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Music

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.

Many have claimed that Bollywood — India’s film industry — is bigger than Hollywood, yet Bollywood rarely enters our orbit here in the states. It’s too bad; Bollywood has cultivated a fabulous, colorful and often over-the-top silly world of music, dance and community.

In 2010, an earthquake ripped through Haiti and caused widespread devastation. Most of us saw the news reports, but what the headlines missed was the creative Haitian culture that Mother Nature could not shut down. 

Music news & notes from down in the Willamette valley

Let’s assume you love classical music and you’re having a hangover now that the Bach Festival is over and the symphony and other classical seasons don’t get going for some weeks. Let us further assume that you are not among the fortunate many who found out about the Eugene Symphony’s eighth annual Symphony in the Park concert at Cuthbert Amphitheater on Saturday, July 16, before all the free tickets were snapped up by the savvy.

Welcome to the weird world of Eugene songwriter Jake McNeillie — a world where black holes suck “the flesh of unwilling girls,” human bones lie “without their meat” and animals have socks on their feet. 

When the single “Fire and Rain” dropped in 1970, it is possible that nobody understood what the Boston-born singer-songwriter and multi-platinum artist was alluding to. After all, a human who writes his first song at 14 is a natural chaser of stories, and Taylor’s tale — through depression, self-help, institutions and modesty — is one for the ages.

After 16 years, Boss Hog, a side project of Jon Spencer of the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, has returned with the Brood Star EP, a self-described amuse-bouche to the band’s forthcoming full-length album Brood X

Kneeling at the altar of The Kinks, The Pixies and Nirvana, Season One!, the debut album from popular Eugene garage-rock trio VCR, has finally arrived. And rest assured, it’s fantastic.