Laura Veirs
Laura Veirs Shelby Brakken

Happy Valentine's Day, fellow music lovers! Ready for another roundup of music news from around our fair city? Let's not waste another moment then. Press play!

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On Wednesday, the Oregonian reported that the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) had fined Pickathon and GuildWorks $31,000 after determining that their lack of safety protocols led to the deaths of two workers last year.

The incident occurred in the days following the 2019 edition of the music festival; Brandon Blackmore and Brad Swet were ascending in a boom lift to help dismantle the shade installation that hangs above the main stage at Pendarvis Farm, when the lift tilted and fell, pulling both men violently to the ground.

Clackamas Co. SHeriff's Office

Pickathon and Guildworks were fined $12,500 each after OSHA learned that alarm devices on the boom lift, including one that would have alerted the workers that the machine was on uneven ground, had been disabled. Guildworks was fined an addition $6,000 for not following the boom lift manufacturer's instructions.

More troubling is that OSHA's investigation found that the festival and Guildworks, a company that provides fabric architecture installations for events and commercial properties, had "a history of failing to follow proper safety procedures."

After news of these fines broke, Pickathon's founder and festival director Zale Schoenborn released this statement:

The tragic loss that the families of Brad and Brandon, Pickathon, Guildworks, and the larger festival community suffered last year was absolutely heartbreaking and continues to shake us to our core. We have always focused on safety with the same passion that we bring to producing the festival experience, and in our twenty-one year history this was our first serious accident. In 2020, we are challenging ourselves to completely redesign and rethink the festival with safety even more at the forefront in an effort to create a whole new Pickathon experience that is closer to nature, closer to the ground, and closer to the audience than ever before.

If you're in a romantic mood on this most romantic of days, you might want to skip over this next news item.

Singer/songwriter Laura Veirs has released one of the most devastating and direct songs of her long career. Self-recorded in one take, "I Was a Fool" is an unblinking, stream-of-consciousness outpouring of anger and remorse about the end of her marriage to producer Tucker Martine.

In a statement accompanying this new song, Veirs says:

My marriage was falling apart. I was strumming my guitar and I felt a song coming on. Normally songwriting for me involves editing and fussing before the song feels 'right,' but not this time. I grabbed my phone and recorded this song as it wrote itself—it came out this way, completely formed and realized. It’s a rare thing for this to happen to me. I've released 11 albums, and this is the first song I've released that I recorded myself, in the moment, on my own.

Also dropping new music this week was Gaytheist, the punk-metal power trio known for their witty lyrics and the sartorial splendor of guitarist/vocalist Jason Rivera. The band has a new album, How Long Have I Been on Fire?, arriving in the world via Hex Records on April 10, and they're teasing it with the release of a new ass-whipping track "The Dark Deep."

If you like that, you'll love the band live. You'll have a couple of chances to catch them in concert this spring: at Kenton Club on March 13 (with Via Vale and Internet Beef) and on April 10 at High Water Mark Lounge (with Pinko and Sea Moss).

The Decemberists
The Decemberists

Just in time to take advantage of your tax refunds, a bunch of big artists have announced tour stops in Portland.

For local music heads, the excitement in the air is the result of the news that the Decemberists are celebrating their 20th birthday as a band with a North American tour. The 20 Years Before The Mast Tour kicks off in frontman Colin Meloy's home state of Montana on July 28 before arriving at Edgefield for two shows on July 31 and August 1. Tickets on sale today at 10 am.

Of course, the news that everyone in the office won't stop talking about is that JANET EFFIN' JACKSON IS PLAYING AT THE MODA CENTER ON AUGUST 20!!! Tickets for the tour went on sale yesterday so, we're hoping you were as quick on the draw as we were. If not, well... sucks to be you.

For some of our lowly co-workers, the news of Miss Jackson's return paled in comparison to the announcement that agitprop rockers Rage Against the Machine are also taking a spin around the country this year. The band arrives at the Moda Center on April 25, hot off their headlining sets at this year's Coachella. If that weren't enough, RATM is bringing incendiary rap duo Run the Jewels with them as opening act for all the dates on this tour.

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There's at least one sad and sick member of our staff that insists that we let you know that Megadeth and Lamb of God will also be visiting the Moda Center on July 26 as part of a big co-headlining tour they're undertaking this year. Tickets go on sale today at 10 am.

That same awful (and, if we're being honest, kind of smelly) co-worker of ours also wants us to report that art-metal band Deftones are kicking off their summer tour at the Theater of the Clouds on July 27. They'll be joined every step of the way by French death metal quintet Gojira and our favorite modern pop oddity Poppy. Tickets for this tour go on sale at 1 pm today.

Lastly, some sad-but-not-completely-terrible news: R&B sensation R.LUM.R, the Nashville singer/songwriter behind 2017's viral hit "Frustrated," recently cancelled the remainder of his tour (including a stop in Portland on March 10), citing "personal family difficulties." While it's too bad PDX will miss out on a chance to catch him and his guitar live at the Wonder Ballroom (especially since his show a couple years ago at the Doug Fir was so magical), distance makes the heart grow fonder.