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Music

After a day or so of fighting our way through dropped calls and shitty cell reception, I get hold of Moon Hooch saxophonist Mike Wilbur somewhere in the middle of Idaho. He and his bandmates — saxophonist Wenzl McGowen and drummer James Muschler — are in the homestretch of their West Coast tour, which eventually will take them through Eugene. Wilbur is also audibly sick, which doesn’t seem to be getting him down in the slightest. 

Music unscrews the cranium, peers inside, pokes and prods, finding all the nooks and crannies contained within: excitement, fear, disappointment, nostalgia and, as singer-songwriter Erin McKeown says, empathy. 

After 10 years of indie Americana marked by the slow-burning sound of violin, cello, guitar and melancholic vocals, Justin Ringle, frontman for Horse Feathers, thought he was finished with sad songs, and therefore done with his career. He didn’t pick up his guitar for months. 

Silaluk, the debut full-length album from Richmond, Virginia post-punk revivalists Shadow Age, is out now on 6131 Records. The album is garnering critical acclaim among a movement of new bands revisiting the classic post-punk sound. 

Formed in the UO dorms in 1990, the Sugar Beets ought to hold the all-time record for Band Fortitude:

“A quarter-century of sustaining anything in this crazy world is a rarity,” says Marty Chilla, acoustic rhythm guitarist and Beets founding member. “It feels like destiny sometimes, and just plain persistence and work at other times. The Sugar Beets have just kept going step by step, song by song, show by show, and have grown up in front of each other and our audience.” 

Critically acclaimed soul and R&B act The Internet features Syd the Kyd (Sydney Bennet) and Matt Martia, alumni of controversial and groundbreaking hip-hop collective Odd Future. 

If you had to pick a perfect opera for Halloween, Benjamin Britten’s 1954 The Turn of the Screw might be it. There’s definitely a haunted house, but in librettist Myfanwy Piper’s adaptation, as in Henry James’s 1898 novella, mastery lies in mystery. What really happened at scary Bly House? Ghosts? A more mundane human-perpetrated evil? Mere insanity? 

If it wasn’t self-described, machinery would seem too rough or inorganic a metaphor for the harmony, improvisation and trust that comprises the Dave Rawlings Machine, but the synergy among members —especially between Rawlings and Gillian Welch — makes for an undeniably powerful engine of sound. 

Chicago-based Sidewalk Chalk is a hive of ingenuity and aspiration. From keys, drums, horns and bass to an emcee, powerful female vocals and a tap dancer, this eight-member crew thrums with talent. Despite the layers and complexities, the members of Chalk share a common passion — to transcend the norm, the expected, the known — resulting in a fluid sound that is equal parts jazz, soul, hip hop and funk.

As a long-time Eugenean, I grow weary of Eugene jokes. On balance we’re bigger, hipper and more happening that our patchouli and tie-dye reputation. But since there’s often some truth in stereotypes, every so often I hear a tall-tale of the EUG and can’t help but think: “Only in Eugene.”

Standing apart in a genre as progressively popular as psych-rock isn’t an easy feat. With more and more artist elbowing their way into the mix, local band Snow White is angling to stand out among the crowd. 

All the customary traits are there: a dream-like, experimental sound paired with passionate melodies. Not so customary is Lauren Hay. With hair glimmering every shade of blue and deep mauve lips, Hay reaches into your soul with her haunting yet tender voice. 

Music News & notes from down in the Willamette valley.

If time is just a sequence of moments — a metered arrangement of flashes and blips set upon a far-flung scale — are there really such things as minutes and hours? Does history groove to a cosmic cabasa? Are rules of rhythm inherent within us or forged across ages of concrete occurrence?

The members of Mudhoney will forever be classified as the Godfathers of Grunge, and for good reason. Their debut — 1989’s aptly named Superfuzz Bigmuff — set the grunge-rock template, stirring punk-rock sneer with metal riffs and drenching it all in distortion. 

The Pacific Northwest has left its mark on Wayne Horvitz’s music. Like his colleague, guitarist Bill Frisell, the jazz pianist and composer’s move from New York’s 1980s downtown music scene to Seattle sparked music of considerably broader appeal than the more avant-garde styles he was known for on the East Coast. 

In the ’90s, Ween were sort of like Phish’s creepy older brother: Phish got your sister high to expand her consciousness, while Ween had more devious intentions. 

It’s Brooklyn rap at its finest, sprinkled with philosophical musing and psychedelic influence. Often mentioned with Joey Bada$$ and Flatbush Zombies, The Underachievers are at the forefront of new-wave rap from the other side of the country — known as the “Beast Coast” movement. 

At this point, do we really need to talk about Neil Young’s music? The musician, author and all-around pain-in-the-establishment’s-ass has a back catalog that qualifies his craggy mug to be carved into the Mount Rushmore of American music. 

On Oct. 4, newcomers to the electronic world domination, Purity Ring, will take over McDonald Theatre. The Canadian duo, made up of Megan James and Corin Roddick, has been on a steady incline since their 2012 record deal.

Talking to Adam Duritz on the phone is like watching nostalgia incarnate walk through the door. The idiosyncratic voice of the Counting Crows frontman is still as raspy and boyish as ever, a key to his charm. That voice helped define a post-Nirvana ’90s. 

It’s likely that the moment little William “Boz” Scaggs met a new friend, Steve Miller, at their highfalutin Dallas boys’ preparatory school, neither knew that a page was turning in American rock history. 

The now Nashville-based folk musician Mare Wakefield, along with her husband and musical collaborator Nomad, has had a pretty good year. 

The Eugene Symphony kicks off its 50th season 8 pm Thursday, Sept. 24, in style with a 20th-century American classic and a brand-new 21st-century composition by the West Coast composer who many hope represents part of the future of American music. 

California-based progressive bluegrass group Front Country has a new connection to Eugene. “Our fiddle player [Leif Karlstrom] just moved up here,” guitarist Jacob Groopman tells EW. “I always like coming to Eugene. It’s a nice town.”