Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Eugene, Oregon sure has some great bands. Of course, the same is true of every place I've lived, although the quality does ebb and flow. Right now Eugene seems to be at some kind of critical mass. New labels are forming and releasing CD's and there are literally like 100 bands in a town of 120,000.

In any local scene, it seems to me that the key is documentation. You have to record the stuff that happens. This is why, in my opinion, the early DC hardcore scene (to take one example) was so influential - the bands actually put out records and toured. There was video, and photographs, and print media. Now, we have MP3 blogs...

I'll post my favorites first, to try and convince the casual listener. We'll start with Dan Jones, and the great title track off of his second album (with backing band The Squids):

"One Man Submarine"

Next up are local favorites The Ovulators. They have been in the studio recording in these past few weeks, but aren't going to be done for a while. Those familiar obstacles of time and money. Only one decent recording of a show with their current drummer is out there, so from June of 2004 here is:


Third up is the three-piece known as Yeltsin. Jake and Dana have played together for many years... I used to book their band Buckhorn at Icky's Tea House like ten years ago. Together with drummer Jivan Valpey (who, like most drummers, has played with a ton of bands) they recorded a 5-track EP and landed a major label deal, although I can't remember who and their website ( is down for a very short time so I can't check. Anyway, you can email them at yeltsin (at) yeltsinrocks (dot) com. From that EP, here is:

"Ex Oficio"

Of course, there are a whole bunch of other good bands... Ed Cole used to play with Dan Jones in Activator, was in The Naysayers before that, and has two self-produced CDs out. He currently plays with his band The College Girls Of Tora Bora and also plays bass in White Hot Odyssey (featuring former Cherry Poppin' Daddies singer Steve Perry on vocals) From his second CD (Forgotten Hits) here is:

"I Remember You"

Ed's website also crashed, you can reach him at edhead101 (at)

Launchpad are a newer band that arose from the ashes of High On Peeps. I really liked the Peeps - they reminded me of early 80's NYC no wave like ESG. Similarly, Launchpad are pursuing new paths that are not typical rock band directions. I have written before about them sounding like a band that would play at the club in Liquid Sky, and I stand by that. Primarily improvisational, they have been recording and playing at a rapid rate in the new year. Here's an early track:

"Hotsy Totsy/Pinwheels In Outer Space"

Guess what? Their website (at Ebloggy) also crashed. But you should check out Launchpad member Mr. Random's Blog Of Randomness for Launchpad news and a ton of links to other local Eugene bands.

Last up is my favorite "side project" band in town, Heavenly Oceans, featuring Yeltsin guitarist Jake Pavlak and drummer Tony Figoli. I'm just a sucker for duos - more about that on Friday. They went into local Dogwood Studios and recorded an all- instrumental CD last year. Here's:

"Teen Drums"

The thing about the Eugene scene right now is that not only are there good bands, there are good venues as well. Unfortunately there are only a few all ages spots, but the bar scene is overflowing with gigs. There's also good radio (University of Oregon station KWVA features many local artists and a local music show), good record stores, good artists, and good media. All the ingredients for some memorable art, or at least a good night out... Let's just hope we document some of the best moments.

Besides Mr. Random's site, interested listeners can also tune in to my blog, which has lots of local links, discographies, and music writing. Long live local music!

It was easy
It was cheap
Go and do it...

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