This week, take a plunge into the new ambient "swimwave" record from former Portlander Siren and the Sea, head downtown for a dancehall-powered show, and look ahead to the new Beats & Rhymes showcase from some heavy-hitting Portland hip hop names.


Can’t miss upcoming events.

The Thesis: I$$A

Arguably Portland’s best regular hip-hop concert series, the Thesis has built a reputation over the last eight years for curating quality hip-hop lineups that consistently fill up the little showroom inside Kelly’s Olympian to the brim. This month, the night's vibes center around Senegal-born singer I$$A who headlines the intimate party environment—grooving his Afrobeat- and dancehall-infused songs. Listen for his newest single, “Don of the Night,” which comes with a beat by Nigerian producer Pincho Beats. Rapper-singer Sotae adds some weighty support to the bill, as does genre-fluid Seattle artist Kingdow. Then throw even more Afrobeat and dancehall sounds from Togo-born, US-based Egbe Vado and you've got yourself a night. Resident host DJ Verbz shares the 1s and 2s with guest DJ Myrie. It's gonna be a good one. (Kelly’s Olympian, 426 SW Washington, Thurs April 6, 9 pm, $15-20 door, tickets here, 21+)


New release(s) from a Portland-relevant artist. 

Gravity Wave, Siren and the Sea

Under the moniker Siren and the Sea, former Portlander-turned-Angeleno Cristina Cano writes a variety of ocean-vibe / aquatic-themed songs, which she describes as a genre called "swimwave." We are about it. At the end of March, Cano put out a new album called Gravity Wave, that features eight immersive atmospheric tracks. On streaming platforms like Spotify there are only four tracks, but on Bandcamp there's a full 8-tracks to get swept up in. Crashing waves and synth melodies abound, feeling like a delicious calm after the storm. “Gravity Wave was created as a means to shape a meditative atmosphere to ground, reflect, and ascend,” Cano wrote, in text accompanying the release. “An ocean of feeling, waves of transformation, the storm and inevitable parting of clouds, an inversion of gravity, this is where I feel the most at home and welcome you in.” Out via Bathysphere Records, Gravity Wave could conceivably be played while sleeping, to invoke dreams of mesmerizing mermaids, and it should definitely soundtrack your next spa treatment. 


Some upcoming music buzz to put on your radar.

Beats & Rhymes 

Devotees of the former monthly showcase Mic Check, take note. Beats & Rhymes is a partnership collab between Mic Check, POH-HOP festival, iconic local rapper (and Oregon Hall of famer) Cool Nutz, and beats showcase A Beats Happening. The second installment of the special showcase kicks off in early May—hosted by DJ Klyph, featuring resident DJ O.G. ONE, and going down at White Eagle Saloon. It's all to celebrate 50 years of the hip-hop genre by spotlighting three stalwart producers and three excellent emcees, all based in the Pacific Northwest. Billed beatmakers include Sxlxmxn, Luvjonez, and DJ Nkyon. Then rappers Jahdi and Sayu Beatz take the stage, before the evening culminates in a set from Produce Organics rapper Bocha. (White Eagle Saloon, 836 N Russell, Sun May 7, 8 pm, $13-15, 21+)

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