Local punkgrass heroes Larry and His Flask have a new six-song EP out today. It’s called “Hobo’s Lament” and it’s a mighty fine listen; the title track is one of the band’s best yet, I think, and there’s a version of their old setlist stalwart “My Name is Cancer” on there, too.
The Flask is currently on tour supporting the English folk-punk singer-songwriter Frank Turner, who plays to good-sized crowds here and is a big star back in his home country. Here’s a photo of the band playing in Boston earlier this month. Check out that sweet banner they’ve apparently acquired!
Elsewhere: Shadows on Stars headlines Liquid Lounge tonight (stream their album here), Polecat plays twice in town next week and singer-songwriter Paul Eddy is back in town and gigging all over the place after a few years living in Texas. And more, of course.
The Northwest Best concert series continues tonight at Liquid Lounge, and I think the headliner — Shadows on Stars — has a pretty cool sound. (Actually, the local opener, Cadence, is well worth seeing, too.)
If you click around to (the band’s Facebook and Tumblr blog), you’ll find lots of grainy, faded Instagram photos, plus talk of Frank Ocean, Grimes, Erykah Badu, Wild Nothing, D’Angelo, Fiona Apple, The Strokes and The Xx, “Game of Thrones,” “Breaking Bad,” “Twin Peaks” and “The Newsroom.”
So these are hip, plugged-in cats.
Here’s what we know: Shadows on Stars is a duo from Portland, one man (Brian V.) and one woman (Randa Leigh). And that self-titled album sounds, well, kind of like all those artists I mentioned above. It’s a sleek, reverberant blend of electro-pop, hip-hop, soul/R&B and garage-rock grime.
Anyway, enough words, right? You can listen to Shadows on Stars’ whole album below. Tonight’s show starts around 8:30 p.m. at Liquid Lounge (70 N.W. Newport Ave., Bend) and costs $5 to get in.
I didn’t make it to last night’s show at Bend’s Domino Room by mysterious guitar virtuoso Buckethead, but The Bulletin’s Andy Tullis did, and he took a bunch of good photos of one of the stranger artists to roll through our little burg. They’re below. So fire up a YouTube video of the guy shredding and scroll down …
A pair of Buckethead enthusiasts write and draw near each other at the merchindise table.
Today, Deschutes Brewery premiered a video of The Fruit Bats‘ Eric D. Johnson (who, by the way, is opening for M. Ward at the Domino Room on Sept. 21) performing a song by The Byrds along the banks of the Deschutes River near La Pine State Park. It’s the first installment of the company’s new Deschutes River Recordings series, which it hopes will promote and support the efforts of the Deschutes River Conservancy.
Here’s the gist of the project, taken from an email from a Deschutes spokesperson:
• The brewery issued a call to its fans – otherwise called “advisory board members” – to choose songs with a river theme through an online voting process.
• Next, the brewery teamed up with indie artists to record the selected songs. The musicians traveled here and recorded the music “streamside high-wire: live, unadorned, far from a studio safety net”, resulting in a completely unique sound blending acoustic tunes with the sounds of nature.
• A partnership with popular music site, pitchfork.com, was formed and implemented to help promote the new recordings.
• Fans can download the songs for free, but are able to make a donation if they desire. Proceeds from downloads of this new music benefit the Deschutes River Conservancy, which is working to preserve streamflows and health of the river.
Check out the Pitchfork ad! If you know anything about the site or music journalism in 2012, you know this is quite the placement:
And here’s the video, featuring Johnson performing The Byrds’ “Ballad of Easy Rider.” Be sure to download the track and donate here. Coming in the next few weeks: Songs by Johnson’s fellow Portland-based indie luminaries Eric Earley (of Blitzen Trapper) and Laura Gibson.
Nine days after first announcing that the 2012 Bend Roots Revival was canceled (but then passing around a petition and hoping to work things out with their venue, the Century Center), organizers of the weekend-long celebration of local music and culture made it official last week: No Roots fest this year.
So, if you’re reading this, chances are good you now need something to do Sept. 27-30.
Want to catch up on the debacle story? Here are some handy links:
— An hour later, Rise Up Presents, one of the groups that organizes Bend Roots, posted this statement saying it had contacted Nosler, found support for the event and that its next step was to appeal to Century Center to reconsider hosting the Roots Revival.
— All along, this petition asking the city of Bend to allow events (and thus Bend Roots) to continue at Century Center was flying around.
–On Aug. 29, my colleague at The Bulletin, Hillary Borrud, published a good story on the subject that includes all sides and all the info — at least, all the info that the people involved would talk about.
Roots Revival organizers have already said they plan to bring the event back in 2013. Meanwhile, if you’re a musician based in Central Oregon and you have a local gig booked for Sept. 28-30, please be sure to leave a comment on this blog post with the details (venue, time, cost, lineup). I’ll be sure to get it listed in The Bulletin.
Let me be very clear: I mean no disrespect to anyone or anything else when I say that I think the Sisters Folk Festival is the all-around best music-related event in Central Oregon.
From the quality of artists booked and the seamless operations to the beautiful setting and the overall vibe, SFF is just awesome. There may be other places or events in the area that bring in music that you or I like more, but in terms of the experience, nothing tops the folk fest.
We’re seeing that reflected in the festival’s popularity, too. Last year, organizers expanded their staffing and venues, and this year, for the first time ever, tickets sold out in advance. And so, the team that puts on Sisters Folk Festival is hard at work not only, uh, putting on a festival, but also working to overcome the challenges that come with growth.
But this weekend, it’s all about the music.
Tonight, Jimmy LaFave and a bunch of his friends (Slaid Cleaves, Eliza Gilkyson, Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irions) will pay tribute to Woody Guthrie with a program called “Walking Woody’s Road.” I spoke with LaFave about the iconic folk singer, who would’ve turned 100 this year.
Guthrie’s music has experienced a rebirth in recent years, thanks in part to his daughter Nora’s efforts to turn his unused lyrics into new songs. LaFave — who is currently setting about 20 lyrics to music — said Guthrie wrote about 3,000 songs, but only 70 were really known in his day.
And beyond music, he painted and wrote poetry, wrote novels (including one about sustainable living in sod houses), and was fascinated by science and nature.
“He was a total sponge,” LaFave said. “The guy was not just talking about riding the rails. He was talking about quantum physics. He was so far beyond his time, they must’ve thought he was nuts.
“There’s no one,” he said, “that lived 20 different lifetimes like Woody Guthrie.”
’80s hit machine Huey Lewis and the News will play Bend’s Les Schwab Amphitheater on Tuesday. My colleague David Jasper spoke with Lewis about all kinds of things, including his love of our town.
“I love Bend, Oregon. It’s one of the great places on Earth, I think,” Lewis said by telephone last week. “I live in Montana, in the Bitterroot Valley, which is not dissimilar, but actually Bend is a little more upscale. Your bagels are better than ours.”
Wait. How does Lewis know so much about Bend and its bagels? Because the man who crooned on “Jacob’s Ladder” also knows his salmon ladders: He’s a fly-fisherman. In effect, Lewis knows the power of love and the power of the mighty Deschutes. In fact, he believes Bend is up there with Los Angeles and San Francisco in their primes.
“Imagine L.A. in the ’30s and ’40s. No traffic, no pollution, these winding streets,” he said. “It was the best place on the planet in the ’30s and ’40s. Best weather in the world in L.A.”
San Francisco was great in the ’50s and ’60s, Lewis said, but “the population keeps getting more and more crowded, and they keep moving — and now it’s Bend, Oregon.”
Elsewhere in this week’s music section: Guitar savant Buckethead returns to town, The White Buffalo is back as well, Casey Neill & the Norway Rats come to McMenamins, Black Beast Revival plays Liquid Lounge, Necktie Killer wraps up Redmond’s Music in the Canyon concert series, and both The Horned Hand and Silver Moon are super busy, each with four shows over the next seven nights.
… the coolest of all may be the fact that anyone — you don’t need a festival pass — can show up to Sisters Coffee Company (273 W. Hood Ave.) on Saturday at 1 p.m. and watch Brian Blade conduct a workshop. For free.
What kind of workshop? I don’t know. Blade is one of the finest jazz drummers in the world, so maybe drumming. Then again, he’s in town with his Mama Rosa Band, presumably, to do something like this:
I mean, this is truly an amazing opportunity to see an incredibly talented and influential musician up close and personal. I can’t stress this enough: Brian Blade workshop, Saturday at 1 p.m. at Sisters Coffee Company. It’s free and open to the public.
Otherwise, as a reminder: All-events passes to the festival are sold out. Day passes for Sunday are now available (until they’re gone) for $55 at the Will Call table, located near the Village Green stage. Find more info on Sisters Folk Festival here.
Here’s a new video from local experimental cellist Billy Mickelson, aka Third Seven. It’s for a song called “Destination Now” from his new album, which he’ll celebrate with a show at The Horned Hand on Oct. 6.
That show will also double as a 10th birthday party for Third Seven, as well as a farewell before Billy heads off on his second European tour.
But more on all that later. For now, check it out. Enchanting!