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Music

April 20, 2017

Popular and internationally known Eugene post-rock sextet This Patch of Sky will premiere new music April 21 at Hi-Fi Music Hall. TPOS lead-guitarist and bandleader Kit Day tells EW: “We’ll be playing three or four songs from our new album,” featuring horns and guest vocalists.

Day says his band’s next release is slated for September on a mid-major record label.

April 20, 2017

Pop music has long been about teen angst, social anxiety and sexual confusion. And Brooklyn two-piece Diet Cig — touring behind their hotly anticipated (and, after getting panned by influential music site Pitchfork, pretty divisive) debut album, Swear I’m Good At This — effectively takes you right back to a place of paralyzing puberty and all its related self-consciousness. 

April 13, 2017

One thing is for certain of Bilal: the neo-soul artist is surely on a journey of self-made greatness. 

Bilal says his story began in Philadelphia, where his funk-loving father constantly took him to various jazz clubs around the city. These outings were where Bilal’s lifelong love of music blossomed.

April 13, 2017

I ask Kevin Barnes from of Montreal whether early Bowie stuff or bands like T Rex were on his mind when writing and recording Innocence Reaches, the latest full-length from his long-running indie-rock act out of Athens, Georgia.

“There are a couple songs that are definitely Iggy Pop-influenced,” Barnes says, “and Bowie as well,” particularly with the Mick Ronson-like guitar sounds on album-tracks like “Les Chants de Maldoror” and “Gratuitous Abysses.”

April 13, 2017

If there were ever rap raw enough to contend with a dish of five-star tartare, Ab-Soul would easily be the dollop of prime caviar served atop. Between his haunting beats and brutally blunt lyrics, this hip-hop artist is making waves colossal enough to tear through his competition in the scene.

Ab-Soul, born Herbert Anthony Stevens IV, spent his childhood in Los Angeles and began slinging rhymes in high school. After graduation, he was spitting out mix tapes and quickly joined the Black Hippy Crew, a close-knit hip-hop collective featuring Kendrick Lamar and Isaiah Rashad.

April 6, 2017

Although America seems like a scary place at the moment, we can draw strength and solace from the music of American composers of our own time.

April 6, 2017

Julien Ehrlich says that when he started writing as a duo with guitarist Max Kakacek, the musicians “wanted the songs to sound like they were coming from one person.”

The pair had previously played together in Chicago garage-rock and perennial next-big-thing favorites Smith Westerns. After the dissolution of Smith Westerns, Ehrlich and Kakacek struck out on their own, forming Whitney. Ehrlich says the pair liked touring more than the rest of their former band mates. 

March 30, 2017

It’s all over now except for the hiring. Eugene Symphony’s yearlong music director search has all but ended, once more attracting national attention as the orchestra seeks to replace Danail Rachev when he leaves at the end of this season.

March 30, 2017

Artists live at the crossroads of the active and the passive, between merely creating and sharing or creating and engaging with the broader community.

Asian-American pop-punk band The Slants perfectly represent the latter by intertwining their classic punk sound with a fight for social justice.

The Slants are a Portland-based band with four members who bring their quirky personalities to the stage and studio. Simon Tam, the group’s founder and bassist (also, official band mom), giggles while he lists off the comically diverse traits of his fellow band mates:

March 23, 2017

For Lane County musician and educator Tony Rust, Rolling Stones’ record Sticky Fingers is a “top of the pile” album. “It’s an album I grew up with,” he says. “Solid songs all the way through.” 

Rust leads a project called FAB Performances, also known as the Favorite Album Band. On March 25 at Springfield’s Wildish Theater, FAB will recreate Sticky Fingers in what Rust calls a “focused setting, instead of a noisy club, where you’re there to party rather than focus on the music.”

March 23, 2017

Thaddeus Moore, owner and operator of Eugene’s long-running Sprout City Studios, jokes that he hates battles of the bands.

Nevertheless, to celebrate Sprout City’s 20th year in business, Moore is launching a battle of the bands series. Moore says he wants to give bands a real critique and not offer just a popularity contest. “I want this to be a good thing for the musicians,” he says.

March 23, 2017

K. Flay’s music is an old fashioned that’s been spiked with a mystery upper: It has an edge you can’t quite put your finger on, but you can’t get enough of it either. This alternative hip-hop artist is casually strolling to the top of the scene with her refreshing twist on a crowded genre.

 Born Kristine Flaherty, K. Flay has been pumping out songs since the early 2000s. She recently released “Blood in the Cut,” a stellar single that quickly landed a spot on Billboard’s Top 10 Emerging Artists chart.

March 23, 2017

There are songs, and then there are “art songs.” I hate the latter term, mostly applied to vocal works written by 19th-century classical composers, because it implicitly suggests that all those other songs — y’know, the ones everyone actually listens to on their computers and phones and radios all day — are somehow not capital-A ART.

In fact, I’d put the artistic intelligence that goes into crafting a good pop song, hip hop lyric, etc., up against anything contrived by long-dead Germans. As the late Chuck Berry sang, “Roll over, Beethoven.”

March 16, 2017

Old school California punk band Social Distortion, together since the late-`70s, has, over time, and not unlike The Clash, adopted the patina of classic rock from their era. But stopping at terms “punk” or “classic rock” sells Social D a little short, ignoring classic albums like White Light, White Heat, White Trash or hits like “Ball and Chain,” albums and songs that blend John Steinbeck’s tone of California class struggle along with Johnny Cash’s outlaw-country mythology. In fact, one of Social Distortion’s best-known tunes is a cover of Cash’s classic “Ring of Fire.”

March 16, 2017

Isaiah Rashad has honed the flows across hip hop’s many eras and has put a contemporary twist on his craft. The established yet fresh face has collaborated with some of the genre’s mainstream innovative names like Kendrick Lamar and SZA; his sound, however, rests in a league of its own.

March 9, 2017

My, my, the country seems to be in a conservative mood. Our con-mander-in-thief wants to take us “back” to an imagined time, somewhere after we won that Good War and before uppity Americans like women and black people finally started to receive something approaching the equal protection the Constitution offered them.

 This month’s live musical mood seems pretty retro, too, with many of the most recommendable shows gazing resolutely backward instead of forward into a 21st century that seems pretty daunting at the moment. 

March 9, 2017

Music press has roundly called Nosebleed Weekend, the latest release from The Coathangers, a step toward maturity for the Atlanta punk act. So it’s somewhat ironic that one of the album’s best tracks, “Squeeki Tiki,” features a child’s squeaky toy. 

“We had a lot more time to work on it, practice all the songs. We recorded demos, which we never got to do before,” Coathanger’s bassist and vocalist Meredith Franco tells EW. “We’re older. We were more mature.” 

March 1, 2017

Haven’t heard Ty Segall’s last few records? Don’t worry, he’ll release a few more next week. That’s how it seems with the California singer and guitarist’s wildly prolific output. Segall’s stuff is mischievously tossed-off, with a reckless genius despite Segall’s intentions. Like Ryan Adams — if Adams could give up on his Austin City Limits tendencies. 

March 1, 2017

Audiences perhaps best know Eugene musician and guitarist Gerry Rempel as resident composer with local ballet company, Ballet Fantastique. Now Rempel, along with his group Gerry Rempel Jazz Syndicate, is celebrating his third release: Sketches from the Underground, a collection of all-original jazz compositions. 

February 23, 2017

I first heard of Seattle band Tacocat (read it backwards!) from friends up north. They said seeing the pop-punk group live was like sighting a mythical animal: a unicorn, or a cat actually made from tacos. 

Since releasing their debut Lost Time on Sub Pop subsidiary label Hardly Art, Tacocat’s profile has been steadily on the rise in the Northwest and beyond. And most talk surrounding the band still involves their live shows. 

February 23, 2017

Popular Eugene hip hop-soul-reggae act Sol Seed is prepped to release its new studio record Spark. Vocalist, keyboardist and didgeridoo player Sky Guasco says the self-produced album is full of his band’s trademark, feel-good Rasta grooves, funk flourishes and elements of world music.

But Guasco says Spark also has some newer, stronger sounds.

February 23, 2017

Imagine a single concert that featured the public premieres of these classical masterpieces: Beethoven’s mighty Fifth (da da da DAH) and Sixth symphonies, fourth Piano Concerto and Choral Fantasy.

No wonder the other work on that famous program of premieres was overshadowed. On Saturday, Feb. 25, at the Hult Center, you can hear that relative Beethoven rarity, his underrated Mass in C, when Eugene Concert Choir sings it along with one of the 20th century’s most popular choral masterworks: Leonard Bernstein’s joyous Chichester Psalms

February 16, 2017

On the opening track “Appropriation,” from DC punk band Priests excellent 2017 release Nothing Feels Normal, vocalist Katie Alice Greer snarls like a toothy Debbie Harry: “It feels good to buy something you can’t afford.” Beneath her, the song propels over a jittery, anxious groove, falling somewhere between surf rock and early B-52s.

February 16, 2017

Riff raff (/rifraf/): disreputable or undesirable people…

Riff Raff, the hip hop artist, takes his craft to the truest lengths of that definition. If you haven’t checked out his stash of both satirical (I think?) and serious music videos, you’re missing out on comedic gold. But who is this guy? Mix together some blatant appropriation of black hip-hop culture with a white trash millionaire aesthetic, and you’ve got Riff Raff.