Future Melodies of the Recent Past
Built to Spill warm up for the fall release of their seventh album.
BY MOLLY TEMPLETON
Four years ago, when Built to Spill released their sixth album, Ancient Melodies of the Future, that massive "WOW!" you didn't hear was the result of gently bruised expectations. The album got solid reviews, but after 1999's Keep It Like a Secret, nearly anything was going to feel like a letdown. Secret was beautiful, catchy and surprisingly accessible — and, at the time, one of the most visible releases from a guitar-driven, melodically meandering band of unassuming guys from the Northwest clad in plaid shirts and jeans.
|Built to Spill. 9 pm, Thur. 6/9. WOW Hall, $15 adv./$17 dos.|
Melodies, on the other hand, was a sleeper, the sort of album you only realize you're attached to several months after its initial run in the stereo has ended. One day, the goofy, lightweight "Fly Around My Pretty Little Miss" appears on your mental horizon, loping its way toward the point at which it sticks, or the melody of "This strange plan/ Is random at best" comes to mind at an unexpected moment.
Still, it's a record that takes work to like. It hasn't got the charm of Perfect From Now On, which leapt ahead of BtS's earlier jaunty folk-pop ditties, or the unforgettable sing-along chorus of "Car," from There's Nothing Wrong With Love. "You get the car/ I'll get the night off/ You'll get the chance/ To take the world apart and figure out how it works," Doug Martsch sang in an earlier era, a younger version of his striking, reedy voice leading hopeful indie rock kids in an unexpected anthem.
A new Built to Spill record is due this fall; a note on the band's website simply says, "The new songs all rock." Well, rock how, exactly? Rock like the last record, sneaky and subtle? Or rock like only Martsch and his shifting band of players can, when they want to, when they stretch a five-minute tune into a ten-minute epic in the blazing white glow of the stadium lights at Bumbershoot? The music scene's a little different now, after all: Four years ago, who wouldn't have laughed at the idea of a Modest Mouse record landing in the Billboard Top 20, its first single rapidly becoming the summer's theme song?
Modest Mouse and BtS probably share more common ground than any other two bands from the Northwest, from reluctant-hero singer-guitarists with unmistakable voices to a knack for the tiny, repeated lead guitar line that locks a song into shape, form and the grooves in a listener's brain. Martsch is capable of songs as catchy as "Float On," and he's written them before. But that's been done, and BtS have never been a band that treads a familiar path.
It's just that the road might be a little broader, now, with room for a few more success stories. Recent shows in New York have definitely gotten a positive reaction; those who were there say the current BtS show is something of a greatest-hits set, that Martsch seems revitalized, and that a third guitarist is helping create a dense wave of sound. Will this be the last time they play the WOW Hall? Better safe than sorry, or so the saying goes. And you won't be sorry.
The Rhythm, The Rebel
Chuck D of Public Enemy breaks it down to another level.
INTERVIEW BY HANIF PANNI, PHOTOS BY TODD COOPER
Do you think some people are reaching into where hip-hop originally comes from, the margins, in order to make their products cool?
Capitalism, especially in America, is like a different kind of slavery, where they want to control everything — your mind, your body, your soul and your pocketbook. They want to program you to be the best consumer that you can be and understand it's them that are setting you free, and not yourself.
If you want to talk about black folks or people of color, you get our history by default, just by following our music for the last hundred years. With that being the foundation, the powers that be, whether they are corporations, are trying to get everybody to think like a consumer. They kinda flip things. They've taken the power of the music and made it work against the existence of the people who made it.
Where does the Internet come into play?
I first became involved with the Internet because I was tired of delivering art to intermediaries who had no care for its existence; I wanted to go directly to the public. You can't control every little thing. The people who are gonna download you are probably your biggest fans, who are gonna buy the box sets and spend $70 at your concert when it comes through town. Also, I tell people that make music that an artist without a website is like a basketball player without kicks. I don't care how high your vertical leap is, you need to get some shoes.
Nothing should stop you from doing your art, that's success. As far as the commerce aspect, whenever your art can actually be the way you make a living, it's the greatest thing to ever happen for the artist. You shouldn't have to sacrifice your true meaning and understanding of what you do in order to get paid quickly, because sometimes short-term sugar leads to long-term cancer.
What about family?
Let's go into the fabric of what's going on inside the house between the parent and child: Kids who have been raised in the last 20 years feel like they get more out of MTV than their parents, who don't say shit to them. After school, they go to different TV sets, come down to dinner, eat, don't talk, then go back upstairs to their TVs and PlayStation2s. There are side effects that we can get into with the new-millennium American minds that really add to the communication gaps between human beings.
It's like once people reach satisfaction, the fantasy world really makes them feel comfortable. And when the masses feel comfortable, the hierarchy can really take advantage and start exploiting the have-nots, with the people feeling like it's all good.
You really see the resonation of that when you go to different parts of the world and see kids dying in diamond mines so some cat in Miami can bling it out with diamonds in his teeth, and you know something's wrong.
A lot of times, cats that are rebellious, and even militant, have so much information that it will lead them to insanity because it's all within and builds up to the point they are fighting something they really can't see, or it just leads to silence and waiting for parts to assemble, sometimes over so many years that it loses the momentum of anger.
Do you think there is a conspiracy against African American men in this country to destroy images of progress?
I wouldn't even call it a conspiracy; it's a long-term program to keep things in the control of the few while the many stay confused. They'll bring up black faces to dilute the thought that there's such a conspiracy, or have backing proof, like "This person does well or has money."
So can we be enthusiastic about the few and look to them as role models?
Enthusiastic isn't the word. I think the word is being awake.
I'm real proud of cats like Chris Rock; he seems to be doing it right.
Well, they'll allow for one or two Chris Rocks, not fifteen of 'em.
Antibalas smote the GOP
KWVA's birthday bash
BY STEVEN SAWADA
It's embarrassing to admit, but I've never attended an Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra concert. I have admired the group since 2001, when the legendary underground electronic music label Ninja Tune reissued the first Antibalas album Liberation Afro Beat Vol. 1. But apathetically, I always pass on the band when they roll through town, even after grumbling incessantly about the diverse array of talented bands (a league that definitely includes Antibalas) Portland sees that Eugene doesn't. The group includes such a mighty, progressive political dimension in their music, overlooking an Antibalas concert in favor of some familiar, banal comfort can truly be considered, as that annoying Air America ad defines, a symptom of "mannequinism." I am ashamed.
|KWVA Birthday Bash: Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra, Quivah, DJ Matt Howe, DJ Guy Shipp. 8 pm doors, Sat., 6/4, WOW Hall, all ages, free. www.wowhall.org|
Through the politically charged spirit behind Afrobeat, the 13-member Brooklyn-based collective brings a globally conscious perspective to America's legacy of brutal imperialism, gross consumerism and all-around lack of empathy. Founded in the '60s by the great Nigerian musician and political activist Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Afrobeat linked the human inclination to dance with scathing criticisms of the rampant injustice that was present in West Africa at the time. Inspired by Western jazz as well as West African high life music, Kuti built Afrobeat on a musical foundation of funk, improvisation and repetition. Antibalas further enriched the Afrobeat sound through an offering of Latin rhythms and Spanish lyrics.
Released during the heated cusp of last year's presidential campaign, Antibalas' newest album Who is this America? smote the Bush regime with brainwashing rhythms, funky clavinet fills and incendiary lyrics. On "Indictment," Antibalas trucks through the GOP with an onslaught of snare punches and an avalanche of brass "wahs" and "honks." The song's breakdown features a repeating cabasa shake and keyboard riff underneath a mock indictment of the Bush cabinet. Accompanied by raucous boos and hisses, the enraged vocalist yells, "Condoleezza Rice! Donald Rumsfeld! INDICTMENT! John Ashcroft! INDICTMENT! George W Bush! INDICTMENT!" It's undoubtedly the highlight of the album. The song carries with it the same degree of anti-Republican fervor that backed Eminem's "Mosh," which you should listen to if you consider yourself a progressive, even if you detest Eminem.
While giving homage to Fela Kuti on Who is this America?, Antibalas also triumphs where Kuti faltered. To put it lightly, Kuti was never heralded for his efforts to confront patriarchy. Antibalas, however, effectively tackles the issue of gender equity with "Sister," a tribute to the symbolic female that males rely on for strength and perspective.
I've never seen Antibalas live. But with the political climate we're currently steeped in, I'll definitely make it this time with fists pumping high. The band's upcoming stop at the WOW Hall is in celebration of KWVA's birthday.
EW's music writers cover the local scene.
So You Wanna Make a Music Video?
Android Ethic sounds like many Top 40 pop artists that have enjoyed significant time on Billboard. They have all the makings of a radio band: The simple melodies are soft, easy to sing and catchy, and vocalist and guitarist Jonathan Moore uses his pleasant singing voice and falsetto to cement Android Ethic in the age-old category of pop. But while AE's lyrics and vocals are as bubble-gum sweet as the cotton candy they use as subject matter, the instrumentals hint at rock and alternative influences.
Android Ethic's first release, Inertia, is an EP predominantly composed of pure, unadulterated, romantic pop-rock songs. So far, the local band has made itself known in the Eugene scene, but Moore, guitarist and back-up vocalist Todd Edman and drummer Colin Gibson are currently seeking a new bassist because their previous bass player, Ben Powell, left the band to pursue a solo project.
Now the band is holding a contest to see who can come up with the best concept for their soon-to-be made music video. Entries should be no more than 1,000 words and must be mailed by July 1. E-mail Edman at email@example.com for more info. Or you can check out their show at the WOW Hall this week. They're headlining the Rock Re-Ignition show at 7 pm, Friday, 6/3. $5.— Sara Brickner
Half the Duo Is Just As Good
Whenever guitarist and violinist Tracy Grammer takes the stage, she brings the influences of her former musical partner, Dave Carter, with her. Carter passed away in 2002 after the duo recorded three beautifully crafted albums together.
Their down-to-earth nature became evident when they used Grammer's Southeast Portland kitchen to record their first album. Since Carter's death, Grammer has held her head high while mourning her loss. She just released her second album since Carter's passing, Flowers of Avalon, and has continued to utilize her music to help all of us to heal and move forward.
With her combination of heartfelt lyrics and flowing organic melodies, her first solo album, The Verdant Mile, was released last year and quickly topped folk charts. With Flowers of Avalon also in the number one spot, Grammer is slowly becoming the very definition of modern folk music.
Touring with multi-instrumentalist Jim Henry, Grammer promises to reach deep into her repertoire of both past and present. Grammer performs at the LaSells Stewart Center in Corvallis at 7:30 on Sunday, 6/5. $11/$13/$15.— Jeff Winicour
Walk in the front door of the house where Eleven Eyes saxophonist Matt Calkins and trumpeter Tim McLaughlin live, and the first thing you will see is a giant poster of jazz great John Coltrane, accompanied by a smaller one of Miles Davis. It seems logical, then, that Eleven Eyes would be a jazz band, but the term "jazz" only scratches the surface of what Eleven Eyes does.
|Eleven Eyes 6:30 & 9:00pm. Fri. 6/3. The Shedd.|
After all, most jazz bands don't have a DJ, or what the band refers to as their "Turntable Enabler," JD Monroe. Eleven Eyes' music is a carefully crafted amalgamation of jazz, Latin, dub, funk, hip hop, electronica, Afrobeat and numerous others. "In all the groups we played in before, the different styles of music we all played have become parts of this," Calkins said. "I think this is a more focused, refined effort."
In addition to the six regular members of Eleven Eyes, the band enjoys bringing in collaborators for additional breadth; McLaughlin particularly enjoys working with hip hop artists. "When I was growing up, I knew about hip hop before I knew about jazz," McLaughlin said.
To the members of Eleven Eyes, no style is off-limits. In fact, that's what keeps it interesting. "We'll do anything in this band," bassist Dave Trenkel said. "If we were to restrain ourselves to playing straight jazz, or straight funk, or any one single genre, we'd stop doing it."
And it's not as if one or two members of the band create the music, either. "All of us have written at least one or two songs," drummer Steve Weems said. "We're all arrangers and we're all composers."
But according to guitarist Mike Pardew, it takes more than just practicing in a living room to truly polish a song. "A lot of things come together more when you're out performing," Pardew said. "It's almost a part of the band's maturation process."
Eleven Eyes began as a result of Tim McLaughlin's senior recital at the University of Oregon, in which he composed music for turntables, saxophone, trumpet, guitar, bass and drums. Now the band is about to release their second album, Scope, and will spend the better part of the summer touring in a biodiesel-powered bus to promote it.
Eleven Eyes will perform at their CD Release party on Friday, June 3 at the Shedd at OFAM. An all-ages show is at 6:30 pm ($5), followed by a 21+ show at 9 pm ($8).— Sara Brickner
AX BILLY GRILL & SPORTS BAR
999 WILLAMETTE ST. 484-4011
SA: Mike Denny—8
50 E. 11TH ST. 686-6619
TH: Ice Age Cobra—9:30
FR: Blunt Point—9:30
SA: Testface, Tractor Operator—9:30
TU: Guts & Glory—9:30
WE: Poker Night—9:30
115 W. BROADWAY 484-9933
TH: No Limit Texas Hold 'em—6:30
FR: No Limit Texas Hold 'em—7
MO: No Limit Texas Hold 'em—6:30
WE: Hot Club Sandwich—8; Gypsy jazz, swing
24967 HWY. 126, VENETA 935-3400
SA: Christie & McCallum
2222 CENTENIAL BLVD.
SA: DJ Tekneek—10:30; Hip hop, R & B
CORNUCOPIA All Ages
295 W. 17TH ST. 485-2300
FR: Sweet Papa Lowdown—6; Reinhart style swing
SA: Flight to Rio Trio—6; Folk
|TAARKA RETURN TO COZMIC PIZZA ON WEDNESDAY.|
COZMIC PIZZA@THE STRAND ALL AGES
8TH AVE. & CHARNELTON ST. 338-9333
FR: I-Chele and the Circle of Light—9
SA: Nhimbe For Progress benefit w/ Kudana Marimba, Vakasara Mbira Ensemble, Paul Prince, Kutsinhira Youth Ensemble, others—7:30
SU: "No" Talent Show, benefit for Eugene Media Action, Oregon Natural Resource Council and Justice Not War Coalition—8
TU: Open mic night—7
915 OAK ST., DOWNSTAIRS 345-7878
TH: Old School Karaoke/Kamikaze Hip Hop—8
FR: Rob and Carlos present Hip Hop Live—9
SA: DJ Mead—9
959 PEARL ST. 683-3855
TH: La80s night—10; '80s and requests
FR: DJ Gen.Erik & Supa J—10; Hip hop
SA: The Vinyl Pimpz—10; House
959 PEARL ST. 343-2346
TH: Open turntables—10; Funk, R&B, hip hop
FR: Grand Street, Rustica—10; Gypsy folk
SA: I-Chele and the Circle of Light—10; Roots, rock, reggae
SU: Texas hold 'em—3; Kung Fu Karaoke—10
MO: DJ Diablo & DJ Turbo—10; Funk, rock, requests
WE: Texas hold 'em—7; Montage—10; Jazz
EUGENE WINE CELLARS
255 MADISON 342-2600
WE: Vega—6; Jazz
375 E. 7TH AVE. 484-7181
TU: Rooster's Blues Jam—8
JAXX LOUNGE@PREMIUM POUR
1010 OAK ST. 485-4695
TH: Echoes of the Underground w/ DJ Myron, DJ Scamp & Twitch—10; House, breaks, drum & bass
FR: Swang—7; Early jazz
Livin' Funky Fridays w/ DJ Myron & DJ Scamp—10
TU: Drummers' Lounge—9
259 E. 5TH AVE. 343-8488
TH: Jo Fed's All Star Jazz Jam Session—9
FR: JC Rico—9
SA: Jake the Cat—9; R&B, smooth jazz
SU: Mark Alan—8; Acoustic guitar & vocals
MO: Skip Jones—8; Hammond organ
TU: Barbara Dzuro—8; Jazz piano
WE: James Allred—8; Electacoustic folk
JOE'S BAR & GRILLE
25 W. 6TH 221-3360
TU: DJ Tekneek—10; Hip hop, R & B
WE: '80s Video Monster Mix—10
JOGGER'S BAR & GRILL
710 WILLAMETTE ST. 343-0224
FR & SA: Motion Nightclub—9:30; Hip hop, house, '80s
MO: Working Man's Blues Jam—9
WE: Motion Nightclub—9:30; '80s, house, hip hop
77 W. BROADWAY 342-3358
TH: '80s Night w/Chris, Jenn and John—10
FR: Swing Shift—7
Moneyshot featuring Knuckledragger, Genus Pro, Soundproof, Shortround MC—10; Hip hop
SA: Freaks in the House w/ DJ Steve Sawada & The Audio Schizophrenic—10
SU: John Henry's Broadway Revue—10; Burlesque, variety
MO: DJ River—10
TU: Eddie and the Hot Rods, The Sawyer Family—9
WE: DJ Kal El vs. DJ Tekneek—10; Reggae vs. hip hop
414 MAIN ST., SPFD. 744-2820
SA: Paradox—9; Rock
LATITUDE 10 CAFE All Ages
2757 FRIENDLY ST. 343-3460
SA: Ricardo Cardenas—6; Latin guitar
LAVELLE'S WINE BAR & BISTRO
5TH ST. PUBLIC MARKET 338-9875
TH: Skip Jones—5:30; New Orleans piano
FR: Gus Russell—5; Jazz piano
SA: Jenny Payne—5:30; Jazz piano
WE: John Crider—5:30; Jazz piano
LUCKEY'S CLUB CIGAR
933 OLIVE ST. 687-4643
TH: Teri Falini, Gus Grief, Lisa Vasquez—10
FR: 100% Chips, Mood Area 52—10; Instrumental, tango
SA: Reeble Jar, Savitri—10; Jam funk
TU: Spin Box, C-4 Sound Complex—10; Funk, jazz, hip hop
WE: Come and Go—10; Indie
30 E. BROADWAY 434-5862
FR: Erik Muiderman—6; Singer-songwriter
Palm Wine Boys—8:30; Folk & West African
SA: Erik Muiderman—7; Singer-songwriter
Lo Nuestro—9:30; Central & South American
MAC'S AT THE VET'S
1626 WILLAMETTE ST. 344-8600
TH: Mac's & Mo's Jamm
FR: The Valley Boys
SA: The Cheeseburgers
WE: Christie & McCallum
550 E. 13TH ST. 349-8986
FR: Suddock & Sandbom—6:30; Acoustic guitar
SA: Ken Silverman—8; Piano singalong
|WHITE HOT ODYSSEY GLAM UP THE MCDONALD THEATRE FRIDAY NIGHT.|
MCDONALD THEATRE All Ages
1010 WILLAMETTE ST.
FR: Hell's Belles, White Hot Odyssey, The Isms—9
SU: Social Distortion, Lost City Angels, The Eyeliners—8:30
TU: Keb' Mo'—8
MCSHANE'S BAR & GRILLE
86495 COLLEGE VIEW ROAD 747-4031
FR: The Ginger Hustlers, Lucidic—10; Rock, groove
MO: Micro Movie Night—8 & 11
MONROE STREET CAFE All Ages
1193 MONROE ST. 343-0863
FR: Al Rivers—8; Blues, folk
SU: Poetry open mic—7
WE: Open mic—7
2841 WILLAMETTE NO PHONE
SU & WE: Music jam/open mic w/ Keith Harrison
O'DONNELL'S IRISH PUB
295 HWY. 99 N. 688-4902
TH-SU & TU: DJs-B-Us: Tim—9
770 S. BERTELSEN 342-5028
TH: Blues Jam—8
444 E. 3RD AVE. 484-2927
TH: Nancy Ream & John Crider—8; Jazz
FR: Tim & Tonic—8; Rock, variety
TU: Patrick & Giri—8; Hot & tasty acoustic
767 WILLAMETTE ST. 687-9102
TH: Old-time jam—7:30; Appalachian
TU: Tango night w/ Andrew McCullough—7:30
WE: Irish jam—7:30; Celtic
2105 W. 7TH 485-5925
WE: Blues Jam—8:30
RED LION INN
205 COBURG RD. 342-5201
SU: Blues jam w/ Jerry Zybach—7
|KATHRYN CLAIRE PLAYS FRIDAY AT SAM BOND'S.|
SAM BOND'S GARAGE
407 BLAIR 431-6603
TH: Creeping Time, Sean Shanahan—9; Acoustic jam
FR: Kathryn Claire, Floating Glass Balls—9:30; Folk, bluegrass, Irish
SA: The Kitchen Syncopators—9:30; Jug band
SU: Irish Jam—5
June & Joren Rushing—8:30; Americana
MO: Saltlick, Ty Connor—9; Alt country
TU: Sam Bond's Bluegrass Jam—9
WE: Mishka, Mike D.—9
825 WILSON ST. 484-4455
TH: Bingo Night—7
FR: Jake the Cat—9
SA: SHEBANG!—10; Drag king show
3000 W. 11TH AVE. 683-4580
FR & SA: DJs-B-Us: Rick—8
STACY'S COVERED BRIDGE
401 E. MAIN ST., COTTAGE GROVE 767-0320
WE: Open Mic Night w/Ron O'Keefe—8:30
THE STAGE@HOSANNA CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP
2111 MINNESOTA 463-7562
SA: Resident Alien—7; Rock
VALLEY RIVER INN 687-0123
FR & SA: The Ellen Whyte Band—8:30; Blues
TAYLOR'S BAR AND GRILL
894 E. 13TH AVE. 344-6174
TH: '80s & Ladies' Night w/ DJ Smoove
MO: Hip Hop vs. Dancehall w/ DJ Tekneek
TU: DJs-B-Us: Rick—10
394 BLAIR BLVD.
FR: Common Denominator, The Jimmy Olsen Band—10; Rock with a twist
MO: 15 Minutes of Fame w/ Ol' What's His Name's Open Mic—9
WE: DJ Secret Hippie's Punk Rock Jukebox
922 GARFIELD ST.
SA: Northwest Royale, Blunt Point, Dissonance, Severed—9; Metal, hardcore
|THE BEST DAMN RAP TOUR HITS THE WOW HALL MONDAY FEATURING J-LIVE (PICTURED), C-RAYZ WALZ & VAST AIRE.|
WOW HALL All Ages
291 W. 8TH AVE. 687-2746
TH: Presidents of the United States of America, Village Green, alterEGO—8; Rock
FR: ERM Vol. 6: Android Ethic, The Empty, Airplay Drama, The Morning After—7:30; Rock
SA: KWVA Birthday Bash: Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra—8:30
MO: J-Live, Vast Aire, C-Rayz Walz, Vordul Mega, 4th Pyramid, Karniege—9; Hip hop
126 SW 1ST ST. 738-9015
SA: Neal Grandstaff & Ray Brassfield—9; Jazz
2740 SE 3RD ST. 738-7600
SA: The David Samuel Project—8:30
PLATINUM NIGHT CLUB
126 SW 4TH
SA: Miss Hawaiian Tropic International Model Contest—9:30
MO: Karaoke night w/ Patches—9
100 SW. 2ND ST. 753-8057
SA: Eleven Eyes—9:30
125 SW 2ND ST. 754-8522
FR: Prime Rib
SA: Old Hat
WE: Improv blues & jazz jam w/ Neal Grandstaff & Ray Brassfield—8:30
TH: The Cooler, Countryside (River Rd.), Da Houze, Duck Inn, JT's Place, Lone Star
FR: JT's Place, Lone Star, Trackstirs
SA: Duck Inn, Lone Star
SU: Black Forest, Country Side (Spfd.), Downtown Lounge
MO: Black Forest ($1000 Contest), Country Side (Spfd.), Lone Star
TU: Country Side (Spfd.), JT's Place, O Bar, Quackers, Taylor's
WE: JT's Place