Updated: Feb 26
Summer is the season of road trips and sunny adventures. While it’s beginning to wrap up, we’ve got some great new tracks from local artists to add to your summer listening.
We’ve got some sick new hip-hop, bright pop tunes, some indie rock and even a cover of an emo era tune that we think you’ll really appreciate. We’ve also got a section below for some summer jams from local artists that have come out in previous years but still deserve a listen.
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"Minka" - Beggars Canyon (Portland folk - released July 30, 2021)
Portland-based Beggars Canyon created a waltzing number that utilizes everything from accordion to fiddle and even a singing saw. This song is a lovely slice of americana with a bouncing instrumental intro that leads to a couple of belting vocal verses and the kind of chorus you can really shout along to.
"The Kill (Bury Me)" - Renascentia (Salem-based progressive deathcore - released July 30, 2021)
There are two kinds of covers out there. There are the ones that reimagine a song, either with a new genre or a new take on the themes and movements. Then there are the ones that are intended to be a pretty true-to-form remake of the source material. This is one that somehow manages to be both. While it nails the same kind of pop-punk sound of the original 30 Seconds To Mars track, it also manages to put some nice new vocal layers that showcase Renascentia’s use of dual male-female vocals here (not a feature of other songs we’ve heard). It all culminates into a metal breakdown that’s ten times heavier than anything 30STM ever produced.
"Road Song" - MAITA (Portland indie rock - released July 27, 2021)
Portland-based artist MAITA has been steadily pumping out LPs and singles for the past few years, each with their own heady and cerebral sounds and themes. “Road Song” starts with simple, breathy vocals from the singer/songwriter herself, building to a rock crescendo that’s somewhere between soft and heavy. MAITA’s music seems to break down the rock music formula into easily digestible songs, and this single is a great example of why this works so well. Plus, a title like “Road Song” definitely deserves a place in a new summer road trip playlist.
"flaunt it" - Christine Nguyen (Portland pop - released July 23, 2021)
Portland singer/songwriter Christine Nguyen is pretty much a permanent feature of our seasonal music roundups because she just keeps pumping out singles and EPs. Normally known for her tender, emotional ballads, “flaunt it” is a divergence into trappier party hip-hop that captures how everyone’s chasing after her rising star. The absolutely filthy three-note bass line carries us through a darker, sexier source material as she says how “These boys so thirsty they need water.” We’re anxious to see if she sticks with this sound, goes back to her more soulful vocal performances or continues to break new ground with her music entirely.
"When Tables Turn" - Karma Rivera (Portland-based hip-hop - released July 23, 2021)
For those who love these release roundups for their playlists, this is a good song to follow the previous track on our list. This heavy-beat, fast-flow rap song from Portland hip-hop artist Karma Rivera is a perfect pairing with the dirty bass of “flaunt it.” Rivera is known for her trippy beats and her impeccable timing while she spits bars, with every one of her singles deserving a spot on a party mix that reps Portland’s hip-hop scene. “When Tables Turn” is short but leaves you wanting more. Thankfully, she’s got other singles from this and last year, proving that she’s the kind of local artist who will keep cranking out tunes to sustain us.
“Who’s Your Man” - DoublePlusGood (Portland crooner pop - music video released Aug. 9, 2021)
Avid readers of Curbside Press will recognize DoublePlusGood as a band we’ve covered live before. That’s because they’ve played some electric shows, especially in the Portland area. Frontman Erik Carlson even started the Out Loud showcase, a concert series that exclusively highlights LGBTQ+ artists. DPG is also celebrating the release of the group’s first full-length album since 2014, and this is the title track. While this song has been performed by the band for a while now, it’s got a new music video that’s stellar and really shows off the poppy, throwback sounds that the band leans into. It’s like 60’s era crooner pop with a more modern take on love and sexuality.
"HOPSCOTCH" - Portland-based hip-hop artist Maarquii (released July 23, 2021)
Another hip-hop artist you’ll see featured on all our release roundups, Portland artist Maarquii has been making waves for the last few years, playing some of the biggest local shows and riding a wave of growth within the Portland LGBTQ+ artist scene. Maarquii’s music often features low bassy beats that match the vocals, just as “HOPSCOTCH” does. Maarquii’s shows some impressively fast flow before things slow down for groovy chorus lines that are sure to get your hips swaying and shoulders shrugging.
"Shame" - Laryssa Birdseye (Portland indie pop - released July 23, 2021)
Laryssa Birdseye burst onto the scene in 2017 with her artsy and poppy album So What, which showcased a range of country- and soul-inspired indie and pop tracks that made her one of the most anticipated newcomers to Oregon’s music scene. Her sound has evolved incredibly since then, following a few singles throughout the years and her last collection of songs in 2019, Press Play. But she’s blasted into 2021 with three awesome new singles that blew up every expectation anyone had for Birdseye. We don’t just mean that she changed up genres, but she showed how she could take her already impressive vocal talents into new heights. “Shame” is a single that shows how much she’s mastered her craft in just a few short years. This sounds like the kind of pop anthem that would be released by a global superstar, and it came from right here in Oregon. That’s pretty freaking cool, if you ask us.
“Black & Blue” - Postrich Bear (Salem folk rock - released July 23, 2021)
Salem-based indie band Postrich Bear has been an absolute machine of new music, releasing an album every year since 2017. The newest album by the band, Just Happy To Be Here, manages to capture the folk-rock essence of the band while venturing into new territory. We picked “Black & Blue” as the new track to highlight off the album because it really acts as a good introduction to the band and the album as a whole.
"If I Could Choose" - The Shivas (Portland throwback rock - released July 20, 2021)
The Shivas are one of the local talents signed to Portland record label Tender Loving Empire. This single, like much of The Shivas’ music, harnesses the analog recording sounds of the 60s and 70s and blends it with the indie sensibilities of today to make a bright, summery tune. If this is your jam, there’s plenty of other great The Shivas records to explore, like 2019’s Dark Thoughts, which refined the sort of throwback rock band feel of the group’s earlier music with much more instrumentalization. “Turn Me On,” the second track off that album, is an excellent surf-rock song that also belongs on a summer playlist.
“Nothing's Enough” - Alien Boy (Portland punk - released July 13, 2021)
Alien Boy has been blasting out new singles throughout 2021, crafting new music after the group’s successful 2018 album Sleeping Lessons. “Nothing’s Enough” accompanies the other punk-rock jams released this year, like “Dear Nora” and “The Way I Feel.” Every one of these tracks has an echoey indie rock feel, despite decidedly bombastic punk rock drums and choruses. Any one of them is deserving of a listen, and we’re sure that some of these singles will find themselves on the group’s next full-length.
"On Fire" - Deathlist A.K.A Jenny Logan (Portland doom rock - released July 9, 2021)
This is yet another track that pairs perfectly with the single that precedes it on our list. Both feature sort of ambient electric strumming and simple punk beats that build to busier choruses. Both also play with background electrical sounds to provide weight or depth where necessary. Deathlist is the latest project for seasoned Oregon musician Jenny Logan, who’s played in many other groups and been described as “ubiquitous” in the Portland scene. This track shows just a slice of her dynamic talents.
“So Lost” - Motor Vue (Portland pop rock - Released July 8, 2021)
A peppy, poppy rock tune that showcases vocalist Aaron Schmidt’s love of creating harmonies through auto-tuned microphones. This group is a reimagined project from the same musicians in another band we’ve featured before, Butter. The new name, Motor Vue, is an homage to the now-closed drive-in movie theater in Dallas, OR that was one of the last such screens in the country. The band’s released not one but two new singles for us to enjoy this summer, the other one being “Nothing Good,” released just a few weeks ago. Both are rock tracks that have a distinctly summer-music vibe.
“Saturday” - Jame Doe (Portland power pop - released Aug. 7, 2021)
“Saturday” comes right at you, with no buildup into a plucky vocal intro that leads right into one of the big, bright choruses that vocalist Jake Moffett has made a name off of in just a couple short years. This song captures a restlessness that I think we can all relate to as we struggle to throw off a pandemic that’s made us stir crazy and stuck in our own heads. It’s got a big, poppy sound, though, so it’s not like the kind of broody track you’d expect to come out of isolation. Instead, it’s got us bopping our heads and looking forward to getting out on many Saturdays to come.
Other Summer Tracks
“Dolor” - Reyna Tropical - Released March 2020
It doesn’t get much more summer-vibing than the cabana tunes of Reyna Tropical. The duo started in Los Angeles and then moved their home base to Portland and our state couldn’t be any better for it. Give us your tired, your poor, your hungry musicians from the oversaturated LA music scene and we’ll lift them up here in the Willamette Valley, especially when they produce the kind of Mexican-folk-inspired tunes like “Dolor.”