Back in the Lab, Cooking Up Some New Music
Hopefully you’re not too thrashed from all the Halloween festivities because the pHormula celebrates the release of their fourth album, No Formula, the day after. These guys have been deeply involved in Eugene’s hip hop community for five years now, and this album shows that, in the years they’ve spent working on making music, they’ve definitely made a lot of progress from humble beginnings. The pHormula blends the talents of four dudes from Casper, Wyo. Two pHormula MCs, Aaron Martin (Examine the Truth) and Gabriel Sechrist (pHilsophy), are brothers. Along with fellow emcee AlpHamatic and DJ pHonics, these gents rhyme about the stuff Northwest rappers might be expected to rhyme about. Like politics’ left side. Or questioning your surroundings. Meanwhile, DJ pHonics concocts the beats in his own separate laboratory. The stuff he comes up with sometimes sounds minimal and organic, with jazzy accents and keys; other times, it’s decidedly synthetic and heavy on the space-y synth sounds. But the point here seems to be the lyrics, which assert themselves with more than enough swagger required to spit rhymes. The pHormula keeps getting better and better, and though where they’re at now is perfectly respectable, if they keep on their grind — and if their rhymes are any indicator, they will — you’ll go to this show and, a couple years down the line, be able to say you saw them when. The pHormula performs at 9:30 pm Saturday, Nov. 1, at the McDonald Theatre. $8 adv., $12 with album. — Sara Brickner
Following close on the heels of Calvin Johnson, another K Records accomplice will be gracing the caffeinated confines of the Wandering Goat. Phil Elverum, or the lo-fi artist formerly known as The Microphones and currently known as Mount Eerie, will be performing from not one, not two, but three albums he released this year. No one’s ever accused Elverum of being unproductive. Under The Microphones moniker, he put out nine albums in seven years, and since 2003, when he changed the name to Mount Eerie, he’s released three full-lengths and eight EPs — and that’s just music. His creative output has extended above and beyond the aural sphere to the stuff that collectors and DIY-ers dream of: letterpressed, silkscreened covers; hardcover photo books; collage portfolios; fog-themed movies; Norwegian journals; joke cartoon collections; and an album that holds the world record for largest record cover. His label, P.W. Elverum & Sun, which houses the Washington artist’s GDP, befittingly says “Creators/Destroyers/Releasers of Music and Worlds.”
Elverum definitely has worlds to choose from, and although he’s touring behind three releases (a “hardcore” album, a Scandinavian-recluse album and a spare, introspective collaborative effort with Julie Doiron), don’t be surprised if the lo-fi minstrel shakes out his musical suitcase and gives us something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue.
Mount Eerie plays with Testface and Anna Cordis at 7:30 pm Tuesday, Nov. 4, at Wandering Goat. $5. — Jeremy Ohmes