Archive for September, 2010

Stream the Bend Roots Revival on KPOV

Saturday, September 25th, 2010

If you’re like me and can’t spend all day at the Bend Roots Revival (find our coverage here), you can stream a lot of it thanks to Bend’s community radio station, KPOV (which is also a major sponsor of the event).

Click here to stream!

This week in GO! Magazine’s music section

Friday, September 24th, 2010

Leif James performs at the 2009 Bend Roots Revival.

It’s Bend Roots Revival weekend! Our town’s foremost celebration of local music (and other arts) moves to a new home this year, the Century Center at the corner of Century Drive and Commerce Avenue, just behind the old Brightwood Mill building. This week’s GO! has all the info you need to enjoy the festival to the fullest:

–A story on Roots founder Mark Ransom, Century Center owner Dave Hill, and how the two came together to give the event a new home
–A full schedule of performances
–A breakdown of the lineup, including when and where you can get the best bang for your buck, depending on what kind of Roots experience (rootsy, rockin’, eclectic, kid-friendly, etc.) you want

Bend Roots isn’t your only solid option tonight, either. Over at the Domino Room, agit-punks Against Me! will bring their arena-ready pop hooks and deadly earnest outlook on life to Bend’s disaffected youth. To quote a friend of mine: “The idea of standing around with a bunch of kids that think they can change the world with their ‘zine sort of bums me out.” Me too! But the idea of going and pumping my fist along with songs like this one sounds totally awesome! Anyway, read my colleague David Jasper’s take on the band’s career(ism) by clicking here.

Elsewhere in this week’s music section: Blind Pilot plays the PDXchange Program at the Tower Theatre, a bunch of local teen bands are going to play a benefit at CAT6 Video Lounge, and Redmond High School hosts an ABBA tribute! Need more options? Check out The Bulletin’s complete music listings.

[MP3] Download Jay Tablet’s “The Prefunk Mixtape”

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

Bend rapper and Cloaked Character Jay Tablet is “3/4 done” with his solo album “Put It On The Tab,” he says, so yesterday, he dropped a free, 12-song collection called “The Prefunk Mixtape” to build buzz and satiate those waiting for the official solo debut.

“I’ve had these songs just sitting around and wanted them to be heard,” Tablet said via Facebook chat, of course. “Some freestyles and some unfinished, but it’s out!”

You can download Jay Tablet’s “The Prefunk Mixtape” by clicking here. Grab a large version of the artwork by clicking the image at left.

Turning the page: Slug on Atmosphere’s new babies, new music

Monday, September 20th, 2010

Atmosphere: Ant, left, and Slug.

Sean Daley picks up the phone ready to talk.

You can just tell. The guy –- who you may know as Slug, founding member and principal creative force of veteran indie-rap stars Atmosphere –- is a pretty good talker at any given moment. But on this day, he’s relaxing on his back porch on a sunny, family-filled day in Minneapolis.

“I’m f––in’ awesome,” Daley says. “My little brother came over earlier to visit the new baby. We’ve got a four-month-old here.”

I’ve called Daley to talk about music, of course. After all, Atmosphere is one of the most successful and longest running acts in underground rap, formed in the early 1990s and churning out inventive, intelligent and introspective hip-hop ever since, thanks to Slug’s mic skills and the clever production work of his longtime partner in rhyme, Anthony “Ant” Davis. The two are part of a team that founded the influential Rhymesayers Entertainment record label, which has released their critically acclaimed and increasingly commercially successful albums (2008’s “When Life Gives You Lemons” debuted at No. 5 on the Billboard 200). They’re also relentless tourhounds who’ve played all over the world and will roll into Bend’s Midtown Ballroom on Tuesday night (see “If you go” at the bottom of this post).

All good reasons to talk about music. Another: Atmosphere just quietly and unexpectedly released a surprise double EP called “To All My Friends, Blood Makes the Blade Holy,” the cover of which features four hands, three holding cocktails, and one holding a baby bottle filled with milk.

Indeed, Daley’s life is all about that baby these days, and in this interview, he spoke with another guy (me!) who loves to talk and is currently looking after a four-month-old kid. So, for all those reasons to talk about music, we spent 75 percent of our time on the phone talking about babies. Here’s an edited transcript of that conversation:

Frequency: In addition to your new baby, you also have a 16-year-old son. That’s a pretty big age gap!

Slug: I didn’t know I was going to have another one, honestly. But then two years ago, my wife was like, ‘Let’s have a kid.’ I was hesitant at first. I had all these reasons why I wouldn’t have another kid. Any excuse you could think of: I’m too busy. I’m too selfish. The carbon footprint of having a child. And then she said something to me that clicked. She said, ‘If you really want to make the world a better place, you’ve got to have kids and raise ’em right. You’ve got to balance out all of the idiots that are having kids.


This week in Go! Magazine’s music section

Friday, September 17th, 2010

(NOTE: If you’re looking for our article on Atmosphere, we’ve run into a slight technical difficulty and will post it tonight or tomorrow, so please check back!)

Country music legend Willie Nelson returns to Bend’s Les Schwab Amphitheater tonight. Hippies, cowboys, stoners, punks, grandmas and teens alike love Willie, one of the most accomplished singers and songwriters of the past half-century, regardless of genre. Here he is talking about the songs on his new record “Country Music,” an album of country standards.

“You hear all kinds of ideas about country music: This is country, or this is, or that was and this ain’t. And it’s all a matter of opinion. But in my opinion, this is the original country music. So I’m really excited for people to hear it. There are so many great songs in every category — pop, country, bluegrass, whatever. There are a lot of great standards to choose from. Fortunately I’ve lived long enough to know them all, I think. I just love singing those songs.”

My colleague David Jasper wrote about Willie’s long and storied career. Click here to read it.

Michael O'Connor leads the audience in a chant as Slaid Cleaves performs 'Breakfast in Hell' Sunday at Sisters Folk Festival. Photo courtesy Lynn Woodward /

I spent my Sunday afternoon taking in the final day of the Sisters Folk Festival, where I saw Po’ Girl, Chris Kokesh & Brokentop, The Makepeace Brothers and the wonderful Slaid Cleaves. As is always the case at one of Central Oregon’s best events, I had a great time.

(Cleaves) wore a purple button-down shirt and dark slacks that I thought looked like church clothes, so I smiled when he knowingly began his Sunday set with a couple of gospel tunes, one by Woody Guthrie (“This Morning I Am Born Again”) and one original that covered the world of religions and sounded quite Hank Sr.-ish, a fact Cleaves acknowledged up front.

That one is so new, Cleaves flubbed several lines at the end, a mistake he blew off with characteristic wit. From there, though, it was smooth sailing as he played a set of frequently requested “workplace disaster songs,” including the devastatingly gorgeous “Lydia” (about coalminers’ deaths) and “Breakfast in Hell,” an epic, true story with a brawny audience-participation part.

I hope you’ll click here and read the whole thing.

Elsewhere in this week’s music section: Guitar virtuoso Phil Keaggy plays two shows, one in Redmond and one in La Pine, crossover thrash pioneers D.R.I. visit the Domino Room, rockabilly artist Ruby Dee brings her Snakehandlers to Bend, McMenamins Old St. Francis School plans a busy week of live music, and the Bend Roots Revival kicks off Thursday night with shows at five different venues around town. (Look for lots more on Bend Roots in next week’s GO!)

Can’t find anything above that interests you? Check out The Bulletin’s complete music listings.

Adventure Galley wins national MySpace contest

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

Well, I’ll be darned. Adventure Galley — a synthy indie-rock band based in Eugene that counts three former Mountain View High School students among its five members — has emerged victorious in “Rock The Space 2,” a nationwide, online battle of the bands sponsored by Toyota and MySpace.

17,000 bands entered the contest, and this week, Adventure Galley was announced as the winner. Congrats guys! Their prize includes $10,000 in Fender gear and a deal with MySpace Records.

I was going to write about the band, its win, what it means, and so on, but Eugene Weekly pretty much covered all that already. You should click here to read that.

Here and here are a couple of things we’ve written about the band and the contest.

Willie Carmichael wins Sisters Folk Festival songwriting contest

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

One of the truly nice guys on Central Oregon’s music scene, folk singer-songwriter Willie Carmichael, won the Dave Carter Memorial Songwriting Contest at this past weekend’s Sisters Folk Festival.

Carmichael was one of five finalists who performed their songs at the festival on Saturday. As the winner, he received a $750 cash prize, a return booking at next year’s event, and a chance to play a 15-minute set to open the main stage on Saturday night.

“Playing on the main stage in front of about a thousand people was really fun. That’s WAY more people than I’ve ever played for. I was floating,” Carmichael wrote to Frequency in an e-mail. “The SFF audience is amazingly appreciative and supportive. They kind of embrace the contest winner — I’ve seen this many times there — and hold him/her like a precious treasure for the weekend. It’s like winning the contest gives you favored nation status. They cheer when you come on stage even if they’ve never heard you before.”

Carmichael is the second local artist to win the contest, after Sisters’ Dennis McGregor in 2003. He’s also a terrifically honest and funny man who talked — or, typed, really — about the lesson he learned over his winning weekend in Sisters.

“This part is pretty personal, and I don’t quite know how to say it. I’ve never really been the performer I’d like to be. All my judgment and negative self-talk have been about not being good enough, not being cool enough, being too old, whatever. But what I’m learning, from being around and talking classes from performers like Jenna Lindbo, Martyn Joseph, Ellis, Beth Wood, Ruthie Foster, and others, is that what really breeds success is approaching it with an open heart.

“I’m trying to get a handle on this, and I think that was reflected in winning the contest. Last night my wife Jeanie said the coolest thing about this. She told me, ‘You’ve got clever down cold, and clever is only going to take you so far. The rest is about heart.’ I think she’s right, and I have a lot of work to do on that front if I’m going to be the musician I want to be.”

Carmichael said he thinks two of the songs he played were most effective, and he sent one of them, “Out Beyond The Moon,” along to Frequency for our readers to check it out. “It’s just a demo I did in my garage, but it’s audible and it’s what I sent when I applied to the contest,” he said.

So do it. Check it out:

The Dave Carter Memorial Songwriting Contest is named in honor of the first folk festival concert winner, Dave Carter, who won in 1995. Carter went on to an acclaimed career before his untimely death in 2002. The contest has also boosted the careers of songwriters such as Darryl Purpose, Chuck McCabe, McGregor, Beth Wood and BettySoo.

This year’s other four finalists were Julia Baucke from Santa Barbara, Calif., Marc Douglas Berardo from Westerly, R.I., Cary Cooper from Richardson, Texas and Dan Weber from Vancouver, Wash.

This week in GO! Magazine’s music section

Friday, September 10th, 2010

Late start, no time, so quickly: There’s a lot of cool stuff happening in Central Oregon’s musical world this week. Here’s what we have in today’s GO! Magazine:

–Full coverage on the Sisters Folk Festival, including an interview with Hot Club of Cowtown, short pieces on Eilen Jewell, John Hammond and Peter Mulvey, and the performance schedule for the whole weekend (click here and scroll down).

–An interview with local nuevo flamenco guitarist Todd Haaby, who’ll celebrate the release of his new CD with a show at the Tower Theatre on Saturday.

–Elsewhere in the music section: Details on a CD-release show for former Bendite Jenna Lindbo, a help-us-pay-for-our-album show by Empty Space Orchestra, a free, all-ages show in Redmond by Larry and His Flask, and correct dates for TJ Grant’s mini-tour through Bend (which I messed up last week).

[Video / review] The Thermals at the Tower Theatre

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

This is the space where I really should give you an extensive review of last night’s PDXchange Program show at the Tower Theatre, featuring Portland indie-punk trio The Thermals.

You know the kind. The kind that says things like the band played a solid, hourlong set of songs drawn almost entirely from their three most recent records. The kind that describes how Hutch Harris and Kathy Foster have grown leaps and bounds since I last saw them (Boise, 2004), from fast/furious fun-punks to creators of some of indie rock’s most anthemic, singalong pop songs.

I’d talk a bit about how Foster may be my favorite bassist, period, and how her pogoing and playing is a joy to watch. And I’d jump from there into an observation of how her bass lines drive many of the songs on The Thermals’ new album “Personal Life,” which came out Tuesday. I’d give you specific examples; she was obviously the engine within “Not Like Any Other Feeling” and “Never Listen To Me,” the latter a slinky new-wave tune that sounded like the old Weezer offshoot The Rentals. (That’s foreshadowing, people. Read on.)

Of course, I’d note Harris’ ability to make magic with power chords. Thermals songs walk a fine line between being a bit same-y and just varied enough to remain interesting. They almost always fall on the right side of that line. And I’d mention the exuberance of drummer Westin Glass, who seems like a good fit for this band after a parade of timekeepers over the years.

I’d offer a little constructive criticism to the PDXchange folks: Something wasn’t quite right with the sound. All night (including for openers The Autonomics), the guitars seemed a tad muffled, and the vocals should’ve been louder. It wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t perfect, and I know the PDXchange team likes things to be perfect. And, of course, I’d wonder aloud whether this was the single most rawkin’ show in the long history of the Tower, a venue known for its acoustics, comfort, and sometimes staid atmosphere. During “St. Rosa and the Swallows,” I could actually feel the theater’s creaky old floor bouncing and straining beneath me as Thermals fans danced around. Late in the evening, a real, live mosh pit broke out — a first in that room, no doubt.

BUT! None of that matters. It was all pretty much blitzed from my brain by the way The Thermals closed the night. They wrapped the main set with one of my absolute favorite songs of the past 10 years, “A Pillar of Salt.” They ended the encore with “No Culture Icons,” the perfect, lo-fi fuzznugget from their first album that introduced me to The Thermals years ago. And in between, they covered Weezer’s “My Name is Jonas.” Behold:

It was glorious. I couldn’t believe how many people in the audience seemed to know every word, singing along and pumping their fists. “But we’re still making noise! MAKING NO-OH-OH-OISE!”

“Pillar” -> “Jonas” -> “Icons” = it didn’t matter to me one bit what The Thermals did in the first hour of their show last night. I mean, they were really good in that hour — better than I expected, actually — but the truth is those last three songs were all I needed. They could’ve come out, played those, and waved goodnight, and I’d have left happy. The rest was just icing on the cake.

Here are a couple other songs from last night:


My two favorite songs by The Thermals

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

Portland’s finest indie-pop-punk trio The Thermals descend upon the Tower Theatre in Bend tonight to provide the venerable downtown venue with what may be its most rocking performance ever. (Read our interview with bassist Kathy Foster here.)

The band’s 2004 album “F–kin A” (sorry, it’s a family blog) is one of my favorite records of the 2000s, though I will admit I’ve been less enamored with each of their past three releases. That said, “Personal Life,” their new one that came out yesterday, sounds to me like their best work in years. Some folks agree, and some don’t.

All that said, I do believe the band’s core duo, Foster and Hutch Harris, created two of the very best songs of the past decade, and I sure hope we hear them tonight! Take a listen …

How about you? Which Thermals song would you like to hear tonight?

The Thermals will perform tonight at the Tower Theatre, 835 N.W. Wall St., Bend, with an opening set by The Autonomics at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $15 plus fees, available through the Tower.