Eugene Weekly : Music : 8.20.09

Stealing Away to a Creepy Circus

The three women that make up Eugene’s Fancy Bandits don’t appear quite as tightly laced as Rasputina, but their music is pretty clearly influenced by that Victorian steampunk trio. Dainty parasols and lacy tops complete the visual image, but it’s the haunting melodies that really give color to the picture. And if Rasputina is commonly known as “cello rock,” you might just tag these girls with “keyboard rock.” 

The threesome is Gina Kontur on bass, keyboardist and singer Veigh and drummer/singer/songwriter Emily West, formerly of Telepathic Dumpster. Kontur’s name might be familiar from her previous band, The Ginger Hustlers. Once the paths of these three ladies crossed in 2007, they formed the short-lived five-piece Sirens of Mothra, and in 2008 formed Fancy Bandits.

The prominence of Veigh’s simple, repetitive keyboard melodies and the lack of guitar give a strength to the stick-in-your-headiness that is only rivaled by that of an ice cream truck’s repeating melody. After just one listen, I was still humming along to the creepy, circusy melody of “State of Mine” hours later. It’s a melody that’s as flouncy as one of their skirts. On ”Little Dream,” the band slows down a bit. Befitting the name, it starts out dreamy and slow, inhabiting a space that’s not too far from Kate Bush. 

The Fancy Bandits’ song “Good Morning” is a contender for the best single in Eugene at The Fancy Bandits celebrate the release of their debut CD, Stealing Away, at 9 pm Friday, Aug. 21, at Oak Street Speakeasy. 21+. No cover. — Vanessa Salvia

Conjuring the ‘90s

By now, Silversun Pickups’ success story is well-documented: a young band that hadn’t yet released so much as an EP scores a gig at CMJ from a tape they recorded on a boombox. Which may be the most Horatio Alger-esque origin story in the history of rock and roll — one that proves bombastic bass lines and wailing guitars can shine through even on a home tape recording. The heavy rock moments are offset by Brian Aubert’s breathy, androgynous vocals. Seriously, dude sounds like Get Up Kids frontman Matt Pryor, or maybe Billy Corgan on estrogen. The ‘90s alternative rock invocations don’t stop there — and whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing depends on your affinity for bands like Garbage or the Smashing Pumpkins at the height of their celebrity. If you’re not a fan of weepy, Get Up Kids-esque (read: emo) songwriting, you might want to focus extra-hard on the instrumentals so as not to become nauseated by the maudlin, brokenhearted-teenager lyrics. All that aside, the Silversun Pickups are a pretty good band, and their second record, Swoon, proves that they’re capable of writing more than one very likable, if somewhat derivative, rock album. Silversun Pickups, Manchester Orchestra and Cage the Elephant play at 8 pm Friday, August 21, at the McDonald Theatre. $25 adv., $30 door. Sara Brickner