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Music

July 21, 2016

Many have claimed that Bollywood — India’s film industry — is bigger than Hollywood, yet Bollywood rarely enters our orbit here in the states. It’s too bad; Bollywood has cultivated a fabulous, colorful and often over-the-top silly world of music, dance and community.

July 21, 2016

In 2010, an earthquake ripped through Haiti and caused widespread devastation. Most of us saw the news reports, but what the headlines missed was the creative Haitian culture that Mother Nature could not shut down. 

Lakou Mizik formed in the earthquake’s aftermath as a nine-person, multi-generational group that took the force of nature as an opportunity to share the rich Haitian society often misrepresented in mainstream movies and media, which might lead one to think that the only thing happening in the country is Vodou and disaster relief.

July 14, 2016

Local blues veteran Eagle Park Slim (né Autry McNeace), who has a history of heart failure, is recovering from the implantation of a new wireless heart-monitoring system. A press release states: “He gets short of breath sometimes, but he is still playing guitar and writing music every day. When asked how he feels, he responds with a smile, ‘Well, you know some days are diamond and some days are gold.’” Slim, 74, will play with his All Star Blues Band 3:30 pm July 23 at the Saturday Market.

 

July 14, 2016

Let’s assume you love classical music and you’re having a hangover now that the Bach Festival is over and the symphony and other classical seasons don’t get going for some weeks. Let us further assume that you are not among the fortunate many who found out about the Eugene Symphony’s eighth annual Symphony in the Park concert at Cuthbert Amphitheater on Saturday, July 16, before all the free tickets were snapped up by the savvy.

July 14, 2016

Welcome to the weird world of Eugene songwriter Jake McNeillie — a world where black holes suck “the flesh of unwilling girls,” human bones lie “without their meat” and animals have socks on their feet. 

“I really don’t know where the songs come from when I am writing a record,” McNeillie admits, “but I don’t question it.” 

July 14, 2016

Sweet Baby James

If storied careers are your bag, you’re already a James Taylor fan.

When the single “Fire and Rain” dropped in 1970, it is possible that nobody understood what the Boston-born singer-songwriter and multi-platinum artist was alluding to. After all, a human who writes his first song at 14 is a natural chaser of stories, and Taylor’s tale — through depression, self-help, institutions and modesty — is one for the ages.

July 7, 2016

After 16 years, Boss Hog, a side project of Jon Spencer of the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, has returned with the Brood Star EP, a self-described amuse-bouche to the band’s forthcoming full-length album Brood X

Boss Hog frontwoman, and longtime partner to Spencer, Cristina Martinez tells EW that after so many years, the time had come to release new material.

“We have never stopped playing together,” Martinez says. “Eventually, we had accumulated so much stuff it seemed stupid to not put them on a record.”

July 7, 2016

Kneeling at the altar of The Kinks, The Pixies and Nirvana, Season One!, the debut album from popular Eugene garage-rock trio VCR, has finally arrived. And rest assured, it’s fantastic. 

The self-produced album, recorded in Portland on analog tape, features Chase Clarke on guitar and vocals, Emily Hurt on bass and Tyler P. Howard on drums. 

 “Outta My Head” is a three-chord blast of pummeling proto-punk ecstasy — a lesson that rock ‘n’ roll is best served recklessly noisy and defiantly tuneful (while staying in-tune remains optional).  

July 7, 2016

Last week I called up my 69-year-old white mum in Minnesota with a special request: Listen to Die Antwoord’s new mixtape Suck On This and let me interview you about it. 

Die Antwoord would probably top the list of music you shouldn’t listen to with your mother, or vice versa, but, like a boss, my mum accepted the challenge.

July 7, 2016

The Elena Leona Project (ELP) is sizzle, spice and everything nice. Like the lovechild of Lauren Hill and Etta James, this band is funky.

ELP started in Eugene and has been performing at local venues for a few years. The band has undergone several makeovers (switching out some band members here and there) since the beginning, but Elena Leona (lead vocals) says, “This feels like the right group.” 

June 30, 2016

If toe-tapping and swingin’ beats with eerie, Romanian undertones are your thing, check out Hot Damn Scandal

The band is a combination of thrift-store hats, old-timey folk and Southern blues — washboard and saw included. In 2008, the founders loosely came together in an alternative drum circle at the Rainbow Gathering. After a few members came and went, six ramblin’ folks officially became Hot Damn Scandal. Now, whiskey and heartbreak seem to fuel Hot Damn’s good ol’ drunk-in-love Southern sound. 

June 30, 2016

When the Oregon Bach Festival commissioned what turned out to be his European Requiem back in 2012, James MacMillan couldn’t have known how prophetic that title might have turned out to be. The 57-year-old Scottish composer’s big choral orchestral work premieres July 2 at the Hult Center — just more than a week after his compatriots voted to withdraw the United Kingdom from the European Union, a move that might in turn provoke MacMillan’s homeland to seek independence from the U.K.

June 30, 2016

A brand new Eugene band, Ghost Tour, debuts Saturday, July 2, at Hi-Fi Music Hall’s Lounge. Ghost Tour features several familiar faces for Eugene music fans, such as Olive DelSol (Bohemian Dub Orchestra) on keyboards and vocals, and Michael Steinkirchner (Caitlin Jemma & The Goodness) on lead guitar. 

June 23, 2016

The Pacific International Choral Festivals (PICFEST) celebrates its 18th season this summer with the premier of Shakespeare & All That Jazz, Sunday, June 26, featuring jazz greats the Yellowjackets, and a 300-voice Youth Festival Chorus, all under the direction of guest conductor and composer Bob Chilcott.   

PICFEST draws choirs from all over the country to Eugene, for an opportunity to learn, collaborate and perform. 

After nearly two decades, Artistic Director Peter Robb, says PICFEST is “a template we know really well.” 

June 23, 2016

Stephen Buettler is the principal provocateur behind rising Eugene band Pancho + The Factory. He’s also the primary songwriter and vocalist. Sitting next to me at the bar in Eugene’s Wayward Lamb, Buettler vibes like an off-duty, dock-working Pagliacci with a rock ‘n’ roll edge — due in no small part to his blue-collar handlebar moustache and black fingernail polish. He has a malleable, expressive face, a gentle, kindhearted sadness in his eyes and a soft, teddy bear-like physique that some might call cuddly.

June 16, 2016

What historically informed European musicians have done for Baroque music, James Ralph does for American musical theater. For years, the Oregon Festival of American Music (OFAM) impresario has been painstakingly supervising the reconstruction of the original scores of George and Ira Gershwin’s classic 1920s musicals, which have been performed for decades only in relatively bastardized remakes for stage or screen. 

June 16, 2016

California’s Sonny & The Sunsets current release, Moods Baby Moods, is a contender for 2016’s album of the year. The record’s elements are familiar: ’70s and ’80s English New Wave and New York art-pop grooves mix with Lee Scratch Perry-style studio experimentation and wubba-wubba dub atmosphere.

June 9, 2016

For touring bands, finding a reliable person to run the merch table, selling assorted paraphernalia, can be a challenge. But on one of Jaill’s passes through Eugene, the band found a creative solution. 

“We were bringing an elderly man-puppet on tour to help sell merch,” recalls Jaill bandleader Vincent Kircher. “We were putting taquitos in its mouth, glasses on his face and people posed with the doll. That sounds dumb and unfun, but it wasn’t.”

June 9, 2016

Snow Tha Product is a pint-sized rapper who brings high-voltage ferocity to the hip-hop scene, drawing on her Mexican heritage with a twist of Cali-Texan influence. 

The self-made femme-c seamlessly creates rhymes that are on par with — if not better than — most mainstream artists of the same genre. Snow started sewing together rhythm and words at freestyle battles down in Texas, where she found her niche. 

June 2, 2016

It was the early 2010s when the fountain of indie and alternative bands touring Eugene started to run dry. The new decade instead spewed more touring hip-hop, rap and pop artists until the floodgates finally burst with the eruption of the EDM scene. 

June 2, 2016

While certain politicians make political hay by advocating divisions among Americans based on race, language and origin, artists and musicians are demonstrating the value of joining diverse American traditions. 

On her new album Lola, Carrie Rodriguez, who performs at The Shedd June 7, embraces both sides of her heritage (Anglo and Latino), both sides of the divided Austin she grew up in and both English and Spanish — as a result, delivering a poignant folk-Americana triumph. 

June 2, 2016

Over the phone, Ruth Moody very sweetly and very quietly asks me to remind people that she recently collaborated with Mark Knopfler, as in of the Dire Straits, and as in: She thinks she needs the extra cred to fill the seats at Moody’s show June 9 at Tsunami Books.

June 2, 2016

In any era, Bob Dylan is a transcending icon of cool. Other ’60s-era musicians tried to break the rules but Dylan, rebellious and irreverent, made up a whole new game. At this point, Dylan is everywhere; many of his tunes are as ubiquitous as “Baa, Baa, Black Sheep.”

Almost everyone’s life seems to intersect with this jangly-limbed trickster from Minnesota. So the question is not so much are you a Dylan fan, but what is your Dylan discovery story? 

May 26, 2016

Nora Murphy Hughes of Portland band Hollow Sidewalks is eight months alcohol-free. She says this transformation in her life is reflected on her band’s new record, Year of the Fieldmouse

“Last year, when we did our first album, I was pretty fucked up — drinking and drugs,” Hughes explains. “It’s definitely a brighter, happier record than the last one. Overall there’s a more optimistic tone.”