Welcome to May, music nerds! Here we are at the top of the month and there’s an overwhelming amount of current and upcoming music-related things to be excited about. This week we’re stoked about a single (and upcoming music video) from Portland-based rap star Wynne, the new album and upcoming shows from Oregon folk pop trio Joseph, and singer/rapper/producer Jidenna is returning to Roseland this summer for The Silk Road Tour! Get into it all right here in Portland.
New release(s) from a Portland-relevant artist.
“Jaw Morant,” Wynne
On April 28, popular Portland-based rapper Wynne dropped a new single, “Jaw Morant,” from her forthcoming EP—the title of which references NBA player Ja Morant. Over an effervescent beat by Grammy-nominated producer Felix Leon, Wynne spits two stellar verses, delivering back to back bars in a soft and sweet voice—which is especially appropriate when she’s rapping about being a tease. In verse two, Wynne raps: “Left the party after 2/ Didn't make it to the room/ Slicin' cake up in his coupe/ Got no key, it's out of tune/ Pussy make his fingers prune/ I can't catch a vibe from all these sickos, I'm immune / If you see me zoning out. I'm probably scheming/ Sorting emails while he eat it, I'm egregious.” In an early April interview with KOIN, Wynne revealed she plans to drop two more EPs this year, one in the summer and one closer to fall. On the day she released “Jaw Morant,” she teased an upcoming music video for the single:
JAW MORANT OUT NOW https://t.co/1LozU2vzVs pic.twitter.com/7wauHPDhFt— WYNNE (@wynne) April 28, 2023
The Sun, Joseph
The last time we talked about folk-pop trio Joseph we were praising the sister trio’s empowering and cinematic lead single “The Sun,” noting their delightful Grey’s Anatomy energy. (And by the way, the band’s song “Fighter” was placed in a season 17 promo for the series that played while the doctors discussed Merideth’s oxygen levels while she was hospitalized with COVID-19.) Fresh off the release of another stellar single, “Fireworks,” the Oregon group just released their complete album, The Sun. And let me tell you, it's an awesome soundtrack for a trip to the coast. Dig into the tight harmonies, moving lyrics, ocean metaphors, and stormy coastal vibes. Stand-out songs include “Don’t Protect Me,” which poignantly portrays the experience of one door closing and another opening, as the sisters sing: “I don't want a hiding place/ I just wanna feel whatever comes my way/ Even from a heartbreak like an earthquake/ Let it lay me out/ I just wanna learn from big mistakes.” There’s tenderness on the breakup track “Slow Dance,” in contrast to the smoldering “Tell Me About You,” and epic “Nervous System.” It all ends with a gorgeous and subdued track “Love Is Flowing,” which sounds like something we should be meditating with waterside. Fans should not miss the recently recorded live performance and interview for SoCal Sound, embedded below. Nor should you overlook two upcoming shows at Revolution Hall—night one is sold out, but there appear to still be some tickets available for the second night, on Sunday May 21. For the super fans: The sisters will also play an intimate set at Music Millennium on Saturday May 20.
ADDED TO THE QUEUE:
Some upcoming music buzz to put on your radar.
Nigerian American hip-hop and afro pop artist Jidenna has taken a departure from his iconic “Classic Man” beginnings, which appeared on Janelle Monae’s collaborative The Eephus EP. That being said, Portland has likely been obsessed with Jidenna ever since Monae put on a surprise free show at the Roseland, bringing with her the Eephus collective of artists—or at least, that’s when I was personally sold on Jidenna as a live performer. From his 2017 full length debut The Chief to 2019’s excellent travel blog of an album, 85 to Africa, Jidenna has been on a roll, and ever-evolving in his sound. On his forthcoming album, ME YOU & GOD (out May 5 via Wondaland and Epic Records), Jidenna self-produces alongside frequent collaborator Roman GianArthur, as well as Nana Kwabena, and UK producers Christian Gregorygives and KZ. Specific album influences include André 3000’s masterpiece The Love Below, Childish Gambino’s critically acclaimed Awaken My Love, and more generally speaking, Lil Yachty. In support of the project, the singer-rapper will embark on “The Silk Road Tour,” which will bring Jidenna back to Roseland Theater on July 17. For now, we can enjoy singles like the sensual and tender “SAFE (feat. Bootsy Collins),” in which Jidenna croons in falsetto that he's "only safe when I’m inside.” Also worth note: the smitten “BLUSH” is a much-needed ode to men blushing again and taking off their cool that I can't wait to hear it live. (Roseland Theater, 8 NW 6th, Mon July 17, 8 pm, $27.50 and up, tickets here, all ages)