PRESS / REVIEWS
Formed in 2007, Black Owls claim that they “revise rather than revisit the classic rock genre” – but bearing in mind that they also describe their music as “the soundtrack for an Amish strip club” you probably can’t trust a word they say.What you can believe is that we have TWO tracks by them to give away.Part of the Ohio River music scene that’s given us CR-approved bands like Buffalo Killers and Foxy Shazam and alt.rock royalty like the National, the Breeders, Guided by Voices and Afghan Whigs, Black Owls straddle the two worlds admirably, with enough foot-on-the-monitor swagger to balance any skinny jeaned-indie-sophisto leanings.A ludicrous comparison? Coming right up guv’nor: Imagine Bristolian art-rockers the Blue Aeroplanes if you got them wasted on tequila and set them on fire. Too obscure? OK. Imagine Queens Of The Stone Age if they were a drunken Psychedelic Furs tribute band playing their last gig at a prison. - Scott Rowley, Editor in Chief, Classic Rock Magazine
2014 MIDPOINT CRITIC’S PICK - Black Owls (Cincinnati) Indie Glam Rock
What do Black Owls want from me? Do they want me to start a religion in their honor? Do they want me to cut a fatted calf and mutter incantations? Do they want me to swear a blood oath to be faithful to the beaked and horned raptor of the night? Then I will. Because Black Owls is among the few bands of right now that make me feel like way back when. They return me to that magical time when I was just beginning to love music and it was still fresh and exciting and discoverable. They tweak my invisible heart, the one next to my real one that beats in time to Marc Bolan, David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Tom Verlaine, Richard Hell, Ian Hunter and all the other icons that Black Owls hold dear and then transcend with their own what the future sounds like, set my watch to “well ahead” and let my Black Owls fly.
YDIIYD: Ian Hunter, Richard Hell, David Bowie and Tom Verlaine go all Freaky Friday and wind up in Mott the Voidoid Television Spiders.
-CITYBEAT MAGAZINE (BB)
"Black Owls don't plunder '70's Glam Rock for influence, they pound it down like a Jack and Coke, let it soak into their flesh and then launch it back into the modern world with the visceral impact of pissing on an electric fence. Of course, there's that Tabasco dash of New York '70's Punk heat in there as well, but the quality that binds the whole concoction together is Black Owl's sturdy Midwestern foundation, a Rock solid belief that what the do is not only important but essential." - Midpoint Music Festival BB
BLACK OWLS & BRIGHT LIGHT SOCIAL HOUR voted the only two American Bands in the TOP 10
GLOBAL INDY ROCK BANDS of 2012 by NXNE editors TMAK
The Owls tore into their hour-plus set with the alcohol fueled bravado of Guided By Voices, the razor sharp choogle of T. Rex, the mutated Folk Metal of Mott the Hoople and the blazing Punk edge of everything good about the New York scene in the mid-’70s.
Black Owls translate their influences into a tumult from the grimy floor of their glitter garage, a Glam-slam-thank-you-maam assjacking that is as familiar as it is fresh. Their new eponymous double album (availabledigitally at Bandcamp) is a marvel, and the Owls turned out hypercaffeinated versions of the new songs, including the visceral ballkick of “She Was There,” the Stonesy rumble of “Skynyrd” and the Bob Dylan-meets-Tom Verlaine Bowie tribute of “Octopus Flat,” as well as older classics like “Glorious in Black,” sounding like Marc Bolan fronting Steppenwolf and the cloudbursting joy of “Julius Morningstar.” Ed Shuttleworth and Brandon Losacker craft a solid wall of guitar squall (without a single solo, mind you, orone so subtle you’d never identify it as such), Alan Beavers attacks his bass with lead guitar precision and power and Brian Kitzmiller is still the most amazingly solid drummer on the scene and the absolute perfect foil for the Owls’ brand of contempo/retro Glam Punk. And at the front of it is David Butler, a lanky bundle of coiled energy with a voice that channels David Byrne’s tremulous warble and Ian Hunter’s power howl.
For all these reasons and a few more, Black Owls have built a sizable fan base here and they’re close enough (north of Columbus) to make regular visits to Cincinnati. If you have the slightest affinity for any of the artist noted here, a single exposure to Black Owls will have you on your knees and singing the praises of Granville’s favorite sons; if they were any better, they’d be banned as a controlled substance. Black Owls are your new favorite band … do something about it.- Brian Baker, Citybeat for Midpoint Music Festival 2012
"References to Guided By Voices commonly appear in write-ups for Granville, Ohio, four-piece rock band Black Owls, who, like GBV, are amplified to rock and have a good feel for personalizing a late-’60s,early-’70s classic-rock sound. "
- Chris Varias, METROMIX (Jul 10, 2012)
"Images of Neil Young meets Black Sabbath meets Bob Dylan meets The Who. Blahhh, why try and define their sound. They are the Black Owls and they are classic rock made for the current decade. Along from a great set, we spent some time with the band and they are 5 of the nicest dudes I have ever hung out with."
- Terry, Toronto NOW(Jun 16, 2012)
"Last night at NXNE, there were the Black Owls and then there was everyone else. For me, the Black Owls are like a cross between the Talking Heads and the Tragically Hip led by frontman David Butler whose quirky vocals brought images of David Byrne. Incredible performance and I'm looking forward to following them in the future. "
- Steve, Tmak - Toronto Music Press(Jun 16, 2012)
"Black Owls is the latest self-titled album from the Ohio garage rockers. This double album is packed with 25 hard edged in your face tracks, but there is so much more. Black Owls meld together influences from blues, punk and classic rock to make you feel that the Rolling Stones have been reincarnated into a new band. This is a heady comparison that Black Owls wear to perfection. This is another must have album for your indie rock collection."
- Prevrat, FZB Music (Jul 10, 2012)
"The thing that Black Owls does infinitely well is mash their British Invasion/Punk influences into a thick paste and apply it in broad trowel strokes to their distinctly Midwestern presentation, crafting a sound that is both maddeningly familiar and strikingly original. Dig: A parallel-earth Ian Hunter is born in Detroit and forms a garage-band Mott the Hoople after seeing Mitch Ryder and Iggy Pop, and still manages to obsess over Dylan and Bowie."
- Midpoint Music Festival Critic's Picks 2011
"The blazing favorite sons of Ohio, the Black Owls headliner show at Midpoint Music Festival - nothing short of astonishing. For over an hour, the Black Owls howled like a summit meeting between Mott the Hoople and the Voidoids, blistering Punk anthems butting up against Hard Rock nuggets to create a third sound that references much but sounds like nothing else. And the capacity crowd at Arnold’s loved every original note of it, begging for more and getting it at the end of a fantastic set. The Black Owls are a sound salvation, the Black Owls are cleaning up the nation. Don’t miss them, the next or any time. "
- Brian Baker, CityBeat
"Rip-snorting Sabbath-esque rock n roll from the deepest, darkest thickets of Ohio. Dark pilgrims sets to colonize the new rock territories."
- Classic Rock Magazine UK
"Black Owls are creating that kind of imaginary rock and roll some dream about, and many strive for. Strange magic with candor and tension. Blunt and stripped down, but captivating. Drawing upon British Invasion, both classic and punk, as well as a very personal take on Americana heavy 70's gas. Deliverance of story, glamorous punk and gritty, in lyrics that though dark reveal a well kept irony and freshness. The hook and ladder of Ed Shuttleworth's guitar range is so wide and yet it all manifests the "Black Owl Sound." That sound rests on the unique structures that Ed creates which uniquely reveal a perfect Gang of Four, the Who, Stones, Clash, Wire, Hoople, Stooges melange. They don't sound like any of these bands, but they sound like all of these bands, and that's their dirty little secret. Black Owls wear their influences on their sleeves, but they don't sound like anybody else. Play it again. "
- Denim Walton, FRE press
"This central Ohio band pimps the kind of stripped-down Classic Rock (think more T Rex than AC/DC) that's been the soundtrack to beer-swilling pub dwellers for more than four decades now. Butler's high-pitched delivery comes through loud and clear, giving voice to simple, dark-hued stories laced with the occasional head-sticking nugget, such as "When I'm cremated you'll smoke my ashes." Dig it: The Who, The Rolling Stones cut with Midwestern menace, Guided by Voices. "
- JG, CityBeat
"Somebody recommended several weeks back that I check out Black Owls, a band from Ohio, describing the music as a mixture of psychedelic blues and glam-punk. Good call. The band's second album shows off a sense of classic, take-no-prisoners rock 'n' roll, with an undercurrent of just enough artsy pretention. The rambling poetry and insouciance with which David Butler—who also plays drums—attacks his vocals recall Ian Hunter, and the band kicks it into overdrive like Mott the Hoople jamming with The Faces, but with the threat of the English punk-rock movement breathing down their necks. With the spirits of Iggy, Morrison, Bowie and early Alice Cooper hanging over it, the album feels genuine and a little stoned, as if it's observing a culture in which Woodstock is long over, and Altamont has left the music world with a sour taste in its mouth. Decadent and ramshackle and glorious, it kinda makes me cry."
- Gene Armstrong, Tucson Weekly
"While Lost in the Trees angelic choir played into the main stage witness, I stepped out of the back to bear witness to a down-home soap box revival. Ohio's Black Owls were testifying on high, and the lead singer washed his sins in the rain with the congregation. As if in preparation for the rapture, the seasoned glam punks whipped the soaking masses into a frenzy. It was one of the most honest, raw, and downright celebratory performances of the show. I'd heard that these guys bore a familiarity with Guided By Voices, and I could see they owned that same swagger and dedication to anthem rock windmills and catchy hooks. As far as visceral experiences, these guys captured my heartstrings, and it appeared that the huge wet crowd that poured in to see them felt the same. A+"
- Tim, the melody lingers
"This is "put your back into it" song craft. These guys lay it out. Lyrics, structure, power. It's almost a lost art, but thank God there are dudes like the Black Owls preserving the national trust of rock. Check out June '71 on their own Amish Girl label on itunes or bandcamp. - Compare/Contrast: Rolling Stones, Guided by Voices, Mott the Hoople, Bowie, Jim Carroll Band "
- Warren Epstein, Dresdon Press Music
"Strange, beautiful things take place after the sun goes down, and the Black Owls revel in an all-nighter guitar sound that burns brightly in the dark. Lightning Made Us Who We Are, their 2008 debut album, is a masterful slice of booze-fueled super rock."
- Adam Scoppa, 614 Magazine
"With Guided by Voices long gone, the Black Owls are filling a real void in our lives, creating pompous, over-the-top-rock without making pains to show how tongue-in-cheek they are. They have a knack for well-crafted, substantial rock songs that are catchy as hell."
- Rick Allen, the Other Paper
"Black Owls are an anomaly in Amish country. The Owls push a garage-rock agenda that also draws from the British Invasion, new wave, glam and '70's post-punk. And despite the varied influences, this crew has fashioned its favorite styles into a focused and infectious sound. "
- Don Thrasher, Dayton Daily News - Active Dayton
"...for those about to rock, you may want to make the introduction of Black Owls. Chocked full of windmill-worthy tracks, Black Owls sift through their collection of Cheap Trick, Bowie, and The Who albums and serve up something distinct from their respective source material. "
- Meltones, the buddha den
"The Black Owls rock. They rock like the Ramones rock, like early Bowie and Iggy and the Stooges rock. "
- Midpoint Music Festival
"THE BLACK OWLS have put together some of the best well crafted songs with a firm foothold in creating a new history for Rock n' Roll. "
- Dave Fishwick, the Neus Subject