Musical institutions too often destroy the very music they prize by refusing to look forward, relying instead on constant rehashing of the greatest hits of earlier decades and centuries. This month brings to town some progressive musicians who are keeping their traditions alive and growing.
Christopher Owens’ former group Girls set the indie world on fire with their 2009 underground hit Album. Owens’ singing voice drew comparisons to Elvis Costello; the songs evoked ’60s power-pop, ’70s punk and contemporary indie rock.
LA-based Foxygen takes your dad’s classic rock LP collection, consumes it and filters it through their ADHD brains, regurgitating 2012’s Take the Kids Off Broadway or 2013’s We are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace and Magic — big, sloppy, messy records referencing everything from the Rolling Stones to the Kinks to the Mysterions.
There’s a sweetness inherent in the name Bent Knee ... a marriage proposal on bent knee, an apology on bent knee, Prince Charming holding the glass slipper on bent knee. But all that sweetness goes out the window when Courtney Swain starts singing “I Don’t Love You Anymore.”
If you want to get creative, sometimes you have to isolate yourself. At least that’s what the Seattle-based indie rock band Ivan & Alyosha did when creating their full-length debut, All the Times We Had.
Fishtank Ensemble’s lead singer Ursula Knudson likes to play music at the edge of the world, whether that’s breaking out her violin in the rural pockets of Maine or twangin’ on her hand saw at the tip of the heel of the boot of Italy.
The emotional barometer of bluegrass registers somewhere between hilarity and sorrow, like a hee-haw hiccup after an epic night of breakup drinking. Bluegrass laughs at funerals and cries at birthdays.
A few years ago, the Eugene Opera seemed moribund — a “dead man walking,” to use the phrase applied in prison to an inmate condemned to death. But in the past couple of years, it’s gotten a reprieve — or rather engineered a resurrection.
If your band has been around for 15 years and you have released almost 20 albums and live DVDs combined, then you are definitely doing something right. Andy Farag — the percussionist for the popular progressive rock band Umphrey’s McGee — understands the secret to the band’s longevity.
Does the band name Glitter Dick mean a penis covered with glitter? Or a jerk who likes to be sparkly? Does it matter? No, nothing matters but the music, having good stage names and perfecting your delivery of “Whoa yeah.”
Channeling traditional, African vocal styles such as isicathamiya and mbube, Ladysmith Black Mambazo is a male choral group that will not only challenge your preconceptions about world music, but will also have you grooving to something new.
At this stage in his storied career, it is hard to imagine there is anything left for B.B. King to accomplish. Arguably the most influential blues guitarist ever, he has been inducted into both the Blues and Rock & Roll Halls of Fame, has won 15 Grammys and been given a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
Monday, March 4, at the UO’s Matthew Knight Arena is going to be a fizzy, indie-pop playground in three acts: Alt-rock-pop kings Passion Pit, indie-pop darlings Matt & Kim and Swedish DJ pop duo Icona Pop — too bad it’s a school night.
There is a common misconception about conscious hip hop. “I don’t give a fuck, you can call us conscious, but rappers hit the stage spitting fucking nonsense,” Aaron Harris raps on the latest Eastern Sunz EP, Filthy Hippie Music, a sly retort on being labeled as environmental hip-hop artists.
While backward-gazing classical music institutions slip further and further into cultural irrelevance — see, for example, the Eugene Symphony’s season schedule, containing a total of two works by living composers — those who cherish the future of classical music can look to fountains of innovation such as the University of Oregon.
Electronic music is criticized for using cold and soulless sounds made by machines. It’s often dismissed as falling in one of two camps: sleep-inducing new-age soundscapes or frantic beats for sleepless day-glo ravers. Sound Tribe Sector 9 (STS9) is here to prove both of those assumptions wrong.