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Embracing the palpable restrictions of the seemingly humble uke - Jake Shimabukuro has skyrocketed the lesser-known ukulele scene into the international music spotlight.

I realize I’m a little late to the Macklemore & Ryan Lewis party; I didn’t fall in love with the pair until I heard the first bars of “Thrift Store” a month ago.

Jon Foreman and the guys in Switchfoot have been making some of the most thought-provoking commercial music for a decade now, and their latest release, 2011’s Vice Verses, is no exception.

Ambitious music projects are like catnip for Brian McWhorter. His latest, an assembled score with Beta Collide for the upcoming UO screening of the 1929 silent film Ed’s Coed, is no exception.

Big orchestras and operas make a lot of glorious noise, but sometimes the most enchanting music is also the most intimate.

Some bands have epic, long careers. Some bands burn bright and fizzle quickly. Some bands build a career nibbling at the edges: consistent, successful, influential, but never quite becoming household names despite their cult following. Dinosaur Jr. is a band like that.

Oakland is a hard place — always has been and ever will stay such, because the Bay, as they say, is the quintessence of the modern concrete jungle, churning up a bone meal Darwinism of jacked-up nasty that suffers no goons.

Ever been to one of those shows where you’re blinded by glow sticks, your body won’t stop buzzing because the bass is so loud, and you come out so sweaty on the other side you’d think someone threw you into a bucket of saltwater? No? Well now’s your chance.

Syracuse-based Sophistafunk has a mission: to destroy musical stereotypes. “There are only three of us and only two of us play instruments,” Sophistafunk keyboardist Adam Gold tells EW.

Jonathan Russell should apply to become the spokesperson for Eugene’s tourism board while he’s in town.

Living in the Northwest you grow accustomed to rain, cool breezes and gray skies — but also the opposite — sun and blue and warmth. The truth of this place is that nothing is permanent and there is always change, both in the weather and the geography.

Beach House does not want you to think about their music, they want you to feel it. “At the end of the day when you hear our music, I hope the analytical side shuts down and you feel it more,” Victoria Legrand (lead vocals, keyboard) says.

Hip hop boils music down to two basic elements: voice and rhythm. And over the years those elements have been blended by mad scientists, producing compound sounds as varied as those making the music.

The Shins and I go way back. They’re based in Portland; I’m from Portland. They contributed to the Garden State soundtrack; I snuck in to see Garden State multiple times when I was 16.

The Oregon Mozart Players begin a new era this Sunday afternoon with newly appointed artistic director Kelly Kuo’s first concert with the always enjoyable chamber orchestra.

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.