Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is one of the peaks of Stephen Sondheim’s stellar career as America’s greatest musical theater composer, which, after multiple Tonys, Grammys, a Pulitzer and other laurels, received another boost with 2014’s film version of his musical Into the Woods.
Jeff Tweedy was an integral member of Uncle Tupelo and is now the frontman of Wilco — putting him at the forefront of two of the most acclaimed American rock bands of the past 25 years. In 2012, Tweedy produced the Mavis Staples record One True Vine. Tweedy asked his teenaged son Spencer to play drums in the studio, and from these recordings came the father-son project Tweedy.
What does one do after breaking up a successful and influential band? If you’re Christopher Hall of The Dreaming, you start again, but this time as a supergroup. In the late ’90s, Hall’s previous project, Stabbing Westward, took modern-rock radio by storm with singles “Shame” and “Save Yourself” before calling it quits in 2002. Unwilling to remain idle, Hall and drummer Johnny Haro formed The Dreaming later that year.
It’s a shame Franco-American jazz singer Cyrille Aimée didn’t come through Eugene a little closer to Valentine’s Day, because her romantic brand of adorable and sugary jazz would be a perfect gift for that special someone.
At a glance Gothic Tropic may appear to be another chic Los Angeles retro-rock act, hiding behind delay pedals like dark sunglasses. Having just two brief EPs under their belt since their 2011 conception, the indie-poppers might have flown just below the radar of readers, which would have been a shame.
Music has led Kevin Morby from Kansas City to New York and now Los Angeles: center, east and west. However, if Morby’s influenced by any one place over another, it’s New York — particularly the era when the Big Apple’s folk scene began to morph into early punk rock; the city of Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, Patti Smith and Television.
The Bearer of Bad News, the latest release of Canadian songwriter Andy Shauf, is now out on Portland taste-making record label Tender Loving Empire. Working with a Portland label is appropriate for a songwriter who lists legendary Portland songwriter Elliott Smith as an influence.
There was a time when Eugeneans had to venture up I-5 if we wanted to catch the top touring classical and jazz pianists at, say, Portland Jazz Festival, Portland Piano International and other events. No more.
Eugeneans — if you think driving 20 minutes to Cottage Grove to see a band play is too long, consider how long Self Decay traveled just to play there. “We are four-piece from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil,” says Self Decay bassist Pedro Gibson. In 2012 the band lived in L.A. for six months before returning to Brazil, but didn’t have the chance to tour the states until now.
If you thought Jamaican reggae was laidback, Wayne Enos is here to tell you that Hawaiian reggae is even more chill. Enos, guitarist and vocalist with Hawaiian reggae band Natural Vibrations, or Natty Vibes, says: “Hawaiian reggae is definitely inspired by Jamaican reggae.
The music of Los Angeles’ Dengue Fever sounds like the soundtrack to an unmade James Bond film set in Cambodia. Guitarist Zac Holtzman tells EW his group is inspired by the rich and complex horn arrangements of Ethiopian jazz, as well as plain old American surf rock.
As far as band names go, Bass Drum Of Death is in my top five. In recent years, acts such as Ty Segall, Wavves and King Tuff have spearheaded a gorgeous, fuzzy garage revival, leaving footprints in the ashes for other bands to follow.
For many Americans, the first introduction to the infectiously happy ditty “La Bamba” was either circa 1958 from the crooning Chicano rocker Ritchie Valens or circa 1987 from a pompadour-ed Lou Diamond Phillips playing the crooning Chicano rocker in the biopic La Bamba.
It begins with playful handclaps, then charming indie-rock vocals. It builds to a West African-influenced polyrhythmic bedrock and bright, chiming, highlife-style guitar work. This is “Science Camp,” the de facto lead single off Some Friends Feel Like Family, the 2015 release from Santa Barbara’s Ghost Tiger.
Folk songstress Olivia Awbrey has a love affair with writing. Like any relationship, there are good times and bad times, times when moving seems easier than staying, and growing together is a key to success.