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No one makes music like They Might Be Giants and in the words of Martha Stewart, it's a good thing. The duo of John Flansburgh and John Linnell has 20 years behind them, 10 albums, 13 music videos and six TV theme songs and shows no sign of stopping. The two recently won a Grammy for the theme song to the hit TV show "Malcolm in the Middle," which they wrote and performed. So what to do next? A children's record, of course.
With the release of No!, TMBG has produced a record the whole family will love. (Trust me — my 5 year old LOVES it, and it's infinitely better than listening to "The Teddy Bear's Picnic" for the millionth time.) The 17 songs on No! are rhythmic and catchy, with engaging lyrics and topics interesting enough to keep everyone happy. "Fibber Island" is a place you get to just by closing your eyes, where some very wacky things happen. "Our dog is two miles wide and all he talks about is pie" and "We swim on the ground, wheels are square not round. We eat chocolate by the pound."
"Four of Two" tells the story of a man who went to meet a date but the time on the clock never changed. He fell asleep and awoke to a strange futuristic world, but still no girl. "I Am Not Your Broom" and "I Am A Grocery Bag" are sure to be hits in your house.
Of course, there's the title track, which tells it like it is about that bane of childhood, the word "No." "If they say 'no' it means a thousand times no. No plus no equals no. All roads lead to no no no." There's only one song blatantly childlike, and that's "In The Middle In The Middle In The Middle," about safely crossing the street. Luckily, the lyrics are included in the CD booklet.
John Linnell has also completed the CD State Songs. The pair has plans to release Gigantic: A Tale of Two Johns, which is an independently filmed (by award winning video producer A.J. Schnack) documentary capturing the band on stage, on the road and in the studio. TMBG will appear May 2 at the McDonald Theatre.
You'll laugh. You'll dance. You'll scratch your head in wonderment. You'll be hooked. On Saturday May 3, local start-up record label Schapendoes Records will have a benefit show at Samurai Duck. Proceeds from the event will go toward two of the label's future releases, which are planned for mid-May. Co-founder Jevon (no last name given), who plays in Eugene's Chevron, says "We're going to do a compilation and a 7-inch, too" (featuring two Chevron songs on colored vinyl). Performing at the benefit will be Chevron and Murder of Crows, which features ex-members of Mine 37, a local band that has also recorded a CD for Schapendoes Records. Portland's Wet Confetti ("kind of like a dark disco band," says Jevon), WW IV (formerly called The Little Twos) and Iodil, an electronic side-project of another Chevron member, will also perform.
All of the bands performing at the benefit will be on the CD, along with many others, such as Colorado's Ken and Tracer and Blake Brown. "Most of the bands were chosen by submission and we asked some of the bigger names to be on the CD and kind of got the name out," says Jevon. "It's cool because we got some rare stuff, like this band The Intima is giving us an improv track, and we're putting on an improv track as well."
Schapendoes has been a label for two years, and specializes in music that often flies under the radar of mainstream music mags, from math rock to guitar-driven ambient post-punk to electronic excursions. The label started up with a business loan, which the benefit will help pay back.
The label is focusing on this project for now and will likely take a break after the May releases. Meanwhile, Jevon says Chevron members still have the desire to find a quiet, small-town hideaway and do nothing but record music: "We're definitely going to be out of here by fall, we just still haven't decided where. We're looking for no distractions. We just want to live together in a low-stress place and record music for a year and hopefully come up with something cool." Catch them while you can.
Make sure you save some time this weekend for the 12th annual Fiesta Latina, held at Washington-Jefferson Park. Celebrations begin Friday at 6 pm with a performance by Raw Action Breakdance Crew, followed by local favs Los Mex Pistols del Norte. The Pistols, Eugene's own kings of Mariachi, never fail to satisfy the audience with their electric approach to traditional Mexican bullring and Mariachi music.
The always-popular Salsa Dance Contest semi-finals will also be held Friday. Headlining the Friday night bill is Seattle's Yerbabuena. This 11-piece band, based in Seattle, is making their Eugene debut this year. The group presents fantastic dance music from Cuba: son, danzón, chachachá and salsa. The party begins anew Saturday at noon with dancers from local schools, followed by the tropical rhythms of Son Melao. Trío Ritmo y Romance will perform romantic ballads. Traditional Mexican dance in authentic costumes will follow. Don't miss Mexican group Banda Vagos or the Salsa Dance Contest Finals.
Eugene's Caliente will close the festival Saturday night. Come back Sunday at noon for Lo Nuestro and an encore performance by Bando Vagos. Orme Iré, an ensemble of Cuban percussionists, singers and dancers, will rumba the festival to a close. Many Spanish-speaking cultures will be represented at the wonderful food booths. Jewelry, clothing and arts and crafts will draw your eye. Children's events include pottery demonstrations, piñata making and breaking, clowns, magicians and more. This is an alcohol-free event designed to bring a sense of the excitement of a Latino street fair to the entire community. The sights, sounds and tastes of the festival will delight all ages from 1 to 101!
Children 12 and under are free, while adults pay a suggested donation of only $3. LTD is offering free shuttle bus rides every 20 minutes to the festival from downtown.
AX BILLY GRILL & SPORTS BAR
BEANERY ALL AGES
EMBERS SUPPER CLUB
EUGENE WINE CELLARS
LAVELLE'S TASTING ROOM
LINGO'S BOOKS & COFFEE
LONE STAR BAR AND GRILL
LUCKEY'S CLUB CIGAR
MAC'S AT THE VET'S
OREGON ELECTRIC STATION
SAM BOND'S GARAGE
TSUNAMI BOOKS ALL AGES
WILD DUCK MUSIC HALL
WOW HALL ALL AGES
BOMBS AWAY CAFE
INTABA'S KITCHEN ALL AGES