If all you know of Soul Asylum is a touching little torch song called “Runaway Train,” listen up: Long before that unexpected hit was released in 1992, Soul Asylum had achieved a rare kind of cult status among fans of guitar-heavy alt-rock — a status founded largely on the soulful songwriting and indubitable white-boy groove of frontman Dave Pirner.
Unlike previous efforts, Mike Last feels The Stagger and Sway’s latest release, Fun and Games, is a rock ‘n’ roll record — a sound the quartet has moved toward since adding Brian Schierenbeck on lead guitar.
This time each year, Eugene respectfully steps back and offers the stage to the Oregon Bach Festival. And no wonder: The 44-year-old classical music institution abounds with so many attractive performances, workshops, lectures and other events that we couldn’t even begin to cover them all in last week’s issue. Here’s a rundown of some remaining top recommendations.
The last bro standing from the ’90s jam band/groove-rock scene (Sublime, Dave Matthews, Blues Traveler et al.), Garrett Dutton, better known as G. Love of G. Love & Special Sauce, is way too chill to care much about superstardom.
On record, San Francisco’s Geographer is somewhat blunted by an ambition to sound thoroughly “now,” to fit into whatever mold successful modern rock bands are expected to fit into in these wild and wooly days of making music.
Around the 35-second mark on “It Ain’t Easy,” track 14 on Sassparilla’s recently released impressive double album Pasajero/Hullabaloo, something begins to sound very similar to a song cemented on classic rock’s Mt. Rushmore.
What were you doing at age 17? Well, 17-year-old Clementine Creevy of the L.A.-based band Cherry Glazerr is busy fostering an up-and-coming indie “it” girl reputation — but not before getting her homework done.
Though the final entry in the beloved Harry Potter series hit bookshelves seven years ago, and the last film arrived three years ago, The Boy Who Lived continues to live on thanks to the cheeky musical genre known as Wizard Rock
Sometimes opposites attract, and sometimes they create havoc. This could be considered the theme for 2014’s Debutantes & Dealers, the debut full-length album from Seattle folk-rockers Vaudeville Etiquette.
Emily Saliers was only 12 when Joan Baez’s Diamonds & Rust was released in 1975. And Saliers, half of the Indigo Girls folk-rock duo, listened to it nonstop. “I listened to the record over and over again until I could learn it,” Saliers tells EW over the phone from Canada. But her interest in Baez wasn’t just song-deep.
Canadian songwriter and visual artist Chad VanGaalen has built a comprehensive little universe with his work, over which he rules supreme, whether through his spacey indie-folk songs or his R. Crumb-esque surrealist comic book-style illustrations.
People consuming illegal substances produced by locals in the boonies, cops storming in to bust it up, tempestuous affairs … Breaking Bad? Weeds? No, it’s the Gershwins’ bubbly 1926 musical comedy Oh, Kay!, which those indefatigable musical revivalists at The Shedd are staging June 20-29.
New bands play lots of strange places: bedrooms, basements and bars (empty or, preferably, full). On June 12, Seattle’s fledgling post-punk quartet Gibraltar plays Eugene’s Tiny Tavern, a venue that is, well … pretty tiny.
If EW’s annual Best of Eugene contest included the category “Most likely to perform at Austin City Limits,” local singer-songwriters Tyler Fortier and Beth Wood would surely tie for first. Wood, a native Texan, says she’d jump at the opportunity to play the famous Austin, Texas-based music festival; Fortier admits he might prefer to appear online in an installment of NPR’s intimate Tiny Desk Concerts.
For her latest project, The Bird in My Chest, singer-songwriter Gabrielle Louise wanted to do something different. “I had my heart set on releasing a book of short stories and poems alongside a collection of music,” Louise says. “So I took everything I had composed in the same time frame — songs, poems and short stories — and I published a booklet to accompany the CD.”
Last year’s film Inside Llewyn Davis helped revive memories of one of the great voices of American folk music. The fictionalized Cohen Brothers movie was based on the memoir of New York singer Dave Van Ronk, who mentored a whole generation of young folkies.
Three years have passed since Eugene’s perennial favorite rock-grass outfit, Alder Street (formerly Alder Street All-Stars), released its last album. With the debut this month of Americannibal, rest assured, it was worth the wait.
Once upon a time, record label Alive Naturalsound released the debut from a little band called The Black Keys. Now, that same label has released More Primitive from Seattle-based boogie-blues trio Lonesome Shack.
Portland’s Water Tower has come a long way since stomping the Americana revival boards late last decade. With an all new lineup — excepting frontman Kenny Feinstein, who’s been along from the start and recently signed with Fluff & Gravy Records — the band leaves the old-time ever so slightly to bring a fresher rock ‘n’ roll sound.