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The music of Edna Vazquez can send shivers to your soul. When Vasquez performs, she closes her eyes and each of her facial muscles crinkles with concentration. She whistles and taps on her guitar’s body with an intimate familiarity, and when she opens her mouth to sing or speak, it’s a bellow straight from her heart.

After five years in Brooklyn, Eugene-born musician Justin King has come home. “All my oldest friends and family are here,” King explains.

“It’s really where my roots are,” he continues. “Brooklyn was getting even more overrun and expensive and crazier and crazier. I wanted to come back and focus on my own music.”

Since being back in town, King’s band King Radio has released a four-song EP, Adaline, available now on SoundCloud. 

Before Elton John, Duncan Sheik and Green Day created original stage scores, before all those jukebox musicals featuring songs by Abba, Four Seasons, Carole King and more, even before Rent, Grease, Hair and Jesus Christ Superstar, there was Lionel Bart — a pop songwriter who never learned to read or write music and yet composed some of Britain’s biggest pop hits of the 1950s for Cliff Richard and other stars.

Jerry Joseph has been called the Anthony Bourdain of music.

“I finally realized I was never going to be a big fucking rock star,” Joseph says. “Nobody’s ever going to invite me to Saigon to come play a concert.” 

It might be the way Makayla Meador carries her contagious energy or the fact she’s taking the local DJ scene by storm — whatever it is, something tells me to remember her name. 

Meador, whose DJ alias is Evergreen, describes her sound as “future bass” and says she finds inspiration in the everyday eclectic sounds of water droplets, cans being cracked open or ping pong balls. She has been performing and producing electronica since the summer of 2015, and has already opened up for big names like The Floozies and worked alongside G-Eazy — pretty impressive, considering she doesn’t even have an EP out yet. 

Bonnie Bloomgarden of Los Angeles’ Death Valley Girls says her band’s latest release, Glow in the Dark (out now on Burger Records), was inspired by ancient Egypt. 

When I listen to EDM, I’m brought back to freshman year when I was introduced to drugs, dub-step and sardine-packed shows. That’s when I first heard the badass-ery of Pretty Lights, an electronica sensation created by Derek Vincent Smith.

Deftones sound like an urban California traffic jam — the band’s innovative blend of alt-rock, metal, hardcore and emo creates heat, tension and eventually release. 

Norma Fraser and Thomas Mapfumo are legendary musicians, both residing right here in Eugene. If you’ve never heard of them, don’t beat yourself up. They’re better known in their countries of origin — Jamaica and Zimbabwe, respectively — than in the states. 

What do booze, Philadelphia and reggae-ska have in common? Mike Pinto

Bustin’ Jieber, a local jazz band with rock 'n' roll tendencies (plus a song about nipples), is bidding adieu to Eugene. For the past five years, the trio has been jamming in venues like Luckey’s and Sam Bond’s Garage — and maybe your neighbor’s basement — as well as the Whiteaker Block Party. Susan Lucia (drums), Dusty Carlson (bass) and Andy Page (sax) have created a niche for themselves by consistently playing high-energy shows that exude genuine fun. 

Sometimes a band’s strength lies not in its particular sound but in each player’s ability to unite fully behind the sound, to present a single battlefront, to commit individual expression to one common purpose — to communicate, combust and even, at times, self-immolate as a whole.

Mac DeMarco


Adia Victoria backstage


Yemen Blues


When the United States went to war in 1941, music was in the arsenal. After Japan’s catastrophic sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, the country needed cheering up and troops needed cheering on. The nation’s pop culture institutions were enlisted, going on tours and producing “V-discs” (records) and shortwave broadcasts for deployed soldiers and music about coming home and accentuating the positive for Americans. 

Music news & notes from down in the Willamette valley

Music news & notes from down in the Willamette valley

Bloodshy & Avant, the production duo that takes up two-thirds of Stockholm’s Miike Snow, are known as some of the most forward-thinking producers in pop. 

We live in a period of human existence in which vibe is more decisive than quality — in which a zillion filters can be dumped on a photograph, a full album can be drenched in reverb or a vote can be cast on guts alone.

Music news & notes from down in the Willamette valley

Bright young talents conquer Broadway with hip new streetwise music: Seven decades before Hamilton, 25-year-old composer Leonard Bernstein and his upstart young (average age 27) drinking buddies — singer-songwriter-comedians Betty Comden and Adolph Green and choreographer Jerome Robbins — blitzed wartime Broadway with On the Town.

A fun game: Listen to "Weird Al" Yankovic and take him deadly serious. Forget that he’s built a career lifting popular tunes from artists like Michael Jackson or Pharrell Williams. In 1988, Weird Al lampooned Jackson’s “Bad” with “Fat,” and on Yankovic’s 2014 release Mandatory Fun, he borrowed Pharrell’s “Happy” and made it “Tacky.” 

If you’re sailing down the Willamette River through Corvallis, don’t be surprised when you hear distant piano music. No, it’s not some river ghost — it’s probably the Barker Gypsies. 

If you’ve spent time in a city, even little Eugene, you know the main characters on the sidewalk: the kid looking to bum a cigarette; the person staked out on a corner trying to convince you that the world is doomed; and the folks just angling to get you to buy their stuff. 

When folks who were born into the post-Woodstock era need a pop song that says “chill out, relax, you’ve got this,” chances are they sing the theme from TV show Greatest American Hero. Devon Geyer’s dad wrote that iconic TV tune. Geyer is the main man behind L.A. pop project Decorations, whose full-length debut, Have Fun, is out now on Frenchkiss Records.