Eugene is full of incredible musicians who write, record and perform original songs. From show to show, track to track and across genres, our local music scene teems with talent. We are fortunate to have such a wealth of passionate working musicians, and this weekend boasts CD release shows for three solid Eugene bands. Go support them — and be loud about it!
Considering punk was a social movement that died a long time ago, Eugene’s the Underlings sure do the sound justice. The group blends elements of modernized pop-punk with the hard-hitting punch of a band that spends its weekends blasting Misfits, Iggy Pop and Lou Reed.
On Friday, April 27, the Underlings will celebrate the release of their sophomore LP, entitled Edgy, an album that sounds like it’s been greased with gunk from skateboard bearings and tuned as tightly as a grand piano. When you put the eloquence of Ed Cole’s vocals with the noisy buzz and don’t-give-a-fuck sound of driving punk overtones, the result is an intelligent and unique mélange of rock orchestration and hang-ten fury.
Next to Cole’s vocals and guitar prowess, the rhythm section stands as a solid foundation for the Underlings’ sound — keeping the dirt and drive on the mudflaps of Edgy. Dave Peterson’s bass tones channel the Offspring and Bryant Grace keeps his punk beats metronomic, and his embellishments are impressive. Some of those fills, man; they rock the speakers in half.
Edgy is a solid punk album written for a generation that started thinking they knew what punk was about with the dawning of Green Day. It’s 10 tracks of scathing songwriting and thundering instrumentation that will appeal to anybody who’s in the mood to stomp their feet and throw a punch. Just to be clear: that’s anybody, young or old. Either way, the Underlings successfully hearken to something punk that we all like, and maybe Edgy is destined to be the next album that we all like.
Join the Underlings with The Soothesayers and The Lovesores for a CD release party that’s sure to be a rager. The Underlings’ live show is wild enough to rile anybody (again, that’s anybody) up, get heads bobbing, toes itching to touch grip-tape and fists clenched in nostalgia for the long-dead punk movement, may it rest in peace.
The Underlings CD Release Party with Soothesayers and Lovesores is 10 pm Friday, April 27, at Luckey’s; $5.
— Andy Valentine
Betty and the Boy, arguably Eugene’s most high-profile local band, has made a name for itself by playing live shows that are nothing short of entrancing. And now the group has captured its eerie tunes and haunting vocals on disc, with the album Good Luck.
At first glance, the album’s title seemed a bit unfitting for a band whose music can sometimes feel like the soundtrack to a slow-motion, near-death experience in the wild. But when asked about the title, the answers that Josh Harvey (mandolin, banjo, vocals) and Bettreena Jaeger (vocals) gave only furthered the reality of how authentic this group is.
“I was hiking in the middle of nowhere in Montana and came upon this abandoned cabin,” says Harvey. “On the porch was a beat up old handmade sign that said, Good Luck.”
“We started in Montana, and we wanted to speak to that,” says Jaeger.
Good Luck is composed of songs that Betty and the Boy have been working on for years, as well as three new cuts, “Gardens & Things,” “Good Luck” and “Babel,” a piece of music that is perhaps the group’s most definitive work to date. Though that isn’t a statement the band would likely agree with, because these guys are eagerly pursuing more, incubating another album and about to embed themselves in a full-on artist residency by way of Artist Wilderness Connection in Montana’s Flathead National Forest. They keep busy.
This album-release show will host a stacked bill, including Montana’s prolific outlaw four-piece The Horse Thieves, and Eugene’s Matthew MacDonald of Toad in the Hole.
“We’re excited about the CD release show, and the more that is to come,” says Jaeger.
The Betty and the Boy CD release party is 9:30 pm Saturday, April 28, at Sam Bond’s; $5. For more on Betty and the Boy’s residency and Artist Wilderness Connection, go to wkly.ws/19g — Dante Zuñiga-West
A lot of times when bands try to mix controversial political statements with music, the result isn’t pretty. Things end up a little too heavy on the diatribe, or a little too amateur on the musical end. Not everyone can pull off a Rage Against the Machine thing, or a Boots Riley vibe. It takes talent and wit to create quality music concerning the sociopolitical. Dead Americans have both, and the band’s album Pig Fish is proof.
“This is our way of talking back to the systems we take issue with,” says vocalist, lead guitar player and self-described art-freak feminist enigma Kyra Kelly.
With songs that take on everything from socially ascribed gender roles to agnosticism, Dead Americans revel in being both inflammatory and progressive. Pig Fish is a punk-influenced rock album that thrashes and floats, depending on the song. The album’s title is a spin off of the “big fish in a small pond” saying, and it’s a mix of very old and very recent tunes the band has worked on. More than 30 songs were recorded for the album, which now consists of 11 strong tracks.
“It’s music about exercising our freedoms, our First Amendment and not turning into a zombie,” Kelly says. “We are critical viewers of social systems and the mainstream media that dumbs people down and numbs them.”
Live, this band is known to “trash stages,” but that may not be the case at the Eugene Storefront Art Project (ESAP) this weekend. The group will be performing a rare acoustic set that is intended to make you dance, and celebrate the release of Pig Fish.
“This album has almost come out a few times,” says Kelly. “We’re so happy to have it out now.”
Dead Americans play 8 pm Saturday, April 28, at ESAP; $10. — Dante Zuñiga-West