Archive for June, 2009

The slow, painful death of music magazines

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

The big hip-hop-and-beyond magazine Vibe is ceasing operations immediately. Gawker has the story.


The great Music Magazine Massacre of 2009 continues, with Vibe joining Blender and Skyscraper and Performing Songwriter and Radio & Records six feet under. Paste is hanging on for dear life. JazzTimes seems to be in some sort of purgatory.

Whew. That’s a lot of links to a lot of death certificates, isn’t it? What a bummer…

Tuesday Video Tour

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

A few relatively new videos to help you pass the time on this Tuesday morning. Be sure to click through the jump to check out new stuff from Dirty Projectors, Justin Townes Earle and, my favorite, Crocodiles.

First up, the new single from Jay-Z, in which Hov declares the death of the software everyone loves to hate, Auto-Tune. (“I know we facin’ a recession,” he says, “but the music y’all makin’ gonna make it The Great Depression.”) The song and the clip — which features appearances by Harvey Keitel and LeBron James — are splitting opinions on the rap blogs, but I think they’re both pretty hot.


Amsterdam’s Tour Blog, Part Two

Monday, June 29th, 2009


(Note: Local rapper Amsterdam and his crew, The Garden, are on a short tour through California, Arizona and Idaho, and the guy knows how to tell a tale. So Frequency asked him to spend a few minutes each day writing down stories from the road and his observations about life on tour. Below is the second installment, and the first is here. More to come in the next few days.)

Friday, June 26, 11 a.m.

Morning, folks. When we left off last, myself and the rest of the Garden crew had just finished up a great afternoon touring Universal Studios and were headed to our show in L.A. at The Londoner. While we had a few sound issues at the show — namely that the venue didn’t have a mixer, not necessarily a minor issue — the concert was cool and everyone had a lot of fun.

We got up early the next day and started driving to Tucson. I was excited to see the University of Arizona campus but a little skeptical of my ability to handle the heat. It was 107 degrees when we first arrived to the state and it never let up. It’s actually pretty bearable since it’s dry heat and not at all humid, but it was certainly a little draining until we got used to it. We got into Tucson around 7 p.m. and found an incredibly delicious and inexpensive Mexican restaurant called The Taco Shop. Lets just say the $2 tacos were substantially more impressive than the name of the restaurant.


Review: Finn Riggins at Silver Moon

Monday, June 29th, 2009

Finn Riggins rocks out at Silver Moon Brewing Friday night. Photo by Ben.

Finn Riggins rocks out at Silver Moon Brewing Friday night. Photo by Ben.

Oops … meant to get this up on the blog over the weekend, but more music and bratwursts and sunshine and walking around town and Ping-Pong and corn on the cob and more music got in the way. I love summer.

Anyway, Finn Riggins, the Idaho trio that played Silver Moon Brewing on Friday night, may be my musical soulmate. Not because I love them above all others — I don’t (though I like them a lot) — but because I’m not sure I’ve heard a band that employs as much “WHOA-OOOH-OOOH!” action as this one.

I love adding my own “WHOA!” parts to songs where — hello! — they obviously are needed. What can I say? I’m a sucker for a pop song.

Finn Riggins fills in their own “WHOA!” parts everywhere, sometimes three voices at once, and the result is charming. The band’s album, “A Soldier, A Saint, An Ocean Explorer,” is good, but it’s one frenetic noiseburst after another, and it can be overwhelming to the ears at times. A hyperactive child is pretty cute … for a while.

You might expect that frenzied aesthetic to ratchet up a notch in a live setting, because that’s how live music usually is. It’s louder, it’s more energetic, and subtleties can be lost.

Finn Riggins goes the other way. On Friday night, the band seemed more in control of its music to me, more in tune with each other, more willing to let the songs breathe and to thrash and skronk in moderation. As a result, their pop soul shined.

It was most evident on a new song, “Wake,” that rode a roller-coaster “WHOA!” hook sung by guitarist Lisa Gibson, and an older song, “Detamble Wings,” with its insistent “GO! GO! GO! GO!” refrain. The theme here, obviously, is simple, visceral, memorable melodies that still have me humming along, two days later.

That may disappoint Finn Riggins, I don’t know. Not all bands want to make music so catchy it sticks in heads for days, and Finn Riggins’ goal may very well be to cloak their pop songs in an experimental veil. Or they may be evolving into a slightly more accessible sound.

All I know is I left Silver Moon Friday night liking the band and its show more than I expected to when I walked in. (Over?)analysis aside, that’s a good thing.

New shows coming to Midtown complex

Saturday, June 27th, 2009

The Web site of local promoter Random Presents is one of my daily clicks, and if you live in Central Oregon and you love music, it should be one of yours, too.

That said, it’s been pretty quiet over there over the past several weeks. Random’s steady stream of new concerts slowed a bit in May and June, in part, no doubt, because the economy is forcing everyone — including concert promoters, obviously — to make cautious and smart business decisions these days.

But the Random tap has turned back on, it seems, for a spate of shows in late July and early August, including two biggies to be held at the Midtown Ballroom. Here are the details:

-Roots-reggae legends The Itals will return to the Domino Room on July 15. The Kingston, Jamaica trio has been together for more than 30 years, earning a Grammy nomination in 1987. This is their third or fourth trip to Bend in the past few years.

The Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band will also return to the Domino Room on July 21, bringing their Indiana hillbilly blues act back to town for the second time in six months.

-Rap fans, here’s your treat: Iconic Oakland rapper Too $hort will play the Midtown Ballroom on July 23, headlining a miles-long bill that includes Mistah Fab, Tha Jacka and Bend’s own Top Shelf.

-This one, I think, will be the biggest draw: A double-bill of weed-happy rap-rockers Kottonmouth Kings and Canadian hip-hop crew Swollen Members will hit the Midtown Ballroom on Aug. 1. Like ’em or not, those two acts are right up Bend’s alley. Put ’em together on a Saturday night, and you have what will likely be one of the huge shows of the summer.

-This just in: Georgia-based Southern rock/hip-hop hybrid Rehab will return to town on Aug. 8 for a show at the Domino Room.

Get more info on all these at

June 26 in GO! Magazine

Friday, June 26th, 2009

Another Friday, another blog post about the music stuff that’s in GO! Magazine. And let me assure you, reader: The articles linked below are the most important music news happening right now. Nothing could possibly be bigger or more important. Nothing! Well … maybe not nothing.

-Tonight, the wonderfully rollicking, hyper-catchy Idaho trio Finn Riggins visits Silver Moon Brewing & Taproom. Opening will be Empty Wotta, a hybrid band that includes Mosley Wotta and half of Empty Space Orchestra, so get there on time.

Oh! I almost forgot: Download some Finn Riggins goodness, won’t you? Here you go:

Download Finn Riggins, “Hraka”

-Local folk duo The Erins perform tonight at The Summit, and then Erin Cole-Baker will play a solo gig Sunday at Les Schwab Amphitheater.

Lindy Gravelle, a longtime fixture on the local scene, has a new CD out called “One Lucky Lady.” She’ll have it with her when she plays at Bo Restobar tonight.

-Tonight is busy! If you’re in Sisters (or want to be), you can check out the Western swing of Portland’s Lisa and Her Kin at Angeline’s Bakery.

Two rock bands are teaming up for a Domino Room show on Tuesday night. Local quartet The Commerical Underground will open, and Idaho’s Under Wicked Sky will headline.

-Saturday will mark Deschutes Brewery’s 21st birthday, and they’re throwing a party featuring music by Tuck and Roll, Goodbye Dyna, Blackstrap and Scott Fox.

-You can catch two solid local acts within a few dozen feet of each other on Saturday night. Head to Silver Moon at 8 p.m. for bluesman Eric Tollefson, and then wander next door to the Tulen Center for the Person People show. Tollefson says he’s getting started early so everyone can see the PP set. How considerate of him! (Note: If you click that link, you’ll also see a blurb about David Bowers playing McMenamins on Wednesday. That is not happening. The Bowers Colony canceled, and the Portland-based electro-jam band Alpaca will perform instead.)

So yeah, click the links. If you’re a subscriber, you’ll be able to read them. If you’re not, you’ll either need to subscribe or pick up a print version of The Bulletin.

Rest in peace, Mike.

Michael Jackson, 1958-2009

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

Such a sad and premature end to one of the most fascinating, public, and troubled lives ever lived. For just a moment, put aside the events of the past 20 years and observe a young man brimming with promise and born to perform.

Vetiver coming to Silver Moon Brewing

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

Now this is sweet! According to an e-mail blast from Silver Moon booking guru Cassie Moore, the excellent folk-pop band Vetiver will perform at the Bend pub on July 31.

Silver Moon may have hosted a band or three with a bigger national profile than this one, but not many. Vetiver is tight with freak-folk kingpin Devendra Banhart and a longtime favorite within that scene, though their recent work has crept toward a more pastoral, hazy pop sound. The band’s newest release, “Tight Knit,” was released by Sub Pop Records in February to generally favorable reviews. Ye ol’ Pitchfork said the album is “built with a keen ear for detail, be it a subtle dose of pedal steel or a gently rippling guitar effect, and it features (frontman Andy Cabic’s) most consistently engaging batch of songs to date.”

Here’s the video for “Everyday” from “Tight Knit” for your sampling purposes:

Much of the Musicfest NW lineup announced

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

I love Musicfest NW. This four-day bacchanalia of music rules the streets and clubs of Portland each September, providing area music nuts with dozens of performances by a slew of excellent small-name bands and an increasing number of high-profile acts.

I went to MFNW each of the past two years, and it is a blast. You can read my reports from 2007 here and here and from 2008 here. (Go ahead and click them. Anyone can view them, not just subscribers.)

Anyway, the festival, sponsored primarily by the alt-weekly paper Willamette Week, will happen again Sept. 16-19, and organizers just announced a good chunk of the 2009 lineup. It looks strong as usual. The bigger names aren’t totally my speed, but this list is pretty solid top to bottom:

Sunny Day Real Estate / Explosions in the Sky / Girl Talk / Bad Brains / The Get Up Kids / Will Sheff (of Okkervil River) / Dirty Three / Monotonix / Mudhoney / Frightened Rabbit / The Twilight Sad / Dillinger Four / Swollen Members / Beach House / John Vanderslice / The Long Winters / Viva Voce / The Pains of Being Pure at Heart / Pink Mountaintops / OM / Portugal. The Man / The Builders & The Butchers / Langhorne Slim / Chairlift / Loch Lomond / Cymbals Eat Guitars / Team Dresch / Bobby Bare Jr. / Erase Errata / The Zeros / JD Twitch (Optimo) / Eluvium / Youth Group / Titus Andronicus / Mount Eerie / Trash Talk / Crom / Japanther / Mayer Hawthorne & The County / Despise You / Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey / Grouper / Richard Swift / Austin Lucas / Brother Reade / The Love Language / Anders Parker / The Morning Benders / Miniature Tigers / Damien Jurado / Grand Archives / Common Market / We Were Promised Jetpacks / Rocky Votolato / Copy / Red Fang / Saviours / Norfolk & Western / Nurses / Explode Into Colors / Portland Cello Project / Guidance Counselor / Fences / Weinland / Panther / Amazing Baby / The So So Glos / The Soft Pack / Port O’Brien / Liv Warfield / Edward Sharp & The Magnetic Zeros

Now let’s see … I’m pumped about Explosions In The Sky, Monotonix, The Long Winters, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Pink Mountaintops, Titus Andronicus and Brother Reade. Slightly less pumped but still pumped about Sunny Day Real Estate, Mudhoney, Frightened Rabbit, We Were Promised Jetpacks and Nurses. Oh, and head-over-heels ecstatic about Eluvium.

How about you? What jumps out at you on that list? And is anyone out there planning on going to this thing?

Girl Talk performs at Musicfest NW in 2007. Photo by Nilina Mason-Campbell

Girl Talk performs at Musicfest NW in 2007. Photo by Nilina Mason-Campbell

Amsterdam’s Tour Blog, Part One

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009


(Note: Local rapper Amsterdam and his crew, The Garden, are on a short tour through California, Arizona and Idaho, and the guy knows how to tell a tale. So Frequency asked him to spend a few minutes each day writing down stories from the road and his observations about life on tour. Below is the first installment, with more to come in the next few days.)

Monday, June 22, 6 p.m.

Our week-long adventure started on Friday night at The Crown Room in Portland. Fresh off work and armed with the knowledge that we would be responsibility-free for 9 days, everyone in the group wanted to let loose a little bit. The turnout was pretty good (packed by the end of the night) and the crowd was filled with a lot of old friends, hook-ups and of course other supportive Portland rappers. I thought that everyone who performed pretty much killed it.

Portland duo Levelheaded started off the night with a dope set, then Top Shelf and Wright Family did their thing. A cute girl from the crowd was even nice enough to bring me a shot of Patron while I was up on stage, which was sweet because I really don’t like paying $10 for shots of Patron. Although that scored her major points in my book, I spent most of the night catching up with a bunch of Portland friends I hadn’t seen for some time. The Crown Room is unusual in that there is never any security in front of the green room, so you never know who’s going to pop their head in. Gotta stay on your game.