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Music

Classical music people are always fretting about how to keep the genre from declining along with its aging audience by getting hip to the 21st century. That means, at a minimum, doing what popular music, dance and theater have always done, and what classical musicians themselves did until the last few generations: perform the music of their own time, i.e., now. But sometimes it also means rethinking the presentation to suit today’s more visually oriented culture. 

Singer-songwriter Samantha Crain decided to take a different tack with the creation of her most recent album, Kid Face, which came out in early 2013. “I wanted to do something autobiographical,” Crain explains.

Hailing from Fullerton, Calif., power-pop quartet Audacity is loud, brash and melodic, known for break-neck live shows and a tireless tour schedule. In 2013, Audacity released its third studio album, the Weezer-esque Butter Knife.

Sam Bond’s Garage bookends Sol Seed’s year quite well, and what a difference a year makes. On Dec. 31, 2012, Sol Seed played its first New Year’s Eve show at Sam Bond’s; the reggae fusion band will be reprising its role of ringing in the New Year with laid-back, back-beat cheer for 2014. 

Music news & notes from down in the Willamette valley.

When interviewing a band called Levon’s Helmet, the lead question writes itself: What’s up with your most excellent band name? “Me and Gordon were in this band called Water Tower [formerly Water Tower Bucket Boys],” says Jason Oppat. “When we decided to make our own music we just went with it. At the time it was kind of a joke. It’s a little bit of a jab at folk and country music.” 

The Motet, an octet, puts on lively “dance parties,” and their music incorporates elements of dance, funk, soul, salsa, electronica, Afrobeat and samba. Their self-titled album comes out on Jan. 25 and marks a rebirth for the band.

Music news & notes from down in the Willamette valley.

Baroque music and candlelight make a fine combination. On Thursday (12/20) and Friday (12/21), the Oregon Mozart Players’ annual Candlelight Baroque concert returns to the ideally intimate setting of First Christian Church.

If you’re looking for the life of the party, look no further than Celtic folk-punk outfit Toad in the Hole. And since EW last caught up with them in January, they’ve brought some new partiers to the scene.

Paul Basile, singer and primary songwriter of New York-based indie rockers Great Elk, is spending the winter playing solo shows. Great Elk’s 2012 release Autogeography is a sweeping, tuneful and epic work of American indie music. 

“Keep an eye out,” warns Johnny Kraft, drummer for local skate-punk trio Bad Luck Blackouts. “It’s been a slow time for us but it’s been a very productive time.”

After hitting major gigs like the Northwest String Summit and the High Sierra Music Festival this summer, the whiskey-shooting, feet-stomping, heart-pounding Americana group Fruition returns to Eugene to tour its new album Just One of Them Nights

There are not many muses as evocative as the salty, salty sea. With that Pacific mistress nearby, The Crescendo Show knows this well. “The ocean is always tied into a lot of our music,” says Ricky Carlson, banjo, guitar, drum and back-up vocal Renaissance man for the Corvallis-based indie folk band. “It’s a pretty vast subject to write about it.” 

If not for Irish singer-songwriter Damien Rice, Andy Frasco might have never found his muse. As a kid in Southern California, Frasco dreamed of being a music business behind-the-scenes guy — managing bands or running a label. Dropping out of school at the tender age of 14, Frasco started a booking agency and lied about his age to work at Capitol Records.

Music news & notes from down in the Willamette valley.

“It’s only a model,” Terry Gilliam’s Patsy says, sotte voce, with a shrug of Camelot in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The soon-to-reunite Monty Python lads sure had that one right. Their spoof of Lerner & Loewe’s celebrated 1960 musical is an adaptation of T.H. White’s novel, The Once and Future King, which is an adaptation of Thomas Malory’s 15th-century epic Le Morte d’Arthur, which is itself a fanciful retelling of tales that probably have little to do with anything that actually happened way back when.

If you are wondering whether Sir Mix-A-Lot will be playing some of his hits when he comes to town — like “Posse on Broadway” or “Baby Got Back” — the answer is a resounding “Hell yes.”

Partially propelled by the hot success of the single “Same Love,” Macklemore and Ryan Lewis are touring the world — supported by legendary Brooklyn rapper Talib Kweli, which is puzzling considering Kweli is one of the pioneers of socially conscious hip hop, without which “Same Love” (a song condemning homophobia in all strata of society — particularly hip hop) might never have found mainstream acceptance.

Almost Famous, the 2013 release from Seattle’s Big Eyes, busts out of the gate with “Nothing You Could Say” — a riff-heavy, drum-bashing, fist-in-the-air anthem with guitarist and vocalist Kate Eldridge recalling Joey Ramone or Joan Jett. 

For Ben Morrison, the guitarist and one of the vocalists for The Brothers Comatose, recording their second album, 2012’s Respect the Van, was a very different experience than recording their debut album, 2010’s Songs from the Stoop.

In order to make her last album, 2012’s Bridges, come to life, Lisa Forkish — a South Eugene High alumna, current music educator at the Oakland School for the Arts and jazz vocalist — had to jump into the deep end and pray for the best.

Douglas County Daughters is another firm example that music is a place where sibling rivalries can fall by the wayside. After growing up in Douglas County, Neb., surrounded by their mother’s passion for 1940s music, sisters Mollie Ziegler and Emily West became classically trained musicians. 

The Shook Twins live a charmed life. Whether performing their quirky brand of indie folk pop solo, opening for Blitzen Trapper or the Carolina Chocolate Drops or partaking in side projects like Morning Ritual with Portland jazz luminary Ben Darwish, people love them to death.