Contemporary electronic music is less about creepy moaning and a series of long, drawn-out beeping noises and more about incorporating a beat — or, in the case of the Portland-based Bombs Into You, incorporating an indie rock synthesized beat.
A combination of electro savvy sounds on one track and raw, organic mixes and catchy chorus lines on another makes Bombs’ fanbase reach far and wide. They aren’t so computer nerdy that it turns off the rock crowd or so mainstream that indie fans can’t relate.
Appreciative of their loyal fans, the band found a way to give back by launching The Remix Movement, which gave anyone an opportunity to download and remix the band’s track “Move Me.” Fans delved into their creative psyches and produced mixes that fused techno and pop with the original track, and the best mixes were posted on the band’s website and will be on their new CD coming out this summer.
As good as it sounds blaring out of my laptop, Bombs Into You’s music is best heard live. I picture them playing in a darkly lit club where everyone would be smoking (if Eugene didn’t have that fabulous no smoking in bars law), and androgynous men and women would be standing around, understanding and appreciating in a way that someone like myself cannot the process it takes to create this raw, organic sound. A place, perhaps, like Diablo’s. Bombs Into You plays with Dr. Moss at 10 pm Friday, May 23, at Diablo’s Downtown Lounge. 21+ show. $6. — Deanna Uutela
Has it been a while since you got your last booster shot? Forget the measles and mumps; you can get the latest dose of medicinal music at the Kidz Rock Booster Shot. The event is a one-night series of performances by young local musicians.
Kidz Rock aims to celebrate the future of Eugene’s music scene. The Kidz Rock Concert Series started in April of last year and has come to be known as “the largest youth-friendly concert series in the Pacific Northwest.” Last year there was a full month of concerts, but this year it has been boiled down to one night of young music featuring Oak Street Jazz Band, Man Down, Employees of the Month and more. The show starts at 6 pm Friday, May 23, at Cozmic Pizza. $6; ages six and under free. — Megan Udow
We Like to Party
Think music for an epic ’80s movie montage scene. Now think large orange-and-black-striped wild feline. If your thought process went the way it should, Jess Andrews, Nick Thomas-Low, Chris Buehler and Miles Davenport, aka The Party Tigers, are dancing through your mind.
The retro-pop foursome began when Andrews (drums) and Thomas-Low (keyboards) decided to start recording as a duo. Thomas-Low, originally a guitarist, told the Oregon Daily Emerald that he was bored with the guitar and had a keyboard that he never played, so he and Andrews started writing music for fun.
With the addition of Buehler on bass and Davenport on guitar, the mood didn’t change, but the boys became a full band. With wailing guitar riffs and spacey keys harmonizing over fast drumbeats and steady bass, the Eugene-based Tigers can make anyone roar … or at least dance.
Although they are not signed to a label and have only one EP under their belt, The Party Tigers have a loyal local fan base. Buehler told the Emerald earlier this year that there are a good 25 people who come to every show, which isn’t bad for an unsigned local band. These fans can often be seen in the front row dancing with sweat dripping down their faces, sometimes sporting tiger masks and homemade T-shirts.
The Party Tigers love this sort of intimacy, and for that, they say they would almost prefer house shows to bars. At a house show, it’s more of a dance party. Everyone interacts. That makes it fun, and The Party Tigers are clearly all about having a good time. The Party Tigers, The Underlings and Right Left Grand play a benefit for Womenspace at 10 pm Friday, May 23, at Luckey’s. 21+ show. $5. — Katrina Nattress
The group that started as a bedroom hip hop project has rapidly ascended to a full-fledged band that has no genre. “We take from our favorite aspects of different genres,” says JoJo Ferreira, the vocalist and guitar player of Eugene’s Medium Troy. “We took the songwriting from folk, strong drums and bass from hip hop, the dub tradition from reggae and the energy of rock and roll.”
This all-encompassing style has helped the band’s ever-growing fan base and has led them to receive awards such as the WOW Hall’s “Favorite Local Band” in 2007. Shortly after winning the award, the band embarked on its first West Coast tour. During a show in L.A., the self-described bohemian dub hop band was propositioned by Kevin Lyman, founder of the Vans Warped tour, to play dates in Idaho, Washington, Oregon and possibly California for the festival. “We are stoked,” says Ferreira. “[Warped Tour] is what we’ve been wanting to do. It just happened quicker than we expected.”
The band is currently working on its second album, which Ferreira hopes to release in the fall. After they release the second album, Ferreira hopes to create an interactive online album that incorporates artists from around the world. “We want to change the face of music for the better,” says Ferreira, “and we want to put Eugene on the map.” Medium Troy plays with Alliance, Knox, Efekt and Girl Meets Gravity at 8:30 pm Saturday, May 24, at the WOW Hall. Free. — Katrina Nattress
Noisy, Catchy Basement Sing-Alongs
There are plenty of lo-fi duos that hipsters tout as the best thing to happen to punk rock since The Clash, but few are as deserving of the praise as Japanther. Sure, there’s plenty of pretentious artifice: The band has played in museums and next to an indoor pool, both members sing into modified payphone receivers and the bass player uses a cheap Casio keyboard, but the music more than makes up for the obvious affectations. Their noisy riffs and energetic sing-song choruses demand inebriated sing-alongs and pseudo-dancing body spazz-outs.
In true hipster fashion, here’s the requisite musical comparison: Japanther sounds like the members of Death From Above 1979 were forced to listen to nothing but a combination of Lightning Bolt, The Ramones and The Boredoms for a month straight while sniffing enough glue for an entire year of third grade art class.
A less pretentious though no less accurate description includes the band’s sloppy bass riffs, simple keyboard melodies, slapstick sound samples and constant drumming. Japanther remind us that catchy songs don’t need slick production and sometimes benefit from distorted tape and static. There’s only one thing you need to know about the lyrics: The band was formed in 2001 by a pair of college students from Brooklyn. That about covers it. There’s a ballad on Japanther’s newest album, Skuffed Up My Huffy, about River Phoenix — I wonder how old they were when he died. Japanther and The Pharmacy play at 8 pm Tuesday, May 27, at Shady Pines. — Nick DeMarino
Spies Like Them
Watching the video for the International Espionage! song “Cat Shadow” gives me the same feeling I get when the Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage” video makes a rare appearance on MTV. It’s action packed, stylish and hilariously tongue in cheek. Come to think of it, that’s not a bad description for the band’s music. Hailing from chilly Minneapolis, International Espionage! is a group steeped in shtick, too wrapped up in undercover assignments, government conspiracies and ninja costumes to worry about the oh-so-ordinary world of a boring hipster band existence’s. They’re on a mission … literally. Agent Number 6 (Tim Holly), Agent Sureshot (Aaron Sapp) and Agent X-9 (Aaron Lemay) have pooled their creativity, musical and otherwise, to invent a new wave pop sound that delivers hard riffs with a dash of theatrics and a whopping side of humor.
The sparse, percussive style Inter-national Espionage! cultivates is layered on top of synthesized backing tracks during their live shows, blending a punk rock vibe with electronic elements not dissimilar to the sounds of former local favorite DoublePlusGood. “Phone Phreaks” (one of the tracks on the band’s newest EP) starts out with a ridiculously catchy 10-note progression, then blasts into a quick and dirty little number that feels like it could be the soundtrack to a really great video game car chase (insert your favorite urban-assault gaming reference here). This is typical of International Espionage! songs; they all seem like they should have some accompanying high-stakes action sequence attached to them. And that’s kind of the point: In the world of IE! we’re all James Bond or — even cooler — the bad guys who always manage to get away. International Espionage! plays at 10 pm Wednesday, May 28, at Luckey’s. 21+ show. $3-$5. — Adrienne van der Valk