Updated: Dec 24, 2020
We may not be able to go out and watch live music at the moment, but great local artists are still releasing and celebrating new music. We're starting a new section to keep you updated on some of the new releases coming out of Oregon. If you or someone you know is a musician with new work to show off, let us know and we'll add to this list or feature the music in an upcoming roundup. (We don't charge a promotional fee or anything, we just want to help spread the word about local art.)
Be sure to share the love of local music with your friends and family, and be sure to follow Curbside Press on social media. Check back with our site frequently at curbsidepress.org for new local arts content every week.
Hamid Shibata - "Wall" (June 23, 2020)
Portland-based solo artist Hamid Shibata is celebrating the release of a new album, The Wild Blue, on June 23. But fans and music-lovers can preorder his work by checking out his Bandcamp page, and we recommend checking out “Wall,” an acoustic, soulful single that serves as a good introduction to Shibata’s brand of music. He did all of the recording and mixing himself, and the album is billed as “Stories of Love & Redemption leading up to the times of Covid-19.”
DoublePlusGood Music Video - Northern Lights (May 1, 2020)
Portland band DoublePlusGood released a new music video for their song "Northern Lights", directed by Ryan Linder of the band Small Million. As with many of DoublePlusGood’s songs, this one explores the nature of love and desire -- particularly exploring themes of gay love -- with an aching chorus of “you’re my northern lights.” The song, as described by the band's lead singer/songwriter Erik Carlson, is about love from a distance. Carlson explained on social media, "The one-take video was created to mirror the feelings [that] distance creates, and celebrate the ephemeral and spontaneous nature of love."
The always-impressive vocals of Carlson start low and breathy, mirroring the bassy, plodding intro. A spacey guitar and electro line caps the verses as the song rises to a gospel-like chorus.
The gray-scaled nature of the video brings Carlson's voice to the front and center of the viewer's attention, and the literal framing, to create a simple, beautiful scene of emotion. The near total black and white composition of the video, with the exception of the greenish hues above the band, creates wonderful shadows throughout the scene that adds to the emotional theme of the song.
Christine Nguyen - Better Days (April 16, 2020)
This song is an absolute pleasure to listen to.
Portland pop artist Christine Nguyen's latest single "Better Days" is a put-on-repeat-and-blare-all-afternoon kind of song. The song's drippy, electric beat tops a simple and effectively timed bass that keeps the ambient flow of the song punchy. Nguyen's lyrics are perfect for some deep mid-day self-reflection.
This is a must have for a chill weekday playlist.
Jame Doe - Come Follow Me, Naked - Self Titled EP (April 15, 2020)
Portland musician Jame Doe released two new songs in April, "Come Follow Me" and "Naked". These two tracks are proof of Jame Doe's incredible range of style and vocal ability.
"Come Follow Me" is a faster, more energetic electro-pop song, and it has us DANCING. With almost a 90's club vibe, "Come Follow Me" is sure to get you moving.
"Naked" is an emotional and powerful song that has singer Jake Moffett's incredible vocals on display for all to enjoy. Try listening to this song and not get shivers, we dare you.
Zander Reese - Expressions (April 2020)
The album has distinct differences from his last release in 2019, which was called The Unplugged EP.
Expressions has a soft 90's grunge/indie rock sound, which is not to say it doesn't have its heavier moments. The song "Mirrors" is a good example of the album's heavier, more distorted grunge rock vibe. This is some solid melodic indie grunge that is absolutely worth the listen.
The Ferenjis - Quarantine Challenge (March 2020)
The Salem neo-funk and soul fusion band that’s made a name for its wacky collaborations is at it again.
The group, like many all over the world right now, had to cancel their upcoming shows in response to social distancing protocols related to the COVID-19 pandemic. But that didn’t stop The Ferenjis, and many other local bands, from performing remotely and spreading some new tunes out into the world. The band decided to take part in the Quarantine Challenge, in which they try to create a new song or piece every day from a single-word prompt from fans.
This link to the YouTube channel features all of the tracks coming from this challenge. Some highlights include an old-timey newsreel broadcast about the need to stay home right now, as well as a surf punk jam called “Pacific Sunwhere” -- about wanting to go out in the sun but having to stay indoors.
“Poetry & Puppetry” - Wild Ire (March 6, 2020)
Sultry, low vocals by lead singer Jacob Mayes are reminiscent of Rufus Wainwright on this song, which builds into the same kind of big rock chorus that’s a staple of Wild Ire’s sound.
This track highlights the band’s frequent voyage into new territories, while always delivering the progressive rock sound they’ve become known for. The ballad-like beginning gives way to alternating time signatures and a poppier rock sound.
“Poetry & Puppetry,” the latest single from the Salem progressive rock group, is sure to be a feature on the band’s upcoming album. You can enjoy the song on streaming platforms and/or check out the accompanying video below.
“Outsane” by Wesley Harlan (March 19, 2020)
A song written “in the midst of (his) addiction,” this acoustic ballad bears Harlan’s heart for all to hear. The video, shared by Harlan via Facebook, is a letter of support for others who are going through addiction or trauma: “I know what it’s like to be stuck in pain/I know what it's like to be caught out in the rain/I would rather be outsane.”
Harlan noted in his post that creating and sharing this piece was a part of his recovery and he invited others to relate to the message of the song.
Splintered Throne- Immortal 2020 (January 2020)
If you feel like classic heavy metal is dead, Portland band Splintered Throne's new single is here to challenge that notion. Their new single "Immortal 2020" gives us hope that the rock power ballad and epic guitar solo aren't dead.
This track is about as classic metal as you can get, and Lisa Mann's vocals are a prime example of why women need a larger platform in metal. You will be belting "IMMORTAAAAL" by the end of this song, for sure.
OJOS FEOS - “G’bye Mugabe” (Summer 2019)
Portland international fusion band OJOS FEOS is a socially and politically conscious project, as evidenced by this song about the 2019 death of former Zimbabwe Prime Minister Robert Mugabe. “Goodbye, Mugabe, you big-headed fool,” one verse goes in this funky and tribal tune that features flutes, saxophone and a catchy chorus.
Released last summer on the group’s third full-length album, La Situación, this tune still deserves the spotlight for new Oregon music due to its upbeat candor and cultural importance.
To be featured on this or future release roundups, all you gotta do is ask! Hit us up on the Contact page found at curbsidepress.org/contact. For more new Oregon music content, check out other features and articles on our website.
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