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Music

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.”

April 9, 2015

If music is the universal language, the voice is the universal instrument.

April 2, 2015

“People won’t commit to your music if you don’t commit to it first,” says Sam Wartenbee, Eugene rapper and Crushkill Recordings artist.

If you’ve paid attention to local music for any length of time, chances are you recognize Wartenbee (aka Sammy Warm Hands), whether from hardcore punk band This Day’s End or local hip-hop act The ILLusionists. 

Ten years ago, Wartenbee started his own recording studio and record label, Take 92 Music. 

April 2, 2015

With a gender twist on the Adam and Eve story, Montreal’s experimental techno musician Marie Davidson offers us the apple of temptation. 

This time, the apple is minimalist electronic beats and soundscapes that evoke danger, sexuality and darkness.

And, frequently, her sound has an undeniably killer groove — like on the track “Excès de Vitesse” from Davidson’s upcoming release Un Autre Voyage (out April 15 on Holodeck Records).

April 2, 2015

At first listen, Portland’s Ages and Ages seem to provide the perfect indie-pop soundtrack to a lazy afternoon spent in careless sun-soaked abandon. But, an underlying darkness looms.

Much like the joyous gloom-tinged rock of Denmark’s Alcoholic Faith Mission, frontman Tim Perry and company craft songs that are harmonious, lush and joyous while heavily colored with angst, strife and the difficulty of remaining a decent human being. This is particularly so on their 2014 sophomore release, Divisionary. 

April 2, 2015

The Portland-based band Goldfoot features some faces familiar to Eugene audiences: Joe McClain, Elijah Medina and Trevor Forbess, formerly of Eugene’s funk-rock group Volifonix, who took home Eugene Weekly’s Next Big Thing crown in 2012.

Goldfoot, which also includes Ruth Heald and Anthony Messano, is celebrating the release of its inaugural three-song EP, On The Floor. Fans of Volifonix may also find Goldfoot’s sound familiar. 

April 2, 2015

In the early ’90s, drag star RuPaul was dazzling the club scenes in Atlanta and New York City and Jennie Livingston released her award-winning documentary Paris Is Burning, which captured the culture of New York drag balls. 

In Eugene, the first Damsels, Divas & Dames drag show was performed at the Hult in 1992.

In 2000, Imperial Sovereign Court of the Emerald Empire — one of Eugene’s oldest LGBTQ organizations — revived the show and it has continued to be an annual event benefitting HIV Alliance. 

March 26, 2015

Pop quiz: What do Joseph Campbell, Blade Runner and Trent Reznor have in common? 

Answer: The L.A. synth-pop quartet LEX

“A lot of our inspiration comes from movies such as Blade Runner, The Neverending Story and Labyrinth,” bandmember Leah Chrisholm tells EW via email. Chrisholm grew up in Eugene.

LEX is touring in support of their debut self-titled release produced by Peter Franco, who also worked on the last two Daft Punk records. The band describes its sound as “fantasy synth.”

March 26, 2015

No one has a voice quite like Iris DeMent — an aching, soulful twang reminiscent of a bygone era. “She’s the best singer I’ve ever heard,” Merle Haggard has said of the Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter. DeMent has done timeless duets with John Prine and Emmylou Harris, and her songs have graced both the silver and small screens (2010’s True Grit and Northern Exposure). Via email, EW caught up with DeMent, who plays March 29 at Cozmic, to chat about music collaborations,  her music roots and her latest project.

March 26, 2015

String quartets might be the most common classical music chamber ensemble, but it’s hard to find a quartet that performs regularly hereabouts and thereby develops the kind of chemistry that can really make the music sing. That hole in Eugene’s musical tapestry will be repaired at 7:30 pm Tuesday, April 7, at United Lutheran Church (2230 Washington), when the new Eugene-based Delgani String Quartet takes it opening bow.

March 26, 2015

Would you like a gin and tonic with that guitar riff? How about a rum and Coke with that rhyme?

“In Eugene, you’ll see a bartender onstage everywhere you go. We all play music,” says Casey Lynch, Level Up Arcade manager and bartender.

Lynch is a prime example. Known to most as KI Design (emcee and ringleader of local hip-hop crew, The Architex), he has played countless shows, including a weekly residency — “Private Stock” at Luckey’s Club — going on four years now. 

March 26, 2015

Geographer exists somewhere between the emotive synth pop arias of Depeche Mode and the earnest coffeehouse-meets-arena-rock of fellow Bay Area acts Train and Counting Crows. 

With echoes of The Killers, Geographer’s latest release, Ghost Modern (out now on Roll Call Records) tries to sound big — U2 big, the kind of watershed record that burns up the charts while soundtracking a generation.

March 19, 2015

Nihilism and depression have long been compatriots. Dwelling together in the darkness, they lay entangled, drawing from one another, separate, yet not inseparable. 

March 19, 2015

“University cities are the best places to play,” says Jay Bentley, bassist for legendary Southern California punk band Bad Religion. “They’re full of students,” he continues, “and students are the best people.”

Bad Religion has been busting establishment chops since 1979. The band returns to Eugene in support of 2013’s studio record True North. Bentley says in addition to touring, Bad Religion has started writing a new record.

March 19, 2015

In the fog-ridden murkiness of Cascadia, one can easily forget that not all metal is black metal. Shattering our illusions of “all-grim everything” comes the brilliantly crisp technical metal of Archspire from Vancouver, B.C. Sharing the brutal gospel of last year’s The Lucid Collective (released on the Season Of Mist label), the tech-death powerhouse has been tearing up stages aside the likes of Fallujah, Origin and Fleshgod Apocalypse, all the while winning over new converts. 

March 19, 2015

One easy way to keep rap lovers happy is to introduce them to an emerging emcee with fast flow and a sharp, cutting vocabulary.  

Futuristic, born in Illinois and based in Arizona, is just that. His “Watch Yo Mouth” tour hits dozens of stops along the West Coast, and then extends east as far as New York. While he has gigs scheduled with musicians like Action Bronson and Shwayze, the 22-year-old rapper says he enjoys performing for audiences similar to what he expects to see in Eugene. 

March 12, 2015

Coming on the tail (feather) end of Rio de Janeiro’s world-famous Carnival, Eugene Arte Latino and Students Helping Street Kids International (SHKSI) host the Carnaval Brasil! 7 pm Saturday, March 14, at Cozmic; $12, kids 12 and under get in free. Costumes are encouraged, so break out your glitter, feathers, sequins and, of course, rhythm: Samba dance lessons start at 9:15 pm.