We’re still reeling from one of the best half-time performances we’ve ever seen, starring Usher “DON’T-LEAVE-YOUR-GIRL-AROUND-ME-TRUE-PLAYER-FOR-REAL” Raymond IV—made even better with appearances from mega-stars, like Alicia Keys, Ludacris, Lil Jon, Will.i.am, H.E.R., and an ill-dressed Jermaine Dupri. If you have any brainspace that isn’t watching that damn Verizon commercial and listening to Beyoncé’s new country music singles, “Texas Hold ’Em” and “16 Carriages” on repeat, in addition to the Biamp Portland Jazz Fest, happening at various venues around town, here are a few locally relevant music updates to get into.


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

The Blacker the Berry: A Black History Month Event feat. Kingsley, Veana Baby and Olivia & Qiddist Ashé

There’s still a couple weeks more of Black History Month, so get out and support as many of those local events as possible. One show burning a hole in our calendar is the Blacker the Berry, at the Old Church next weekend. One-time Portlander and indie pop singer-songwriter Kingsley headlines the event, with special sets from soul singer Veana Baby, and DJ Ashé, & Qiddist Ashé, among other special guests. Last month Kingsley released a fresh single called “My Love,” so expect to hear fresh material, and pray she performs highlights from her 2021 sophomore album Crying On Holidays, like “I’m Fine,” and most importantly, the danceable and funky pop gem “All Me,” featuring Haley Johnsen. (The Old Church, 1422 SW 11th, Sat Feb 24, 7:30 pm, $23, Buy tickets here, all ages)


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

“Time Will Tell,” Mal London

The sunshine-infused music video for Mal London's single “Yikes,” made our list of Portland’s Best Music Videos of 2023., and we're excited to have another from the local artist. Shot and edited by Mal London and Dante Ammon, the visual for the smooth, bass-driven single, “Time Will Tell,” stars Portland-based celebrity hairstylist Miko Gemechu. Known in the Black beauty community for slaying natural-looking wigs, weaves, and extensions—along with other natural styles, like braids and hairstyles for male stars from Carmelo Anthony to Aminé and more—Miko is also beautiful as a model, not to mention known for being one of the sweetest people to work with, should you be blessed enough to experience one of her hair care services. She appears in “Time Will Tell,” as the love interest to Mal London; it's an instance of art imitating life, as the two have established themselves as a pair in real life for a while now. The song itself is rooted in sultry R&B with an infectious bass line and crisp beat providing runway for the multi-talented emcee's seamless singing and rapping transitions.


Some upcoming music buzz to add to your radar.

“Burial Ground,” the Decemberists

On February 6, the Decemberists released a new song titled “Burial Ground,” marking their first new music in more than six years, since 2018’s Traveling On. Co-produced with Tucker Martine, and featuring the Shins’ James Mercer, the jangly guitars, swelling horns, sing-song lyrics, and peace-and-love vibes of the track remind us of late’60s, early ’70s pop-rock. In a release sent to the Mercury, frontman Colin Meloy expanded on inspiration behind the song: "'Burial Ground' is in that time-honored pop song tradition, a paean to hanging out in graveyards... the melody hook came to me in a dream, and I hummed it into my phone on waking." A couple days after the release, the band announced its 2024 tour, which kicks off in April! The Peaceable Kingdom Tour will make at least two stops in Oregon—Bend on July 12 at Hayden Homes Amphitheater and the tour's final date (at least of this leg) on August 3 at McMenamins Edgefield in Troutdate. (The latter is my favorite summer-time outdoor venue.) Get your tickets soon before they sell out. (Mcmenamins Edgefield, 2126 SW Halsey, Sat Aug 3, 6:30 pm, $53.50-202.50, tickets here, all ages)