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Music

May 21, 2015

The May 26 show at WOW Hall is a bit of a rare bird as far as Eugene goes: The lineup features two badass acts, both women. Over the phone, I mention to singer-songwriter Jenny Lewis how unusual this is, to have a show here with nary a beard gracing the stage.

“I’ve always tried to be fair with picking openers,” Lewis says. “It’s just cool to have all females on the bill.” 

May 21, 2015

The meteoric rise of Glass Animals was unexpected, especially for frontman Dave Bayley. In fact, the success of the indie-electro rock band feels much like a dream.

Bayley produced many of the band’s early original recordings in his bedroom in Oxford, England. He tells EW that he never expected anyone to hear his music, adding that he was at first “too shy” to sing over his instrumentation.

May 21, 2015

Some of the most vibrant young voices in jazz and show music belong to women, and three of the most intriguing rising vocalists are coming to town in the next couple weeks. 

May 21, 2015

The Eagles are one of the most commercially successful bands in U.S. history, penning such classic rock staples as “Hotel California” and “Take It Easy.” 

But these days, The Eagles are equally well known for drawing The Dude’s ire in the Coen Brothers’ cult classic, The Big Lebowski

The Eagles are equal parts rock band and running punch line, symbolizing for many all that was bland and watered down about ’70s-era pop rock.

And just why are The Eagles so divisive? 

May 14, 2015

Fresh-faced musician and visual artist Elspeth Summers plays psychedelic folk, modern Americana and country music. Her voice is feisty and youthful while also conveying a road-hard-and-put-away-wet wisdom and weariness. 

“A lot of my music has Old West-inspired themes and visuals,” the Reno, Nevada-based artist tells EW. “I am a country girl at heart and love the desert.” 

May 14, 2015

To the casual observer it might appear that, in 2015, every metal band in the known world is a doom metal band. To be fair, fans of the genre might share a similar impression. Doom is undergoing something of a revival, finally becoming as huge now as the Black Sabbaths and Saint Vituses (Vitae?) that spawned it. 

Enter Austin axemen Destroyer of Light. Though obviously not out to reinvent the wheel, these Texas metalheads damn well make it their own.

May 7, 2015

Dev first burst onto the scene with 2010’s “Bass Down Low,” followed by club favorite “In The Dark.” Both met with moderate success. It wasn’t until Far East Movement’s “Like A G6” turned a verse from her single “Booty Bounce” into its infamous chorus that Dev really started to get some attention.

Her 2012 debut The Night The Sun Came Up received a huge push from Universal Republic, who released singles or videos for 10 of the 12 tracks on the album, as well as a non-album single “Naked” featuring Enrique Iglesias. It seemed as if Dev was about to blow up. 

May 7, 2015

Seattle duo Noise-A-Tron possesses a keen understanding of the space needed for music to breathe. The band, consisting of Lea and Jason Bledsoe, creates a huge sound without falling prey to two-piece rock stereotypes. Where others fill empty space with crushing volume, Noise-A-Tron takes pause. The Bledsoes’ drone-heavy rock is devoid of vocals, relying instead on sparse samples and keyboards that add texture to their fuzzed-out, eight-string bass-and-drums format. 

May 7, 2015

Like a 4th of July fruit salad made from syrupy pineapple, maraschino cherries and hand grenades, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion roars back with Freedom Tower — No Wave Dance Party 2015, out now on Mom + Pop Records. 

“I really enjoy playing,” Spencer tells EW about his band’s return. “It feels great. It feels so good.” 

Like past Blues Explosion records, Freedom Tower is relentless boogie blues, classic rock, punk irreverence and Spencer’s FM DJ and gospel preachin’. 

May 7, 2015

Willis Earl Beal sounds like your favorite vinyl: scratchy, with a cosmic understanding of the word “cool” and a distinct otherworldliness.

The bluesy lo-fi singer pairs smokey vocals reminiscent of Nat King Cole with an avant-garde sensibility that recalls Tom Waits. Beal is a singer in his early 30s, but his soulful sound remains both timeless and lonely. He draws from life experience ranging from reading poetry at open mics on the south side of Chicago to a battle with homelessness in New Mexico. But Beal has minimal “classical” music training.

May 7, 2015

Thanks to what’s called the Little Ice Age, Europe could be a chilly place during the 16th through 18th centuries, all the more reason to seek solace in warm music and celebrate spring’s advent. At 7:30 pm Saturday, May 9, at Central Lutheran Church (1857 Potter St.), the Eugene vocal ensemble Vox Resonat sings springy tunes about dancing and loving composed by Thomas Weelkes, Jacques Arcadelt, Nicolas Gombert and other Renaissance masters.

April 30, 2015

Baltimore electronic composer Dan Deacon is shaping up to be far more than the avant-garde party-guy flavor of the week he seemed destined to be when he smashed onto college-radio charts with 2007’s Spiderman of the Rings. Fast-forward five years to the critically acclaimed and orchestrally driven America, and Deacon seemed poised to become some kind of indie-electronica Philip Glass.

Enter 2015’s Gliss Riffer.

April 30, 2015

Grant Kwiecinski, aka GRiZ, is a 24-year-old DJ and producer from Detroit. Watch his concert footage and find crowds donned in neon and screaming over thunderous bass with beach balls sailing everywhere. Many deem this pop, and it’s certainly popular: 2012’s “Smash the Funk” already has more than a million listens on Spotify.  

April 30, 2015

Pacific Northwest post-punk trio The Ghost Ease rides a fine line between raw, quiet-loud-quiet indie rock and brooding darkwave. 

“I find dark-edged music to be emotionally charged, alive and very real to the human experience,” says Jem Marie, vocalist, guitarist and bandleader. 

Marie’s voice is gentle, and her sound hints of the Deal sisters’ crisp and brittle guitar work and percussion that is equal parts restrained and electric.

April 30, 2015

“I definitely let his royal purple-ness influence this record,” says Ruban Nielson, Unknown Mortal Orchestra bandleader. 

The popular Portland band is preparing to release their Prince-influenced new album Multi-Love May 26 on Indiana’s Jagjaguwar label.

April 23, 2015

Like the blossoms that have been emerging this spring, Oregon classical music is entering a period of renewal. Earlier this month, we told you about the young musicians who’ve just started the new Delgani String Quartet, devoted to both classics and contemporary sounds. At 8 pm Friday, April 24, Eugene sees the debut of another exciting young ensemble at the Broadway House concert series (911 W. Broadway, 686-9270).

April 23, 2015

Salt Lake City’s Heartless Breakers play a brand of bombastic, overwrought rock ‘n’ roll popularized at the turn of the millennium — a style known as emo. 

Vocalist Chase Griffis’ expressive voice sits alongside post-hardcore screaming vocals. Beneath it all, aggressive guitars and a clamorous rhythm section intertwine, creating an auditory manifestation of adolescent tension and release.

But Heartless Breakers also blend elements of hard and abrasive music with a pop sheen, a defining characteristic of emo.

April 23, 2015

Sapient might just be the biggest rapper you’ve never heard of, which is a sad fact considering the Portland-based artist grew up here in Eugene. As one half of hip-hop duo Debaser, as well as a member of Sandpeople, he’s rubbed elbows with members of Hieroglyphics, Living Legends and Grayskul.

 Sapient has also produced infectious beats for Inspectah Deck (of Wu Tang Clan), Slug (of Atmosphere) and Aesop Rock, adding to the pile of reasons to know his work. The emcee-producer is poised and waiting patiently for his moment in the sun.

April 16, 2015

“Hey Ho! Let’s Go!” The classic battle cry will inevitably reach the rafters this Sunday as Richie Ramone, one of the last remaining member of classic punk-rock act The Ramones, brings his leather-clad gospel anew to Eugene. 

Since parting ways with the godfathers of the New York punk scene in 1987, Ramone has done time in The Rock n’ Roll Rats as well as The Gobshites. He’s even tried his hand at classical composition. But shaking the Ramones’ moniker can be tough. 

April 16, 2015

“Still a real world here,” sings Joanne Rand on the track “Real World” from her 2014 album Still a Real World. The song is a manifesto of sorts, cajoling us to disconnect from our networked lives and refocus on the material world. 

But in 2015, the life of a musician — independent or otherwise — is increasingly dependent on digital space. How does the Arcata musician find balance? 

April 16, 2015

With his always-vacant bug eyes, gap-toothed perma-grin and just-rolled-out-of-bed demeanor, Canadian musician Mac DeMarco is indie rock’s greatest goofus. 

But underneath it all, there’s a sly knowingness. You’re not sure how it happened, but while you weren’t looking this simpleton pulled a prank on you — tweaked your nose, tussled your hair and left you standing mystified but thoroughly amused.

April 9, 2015

There’s a new sound in the underground and it’s taking foothold in Eugene. The sound is called electro swing, or e-swing, a blending of modern techno, bass and house music with vintage jazz and swing music of the ’20s, ’30s and ’40s. For Eugene’s plentiful, dance-hungry audiences, this combo is a no-brainer.

April 9, 2015

Straight-edge bands get a bad rap. Often unfairly branded as a general crankiness toward all things fun, the straight-edge, or “sXe,” movement is largely anti bar, house party or any other place where drugs or alcohol might rear their ugly heads. It isn’t a scene particularly synonymous with “ragers.” 

April 9, 2015

Colorado producer, DJ and electronic musician Michal Menert is called “the Godfather of Electro-Soul.” 

“It’s a title the fans have given me,” Menert tells EW via email. He says his work with trendsetting artist Pretty Lights put him at the forefront of the white-hot EDM (electronic dance music) scene. 

“It’s a flattering name that got placed on me, and I wear it with a smile,” Menert says. “I never refer to myself as that, but will gladly take it.”