Updated: Feb 26
With spring done and over with, we are ready to present our spring music release roundup! We have a wide variety of music, from psychedelic doom metal band Robots of the Ancient World to rapper Bocha with his new track, “MOON ROCKS.” There is a ton to check out and even a few music videoes so be sure to read through the whole thing to experience what Oregon musicians have to offer. We are always so excited to show off new, local music and this is the cream of the crop. Please note, this playlist has explicit music in it and might not be for all audiences.
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“Feel It Still/Stripped Session” by Portugal. The Man
Released: June 16, 2021
Just wow. Four years to the day since releasing “Feel It Still”, Portugal. The Man released a stripped-down set of songs, including one of their biggest hits. This acoustic, “stripped-down” version focuses on lead singer John Gourley’s high-pitched vocals as the bass slaps lightly in the back, building to the chorus which, even in its stripped-down form, bumps just as hard. The band is clearly in a large room or at least there’s a lot of reverb in the song and it helps create the perfect amount of atmosphere that brings the song to life. Being more acoustic than the original, it ends up feeling reminiscent of the 70’s and brings a fresh take on their hit song.
“The Way I Feel” by Alien Boy
Released: June 15, 2021
We have covered Alien Boy in various ways over the years, including in a few playlists, and we are excited for the band’s new single “The Way I Feel,” which they released on June 15. The Portland-based group, headed by singer and guitarist Sonia Weber (According to Portland Mercury, “Weber also plays drums in [Portland bands] Little Star and Floating Room”) has been creating sad-kid music that is queer, wonderful and emotional. The start of the band’s Spotify bio, “Dreams and Queer Feeling,” sums up the band succinctly. “The Way I Feel” is an airy, energetic pop-punk track that keeps with the band’s sad motif that Alien Boy openly embraces. The group doesn’t need to change up the formula. They seem to have a secret ingredient that keeps us coming back for more. We like Alien Boy a lot and this song is yet another reason why. They also released a radio mix of the band’s song “Stuck” on May 4th that you should also check out.
“Haughty! Haughty! Haughty!” by Showtigers
Released: June 14, 2021
Salem’s local gem, Showtigers, is at it again with the new self-recorded single “Haughty! Haughty! Haughty!,” released June 14. The band also released a new single “No Hero” on June 20, which deserves a shoutout. “Haughty! Haughty! Haughty!” starts as a toned-down, wispy song with complicated lyrical timing. It draws you into the buildup and, once it hits, you are enveloped by the ever-heavier guitar and slow, methodical drum fills that masterfully pace the song. The guitar solo slays, the vocals are intriguing, and the composition is expertly crafted and leaves you interested until the last note. All in all, this might be one of our favorite Showtigers songs to date.
“St. Anthony” by Jame Doe
Released: June 11, 2021
Our friend Jame Doe released a new single “St. Anthony.” Jame Doe, the band name of vocalist Jake Moffett, along with drummer Keagan O’Brien, keeps making some of the best dream pop Portland has to offer. Jame Doe’s style of dream pop is always engaging and enjoyable, but this song really hits the spot. There is a subtle Phil Collins feel to the background beat at the beginning of the song, which changes quickly into a modern yet somehow absolutely 80’s dance pop song that deserves a place in Footloose or another hit 80’s film. This song is an aesthetic all by itself and we absolutely love it. If you want a longer profile of Jame Doe’s music, check out this article from 2019 about the group’s first tour.
“MOTHERLAND” by Christine Nguyen, Justice Gbada
Released: June 11, 2021
Last time we wrote about Christine Nguyen and Justice Gbada, this is what we had to say, “You can be sure to expect a lot more from both of their careers” and with the release of their new single “MOTHERLAND,” the trajectory seems all but certain. “MOTHERLAND” seems to play on some LOFI and vaporwave themes, with the 80’s/90’s style of slap guitar riffs and piano interludes sprinkled intermittently. The song talks about the hardship of what parents and elders go through to make a better life for their kids, “For mothers from the motherland, for fathers from the motherland, for daughters from the modern age.” Christine Nguyen and Justice Gbada work so well together, and their vocals weave in and out of each other in this track, creating a dynamic and exciting sound. The song is enticing and just proves that this is a combo that needs to keep creating together.
“MOON ROCKS” by Bocha (Feat. Corey G, Donte Thomas)
Released: June 11, 2021
Portland-based rapper Bocha, with artists Corey G and Donte Thomas, created an EP (They call it a single but there are three songs) called MOON ROCKS, produced by Produce Organic Records. The title track, “MOON ROCKS,” is a quick-paced rap with some serious lyrical and rhythmic bona fides. The beat immediately gets you into the groove, and Bocha’s voice is just a pleasure. This is a damn good rap song and you should be listening to Bocha and more of Portland’s rap scene. The three songs are all worth checking out, and personally we would suggest “DO SI DO.”
“Nuestro Amor” by Sávila
Album : Mayahuel
Released: June 1, 2021
Notable Mention: “Mayahuel”
Sávila is a truly amazing band and whenever the group makes new music we love to cover it. The Portland-based Mexican-American trio is made up of guitarist Fabiola Reyna, vocalist Brisa Gonzalez and percussionist Papi Fimbres. Sávila released the new album Mayahuel on June 1. The group describes the album, “Mayahuel is based on time spent prior to the pandemic, immersed in the music, traditions, people and environment of the sacred place we know as Oaxaca.” The song we enjoyed the most off the album is named “Nuestro Amor” or “our love,” and it is a banger. A small cacophony of horns starts the song off, leading into Gonzalez’s melodic vocals, with light maracas and delicate guitar threading an intricate tapestry throughout the track. The song is mesmerizing, and like all of Sávila’s music, will be on a lot of personal playlists moving forward.
“Work on Me” by Karma Rivera
Released: May 26, 2021
Karma Rivera, the Portland-based rapper is back with another single “Work on Me.” The song’s simple hook, “put that work on me, the hate don’t work on me” runs throughout the track, broken up by Rivera’s truly impressive rap bars. Rivera has been putting out a solid stream of new tracks since at least 2018 and she doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon, and we are here for it. There really isn’t much more to say about this song other than why aren’t you listening to it right now?
“Buying a Pool ” by Schaus (Galen Tipton Remix)
Album: Grinding Redux
Released: May 26, 2021
For many listeners, this song, and largely much of this album, will sound like lightly organized noise. But through the barrage of high-frequency pings, piano, bassy beats, and quickly changing musical landscape, the song has an incredibly steady build. The whole album is filled with intricately woven tracks that, if you like Schaus’ music, will make you bounce. Even though the particular song was released in 2019, Schaus’ new album Grinding Redux was just released in late May and showcases a variety of self-released songs and remixes.
“You Didn’t (Acoustic)” by Kingsley
Album: Crying On Holidays
Released: May 21, 2021
Notable Mentions: “Therapy”
We covered Kingsley’s song “I’m Fine” for our Winter Release, and in it we wrote, “Kingsley is a bit of a hidden gem who puts out nothing but absolute fire tracks. Her voice stands out in the crowded Portland scene, with a talent that demands being heard.” Well with her new acoustic version of her hit song “You Didn’t,” she makes herself heard again. The track off of her newest album Crying On Holidays is quite different from the original version which was released in October of 2019. The new acoustic version is a raw, emotionally engaging take and shows off Kingsley’s incredible vocals in a way her pop songs don’t. Instead of being tied for space with the beat in the original song, she is front and center in this version. Overall, we love her acoustic version of “You Didn’t” and hope she does a few more acoustic songs.
“MK Ultraviolence” by Robots of the Ancient World
Album: Mystic Goddess
Released: May 21, 2021
Notable Mention: “Lucifyre”
Let’s first just take a second to acknowledge how awesome the name of this song is. “MK Ultraviolence” is the latest song by Robots of the Ancient World, a Portland-based “psychedelic stoner doom” metal band. The song’s name plays off of the 1950’s CIA and military experiments conducted under the code name Project MK-Ultra. The song is heavy and starts right off with some nice drumming. Within seconds, they bust out with the band’s singer Caleb Weidenbach. Although there are parts of the song that are a tad repetitive, guitarist Justin Laubscher has some impressive riffs throughout, including a solid guitar solo. The track and vocals are reminiscent of 90’s grunge rock and replaces some of the doom of the band’s other tunes with a more progressive grunge tone. The tonal difference might have had something to do with who helped ROTAW record the album: The one and only Jack Endino, manager of Seattle-based music production company Soundhouse Studios, and man who has had his hand in legendary albums such as Nirvana’s 1989 album Bleach and 1992 album Incesticide, Soundgarden’s 1987 album Screaming Life and literally dozens more in the last 40 years. This song, and the album as a whole, deserves at least one full listen-through.
“Dumb” by MAITA
Released: May 19, 2021
This song is incredible. Portland-based band MAITA absolutely KILLED this cover of Nirvana’s 1993 song “Dumb” off the album In Utero. Frontwoman and singer/songwriter Maria Maita-Keppeler sings a mono-tone, slowed-down version of the classic grunge song. Let’s first address how great her vocals fit this song. The slow start builds into the chorus which then takes on a heavier, grungier style while her mono-tone continues. It’s a fantastic composition and a fresh remake that deserves a place alongside any other nationally celebrated covers of Nirvana. Absolutely drop what you are doing and listen to this song, and then all of MAITA’s other music.