austin and NXNW in Portland gained the attention of music and media moguls alike, and has led to great anticipation for their follow-up CD
Sideburn Records now releases 44 Long, "Inside the Horse's Head", the second helping of songs designed to help us laugh at the apocalypse as we duck and cover.
Singer/Guitarist Brian Berg writes the songs. A record store clerk for 8 years, he was inspired by his big sister's Motown and his big brother's Brit-rock collections. His songs are well-crafted, deceptively simple yet articulate. The music conveys a love and respect for pop traditions, and the lyrics convey a sense of resignation tempered with hope.
Brian records the band (with bassist Eric Furlong of Portland 'buzz band' Sunset Valley) in his basement studio. The minimal yet muscular propulsion of the songs (often the product of much fewer than the 16 available tracks) is a clue to the 'less is more' ethic employed by the band. A rich, rocking sound doesn't always have to come from an orchestra of guitar overkill; sometimes what's left out is more important than adding another cliché. Drummer Cory Burden (of Blubinos fame) can either fire off full rounds from the drumkit on demand or hold back when the songs are better off left to their own rhythms. Andy Ricker shares guitar duty, finding lockstep and counter point to augment Berg's sometimes sparse, sometimes spastic lead, slide and rhythm parts.
This is the original and only 44 Long, the one The Oregonian called "supremely rocking", "blazing" and "charismatic".