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Eugene Weekly : Music : 12.27.07




And The Devil Makes Six

The dust from the boxes of their freshly-pressed Sprout City-recorded debut disc has yet to settle (in fact, as I write this those boxes aren't even ready yet), but bluegrass collective The Bad Mitten Orchestre insists on rushing things a bit. Well, it's not insistence as much as adaptation and sheer happenstance, as the group was born — literally — on the streets of Eugene last spring. Bad Mitten is so young, in fact, the members can still get away with blog posts that proclaim, "Feelin' more and more like a real band every day!"

The story goes: Accordionist/lead vocalist Naima Muntal met guitarist Heather Neilson on a downtown street corner and, piecemeal-like at parties and bars, absorbed talented musicians Sarah Luchord, Baylin Speidel, Ila Kriegh, Virginia Luff and Morgan Hager into their creative sponge. While Neilson recently left the group to travel the globe, the remaining members more than flesh out the rich, jangly sound heard on their debut, Garden of Eve.

Banjos, accordion, violin, upright bass, ukulele, cello, crosscut saw: These ladies have a range of instruments to attack pretty much any ditty from every angle. Luchord's kazoo warms up "Sugar and Spice"; Speidel's saw adds bittersweet melancholy to "Johnny" and "Sleep"; Muntal's gentle banjo complements her singsongy rhymes on "Blue Skies," a send-up to the naivete of those clouds "floating in that space behind your eyes." Garden of Eve is an accomplished debut; hopefully these girls have the grit to stick with it.

For acoustic rock trio The Devil Makes Three, sticking with it isn't much a problem; they've taken their act up and down the West Coast so many times, theirs could be called a "road show." They don't have a new album out, just their self-titled debut remastered and repackaged by Milan Records, with four live and demo songs added for good measure. But, as with most acoustic acts, these songs are best heard live. The Devil Makes Three and The Bad Mitten Orchestre play at 9 pm Wednesday, Jan. 2, at the WOW Hall. $10 adv., $12 door. — Chuck Adams

For more on the band, check out Adams' email interview with Muntal on blogs.eugeneweekly.com

That's a Rap

As this year comes to a close and the arrival of 2008 draws nearer, it's best that we look back on these 12 months and celebrate the departure of Old Man 2007. But forget his traditional robe and sash. This year he'll be rockin' some fresh white on white ones, an XLT, BAPE hoody and an MLB fitted cap as John Henry's kicks off the end of the year with their 2007 Rap It Up Party. As you might have guessed, hip hop will be in the building, and a roster of area talent will hit the stage in order to satiate your desire for heavy beats and deft lyrical epigrams. Included in this gaggle of artists is ENDR1 and James — a duo that developed in Eugene over the past six years and has performed with artists such as E-40, Mike Jones and the Digital Underground. Marv Ellis and DJ Billy will also be in attendance, playing music from Ellis' latest album, Underwater Not Underground. Northwest natives Mack Dub and Greenstate will provide their left coast brand of hip hop that mirrors the musical influences and sounds of artists such as Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, DJ Quik and others. Their tracks, which include "Smoke Wit Me," "In The Spot" and "Playa Like Me," combine Cali-inspired production with Northwest flow and content. Sharing the stage with Greenstate and Mack Dub is area rapper A Sol. Described on his MySpace page as the "illest vocalist and song writer," A Sol explores the darker politics that populate the hip hop industry as well as deeper introspective ruminations with a lightspeed delivery. Also, performances by Allure, Cor One and local breakdancing crew the Raw Action Dance Squad will take place with "special surprise guests" yet to be named. The 2007 Rap It Up Party starts at 9 pm Saturday, Dec. 29, at John Henry's. $5. 21+ show.

Zach Klassen