Back in my CD-slinging days (remember CDs?) a new release would arrive pre-stickered “For fans of,” a bald-faced marketing ploy to hitch a new artist to the sound or musician du jour.
I can imagine California songwriter Margaret Glaspy’s latest release, Emotions And Math, arriving affixed with: “For fans of Norah Jones” or “As heard on NPR.” Perhaps you know Glaspy from her recent Tiny Desk Concert.
The brilliant banter between Beatrice and Benedict in Shakespeare’s comedy Much Ado About Nothing, one of theater’s most entertaining duets, seems ideal for a musical setting. Sure enough, French Romantic composer Hector Berlioz, who created the trailblazing Fantastic Symphony and other colorful orchestral works, wrote one (including the libretto, which adds some characters and subplots and jettisons others) in 1862.
There’s a ghost-like quality to Marissa Nadler’s 2016 release Bury Your Name that’s perfect for fall and winter in Eugene. Throughout the record, the strings of her acoustic guitar are like brittle icicles while the sound of violins envelops the music like breath on a cold morning. And Nadler’s murmuring voice, trapped in an echo box, quivers and quakes.
Mainstream music has fallen prey to a habit of being short, sweet and shallow. Nahko and Medicine for the People, the multi-cultural music collective that always makes time for Eugene, slows things down with elaborate melodies, lengthy songs and lyrics that dig into an emotional narrative of life’s shitty times.
A great jazz keyboard-and-drum duo arrives at Sam Bond’s Garage Oct. 13: Matt Chamberlain is well known for drumming with jazz stars like Bill Frisell, Herbie Hancock and Brad Mehldau, along with pop singers like David Bowie, Fiona Apple and Morrissey. He and keyboardist Brian Haas, who leads the groovy Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, deliver strutting 21st-century jazz-funk on their new album Prometheus Risen.
Xylouris White is the sound of two people making music in a room. Person number one is Jim White of well-known Australian experimental rock trio Dirty Three. Person two is George Xylouris, one of Crete’s most beloved musicians, on vocals and lute.
Best known for his Cherry Blossom Musical Arts productions with partner and singer Nancy Wood, Eugene composer Paul Safar was named 2013 Oregon Composer of the Year by the Oregon Music Teachers Association (OMTA) and this summer completed a prestigious composition residency in Alaska.
No doubt Detroit rapper Danny Brown likes to party, evidenced by tracks like “Blunt After Blunt,” “Smokin & Drinkin” and “Die Like A Rockstar.” With an increasing fan base and his fourth studio album just released Sept. 30, it seems like the 35-year-old has no plans of halting the fun bus anytime soon.
Local hardcore punk band Novelas knocks the patches off a typically white-bro dominated scene. The band brings a femme aesthetic, dad jeans and luscious emotional melodies to the table, and they’re returning to Eugene’s music world with gusto after a six-month hiatus. Get out your lipstick, grrrls.
Mick Dagger, vocalist and guitarist with Eugene band Dick Dägger, says one of the best places in town to hear live music is in the john at a house across the street from Taco Bell. The house in question is the Ant House, a longstanding and popular location for basement shows in Eugene.
If you’re anything like me, and I know many of you are, you grew up on a lot of ’80s and ’90s-era British guitar pop. Why? In my case, Brit bands seemed allowed a larger breadth of sensitivity and intelligence than their constantly macho Yankee colleagues. And, of course, there are those accents: romantic, working class, exotic and endlessly cool. Has the sound aged? Certainly. But in the end, haven’t we all?
The music of Edna Vazquez can send shivers to your soul. When Vasquez performs, she closes her eyes and each of her facial muscles crinkles with concentration. She whistles and taps on her guitar’s body with an intimate familiarity, and when she opens her mouth to sing or speak, it’s a bellow straight from her heart.
Before Elton John, Duncan Sheik and Green Day created original stage scores, before all those jukebox musicals featuring songs by Abba, Four Seasons, Carole King and more, even before Rent, Grease, Hair and Jesus Christ Superstar, there was Lionel Bart — a pop songwriter who never learned to read or write music and yet composed some of Britain’s biggest pop hits of the 1950s for Cliff Richard and other stars.
It might be the way Makayla Meador carries her contagious energy or the fact she’s taking the local DJ scene by storm — whatever it is, something tells me to remember her name.
Meador, whose DJ alias is Evergreen, describes her sound as “future bass” and says she finds inspiration in the everyday eclectic sounds of water droplets, cans being cracked open or ping pong balls. She has been performing and producing electronica since the summer of 2015, and has already opened up for big names like The Floozies and worked alongside G-Eazy — pretty impressive, considering she doesn’t even have an EP out yet.
When I listen to EDM, I’m brought back to freshman year when I was introduced to drugs, dub-step and sardine-packed shows. That’s when I first heard the badass-ery of Pretty Lights, an electronica sensation created by Derek Vincent Smith.