Fuck Yeah Jaguar Love
The trick to fully appreciating the particular charms of Portland’s giddy, irrepressible Jaguar Love lies in not taking them too seriously — but not writing them off as a Muppet-fronted glam-punk-electronic playdate, either. Singer Johnny Whitney and guitarist Cody Votolato were both in Blood Brothers, where their boundless energy took a more aggressive post-hardcore form. In Jaguar Love, the aggression is wrapped up in spilled wine, giddy beats and a pummeling optimism. The result sounds like the way your half-drunk friend has to scream in your ear on the dance floor — run through a synth, spiked with drum machines and totally cranked.
Jaguar Love’s second full-length, Hologram Jams, takes the angular, urgent sound of 2008’s Take Me to the Sea and washes it with effects and synths, as best evidenced in “Polaroids and Red Wine” and “Up All Night,” both of which rejoice in getting too little sleep and having too much fun, complete with whoa-oh-ohs and singalong choruses. “Cherry Soda” breaks down into a goofy spoken-vocals part that references “Immigrant Song,” 808 beats and “a motherfucking mastodon.” Not every song on Jams works so well; the dragging tough-life narrative ”A Prostitute, An Angel” feels like filler, and the overwhelmingly layered sound can get a little smothering — to the point where a shot of unfettered rock guitar is like a breath of clean air after hours spent dancing up a frenzy in a fog-machine-crazed club. But that’s what Jaguar Love is: a little too much of everything, deliciously mashed into hyperactive, danceable New Wave punky jams, with Whitney — a waifish, puffed-chest whirlwind of hair-flipping and gleeful howls — insisting, “You’re the ultrastar” to all comers. Jaguar Love and Japanther (they flip a coin to see who’s headlining each night, so get there early no matter which band you prefer) play at 10:30 pm Friday, June 4, at the WOW Hall. $10 adv., $12 door. — Molly Templeton
Hardly a Lullaby
Surf-punk, math-pop, pop-punk, Sleater-Kinney, the B-52s, David Bowie, The Go-Gos — Demimonde Slumber Party (DSP) has been bombarded with labels and comparisons. They describe themselves as “a female-led trio whose sound is an exuberant blend of pop punk & ’60s garage rock with a sense of humor.” Regardless of how you describe the band, DSP is known for their light-hearted, eclectic tunes perfect for dancing and (gently) moshing.
Originally from San Francisco, DSP adopted Eugene as its new home several years ago. Lead singer and guitarist Melissa Lubofsky brings the idealism; drummer/vocalist Kim Lindquist adds the punk and bassist/vocalist Tim Romain brings the rhythm — rock, jazz and reggae, to name a few.
DSP formed in the ’90s, but hibernated for a while after Lindquist and Lubofsky moved to Eugene and Romain moved to Seattle. They got back together in 2005 to record their first CD, Green. Five years passed before they created their new EP, Heart in Outer Space, a six-song collection that showcases themes ranging from chocolate and floating hearts in outer space to a girl named Jolene who is compared to caffeine.
There are no snoozers here. From the opening notes of the first song, “Jolene,” DSP plays catchy chord progressions, making use of echoes and varied tempos. It’s a sing-along, clap your hands and pump up the energy crowd-pleaser.
All three share vocals, but lead singer Lubofsky is a noteworthy vocalist. Instead of broken-heart ballads, her songs are chock full of playful rhyming lyrics and feel-good metaphors such as in the title track: “My heart went off to outer space / It disappeared without a trace / It told me not to worry it had a plan / No one would ever leave us again.”
Lubofsky brings a green idealism to her music, and there are no hidden messages when it comes to her quest to save the planet — she comes right out and says it. In the second to the last track, “Endangered Species Chocolate Bar,” she sings: “Help me endangered species chocolate bar / Please help me save the world.” She hopes that through music and chocolate she can make this world a better place. And as in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, her bandmembers chime in like a chorus of oompa loompas. To dip into this flavorful smorgasbord of lyrical explosions and schizophrenic musical genre blending, visit www.dspband.com
Demimonde Slumber Party celebrates the release of its new EP at 4 pm Sunday, June 6, at CD World. There will be free chocolate bars at the free event. — Catherine Foss
Bloody Panda, Trees and Scrolls (No, Really)
A CD copy of five Scrolls songs landed in my box, and I listened to it as fast as I could get it home. Having previously seen the band in an extremely loud, crowded setting, I relished the opportunity to let the songs unfold in my own comfortable space.
Scrolls was born in 2007, when Scott McGahan (formerly of Necrosluts) was performing doomy, ambient songs in a solo project known as Vivimancer, and Rye Wolves approached him about being his backing band. Their aesthetic is darkly gothic beauty, decay and despair; subject matter comes from arcane sources such as Egyptian myth, ceremonial magick and literary tales of horror. On stage, McGahan grips his microphone tightly and crouches, enmeshed in internal conflict, or recedes, face hidden behind his long hair, while the band’s atmospherics take the spotlight. Sometimes McGahan sings in a natural voice; sometimes, as on “She Is Alive at Night,” he shrieks, his voice emanating a graveyard chill. Rye Wolves’ music ebbs and flows, providing subtle variations that create sleek tension through sporadically escalating bottom-heavy tones. Also appearing is Bloody Panda, an experimental doom band formed by a Japanese visual artist living in NYC, and Trees (from Portland). The show takes place at the Bijou Art Cinemas, a rare treat that should enhance the music’s emotional pull with its slightly creepy atmosphere. Bloody Panda, Trees and Scrolls play at 10 pm Saturday, June 5, at Bijou Art Cinemas. $5-$7 sliding scale — Vanessa Salvia
You Can’t Handle the…
Corey Feldman’s band The Truth Movement is playing at the WOW Hall. Yeah, you read that right. Corey Feldman has a band and they’re playing the WOW Hall. No, not Corey Haim, who tragically passed away earlier this year, and no — not the guy who played Sam Gamgee in those Lord of the Rings movies; that’s Sean Astin. THE Corey Feldman, ’80s heartthrob and star of such cinematic classics as Stand By Me, The Goonies and The Lost Boys. Remember him now?
Corey Feldman’s Truth Movement has been around since the late 1990s. Their most recent eco-friendly release, Technology Analogy, examines the place where computer technology intersects with modern life, for better or worse. It has drawn comparisons to Pink Floyd and even features Pink Floyd’s Jon Carin, along with Mark Karan of the Grateful Dead and Ratdog. In 2009 Feldman and the Truth Movement performed at the “Green is the Color” green carpet event.
Feldman is passing through this neck of the woods on his way to an appearance at Never Say Die: The Goonies 25th Anniversary Celebration in Astoria on June 6. I know what you’re thinking. As if it isn’t enough that Corey Feldman is in a band Goonies is 25 years old this year?
I should probably tell you more about Truth Movement’s sound in order to entice you to attend. But I have a feeling if you go to the show it’ll be just because you kind of want to see Corey Feldman in a band and it doesn’t really matter what they sound like. And I don’t blame you. Corey Feldman’s Truth Movement plays at 6:30 pm Friday, June 4, at the WOW Hall. $20 adv., $22 door. — William Kennedy
Schofield Lays it Down
One of Great Britain’s most highly regarded blues guitarists, Matt Schofield, is coming to Eugene in support of his latest album, Heads, Tails & Aces. Featuring 11 songs — nine of which were either written or co-written by Schofield — the album is a diverse collection of foot-stompers and dirges that will have you feeling joy and pain throughout, and loving every second of it.
Tracks like “Lay it Down” show Schofield’s range as he gradually moves from mournful, subdued notes at the start to skyscraping solos by the end. The soulful sounds of “War We Wage” seem misplaced at first when matched with lyrics highlighting the various divisions among people, but the guitar is Schofield’s instrument of peace. The raucous and funky rhythms of tracks like “Can’t Put You Down” and “What I Wanna Hear” will have you grooving to the beats in no time.
Schofield infuses his tunes with loads of energy, confidence, skill and style, so much so that it’s no wonder that press from both sides of the Atlantic are singing this man’s praises. To have Schofield in town is a special treat for blues guitar aficionados, so don’t miss out on this show. Matt Schofield and the Ty Curtis Band play at 7:30 pm Thursday, June 10, at the WOW Hall, $8 adv., $10 door. — Brian Palmer