Let me add my voice to the chorus — a brilliant, beautiful chorus, of course — of folks who are devastated today to learn of the death of Olivia Tremor Control‘s Bill Doss. OTC (and the Elephant 6 collective in general) was one of my favorite bands in my formative years, and Doss had a knack for melody and harmony that far exceeded most of his peers in pop music. To lose him at such a young age — he was in his early 40s — is just heartbreaking.
Here’s Doss (singing lead) and his band performing just a couple of weeks ago at the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago.
Paste magazine is going through the 50 United States and picking out 10 bands from each that it thinks its readers ought to be listening to. They’re avoiding huge bands, of course; they’re not going to put The Decemberists and The Shins on their Oregon list, for example.
But who is on their Oregon list? At the top, no less? It’s Adventure Galley, the Eugene/Portland-based band whose lineup includes three (or maybe four now) former Bendites. I’m not sure if Paste is actually ranking these bands, but put it this way: If you scroll through the story, you get to AdGalley before Portland heavyweights like AgesandAges, Radiation City and Lost Lander.
This week, the local music scene is so busy, I had to squeeze a couple things out of the print paper that I didn’t want to squeeze. Both of ’em are happening tonight, so … here you go.
— Tropical Punk is a super-catchy garage-pop band from the suddenly white-hot rock ‘n’ roll scene in Nashville, Tenn. Below, you can check out their super-solid “Ends of the World” cassette — yes, cassette — that came out earlier this year. Anyway, these cats are at The Horned Hand (507 N.W. Colorado Ave., Bend) at 8 p.m.(ish) and it’s free.
— John Nemeth is a bluesman with not only a deeply soulful voice and ridiculous skills on the harmonica, but plenty of work ethic, too. Know how I know? He just released two live albums, one called “Blues Live” and one called “Soul Live,” and you can hear tracks from both at his website. He’s based in the Bay Area but originally from Boise, and tonight he’ll play from 9 to 11 at Brasada Ranch (16986 S.W. Brasada Ranch Road, Powell Butte). Here’s a video of him performing live a couple years ago; there are lots more of these nice-lookin’ clips here.
This coming week is one of the busiest of the year so far as far as opportunities to hear live music in Central Oregon. We covered a ton of stuff in today’s GO! Magazine, and there were even a handful of shows — the Shook Twins at Pickin’ & Paddlin’, John Nemeth at Brasada Ranch, Tropical Punk at The Horned Hand, Herrick at Maverick’s — that I would’ve liked to have written more about, but couldn’t.
So let’s get to it!
The Sweetheart of the Rodeo, Emmylou Harris, is coming to Bend Sunday for the first time since the early 1980s. My colleague David Jasper spoke with her about her music and … wait, what’s that? Oh. Right. No, he talked to her mostly about her dogs.
“I come from a long line of dog lovers and animal lovers,” Harris said. “And I have this big yard. And I thought perhaps I could start a rescue — actually, just an extension of Nashville Humane … a really good shelter here in town.”
Bonaparte’s Retreat was intended to house a maximum of three dogs at a time, “so that I could take some of the over-spill” from the shelter, she said. “That was how we got started, and we still are a small rescue, but right now (the dogs) have their own bunkhouse and place to run.”
Harris lives on a two-acre lot in town, not a country estate as one might assume. (“They have what we call ‘the back 40′ back there,” she said.) And these days Bonaparte’s Retreat takes up to six dogs at a time, including those from Metro Animal Care and Control, “where dogs are put down after a very short period of time if they’re not adopted,” Harris said. “It’s quite heartbreaking, but we do what we can.”
The aptly named Dark Time Sunshine. (It was dark in there.) Photo by Andy Tullis / The Bulletin.
For my Feedback column, I went to Liquid Lounge Tuesday night to see indie-rap duo Dark Time Sunshine. Here’s an excerpt of my review:
(Onry) Ozzborn is the front man, and he handles the job with intense focus. But Dark Time Sunshine is powered by Zavala’s heavy-footed beats and space-age synths, which he produced mostly on a chunky drum machine that looked like something harvested from R2-D2.
The set was stocked with songs from the duo’s upcoming album “Anx,” one of the best rap records of 2012 so far. Highlights included the fizzy-lifting funk of “Cultclass” and “Look at What the Cat Did,” the stuttering beat and pop hook of “Forget Me Not,” and the loping bass line and shout-along chorus of “Rock Off.” That last one incited the most vigorous dancing of the evening; a lady dropped her beer and the pint glass shattered at Ozzborn’s feet.
Elsewhere in this week’s music section: SPL, VTRN and more throw a dance party at The Astro Lounge, Chris Isaak returns to town, Laila Biali comes to Alive After Five and Moondog Matinee brings no frills to The Horned Hand, plus Marv Ellis, Floater, The Farewell Drifters, Ottmar Liebert, Igor & Red Elvises, The Rum and The Sea, Nuclear Funk, Parrilla Grill’s Show Us Your Spokes series and more!
I went and saw underground hip-hop duo Dark Time Sunshine Tuesday night at Liquid Lounge in Bend, and I’ll have a review of the show in Friday’s GO! Magazine.
In the meantime, check out a couple videos I shot of the show, both featuring performances of songs from the new DTS album “Anx,” which comes out Tuesday. The sound is a bit muffled — it’s a hip-hop show, after all — and the lighting is almost nonexistent, but you should get a taste of these guys’ excellent, psychedelic space-rap jams.
If so, that’s great. Nice job keeping up with hip-hop, the Northwest scene and/or just music in general.
But if not, behold some of the most amazing concert footage I’ve ever seen:
That’s Macklemore, a Seattle-based rapper, headlining Key Arena in his home town during the 2011 Bumbershoot.
Key Arena has a capacity of around 15,000 for concerts, and the place is packed to the rafters.
Now, I had heard of Macklemore before I saw that footage, but had no idea he could fill an arena, even in Seattle. That’s a testament to the enthusiasm and devotion of his fast-growing throng of fans, who are, generally speaking, young, finding their way in life and no doubt drawn to the guy’s brutally honest and emotionally charged rhymes.
Onry Ozzborn, left, and Zavala are Dark Time Sunshine
Here in beautiful Bend, Oregon, we get a mishmash of live hip-hop, from big stars (Ice Cube, Tech N9ne) and mid-level hustlers (Keak da Sneak, The Jacka) to underground lifers (Busdriver, Hieroglyphics) and mostly unknown upstart cats of varying quality.
Tonight, Liquid Lounge hosts a rap act that doesn’t fit neatly into any of those categories. Dark Time Sunshine — aka Onry Ozzborn (of Northwest crews Grayskul and Oldominion) and Chicago producer Zavala — resides in the underground, for sure, but this is a duo on an upward trajectory, one with a legit shot at indie-rap stardom, at least, and maybe more.
Their first album, “Vessel,” was a well-received collection of unconventional hip-hop that Okayplayer.com called “simply well put-together rap music that may or may not have been created in our galaxy.” As for the meaning of that description — Are they saying the music is out of this world? Or are they referring specifically to the interstellar sound of Zavala’s Big Bang beats? — your guess is as good as mine. Probably both.
Dark Time’s followup to “Vessel” is called “Anx.” It comes out next week, and it is a doozy. Once again, Ozzborn ably holds down the mic; his sturdy, clipped flow befits his affiliation with the great hip-hop label, Rhymesayers.
But it’s Zavala’s tracks that really makes “Anx” jump out of the speakers and demand repeated listens, at least for this lover of melody and experimentation. His beats snap reliably as synths squiggle, string sections swell and samples insinuate themselves into the songs in all the right places. Dark Time Sunshine’s music truly does sound like it’s from another planet, one where vintage video-game bleeps and bloops bounce around an underwater crater before bubbling up to the surface and bursting with color.
Tonight, Dark Time Sunshine stops in Bend on a break from its big tour with indie-rap kingpin Aesop Rock. All the details are below these two tunes, which you should definitely check out before you head to the show.
Dark Time Sunshine, with Crushcon7, Cast-Iron and Gainon & Leif James; 9 tonight; free; Liquid Lounge, 70 N.W. Newport Ave., Bend. Find more info at the Facebook event page.
Email interviews with musicians tend to not turn out as well as phone or in-person interviews. I figure there are a couple reasons for this: 1) They’re often busy on tour, moving from place to place, and don’t have time to sit down and compose proper answers. 2) Typing is harder than just talking. 3) The interviewer doesn’t get a chance to ask follow-up questions, and follow-up questions are the easiest way to turn an interview into a simple conversation. And it’s conversation where you often get the best quotes.
All that said, I thought our email interview with Robbie Grey of Modern English in today’s GO! Magazine was terrific. One of the best I’ve read.
Anyway, you might recognize this song:
The one-hit-is-better-than-no-hits wonder Modern English will play Munch & Music on Thursday in Bend’s Drake Park. My colleague David Jasper sent Grey some questions, and he sent back some answers. Here’s an excerpt:
GO!: Why do you think “I Melt With You” has had such staying power?
RG: My theories on “Melt” are that it glides. It has an uplifting feeling of a breath of fresh air. The words evoke a lot of imagery and love is involved. The act of lovemaking is implicated. All these things are part of the human condition. Hence the staying power.
GO!: People can see a lot of your videos on YouTube. Any specific songs you would recommend readers look up if they wanted to expand their Modern English vocabulary in advance of your show?
RG: There are so many YouTube videos. “Someone’s Calling” is a good one from the “After the Snow” album. Check out the hundreds of cover versions of “Melt.” I like the one with the harp. Some people have done their own collages of Modern English songs. They are interesting.
GO!: Has “I Melt With You” ever been implicated as a cause of global warming?
RG: “I Melt with You” has at times been implicated as a cause of global warming. The amount of people who have told us they have made love to the song, walked down the aisle to the song on their wedding day, made babies to the song — all that friction will cause heat to rise.
Elsewhere in this week’s music section: Toots and the Maytals kicks off the Alive After Five series in the Old Mill District, Crawfest celebrates local and regional music out in Powell Butte, Diego’s Umbrella returns to town for an album-release show, Dark Time Sunshine headlines an underground hip-hop bill at Liquid Lounge, and The Horned Hand celebrates its first birthday with Whiskey Shivers, Boom Chick, Carrie Nation & The Speakeasy and more.
And last but not least, downtown Bend will be teeming with sound this weekend as Bend Summer Festival fills five stages with music, including Fishbone, Rickie Lee Jones, Gary Wright, Ruthie Foster, Polyrhythmics, Kelly Joe Phelps, Boom Chick, Pepe & The Bottle Blondes, Jeff Kashiwa, The Autonomics and a whole bunch of locals. This is probably the best Summer Fest lineup I can remember. Read about Fishbone and see the rest of the schedule here.
For the second night in a row, McMenamins Old St. Francis School (700 N.W. Bond St., Bend) is hosting an album-release show by a popular local band. Tonight, it’s folk-jam collective Mark Ransom & The Mostest celebrating their new record, “Zara Dreams,” a handsome and pristine sounding document of what makes Ransom so popular not only in Bend, but the other mountain/ski towns he tours through a couple times each year.
The show will get going around 7 p.m. and it’s free. Expect all kinds of local musicians to show up and sit in on the sets.
In the meantime, here’s part of the story I wrote on the band and the album last week:
The Mostest. Photo by Tara Reynvaan.
The sonic origins of Mark Ransom & The Mostest’s new album are nestled at nearly 9,000 feet above sea level in Crested Butte, Colo.
That’s where Ransom and his longtime creative partner Pat Pearsall tested out a buddy’s new home theater system with a documentary on the making of Paul Simon’s “Graceland” album.
They watched Simon travel to South Africa, record jam sessions with African musicians and then come back home and write songs over those rhythms.
And they were inspired.
The fruits of that inspiration bloom on the third Mostest album, “Zara Dreams,” a beautifully packaged set of Ransom’s breezy, rootsy folk-pop played by a skilled band that’s been tightening up together for years.
Tightening up, yes, but the key sounds on “Zara Dreams” are the loping grooves the band uncovered by recording in a way that, I think, is sort of the reverse of the typical process. They built a base for the songs by recording hand percussion, acoustic guitar, bass and keys, and then added the drum kit later, giving the whole thing a slightly looser, less rigid, more polyrhythmic feel.
Anyway, here’s a way to hear it for yourself. “The Gift” is the second song on the album, and it’s full of little local references that, if you live around here, will probably put a grin on your face. And that’ll make Mark Ransom happy, I guarantee it.