The birds are chirping, the flowers are blooming (which means pollen counts are rising – achoo!), and Oregon seems determined to give us a wetter spring than we got last year. For us at Curbside, that can only mean one thing: a new seasonal roundup of new music released right here in Oregon. We’ve got an eclectic mix of genres, all of which are sure to get you in the outdoor mood. Or maybe you just want to sit by the window and watch the rain patter.
No matter how you enjoy your spring, you can listen along with the playlist we’ve embedded below. As always, we’ve got more details about each track and artist below. Be sure to SHARE this roundup with the local music lovers in your life and help us spread the word about great musicians from our neck of the woods.
“Cloak of Shadows” - Boundless Joy
Released: March 15, 2022
This inaugural single from new Salem rock group Boundless Joy comes right out swinging, with a Sabbath-like guitar riff and shrieking punk vocals that are reminiscent of The Offspring. The driving heavy metal influences of this track give way to a psychedelic and bluesy interlude that settles you even further into the silky shadows of this song’s guitar hooks.
“Couldn’t Ask For More” - Rooftop Screamers
Released: April 2022
While the song came out last year, Portland-based rock band Rooftop Screamers released this new music video for their single, “Couldn’t Ask For More.” The video is a love-letter to the vintage record store days, even shot to look like an old Super 8 film clip. The track is a country-inspired love song with a chorus that interestingly reminds us of late-90s pop punk. Rooftop Screamers is the band of drummer Mike Collins, who’s seen playing all the instruments in this video as a nod to his overall songwriting and musical capabilities.
“Long Division (Not That Hard)” - Mr. Vale’s Math Class
Released: April 8, 2022
We’ve featured Mr. Vale’s Math Class out of Portland before, even with a full article detailing the band’s influences and sound back in 2019. The group, inspired by funk and jazz fusion sounds and leaning heavily on its mantra of teaching us to not fear math, has released a dreamy new album full of songs. The group released three early tracks, including “Long Division (Not That Hard),” which actually features more of a reggae groove. It gives you a really good feel for the big sound of this band’s production, while showing them at their most experimental.
“Irrevocably Beguiled” - Ken Sholes
Released: April 14, 2022
Based in “Oregon’s Family Town” of Cornelius, Ken Sholes has written an independent acoustic ballad, which explores memory, identity and overcoming struggle. As the complex title suggests, you’re getting a personal, reflecting song crafted from the mind of the artist.
“The Look” - The Celebrators
Released: April 15, 2022
Four-piece Portland-based rock group The Celebrators released an EP back in April called Tree Oh that shows off the band’s variety and composition skills. The EP has four tracks plus a trio version of one of the songs. There are hints of bluegrass, indie folk, and traditional rock on the album, which is why we are highlighting the softest song on the EP, “The Look”. For a rock band, the song is remarkably soft at times, and even a bit jazzy. The vocals go from airy and playful to punchy, and then right back to airy after the chorus. The piano is an effective tool in the track. The build to the chorus is well done and drops right back the soft aspects of the song which really highlight the talent of the band as a whole.
“After Loss” - Hamid Shibata Bennett
Released: April 20, 2022
The new album titled Onomatopoeia, from Milwaukie-based Hamid Shibada Bennett (who we’ve featured on previous music roundups) is another that uses folk sounds to capture the vernal time of year in Oregon. The whole album builds, starting with incredibly soft acoustic tunes that build to louder, brighter sounds about partway through. That’s why we’ve chosen to highlight “After Loss,” because it’s the song that marks an up-tempo and light-hearted emergence from the sleepiness and sorrow of winter. We’re particularly impressed with the plucking strings that are punctuated by percussive flares.
“The Obscurantist” - Matt Miller
Released: April 29, 2022
This track by artist Matt Miller (who seems to be out of Portland, but we could not confirm) has some real “Through the Fire and Flames” (by DragonForce) vibes, and we are loving it. “The Obscurantist” is a fast paced speed metal instrumental that will get you pumped. It is filled to the brim with riffs that are punchy and executed perfectly. The lead guitar is so technically impressive; it is the centerpiece that is complemented by a double petal on the bass drum that absolutely slays. This song is heavy yet its fast pace makes it easily digestible and fun.
“Strawberry” - DUX
Released: April 29, 2022
This song, fittingly named after the best fruit of the spring season, features all the sweet and tart sounds you associate with biting down into a plump strawberry. With a bouncy synth and drum loop, you get a nice dancey song to lift you into the latter half of this spring playlist. Definitely stick around for the funky breakdown that’s featured in the latter half of the track!
“Ethereal” - Alamance
Released: April 29, 2022
We’re switching things up a bit with this heavy metal track from Eugene-based Alamance. We’ve featured them in an event roundup before, so we’re psyched to see them continuing to put out new music. A chugging riff-heavy intro builds to softer, melodic vocals that are a staple of the post-hardcore style of metal that was popularized in the early to mid-2000’s. There’s also the obligatory screamo vocals and an echoey chorus line that is very similar to bands like Underoath. If we had to bet, the Florida-area post-hardcore scene – which bands like Underoath and A Day To Remember hail from – are probably a heavy influence on this band, and certainly this new track.
“Tidal Waves” - Keeper
Released: May 5, 2022
Keeper, a Portland-based indie band, released a new EP in early May called The Campfire Sessions Vol. 1. “Tidal Waves”, is reminiscent of the softer side of the pop punk scene of the early 2000’s. The group’s bio on Spotify describes the new EP, saying, “Blending the nostalgia of mid-2000’s power-pop with the sensibilities of today’s indie songwriters, Keeper explores an emotionally intimate approach to their new ‘campfire’ EP.” We have to agree with the assessment, and we think that “Tidal Waves” sums up the intimate nature of the new release. If you like the song, be sure to check out the campfire version of their song “If I Don’t Call”.
“Reflection” - Hooey Bee
Released: May 5, 2022
“Reflection” by Portland-based Hooey Bee is a methodical blues instrumental that could be played in any jazz lounge worth its salt. It’s a jam that tells a story through the lead guitar, leading the band on a four-minute journey of emotion. The song is simple yet effective in its ability to keep your attention. This track truly feels like it should be in a movie where you are in a smoky bar slowly sipping a drink, contemplating your life.
“River Is Rising” - Stickerberry Pie
Released: May 15, 2022
For a dose of bluegrass and country rock in your spring, check out this album of tunes from rural Lane County. Every song has a different feel, from mournful twangy folk numbers to rock jams that put a little extra pep in your step. This album seems to uniquely encapsulate everything about spring in Oregon – both the rainy downpour and the glittering afternoons.