As holiday celebrations ramp up this week, we’re recommending a couple untraditional Christmas songs for your bewildered listening, two notable pre-Christmas events, and a headliner show, during January's Portland Music Month, from former Portlander Y La Bamba. 


Upcoming local event(s) featuring local artist(s).


Oh, you'll want to see this. Portland-based fourpiece Greaterkind is drummer Cory Limuaco, bassist Ian Lindsay, keyboardist Charlie Brown (who recently toured with experimental jazz and funk bassist Mono Neon), and Peter Knudsen on guitar, bass, and vocals. Originally a trio, Greaterkind formed from a sense of mutual appreciation that the players had for one another—after they performed together in various live show settings. We would call them a supergroup, but they're way too laid back. Known for weaving soul, R&B, funk and hip hop elements into their sets, Greaterkind is bringing their jazzy easygoing, eclectic groove music to the Goodfoot stage for what looks like a nice funky relaxing vibe on the Saturday before Christmas craziness. ( The Goodfoot, 2845 SE Stark, Sat Dec 23, 10 pm, $10 at the door, 21+)


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

“What Child Is This?” Federale

We haven’t seen a ton of holiday music coming out of the Rose City this year, so Federale’s recently released single, a cover of the  hymn “What Child Is This?,” stands out. Here at the Mercury, we’re familiar fans of the psych rock band, which deals in dark, melancholy sounds inspired by the European films’ soundtracks from the ‘60s and ‘70s, particularly Spaghetti Westerns and Giallo genres. It’s no wonder the Colin Hegna-led band chose to release a version of “What Child Is this?” because as many Christmas carols go, this one feels sad, and borderline eerie—the perfect foundation for a Federale’s horror film-ready treatment. If the deep, brooding vocals are too much for you, try the moving instrumental which feels a bit more like a song about the birth of a holy infant. 

Christmas in Atlantis, The Delines

Another local notable Christmas release this month comes from retro country soul band the Delines. The two-track 7-inch Christmas in Atlantis takes its name from a five-minute song wherein vocalist Amy Boone describes a messy, dysfunctional family Christmas get-together over an instrumental backdrop as chill as the story's narrative is chaotic. Boone's lounge-style monologue describes a numbingly intense evening of political discord, sister fights, alcohol, and indecently dressed relatives—the list goes on. “Let’s get, let’s get, let’s get outta here,” Boone sings just before the assembled family starts to discuss UFOs and the protagonists finally leave. They head to Atlantis Casino; it all makes sense now. The second track on the record comes from Delines keyboardist Cory Gray. “San Leandro Lament” is a lovely and mild instrumental without the mess of the first track. A recent social media update from the band told of a new record in the works, and an upcoming live gig to celebrate the 7-inch and  play "new songs, old songs, and... "Christmas in Atlantis," if Amy can learn the novel that is that song." (Polaris Hall, 635 N Killingsworth Ct., Sat Dec 23, 8 pm, $15, tickets here, 21+ w/ Old Unconscious and special guest Scott McCaughey)


Some upcoming music buzz to add to your radar.

Y La Bamba

We are always stoked for an opportunity to bask in the tenderness of Y La Bamba’s live set. While singer-songwriter Luz Elena Mendoza used to reside in Portland, they moved to Mexico during the pandemic—where they finished writing 2023’s acclaimed studio album Lucha. Next month, Portlanders have a chance to hear the artist's experimental alternative indie folk music backed by an ensemble that includes Mendoza on vocals and guitar, guitarist and bassist Julia Mendiolea, drummer Antonio Montanez, bassist Gordon Walters, and Isabeau Waia'u Walker on vocals and percussion. Listen for Lucha highlights like the lead single “Collapse,” and the vibey, soothing, and sun-soaked tracks “Ceniza,” and “Nunca.” Hey, this show is in January—is it a Portland Music Month show? You bet your  boots it is! (Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell, Sat Jan 27, 8 pm, $28.50, tickets here, 21+, w/ special guest Caicedo)