Eugene Weekly : Music : 6.25.09

Know Your Ingredients

Ingredients may be the most likable band in Eugene. There’s something about Jon Timm, Carey Phelps, Ethan Pierce and Bryan Wollen that reminds you of just how awesome the combination of creativity, humor and very low levels of self-consciousness can be. Fans who hopped on board their first full-length album, 2006’s Bears Driving Trains, got to experience the Ingredients as the entrepreneurial vessels of pop and rock their live audiences have always known them to be. Three years and a second album (2007’s Cold Blooded, Warm Breaded) later, this two-time Best of Eugene Best Rock Band winner is still providing listeners with more frenetic stage antics, more eye-popping visual stimulation, more goofiness and, most importantly, an ever-evolving sound that is at once fun and thought­provoking, catchy, but in a way that will catch you off guard. 

While enjoying the synthy, groovy, poetic and Flight of the Concords-meets-The-Shins qualities possessed by Ingredients (or Ingredients the Band, to be completely proper), Eugeneans who follow these lovable dorks have also gotten to experience their sense of visual style. The band has produced a number of videos as well as a full-length movie and a spoofy documentary about life in the rock ’n’ roll slow lane, always throwing in plenty of cheesy shades, popped collars, inappropriate settings and self-deprecating humor, but without going into full-blown self-parody mode. 

The quartet also has an upcoming gig as the house band for the live Ed Forman talk show at Luckey’s July 16. Truly an art band in the most respectable sense of the term, Ingredients seems to like fooling around with the limits of what “indie rock” is supposed to be. Sure, there’s a market for sad bastard music out there, but what if you like harmonies and minor chords and prefer to be in a good mood once in a while? Then Ingredients might just be THE band for you. Ingredients, The Great Unrest and The Harmed Brothers play at 9:30 pm Friday, June 26, at Sam Bond’s Garage. 21+. $5. — Adrienne van der Valk


Half Shark Half Jesus All Good

When Jenny Oberst talks about the formation of Half Shark Half Jesus a mere two years ago, it’s hard to believe her when she says she “wasn’t really much of a guitar player,” and that fellow guitarist Chris Lupton “hadn’t really written songs before.” Makes you wonder what her definition of “really” is. For a young band, and from people who “really didn’t have experience as musicians,” HSHJ isn’t just promisingly good; they already are good. 

“Chris Lupton and myself had been friends for several years,” says Oberst, “and we would get together and listen to music and then complain at shows about how that should be us up there.” Now, it is them up there. The band recently headlined gigs at the WOW Hall (as part of the Eugene Chosen showcase) and at the Space in Salem (as part of the Cherry City Music Festival). HSHJ is celebrating the release of their second EP, Hair on Fire, with numerous shows planned throughout the Northwest during the summer. 

Their name gives people pause. Lupton had kicked the name around in years previous, but never used it.  When Lupton suggested Half Shark Half Jesus, Oberst agreed. “I thought it was so preposterous and somewhat offensive but also kind of like, ‘What?’” she says. “We’re kind of an oddball bunch.” 

It’s a perfect name for them. Their songs have teeth and attitude. The guitars are producing a grungier sound than on their debut, Pink Pillows, but Oberst’s girlishly thin voice tempers it into power pop. Her voice soars over catchy guitar riffs and effortless melodies born from moments that evoke classic rock like Jefferson Airplane, even Jimi Hendrix. 

Oberst says Hair on Fire is “really breakup music.” (There’s that really again.) I call it really good. Half Shark Half Jesus play at 3 pm Saturday, June 27, at CD World for a free in-store performance, and with Science Heroes at 10 pm Saturday, June 27, at Black Forest. 21+. Free.   — Vanessa Salvia


Aeolus, Hard and Fast

It’s hard to believe that a decade ago people weren’t discussing genres like metalcore, post-metal or any of these other post- and -core genres still not fully understood by anyone not involved in them. Since then, some bands have decided it would be a good idea to combine the energy of punk rock and the punch of metal, then throw in some melody and genuine emotion. For the most part, the combination sounds pretty cool. Springfield’s Aeolus is out to prove they can do it Oregon style. 

With their new album, Try to Relive This, Aeolus comes out in full force with pummeling riffs and some pretty impressive screams and growls. There’s a plethora of breakdowns and confusing guitar melodies thrown about, but these guys are hardly clichéd metalcore. Guitarists Danny Broderick and Dylan Watts open up the album with a heavy, spacey tune reminiscent of Isis, followed by vocalist Phil Stratis belting out some (believe it or not) clean vocals. 

If the actual singing hurts your kvlt ears, the rest of the album brings it hard and fast, just the way it was meant to be. Converge and Poison the Well are clear influences here, but it’s done in just the way where they’re not just another one of “those bands.” The music alone leads to believe they burn it down live.

In what Rock 97.9 KNRQ is calling “The Return of Local Music,” Aeolus will be joined at the WOW Hall with Eugene legit death metallers Atonement, spastic metal quartet I’m a Tornado, somewhat out of place pop rock band Of Mountains, and rappers The Illusionists, who seem to take a lot of cues from The Beastie Boys (and that’s not a bad thing). It all starts at 8 pm Friday, June 26, at the WOW Hall. $5. — Sam Marx



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