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Eugene Weekly : Music : 5.3.07

Get Double Down

A man, a band, a CD release

BY ADRIENNE VAN DER VALK

If Erik Carlson wants to blame someone for forcing him into a life of musical creativity and dream-following, he's lucky enough to have the perfect scapegoats.

DoublePlusGood CD release with Testface, Leo London. 9:30 pm Saturday, May 5. Sam Bond's Garage. $5. 21+ show

"I played music since I was a kid. My parents had me in a choir that traveled and performed a lot," he says about his start in the biz. "I did musical theater in high school and then majored in electronic music in college."

As "the man" of one-man-band DoublePlusGood, Carlson brings a lifetime of musical expression and experimentation to his career as an electronic-musician-singer-songwriter. Originally from the Bay Area, he describes his music as "trapped somewhere in between the hushed basement shows of the Northwest and the noisy club landscapes of the big city." Eugene has been his home since he moved here for school five years ago.

"I think Eugene is really cool because for a town of this size, there is a nice music scene and it's really supportive. It's not cutthroat, there's not crazy amounts of competition. Being one of the few one-man bands in town, it's nice to stand out!"

DoublePlusGood is a regular on the bills of local venues like Luckey's and Diablo's (two of his favorite places to set up his keyboards). He has a cross-country tour planned for this summer and will release his first album, Somehow Everyone I Know is Here, this week. But although his career is on the rise, Carlson still appreciates practicing his vocal-digital alchemy in more intimate settings.

"Some of my favorite shows have been house gigs where someone gets a couple of kegs of beer, there's like 30 or 40 people and everyone just dances all night long." Some of the more "colorful" photos on his MySpace page confirm that Carlson's groove-lovin' fans know how to appreciate live music in style.

Somehow Everyone I Know is Here is a synth-notic, melodic journey through the dreamscape created by Carlson's warm, winsome vocals and his mastery of the electronic sound universe. Often smooth and groovy, occasionally jarring, Somehow could be the perfect complement to a sunny drive in the country, but not because it is fluffy or unsubstantial; the shiny brightness of the music contrasts with lyrics that wrestle poetically with classic themes of love and alienation. "We cover our eyes with each other and cause so much frustration / I start to forget what is mine," Carlson croons on "Red Light Green Light," an upbeat track about a union fraught with false starts and red herrings. Likable for its lack of pretension, listenable for its pleasing single-note progressions layered over a colorful, stormy backtrack, Somehow Everyone I Know is Here is more than a worthy local effort. It is a thoroughly satisfying piece of musical art.