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Although they now boast an extensive touring record and monstrous discography, indie rock moguls Tegan and Sara had humble beginnings.

If you want an idea of how prolific composer John Williams is, consider this: By the time he wrote the music for Star Wars in the mid ’70s, he had already composed scores for 45 films (11 had earned Academy Awards nominations, two had won Oscars).

There’s a possibly apocryphal story that an American in Paris, George Gershwin, once asked one of his idols, the great 20th-century French composer Maurice Ravel, for music lessons. Ravel is said to have politely declined.

Long before Cowfish, SNAFU or John Henry’s Glam Nights, there was Club Arena.

Welcome to the world of Mac Miller, the 20-year-old freestyle-rapping Pittsburgh native who has been blowing up large for the better part of a year now.

Portland’s Sassparilla is known to blow the roof off Sam Bond’s with high-energy, harmonica blowin’, banjo pickin’, washboard slappin’, a-few-more-beers-and-the-room-is-spinnin’ junkyard blues.

Writing about live shows in Eugene means you cover a lot of up-and-coming Portland bands, and this is not a bad thing.

If you sit down and think about it, it’s pretty crazy just how many sounds can be made with a guitar.

Although “back to school” commercials are in heavy rotation, let us forget about notebooks and football games for one brief moment and concentrate on sweet, fleeting summer. For it is only in summer that you can dance until you work up a sweat outdoors under the stars at the Cuthbert Amphitheater.

If nothing else, the first season of NBC’s The Voice showed the rest of America what a lot of people in the Northwest already knew: Vicci Martinez is a damn fine talent who is going places.

If five beach bums tried to surf their way to the classic California rock sound (The Doors, The Byrds, etc.) but instead got lost in a cloud of pot smoke and found themselves at a goth house party, you would end up with something like The Growlers.

Matt the Electrician is not stopping in Eugene to repair your electrical outlets or update your wiring.

Purists will say shoegaze only existed for a very short period of time, mostly in England, but iterations of it can be found at nearly every music festival today. Brooklyn’s School of Seven Bells is a perfect example.

What would a modern take on The Sound of Music look like? Probably a lot like Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.

Hey, here’s three fellas you may have heard of: David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash. Well, at the very least I’d wager you recognize their last names.

Beyond being a certified cutie, Colbie Caillat’s got both musical talent and pipes.

Elegant composition is lost on our dumb generation. When was the last time you heard Kanye West orchestrate the equivalent of an entire Bavarian marching band single-handedly into a coherent tune that’s both catchy and just hipster enough that plaid-wearing fixie-riders would love it?

With the Republican convention wrapping up this week, it’s a perfect time to celebrate the party’s platform philosophy of getting something (yet more tax breaks for zillionaires, or roads, schools and other components of civilized society, say) for (apparently) nothing. Over the next week or so, you can hear some sweet summer music downtown for free.

Many of my favorite singers can’t sing. I’m accustomed to sticking odd aural objects in my ear hole. That being said, Samuel T. Herring of Baltimore-based trio Future Islands has a pretty weird voice.

Aretha Franklin is considered the Queen of Soul, but Mavis Staples is Robin Hood. Now in her early 70s, Staples got her start singing gospel tunes as a child with her father, Pops, and her sisters as the Staples Singers in 1950.

One of the most fun things about Sam Bond’s is how, from time to time, acts that usually play the likes of SXSW or Austin City Limits swoop in, and Eugeneans get a taste of what it is to live in a live music mecca. That’s what will happen Sunday when Band of Heathens returns to the Whiteaker bar that’s small in scale but big at heart.

Poet, lyricist and composer Michael Franti has been at the forefront of family-friendly conscious reggae-fusion music for the last 25 years. EW caught up with Spearhead’s iconic frontman for a few quick questions.

Secret, secret, I’ve got a secret I’ve been hiding under my skin: Styx is totally coming to Albany.

This summer just got steamy, a welcome change from our usual rainy cloud-covered setting. And trendsetter