It’s starting to feel a lot like spring, and we’re basking in all the projects blossoming in our music scene. We recently had the pleasure of celebrating Jonny Cool’s contribution to Ella Mai’s single “DMFU,” which reached certified gold status last year. We're bumping Mat Randol’s new EP, The World Keeps Spinning, and also looking ahead to a 4/20 show at Jack London Revue featuring Julia Logue and BrandonLee Cierley. Let’s get into all of it Hear in Portland.


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

Julia Logue + BrandonLee Cierley

In early 2024, we applauded Welcome to Your Sunrise, the debut album from Portland-based soul singer-songwriter Julia Logue. This week we’re stoked to also recommend an upcoming show: Soul'd Out Presents Julia Logue + BrandonLee Cierley at Jack London Revue. At the heart of Logue’s jazz-inspired nine-track project is an breathtaking collection of songs where she asks a slew of introspective questions, working through things like self-doubt, her place in the world, her connection to others, and how to trust herself. Impressive vocal flourishes and guitar-led songwriting abound, and we’re obsessed with the ethereal and expansive album opener “Roam,” as well as the cheeky “See You Smile,” and the R&B-infused vocals on the poignant “Fort.” The show also co-headlines Tacoma-to-Portland saxophonist BrandonLee Cierley, who will no-doubt be performing tracks from his two-pack EP Thank You For Waiting. (Jack London Revue, 529 SW 4th, Sat April 20, 8 pm,. $20-180, tickets here, 21+) 


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

The World Keeps Spinning, Mat Randol

On March 29, North Portland and St. Johns rapper Mat Randol released a new EP called The World Keeps Spinning via his new imprint Neu Beginin Network (NBG) that’s co-produced by two Portland beatmakers, Goldenbeets and Sxlxmxn. Opening track “Axis” invites us in with a jazzy piano riff, and the subsequent “Fast Forward” feels reminiscent of Ye’s Graduation. Other stand outs include “Real Is This” featuring Portland rapper Brill, “Dream Catcher” featuring Chicago vocalist Morgan Gold, and “Carousel” featuring vocalizations by New York singer/rapper Gio Genesis. “We started this collection of music back in January ‘23 which started out as an ode to my team and the brotherhood we’ve shared for 20 years now,” Randol wrote in an Instagram post caption sharing the album artwork. “Obviously the year took its twists and turns with the passing of my mom and grandma, so the project has taken on a different meaning. No matter what challenges that may come my way from here on out, ‘THE WORLD WILL KEEP SPINNING’ regardless.”


Some upcoming music buzz to add to your radar.


Whether you find rapper Kyle unbearably corny or refreshingly genuine, one cannot deny the impact his role has had on modern day hip-hop. We here at the Mercury have been longtime fans of the rapper-singer’s perspective and approach to hip-hop. Far from the stereotypical rapper, Kyle’s not slinging hyper masculinity or machismo, but instead puts forth a friendly, nerdy, nice guy image and music that’s often bright, poppy, and sweet. And Kyle is a pro at punctuating his earnest rap verses with velvety R&B vocals. (In fact, it’s that very duality—corny and cool, nerdy and smooth—that made Kyle such a perfect casting choice to star as Owen in the 2018 comedy The After Party.)

In early March, Kyle released his seventh studio album, Smyle Again, the sequel to 2015’s Smyle—although the new project doesn’t share a ton of sonic similarities with the first. One of the most notable and impactful tracks on Smyle Again is “Sweetest Thing,” which was written through the pains of grief that helped Kyle process a breakup that happened shortly before the death of his father. Kyle has shared the story about showing up to a studio session scheduled with Shawn Mendes, who created a safe space for him to create something beautiful out of that pain. Kyle’s emotion is raw and palpable on the track, and he can even be heard audibly crying as he shakily delivers the sweet lines he wrote to his father: “Hey, Father, I hope that you're alright/ I got to hold your hand in my dream last night.”

Folks should hope to hear a live rendition of the song at Kyle’s Portland show this May, along with other album standouts like “Who’s Taking You Home,” and “Somethin Bout You.” We're also hoping for classics and deeper cuts on the setlist. I’ll personally be crossing my fingers to hear Kyle perform danceable 9-year-old bops like “The Force,” “Summertime Soul,” “Really? Yeah!” and the electronic, video game-inspired sonics on “Don’t Want to Fall in Love,” “Endless Summer Symphony,” and the slow-building dance grooves of “All 4 U.” (Star Theater, 13 NW 6th, Sat May 11, 9 pm, $25-100, tickets here, all ages)