Your weekly virtual roundup of what appears in today’s print newspaper, delivered directly to your eyeballs via weblog:
— The Americana/gypsy-jazz band Taarka comes through Bend two or three times each year as part of their busy, busy tour schedule. I chatted with David Pelta-Tiller about the band’s new album “Adventures in Vagabondia” and the evolution of Taarka’s sound. Read the results of that chat here.
— The Autonomics got their start in Bend but moved to Portland a couple years ago. On Thursday, they’ll return to celebrate the release of their first full-length album, the excellent “Trust Your Instincts,” with a show at Silver Moon Brewing & Taproom. Click here to read it!
Elsewhere in this week’s music section: Papadosio and the Acorn Project hit the Domino Room, the Mountain Country Superstar competition holds its finals, AfroMassive brings the funk to Liquid Lounge, Fallstar and Capture the Flag get loud at The Sound Garden, the Hideaway Tavern hosts Hot Club Sandwich, Top Shelf plays the Astro Lounge, Vandella at The Horned Hand and more!
I know there are folks out there who pay no attention to sports, but you’d have to work pretty hard to live in Oregon right now and not know the University of Oregon’s high-powered football squad are the top-ranked team in all the land, ahead of traditional bluebloods like Auburn, LSU, Nebraska and Ohio State.
I come from SEC country, so I have a natural aversion to the cream-puff brand of football played in the Pac-10. However, even I must admit that the Ducks are pretty fun to watch, and I’m getting swept up by Quack Fever, or whatever they call it.
Of course, whenever a sports team reaches these kinds of heights, there must be a hastily assembled theme song to soundtrack their dominance. The best-known example, by far, is the 1985 Chicago Bears’ “Super Bowl Shuffle,” but the good people at Deadspin have compiled literally dozens of these songs, spanning all styles and all sports. Find them here and here and here.
Which brings us back to the 2010-11 Oregon Ducks, a team without a song. Until a recent weekend, that is, when Top Shelf — a hip-hop duo half-based in Bend — put together “Green and Yellow” to commemorate UO’s season. Behold:
Frequency readers already know Top Shelf MCs Amsterdam and Middle are big sports fans. On Monday, Amsterdam (an ’05 grad of UO) said the duo wrote and recorded the lyrics to “Green and Yellow” in about an hour to celebrate the Ducks’ best season in recent memory. (The beat is from Wiz Khalifa’s “Black and Yellow.”)
“Middle really wanted to use the beat for our upcoming mixtape but I was reluctant since I really liked the original,” said Amsterdam. “I came up with the ‘Green and Yellow’ concept on the drive up, which coincidentally wasn’t that original of an idea. Haha.”
Amsterdam said he has since learned that some other people have had the same idea but “didn’t execute it very cleanly.” Radio stations began playing Top Shelf’s version after they heard it, he said.
Not bad for a spontaneous, one-off recording that doesn’t exactly represent the duo’s current sound.
“We just thought it was something Oregon fans could play on gameday, something that people could relate to on a community level,” Amsterdam said. “This song really isn’t a genuine example for our newest work, to be honest. Our best music is still waiting to be released, as our debut album ‘If It’s Hot You’ll Hear It’ will be out in early 2011. Stay tuned, and we appreciate your support Bend.”
#1 Oregon plays #21 Arizona at 4 p.m. today on ESPN. (That’s in 30 minutes.) Thanks to Top Shelf, now you have something to help you get hyped for the game.
The NBA kicks off its championship round tonight, and on Frequency, that means one thing: Local hip-hop duo Top Shelf is back with its second annual NBA Finals preview. Pay attention, because MCs Amsterdam and Middle know their roundball, and they love to talk about roundball. Translation: This is long and packed with knowledge, so be sure to click below for the whole enchilada. And, if you’re interested, here’s last year’s preview.
From left, Middle and Amsterdam
Amsterdam: The 2009-10 NBA Playoffs have been headlined by two big stories: The Los Angeles Lakers’ continued dominance of the Western Conference and the Boston Celtics’ resurgence to greatness after a dismal regular season in which they finished their final 54 games going 27-27. Kobe Bryant’s individual brilliance has been the key for Los Angeles, with many around the world saying they’ve never seen him play better. For Boston, the story has been the poise and execution of the Celtics’ veterans as well as the emergence of Rajon Rondo as the team’s best player. Heading into tonight’s Game 1 of the Finals, Boston has played 17 consecutive games in which a different player has led the Celtics in points. This is a rivalry with years of history behind it and potentially could make for one of the best Finals in recent memory. As some of you may know, I’m a diehard Celtics fan, so this preview just might contain a moderate amount of (Len) Bias. That said, Middle is a certified Kobe fan(atic) and can’t necessarily be trusted either.
Middle: When Diggy told me it was that time of the year again to give our breakdown of the NBA Finals, I got excited, seeing as how Diggy’s the biggest Celtic fan around. I let him know I couldn’t wait to explain why we (the Lakers) would beat him (the Celtics). Why is that? Four letters, one word: KOBE! That being said, let’s break down the starting line-ups…
The Sofa Kings. Photo courtesy Christa Landis and Jason Costa.
The Sofa Kings will play both Friday and Saturday night at Black Horse Saloon in Bend. Here’s an excerpt from my story on the band:
In a world where too many rock bands try to spice up their sound with disparate ingredients, The Sofa Kings are content to rock. As (drummer Karl) Lindgren puts it: “Our schtick is we have no schtick.”
He elaborates, touching on the Kings’ natural musical chemistry: “It’s a little bit like a jazz band in that regard,” said the man who spent years in California playing any style of drums you can name. “In a jazz band, the musicians are playing for themselves and the audience, if the band is good, is privileged to witness this musical conversation between, hopefully, talented musicians. And we’re a little bit like that.”
Local melodic metal band Inimica performed last weekend at Players Bar & Grill. Here’s an excerpt from my review of the show:
Now let’s get something out of the way: I enjoy listening to many different kinds of music, and I try to cover everything fairly here in GO! Magazine. But we all have strengths and weaknesses, and metal — particularly extreme metal subgenres like death metal — is not one of my strengths. So I will tell you what I can about Inimica, who, really, aren’t a straightforward death metal band, anyway.
There are death-y elements, of course. Dustin Jaques’ drums thunder like blasts from a furnace. The guitars — wielded ably by Blaine Bowden and Jake White — are chugging juggernauts that’ll make your chest ripple.
Inimica’s most death-metal-like feature, though, is the classic growl of Matthew Hicks, who looks like pop-metal star Andrew W.K. and sounds like Cookie Monster.
But lots of bands can chug and growl. It doesn’t mean they’re interesting. And one reason I really wanted to see Inimica on Saturday night is their musicianship.
Find out what awesome ’80s mega-hit Inimica covered by reading the whole thing here.
Also in the music section this week: Austin folk-rocker Danny Malone, a CD-release show for local musician Cedric Kohler, California rapper Myka 9, Blackflowers Blacksun plays a farewell show, Top Shelf hosts “Love Connection,” Boxcar String Band at Baldyfest, and a benefit at Rise Up’s warehouse featuring Mosley Wotta, We Are Brontosaurus, The Autonomics and The Tree Dwellers.
Here’s your friendly reminder that Finn Riggins is kicking off their fall tour tonight at Silver Moon Brewing & Taproom at 24 N.W. Greenwood Ave., in Bend, with the Portland band Church opening. Start time: 8 p.m.(ish). Cover: $5. Download a song from the new Finn Riggins album “Vs Wilderness” by clicking here, and here’s the band playing another new tune last week in Portland:
Also tonight! Three of Bend’s best and best-known hip-hop acts are doing a free show at Boondock’s Bar & Grill, 70 N.W. Newport Ave., in Bend. Top Shelf, Mosley Wotta, and Cloaked Characters will be there, as will DJ Hit-n-Runn. Click to watch Mosley Wotta’s nifty video for “Boom For Real,” or stay right here and watch the Cloaked Characters’ clip for “Lost Package.”
Also tonight! The Bend Roots Revival officially kicks off. We’ll have full coverage of the weekend’s events in tomorrow’s GO! Magazine, but tonight, there’s a meet-and-greet and open mic at Parrilla Grill at 6 p.m., followed by some Grateful Dead cover action from Back From the Dead (5:30-7 p.m.) and Rising Tide (7-9 p.m.) over at the Victorian Cafe.
Also tonight! Heavy, heavy, heavy metal of the local variety at Ye Olde Underground … ahem … The Underground, which is at 2221 N.E. Third St., in Bend. We’re talking Wache The Dead, Almost Is Nothing, Booze Devil and Dusk’s Embrace. The brutality will begin at 8 p.m., and $5 gets you in. I’m too lazy to copy in all the MySpace sites for these bands, but they’re listed on the flyer, so here’s that:
Also tonight! Necktie Killers at The Summit, ’80s night at Players, Rough String Band at Northside, The Quons at 28, and much more. Find it all on the events calendar at The Bulletin’s Web site.
You already know Top Shelf’s got some hoops knowledge. Now you can check out their skills in the studio. The local hip-hop duo made their new album, “Love Rap,” available for free download today on their MySpace. Download it here, and check out the track list and production credits after the jump. (Hint: Cheddy for the win!)
If you’re a sports fan, you know that the NBA kicks off its main event tonight, as the Los Angeles Lakers meet the Orlando Magic in a best-of-seven series for the league championship. (The NBA and its sponsors would prefer if you’d ignore all those Kobe/LeBron ads running every commercial break, thank you very much. They were supposed to coincide with the dream matchup between the league’s two best players, but the Magic derailed that plan by knocking LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers out of the playoffs. Sometimes, things don’t work out according to plan.)
Anyway, here in Central Oregon, we’ve got a few bona fide NBA experts on the local music scene. Among them is local hip-hop duo Top Shelf, aka Amsterdam and Middle, who follow the sport closely when they’re not living the big-time rap lifestyle. So Frequency asked the guys to break down the Finals matchups and predict a winner. Here’s what they had to say: