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Music

No one has a voice quite like Iris DeMent — an aching, soulful twang reminiscent of a bygone era. “She’s the best singer I’ve ever heard,” Merle Haggard has said of the Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter. Via email, EW caught up with DeMent, who plays March 29 at Cozmic, to chat about music collaborations,  her music roots and her latest project.

String quartets might be the most common classical music chamber ensemble, but it’s hard to find a quartet that performs regularly hereabouts and thereby develops the kind of chemistry that can really make the music sing. That hole in Eugene’s musical tapestry will be repaired at 7:30 pm Tuesday, April 7, at United Lutheran Church (2230 Washington), when the new Eugene-based Delgani String Quartet takes it opening bow.

Would you like a gin and tonic with that guitar riff? How about a rum and Coke with that rhyme?

“In Eugene, you’ll see a bartender onstage everywhere you go. We all play music,” says Casey Lynch, Level Up Arcade manager and bartender.

Geographer exists somewhere between the emotive synth pop arias of Depeche Mode and the earnest coffeehouse-meets-arena-rock of fellow Bay Area acts Train and Counting Crows. 

Nihilism and depression have long been compatriots. Dwelling together in the darkness, they lay entangled, drawing from one another, separate, yet not inseparable. It is apt, then, that the stars would align for California’s experimental two-piece Wreck & Reference to cross paths with Portland goth-rock duo Muscle & Marrow. It is beyond fortunate, and a gift to the sullen, that both bands will occupy the same space on the same night while on their own respective tours.

Bad Religion has been busting establishment chops since 1979. The band returns to Eugene in support of 2013’s studio record True North. Bentley says in addition to touring, Bad Religion has started writing a new record.

In the fog-ridden murkiness of Cascadia, one can easily forget that not all metal is black metal. Shattering our illusions of “all-grim everything” comes the brilliantly crisp technical metal of Archspire from Vancouver, B.C. 

One easy way to keep rap lovers happy is to introduce them to an emerging emcee with fast flow and a sharp, cutting vocabulary. Futuristic, born in Illinois and based in Arizona, is just that.

Music news & notes from down in the Willamette valley

New York rapper Michael Quattlebaum Jr., aka Mykki Blanco, is as much a performance artist as a musician. A published poet and art school dropout, Quattlebaum’s alter ego Blanco is inspired by teenage girls and drag queens — mixing the right-now youth culture of Rihanna, the decadent gutter of the New York art world, queercore and Riot Grrrl icon Kathleen Hanna. 

Caroline Bauer releases her first full-length studio album, To Kneel and Kiss the Ground, Sunday, March 15, at her album release show at Sam Bond’s. Joining Bauer are Portland musicians Jeffrey Martin (who the Portland Mercury just declared “might be the best songwriter in Portland”) and Anna Tivel (formerly of Anna and the Underbelly), who also played violin on the album. EW caught up with Bauer this week for coffee and discussed raising money for the album, collaboration and her musical roots.

The visiting hip-hop scene has thrived this past year in Eugene, with rap revolutionaries — ranging from Sir Mix-A-Lot to J. Cole — stopping by on tour nearly every weekend. Talib Kweli and Immortal Technique are the next two legends that will pass through town.

Adia Victoria has only released two songs, but the Nashville-based singer is already on the rise as a Southern Gothic queen. Rolling Stone recently named her as one of “10 New Artists You Need To Know,” and Roger Moutenot (Yo La Tengo, Sleater-Kinney) is producing her debut with bandmates Ruby Rogers, Tiffany Minton and Mason Hickman. 

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is one of the peaks of Stephen Sondheim’s stellar career as America’s greatest musical theater composer, which, after multiple Tonys, Grammys, a Pulitzer and other laurels, received another boost with 2014’s film version of his musical Into the Woods

Jeff Tweedy was an integral member of Uncle Tupelo and is now the frontman of Wilco — putting him at the forefront of two of the most acclaimed American rock bands of the past 25 years. In 2012, Tweedy produced the Mavis Staples record One True Vine. Tweedy asked his teenaged son Spencer to play drums in the studio, and from these recordings came the father-son project Tweedy

“I want to say that no artist has mentioned Eugene, Oregon, more in songs,” Eugene-born folk-rock artist Mat Kearney tells EW

“You’re all a bunch of phonies” has long been one of punk rock’s favorite accusations. Providing a fresh and funny take on that old gripe are the firebrands from London, Ontario — Single Mothers

What does one do after breaking up a successful and influential band? If you’re Christopher Hall of The Dreaming, you start again, but this time as a supergroup. In the late ’90s, Hall’s previous project, Stabbing Westward, took modern-rock radio by storm with singles “Shame” and “Save Yourself” before calling it quits in 2002. Unwilling to remain idle, Hall and drummer Johnny Haro formed The Dreaming later that year. 

New York musician Marco Benevento recorded his 2014 release Swift about as far away from the big city as possible: Cottage Grove. 

Classical music doesn’t have to be boring — usually that’s just the way it’s played

Mike Doherty, bassist for Portland indie-rock outfit Future Historians, says what initially brought the band together was the songwriting of leader and primary songwriter Dave Shur. 

Considering the sterling reputation of J. Cole, it’s incredible that his new tour kicks off here at the McDonald Theatre.

It’s a shame Franco-American jazz singer Cyrille Aimée didn’t come through Eugene a little closer to Valentine’s Day, because her romantic brand of adorable and sugary jazz would be a perfect gift for that special someone. 

At a glance Gothic Tropic may appear to be another chic Los Angeles retro-rock act, hiding behind delay pedals like dark sunglasses. Having just two brief EPs under their belt since their 2011 conception, the indie-poppers might have flown just below the radar of readers, which would have been a shame.