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Picture Los Angeles. Highways, rolling hills, scatterings of high rises poking through the smog and a candy-cane striped Big Top tent coloring the skyline? The indie-folkstars Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros are joining the circus. 

Twenty-five years ago Bruce Springsteen was king of classic rock. Now, there seems to be a whole generation of young punk bands that claim The Boss as their own. And in hindsight, they just might be right. Brooklyn’s The So So Glos share Springsteen’s meat ‘n’ potatoes sound while remaining steeped in punk rock’s golden age.

Of all the serendipitous moments in music history, Rob Garza wandering into Eric Hilton’s Eighteenth Street Lounge in 1995 is one that should not be overlooked. The happenstance meeting in Washington, D.C., propelled the two producer-musicians into an expansive Grammy-nominated career as globetrotting downtempo duo Thievery Corporation.

In a post-Miley Cyrus world, people of a certain vintage are (again) all twerked-up over young people and their pop culture landscape. It was in this context I checked out the video for “Coming Down” by L.A. nu-metal outfit Five Finger Death Punch. 

Music nerds of Eugene unite! For all of you who raid House of Records looking for deleted Smiths singles and original (not rereleased) Frank Zappa albums, who own vinyl, cassette, CD and 8-track copies of the same album and especially for those who caught the High Fidelity reference, the time has come to commence under the roof of the Analog Resurgence Tour at Luckey’s on Thursday, Sept. 5.

Music news & notes from down in the Willamette valley.

There came a time late last decade where indie folk reigned supreme. Singer-songwriters flew out of the woodwork like gnats come to feast on the blood of a millennial Americana revival.

As summer drags doggedly on toward fall, it’s time to get those last lazy rays of sunlight under our skin. During this first week of September, the perfect soundtrack for such an affair will hit town. Ernest Greene, the one-man chillwave extraordinaire behind Washed Out, assumed his persona after failing to become a librarian.

Thao Nguyen wants to challenge the notion that people in prison are monsters.

Music news & notes from down in the Willamette valley.

Love or hate the idea of Emerald Meadows as a thumping festival hotspot pulsing with thousands of gyrating bodies, there is one thing no one can deny: Eugene has never seen a music spectacle like Kaleidoscope Music Festival (Aug. 23-25) before. EW stared down the barrel of that neon prismatic lens and came out the other end. This is what we saw.

Matt Pond’s sound is pure chamber pop: introspective and literate, backed up by lush string arrangements and delivered with classical music formality. Pond (who dropped the PA of his former band Matt Pond PA) toils in semi-obscurity, despite 10 full-length records and an impressive array of EPs. 

The man behind one of the New Wave era’s wormiest ear worms “Cars” could have been content to remain a one-hit wonder. Instead, industrial-synth pop pioneer Gary Numan has maintained a vital artistic output over a career spanning three decades. And this fall the iconic artist will put out Splinter (Songs from a Broken Mind), his first album of all-new material in seven years.

Ra Ra Riot’s 2010 release, The Orchard, begins with a solemn and lush track of the same name that’s heavy on strings and atmosphere supplied in part by now-departed cellist Alexandra Lawn. “Dance With Me” kicks off 2013’s Beta Love very differently.

Music news & notes from down in the Willamette valley.

Eugene, prepare yourself for three days of peace, music and heavy bass. The first-ever Kaleidoscope Music Festival launches Friday, Aug. 23, at Emerald Meadows in the foothills of Mount Pisgah.

Following in the fictional footsteps of indie alias outfits Father John Misty and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, L.A.-based atmospheric folk group Lord Huron uses its music to create a unique storytelling experience that transports listeners on a wandering adventure.

Back in 2011 with the release of its 7” vinyl Myths, the only defining quality that distinguished the Seattle-based Pickwick from the cluttered Pacific Northwest indie folk scene was lead singer Galen Disston’s buttery vocals. “We were conscious of our songs being very derivative, very wannabe,” Disston says. Since then, the sextet started writing songs collaboratively, brought in Americana, blues and soul influences and has successfully stepped out from under the neo-indie umbrella.

L.A.-based art-noise rockers No Age played their first show at an art gallery; they are no strangers to making an art project out of clamorous rock ‘n’ roll. So when asked, the duo took the directive to “make a record” to heart.

Music news & notes from down in the Willamette valley.

Chris Berry loves African music so much that he risked his life to play it. As a teenager in California, the Grammy-winning singer-songwriter studied African drumming with master drummer Titos Sompa, then spent a decade exploring it at the source, especially among Zimbabwe’s Shona people.

You best get on the Wild Child bandwagon now. The song “Pillow Talk” — leading off the 2011 release of the same name — is a bittersweet, ukulele-powered breakup tune. While saccharine, the song is utterly charming with a he-said-she-said storyline.

Matisyahu wanted to do something different with his most recent album, 2012’s Spark Seeker. But when he began the process, he didn’t know “different” would involve starting work on one album, doing some other music for fun on the side and then realizing that the off-the-cuff stuff was what the album should actually sound like.

Music news & notes from down in the Willamette valley.