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Music

Singer-guitarist Kait Eldridge is the epitome of a dedicated bandleader. She’s prevailed through various line-up changes and relocations across the country, all while remaining the sole songwriter of the band Big Eyes.

For some musicians, performing is just stepping onto a stage, singing into a mic, playing a guitar, hitting a few drums — or whatever else — and walking off. That’s not the case for singer Siri Vik.

Colorado musician Gregory Alan Isakov is used to fronting rock bands — or singing alone with just his guitar. So he has to reach to describe the experience of performing his music backed by an entire symphony orchestra.

Portland roots-harmony sister trio Joseph take their name from the northeastern Oregon town of Joseph. Band member Allison Closner says she and her sisters spent their summers as children in Joseph visiting their grandfather. “Initially it was the town that inspired us,” Closner explains. “We’d go out there every summer — swimming in the lake and camping and going up in the mountains. It felt like a piece of us.”

This month offers opportunities to explore music’s ancient past and promising future — and how the two interact. Folk music especially relies on older musical forms to seed or even evolve into new compositions. The veteran Swedish power-folk trio Väsen, performing this Thursday, April 20, at The Shedd, deploys traditional instruments in music that blends old and new folk traditions into a rich, danceable modern mix that fans of Celtic and bluegrass music will also enjoy.

Popular and internationally known Eugene post-rock sextet This Patch of Sky will premiere new music April 21 at Hi-Fi Music Hall. TPOS lead-guitarist and bandleader Kit Day tells EW: “We’ll be playing three or four songs from our new album,” featuring horns and guest vocalists.

Pop music has long been about teen angst, social anxiety and sexual confusion. And Brooklyn two-piece Diet Cig — touring behind their hotly anticipated (and, after getting panned by influential music site Pitchfork, pretty divisive) debut album, Swear I’m Good At This — effectively takes you right back to a place of paralyzing puberty and all its related self-consciousness. 

One thing is for certain of Bilal: the neo-soul artist is surely on a journey of self-made greatness. 

Bilal says his story began in Philadelphia, where his funk-loving father constantly took him to various jazz clubs around the city. These outings were where Bilal’s lifelong love of music blossomed.

I ask Kevin Barnes from of Montreal whether early Bowie stuff or bands like T Rex were on his mind when writing and recording Innocence Reaches, the latest full-length from his long-running indie-rock act out of Athens, Georgia.

If there were ever rap raw enough to contend with a dish of five-star tartare, Ab-Soul would easily be the dollop of prime caviar served atop. Between his haunting beats and brutally blunt lyrics, this hip-hop artist is making waves colossal enough to tear through his competition in the scene.

Although America seems like a scary place at the moment, we can draw strength and solace from the music of American composers of our own time.

Julien Ehrlich says that when he started writing as a duo with guitarist Max Kakacek, the musicians “wanted the songs to sound like they were coming from one person.”

It’s all over now except for the hiring. Eugene Symphony’s yearlong music director search has all but ended, once more attracting national attention as the orchestra seeks to replace Danail Rachev when he leaves at the end of this season.

Artists live at the crossroads of the active and the passive, between merely creating and sharing or creating and engaging with the broader community.

Asian-American pop-punk band The Slants perfectly represent the latter by intertwining their classic punk sound with a fight for social justice.

For Lane County musician and educator Tony Rust, Rolling Stones’ record Sticky Fingers is a “top of the pile” album. “It’s an album I grew up with,” he says. “Solid songs all the way through.” 

Thaddeus Moore, owner and operator of Eugene’s long-running Sprout City Studios, jokes that he hates battles of the bands.

K. Flay’s music is an old fashioned that’s been spiked with a mystery upper: It has an edge you can’t quite put your finger on, but you can’t get enough of it either. This alternative hip-hop artist is casually strolling to the top of the scene with her refreshing twist on a crowded genre.

There are songs, and then there are “art songs.” I hate the latter term, mostly applied to vocal works written by 19th-century classical composers, because it implicitly suggests that all those other songs — y’know, the ones everyone actually listens to on their computers and phones and radios all day — are somehow not capital-A ART.

Old school California punk band Social Distortion, together since the late-`70s, has, over time, and not unlike The Clash, adopted the patina of classic rock from their era. But stopping at terms “punk” or “classic rock” sells Social D a little short.

Isaiah Rashad has honed the flows across hip hop’s many eras and has put a contemporary twist on his craft. The established yet fresh face has collaborated with some of the genre’s mainstream innovative names like Kendrick Lamar and SZA; his sound, however, rests in a league of its own.

My, my, the country seems to be in a conservative mood. Our con-mander-in-thief wants to take us “back” to an imagined time, somewhere after we won that Good War and before uppity Americans like women and black people finally started to receive something approaching the equal protection the Constitution offered them.

Music press has roundly called Nosebleed Weekend, the latest release from The Coathangers, a step toward maturity for the Atlanta punk act. So it’s somewhat ironic that one of the album’s best tracks, “Squeeki Tiki,” features a child’s squeaky toy. 

Haven’t heard Ty Segall’s last few records? Don’t worry, he’ll release a few more next week. That’s how it seems with the California singer and guitarist’s wildly prolific output. Segall’s stuff is mischievously tossed-off, with a reckless genius despite Segall’s intentions. Like Ryan Adams — if Adams could give up on his Austin City Limits tendencies. 

Audiences perhaps best know Eugene musician and guitarist Gerry Rempel as resident composer with local ballet company, Ballet Fantastique. Now Rempel, along with his group Gerry Rempel Jazz Syndicate, is celebrating his third release: Sketches from the Underground, a collection of all-original jazz compositions.