Eugene Weekly : Music : 2.12.09

Ineffectually Effective

Calling your band the Ineffectuals might seem like a surefire way to inspire suspicion in prospective listeners. But listen to these guys’ full-length debut album, Origins, and you realize that this local art pop band has effectively produced an engaging, conceptually mature piece of work. The opening song, “Welcome To Life,” serves only as a somewhat generic lead-in to the rest of the album; it’s the second track, “Crash,” which describes the crash landing of an alien on Earth, that really introduces the Ineffectuals and offers the first inkling of these guys’ formidable skills. The next seven tracks proceed to explore themes of isolation, relaying the experience of a weary, wide-eyed traveler who left his unworldly home for the same reasons we all do: to see what else is out there, but also to escape responsibility and figure out what kind of person you are when you’re not surrounded by the people who know you well. 

Origins’ theme of alienation extends to the trippy instrumentals: the psychedelic guitar solos and shoegazer-esque effects work together to create music that aches with longing, even when the melody keeps a lively pace. At times, the band comes off sounding like a less cynical Pavement, especially when frontman Wesley Curtis growls “I don’t want to grow up” on “Growing, Growing, Gone.” And though the Pavement connection fades in and out, the bright, jangly sound and myriad of guitar solos maintains the ‘90s indie pop sensibility. As an extra bonus, you can hear the album for free by visiting the Ineffectuals’ MySpace blog, which contains a link to stream or download Origins in its entirety. The Ineffecturals and Jake Lesiak play at 8 pm Friday, Feb. 13, at Wandering Goat. Free. — Sara Brickner

Art in the Heart

Abe Hurd, bassist and vocalist with local band Rye Wolves, has opened Epic Electric Tattoo & Epicspace, a tattoo shop, all-ages music venue and art space where Eugeneans can get inked up and see live music at the same place — though not likely at the same time. Hurd hopes to create a forum where people can talk tats, of course, but also experience installation work, photography, painting and music. “Working class art for working class people,” he says. “Rich people can afford art that most people can’t even afford to look at, so really what I want is for art to be accessible.”

Hurd’s mother is a photographer, and after attending one of her art shows, he decided “then and there” that he was leaving Mayan field archeology behind to study art. A dream also helped, corny as it sounds, he says. “I had a dream to go talk to a friend of mine,” who worked at his own tattoo shop, “and pretty soon I was apprenticing with him.” After learning at a handful of local shops, Hurd was drawn to the space in a former lawnmower shop in the heart of Whiteaker. Though it’s bare-bones at this point, Hurd says “the space is golden and ready to go.” Art will rotate, and shows will occur “by feel,” Hurd says, “hand-picked so that we’re bringing really cool things through.”

Epicspace is hosting an Anti-Valentine’s Day show “for the forlorn,” Hurd says, with prog-rockers Victory Garden from Seattle, Eugene blackmetalers Soulscythe and Eugene grind band Facing Extinction. Victory Garden, Soulscythe and Facing Extinction play at 7 pm Saturday, Feb. 14, at Epicspace. $5. — Vanessa Salvia

T with an R with a 3

For a guitar player, touring frequently with Dave Matthews would likely be considered satisfying enough on its own. But Tim Reynolds has too much mojo in him to stop there. Reynolds has toured several times as part of an acoustic duo with Matthews and as a member of Dave Matthews & Friends, and is now playing guitar full-time with the Dave Matthews Band, but it seems that’s not quite enough to keep him busy. 

He’s also formed an electric funk trio called TR3 and is squeezing in a short tour before rejoining the Matthews camp on the road again later in spring. Some of TR3’s songs are outright sexy rockers, like “Do You Wanna,” while some are instrumental beauties. The lyric-less “You Are My Sanity” displays guitar prowess that many players can only dream of. His instrumental compositions reach heights of expressiveness that seem to come easily to the man who has built a career on exploring the guitar’s many facets, from acoustic to space rock to jam, with and without vocal accompaniment. 

Reynolds sings with TR3, and his voice has this great burry quality that’s easy to hear but hard to put into words. It’s kind of fuzzy, deep and earthy, no matter how he’s singing, whether it be hitting the high notes and really getting funky or exploring a mellow tone. TR3’s first release, Radiance, will be available on this tour, and for fans of funk ’n’ roll, this promises to be a must-have CD. TR3 and Marcus Eaton Trio play at 7 pm Wednesday, Feb. 18, at the WOW Hall. $15. — Vanessa Salvia

Gospel Lives

The Blind Boys of Alabama have been together for six decades. Some people don’t even live that long, let alone perform in a band with the same people for that many years. You would think they’d get tired of each other eventually, or that people would lose interest in them and they’d quit. But as time goes on, the Blind Boys are only becoming more popular. How often can you say that a band’s greatest success is found in the twilight of their career? They recently performed the National Anthem at the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, just received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 51st Annual Grammy Awards and will be appearing on NPR’s World Café on February 27. These guys are definitely on some kind of roll.

Back with their first new album in three years, Down in New Orleans, the band has retained every bit of the soul that has garnered them increasing amounts of acclaim over the years. The funky gospel sound of “Free at Last” is as lively as a Holy Ghost Party at a Sunday revival, while the piano solos and sing-songy stylings of the lyrics on the catchy, exuberant “Down By the Riverside” will likely make you start clapping your hands before you even know what’s hit you. As uplifting as ever, The Blind Boys of Alabama keep plugging away, making the music and singing the songs that have been lighting their path for the last 60 years. The Blind Boys of Alabama perform at 7:30 pm Wednesday, Feb. 18, at The Shedd. $16.50-$43. — Brian Palmer