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Music

If you’re a sensitive artsy type who swoons over emotional prowess in music, then Laura Marling, a musical folk fairy, is right up your alley. 

Despite the name, classical music can be old and new, and there’s some of both coming to town this month.

In an alternate universe, the album Painting With, which dropped in February, might have been Animal Collective’s pop breakthrough.

But because the world is backwards and topsy-turvy, the album that broke through was 2009’s Merriweather Post Pavilion, a synth-slathered fantasia that sounds like harsh noise next to Painting With.

Mick Dagger, vocalist and guitarist with Eugene band Dick Dägger, says one of the best places in town to hear live music is in the john at a house across the street from Taco Bell. The house in question is the Ant House, a longstanding and popular location for basement shows in Eugene. 

Hi-Fi is hosting a wide variety of musicians this month, especially with contrasting artists Emily Jane White and Dizzy Wright performing in the same week (watch out for whiplash).

If you’re anything like me, and I know many of you are, you grew up on a lot of ’80s and ’90s-era British guitar pop. Why? In my case, Brit bands seemed allowed a larger breadth of sensitivity and intelligence than their constantly macho Yankee colleagues. And, of course, there are those accents: romantic, working class, exotic and endlessly cool. Has the sound aged? Certainly. But in the end, haven’t we all?

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.