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Music

January 22, 2015

“We’ve been gravitating toward a New Orleans jazz kind of sound,” says Mad Caddies founding member Sascha Lazor, “while still keeping the reggae, ska and rock aspect to the band.” The Mad Caddies are returning to Eugene in support of their 2014 Fat Wreck Chords release Dirty Rice, perhaps the band’s most nuanced and varied record to date.

January 22, 2015

There’s no telling what she’ll spin, but it’s likely that Megan James’ goal is to make you dance. The singer for Canada’s ghostly electro-pop duo Purity Ring has dabbled in the DJ booth for a couple years now. As she told the Santa Barbara Independent, “I’m just looking for what makes me dance.”

January 22, 2015

Philly-based musician Jeremy Quentin is one of those guy-that’s-a-band/band-that’s-just-one-guy types. He performs under the name Small Houses. The album art for Small Houses’ 2013 release Exactly Where You Wanted to Be shows Quentin standing alone, suitcase in his hand, staring into the middle distance, mustachioed like your dad in 1978. He could be laid-over at a Greyhound station — on his way to somewhere he’s dreading. 

Much of the record sounds that way: lonely, lo-fi, heartbroken and introspective indie folk. 

January 15, 2015

Oliver Wood says you need to see his brother play the bass. “My brother is a world-class upright bass player,” he boasts. Wood, alongside his brother Chris Wood and drummer Jano Rixx, is one-third of hard-touring roots-Americana act, The Wood Brothers, who return to Eugene in support of 2013’s critically acclaimed record The Muse.

January 15, 2015

Of all the music events happening in Eugene this month, perhaps none is more valuable than the University of Oregon’s Music Today Festival. In contrast to most classical music institutions, which over the past century have turned into moldering antiquities, endlessly recycling well-known works by long dead Europeans, the Music Today Festival is devoted to incubating the creative work of Oregon’s next generation of composers.

January 15, 2015

Even via email, I got the sense musician Shawn Rosenblatt (aka Netherfriends) enjoys a good put-on. Listen to his music and hear a keen pop sensibility, a voracious musical sense of humor and stylistic attention-deficit disorder.

In 2010, Rosenblatt started the 50 Songs 50 States Project. “I started a year-long project where I played a show and recorded a new song in all 50 states,” Rosenblatt says. “For Oregon, I played a show and wrote a song in Portland.”

January 15, 2015

Whitey Morgan is no stranger. He’s played Eugene countless times. But no matter how well we think we know the man, he keeps coming up with new surprises. In late 2014 he released two records side by side, each of which offers its own clear window into Whitey’s soul.

January 8, 2015

Seattle musician Whitney Monge calls her sound “alternative soul,” but don’t expect Aretha Franklin or Al Green — not quite, anyway.

“Alternative soul means music coming from a place that we all have: our soul,” Monge says, admitting she’s influenced by heavyweights from soul music, but her sound is a mix of rock and blues. “It’s music that’s relatable. It’s music you can feel,” she says. 

January 8, 2015

Electronic dance music is hotter than ever, nowhere more so than in Eugene. “Eugene has been an incredibly supportive place for our band to really thrive and to develop our own unique sound,” says Nathan Asman, who alongside guitarist Keith Randel and drummer Travis Lien makes up the Eugene-based livetronica act Hamilton Beach

“The livetronic-EDM [electronic dance music] scene is very strong and nurturing here,” Asman says, “and there’s no way we would be where we are as a band without the music scene here.” 

January 8, 2015

Doesn’t that name sound familiar? This Patch of Sky got its name from a Lord Leebrick Theatre sign in 2010. Since then, the six-member band has carved a neat place for itself in the haunting, wordless world of symphonic post-rock. Despite having songs in World Cup promos, documentary trailers and upcoming blockbusters, the band members have stayed in Lane County, touring the coast every once in a while but mostly writing and laying down tracks. Their eponymous album (released in August) was featured on numerous Best-of-2014 lists, and they’re already working on a new LP. 

December 31, 2014

Originally out of Austin, Texas, the now The Dalles-based musician Ben Ballinger says if he had to pick another artist’s song to introduce himself it would be Frank Sinatra’s “My Way.” The song’s words and melancholy tone, alongside a fierce determination, resonate with him, he says.

December 31, 2014

Don’t hate Alexander Cardinale because he has it dialed in. The songwriter, who also sometimes goes by Xander, is coming off a tour with Melissa Etheridge. Cardinale says the exposure afforded him by touring with an established artist like Etheridge was intoxicating. “It’s a performers dream to get to take over a huge stage and have use of full expression,” Cardinale tells EW. “Literally, your expressions get bigger; your performance in general gets bigger; thus your energy is higher, you’re jumping around; the audience is on their feet. I love that.” 

December 31, 2014

Coty Hogue grew up in a small Montana town of about 850 people with a music-loving family, but the notion of making a living performing for an audience wasn’t part of that experience. 

December 24, 2014

San Diego punk band Drug Control evokes the glory days of So Cal bands like Black Flag and Circle Jerks. “We take influences from older East and West coast bands and blend them into our style,” says vocalist Danny Lyerla. 

And Drug Control’s 2014 debut demo is quintessential American hardcore: short, pummeling, unrelentingly aggressive and athletically angry. With song titles like “Enough is Enough,” “Fried” and “About To Snap,” the record seeps with the revolutionary nihilism hardcore music is known for.  

December 24, 2014

You know how your head always starts bobbing and your toes start tapping whenever you hear that certain song? Maybe it’s a Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis or Chuck Berry tune. Whatever it is, it makes you want to move. Daddy Rabbit falls into this category. 

Songwriter Robert Jacobs also writes catchy, poppy love songs with local band Long Tall and Ugly and folky roots music for Crooked River, but Daddy Rabbit gets him to the source of his love for music.

December 24, 2014

In 1929, surrealist painter René Magritte scrawled under his painting of a pipe, “Ceci n’est pas une pipe” (“This is not a pipe”), in his famously enigmatic painting The Treachery of Images.

December 18, 2014

The concept behind 2013’s The Clear Blue Pearl from Portland band Morning Ritual sounds more like a sci-fi-fantasy movie than a pop record, complete with a devastating drought, an epic journey and a mysterious “blue pearl.” 

December 18, 2014

There are a lot of captivating things about Kathryn Claire. She’s a classically trained violinist (picking it up at age 7), a self-taught guitarist, and she teaches songwriting to kids. But most captivating and surprising is when she opens her mouth to share her deep, emotive voice. A trained vocalist since age 14, Claire (pictured) is no stranger to the emotional range a female voice can hold — she lists Ani DiFranco, Indigo Girls and Joni Mitchell as influences. 

December 18, 2014

New Year’s Eve has always been my least favorite holiday, with the commercially contrived Valentine’s Day a close second. Instead of celebrating gratitude or sacrifice or renewal or even zombies, it’s become pretty much an excuse to go out and get hammered and maybe ruin someone else’s life by driving intoxicated for a nightcap.

December 18, 2014

Gypsy acts are known for their rowdiness; their raw, cigarette-smoky, patched-clothing, dented-brass impurities. Above all, gypsy acts are known for their stage presence. Seattle-born folker Jason Webley is no different.

December 11, 2014

Band names don’t usually refer to the art of songwriting itself, but that’s exactly what Hook & Anchor does. “It kind of refers to the things a good song needs,” says Kati Claborn, singer and guitarist for the band (she also plays banjo and uke).

December 11, 2014

KMRIA stands for: Kiss My Royal Irish Ass,” says Casey Neill of Portland-based Pogues tribute band KMRIA. “The reference is from James Joyce’s Ulysses,” Neill says, explaining KMRIA is also referenced in Pogues’ song “Transmetropolitan.” 

December 11, 2014

Though Wikipedia deems Portland-based acoustic five-piece Horse Feathers “indie folk,” frontman Justin Ringle is less sure. “I don’t even look at it as folk or neo-folk, necessarily,” Ringle tells EW

December 4, 2014

SHOW CANCELED.

What would legendary Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr now in his fifties — say to his 19-year-old self, just about to embark on a career that would lead him to become one of the most widely acclaimed and respected rock musicians of his generation? 

“Don’t give up.” 

And what would 19-year-old Marr say to older Marr? 

“Keep a good haircut.”