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Music

July 30, 2015

Roll Jimmy Kimmel, Elvis Presley and Jim Carrey into a single explosive entity and you might come close to Eddie Cantor’s impact on American entertainment.

Rising from an impoverished Russian Jewish immigrant New York family, the little, bug-eyed and singing waiter parlayed his broad talents and irrepressible personality to Vaudeville before doing a decade on Broadway at the Ziegfeld Follies, eventually becoming one of the dominant figures on American radio in the 1930s and ’40s.

July 30, 2015

It wasn’t many years ago that San Diego rapper Twisted Insane was homeless, struggling to get by, hustling CDs for food in mall parking lots and on busy sidewalks. Bouncing from one metropolitan area to another, the horror-core hip hopper would build a following and relocate, honing his craft while building a small but viciously loyal fan base. 

July 30, 2015

Lansing, Michigan rock trio The Plurals are all about the power of three. The odd number keeps things perfectly off balance, conveying the messy electricity of lo-fi rock ‘n’ roll, never enough and never too much — a vibe not unlike Portland’s own power-punk trio The Thermals.

July 30, 2015

Colorado musicians Hello Dollface have deep roots in Eugene. Besides frequently playing the Oregon Country Fair, two members studied music at the UO. 

In collaboration with its non-profit music education program, iAM MUSIC, the band has even founded a festival in Colorado, which Hello Dollface vocalist Ashley Edwards says is patterned somewhat after OCF. 

July 23, 2015

Something wonderful is happening: I’ve got Third Eye Blind’s cute-ass frontman Stephan Jenkins on the phone, and he’s asking me if I want to hang out.

“I don’t know anyone in Eugene,” he coos. 

I reply coolly: “You know me, man.”

“Well, now you have my number.”

July 23, 2015

If Las Vegas Weekly gave an award for “Band with Best Beards,” Sin City rock quartet Bobby Meader Music would surely win. In fact, based on beard weight alone, you might guess Bobby Meader Music hailed from the great, hairy Northwest instead of the glitz and glamor of Vegas. 

“I just didn’t shave one day ’cause I quit my job at the Bellagio,” Bobby Meader tells EW, laughing, “and I still haven’t shaved.”

July 23, 2015

In 1995, three partners — Todd Davis, Bart Caridio and Mark Jaeger — set out to build a brewpub based on a mutual love of the craft and the brew itself. The trio found a spot, once a garage operated by the grandson of Eugene pioneers Allen and Rachel Bond. The location fell short of the ideal size for a brewery, but after careful consideration and falling in love with the building and its history, Sam Bond’s Garage was born, or rather reborn.

July 16, 2015

Black Forest hosts a free show 10 pm Thursday, July 16, featuring local singer-songwriter Jake McNeillie, who has a country-dusted baritone evocative of David Bowie, with his “dark roots” band. McNeillie and Company is joined by the folk blues of Utah “one-man band” Tom Bennett and Minnesota folk-rock musician Kevin James Pertinen.

 

July 16, 2015

A couple years ago, I helped film a documentary about Bad Luck Blackouts recording their debut album 13. The punk-rock trio had an enthusiastic local following, a surprisingly professional work ethic and ambitions to take the act on the road. In addition, they were incredible live.

The band seemed poised to make some noise, and we wanted to capture that rise to inevitable greater success. However, as young bands often do, BLB hit a wall. 

July 16, 2015

When you close your eyes and listen to 2015’s Untethered Moon from Built to Spill, it’s like nothing’s changed. 

The guitars still wail. Singer Doug Martsch still applies layers of distortion to his vocals. The band still writes songs about rock music and the state of Idaho.

July 16, 2015

Nashville musician Aaron Lee Tasjan identifies as a guitarist despite currently making a living as a singer-songwriter. Tasjan spent some time playing guitar in the Southern-rock band Drivin’ N Cryin’ as well as legendary New York punk group New York Dolls. 

“I was always interested in songs,” Tasjan tells EW, “and writing songs. So I still think of myself as a guitar player in a lot of ways.” He adds, “though I’m more of a traveling songwriter guy.” 

July 16, 2015

One of the city’s most valuable music institutions, The Jazz Station, is entering its second decade of giving Eugene a real center for jazz and other improvised sounds. The three-day 10-year anniversary celebration begins Thursday, July 23, with New Orleans singer Cindy Scott and guitarist Brian Seeger joining Portland piano star Randy Porter in a highly recommended vocal jazz show. 

July 16, 2015

One half of Texan indie-folk quartet The Deer will follow up a couple shows at Oregon Country Fair with an encore performance in Eugene at Sam Bond’s Garage. 

Deers’ vocalist Grace Park explains that after OCF is over, “two have to leave for home. Alan [Eckert, drummer] and I are staying for the Sam Bond’s Show,” billed as Grace Park of The Deer. 

Park says the band loves Eugene’s vibe: “We love the laid-back energy of the town and plan to make the pilgrimage back year after year.”

July 16, 2015

At just 30 years of age, it’s a bit odd to speak of Eugene musician Halie Loren as a time-tested veteran of the trade, but so be it. With eight albums to her name, along with international accolades, industry awards and globe-hopping tours, this gifted singer-songwriter has built the sort of solid career any artist would find enviable — the result of equal parts guts, hard work and rare talent. 

July 9, 2015

“People come to our shows because they want to hear what we do. It’s irrelevant what we play,” the 80-year-old Brit bluesman says, circumventing any specific commentary on his tour, his band, his audiences — anything.

Mayall’s live shows, famous for their classic grit and wild improvisation, have been the defining characteristic of his career, but he isn’t keen on discussing even that.

July 9, 2015

Based in the Northeast, prog-rock dance band Dopapod are making a name in the jam band scene. This summer, the band embarks on its first West Coast tour. 

“I’m really excited to spend a lot of time in the Northwest this time of year,” Dopapod keyboardist and vocalist Eli Winderman tells EW

July 9, 2015

Chicago art-rock and post-hardcore act Shellac is hitting the road for its second tour in support of 2014’s phenomenal Dude Incredible. A supergroup comprised of members of Big Black, Mission of Burma, Rapeman and more, the power trio is helmed by revered underground godfather and producer Steve Albini. You might be vaguely familiar with Albini’s body of work, having produced records for Slint, Nirvana, Mogwai, Jawbreaker, Page & Plant and Joanna Newsom, to name a few. 

July 9, 2015

Finding adequate lodging is a constant struggle for touring musicians. If a band is lucky, a generous local will offer up a free place to catch some shuteye before moving on to the next city. Last time the Birmingham, Alabama-based Southern rock sextet Banditos came through Eugene, the band learned an important lesson.  

July 9, 2015

Seattle post-punk trio Nostalgist is inspired by the atmosphere of film noir — a cinematic movement popular in the mid-twentieth century known for dark imagery and sinister storylines.

“I try to channel my own experiences through a sort of cinematic filter,” Nostalgist vocalist and guitarist Asa Eisenhardt tells EW via email. “My goal is to portray a scene, a feeling or both through evocative language without being pretentious.” 

July 2, 2015

Michigan band Frontier Ruckus is driving through the badlands of Wyoming. 

“I’m in the middle of nowhere in Wyoming,” says Matt Milia, Frontier Ruckus vocalist and primary songwriter. “The cell service is a little spotty.” 

This sense of expansive loneliness permeates the bittersweet power-pop of the band’s 2014 release, Sitcom Afterlife

“It was a break-up record,” Milia says. “It was an interesting juxtaposition of dark subject matter and power-pop.” 

July 2, 2015

You’re living in a sleepy, shitty, cozy little town and, suddenly, everything changes. It seems to happen overnight, like some bent fairy tale: The restaurants get way better, the drugs improve, coffee shops sprout on every corner, yippies start yammering about gentrification and yesterday’s wine, bourgeois hepcats from L.A. and Phoenix gallop in, now everyone’s either an artist or a suit or a fucking snake.

Nostalgia hits the roof. Your rent spikes.

July 2, 2015

Sarah Donner is a New Jersey-based singer-songwriter and self-described “creative type.” Her live show includes three guitars and a ukulele. Donner tells EW she plays all four at the same time.

All at the same time? Really? 

“No,” Donner says. “We have dancing girls,” she jokes, before getting serious: “It’s highly upbeat and entertaining. I try to keep it lighthearted. I don’t want to be ‘that girl with a guitar.’ So I always try and make it funny and quirky.” 

June 25, 2015

Indie-soul outfit My Brothers and I is making big noises up north, recently signing to Portland’s Expunged Records — a label with a long history of working with critical darlings like Blind Pilot. 

Label founder Anthony McNamer says he knew he wanted to work with My Brother and I after seeing footage of the band performing live.

“They have those harmonies that you only get from siblings,” McNamer says via press release. The five-piece band features three brothers and two childhood friends. 

June 25, 2015

Columbus, Ohio-based emcee Blueprint, aka Albert Shepard, doesn’t pull any punches. Never the type to pepper an album with radio-ready “bangers,” Shepard is an artist who creates for himself. His lyrics are incredibly personal and real-to-life, sometimes isolating the casual listener because, let’s face it, most of us go to great lengths to avoid truly knowing ourselves.

Not Shepard. Soul-baring is an essential part of the package.