Drae Slapz
Drae Slapz Courtesy of the artist

While the city's music calendar still isn't as full as it normally would be this time of year, it truly seems like things are looking up for Portland music fans. From the return of Rontoms’ Sunday Sessions, to Dig A Pony's promising, new, local-music-loving owners, to Pickathon's grand return, we may not be at full party mode but the tent poles are going back up. Read on for all the updates, including one new track from Drae Slapz and Hunter Love.

Two can’t miss upcoming shows.

Rontoms Sunday Sessions: Roselit Bone

The next installment of Rontoms’ Sunday Sessions, which is newly back from hiatus, will showcase stalwart Portland seven-piece band Roselit Bone. It's also one of the final dates of their West Coast spring tour. The country/Americana/apocalypse-folk four-piece hasn’t released a new project since 2019’s excellent Crisis Actor, an 8-track EP that saw the band merge and blend everything from surf rock to cosmic country and rockabilly. In addition to hearing live versions of songs from :Crisis Actor, the show may also provide an opportunity to get a taste of some new music they’ve been working on. Country rock band Family Worship Center backs the bill and will no doubt perform songs off their four-track 2020 EP Sunday A.M..
(Sun April 10, 8 pm, Rontoms, 600 E Burnside, FREE, w/Family Worship Center)

Vintage Bollywood Vinyl: Anjali & the Incredible Kid

There’s less than two months left of Dig A Pony being Dig a Pony. (Read the full story on Dig A Pony’s incoming, promising owners.) As part of the outgoing bar and nightlife spot’s farewell programming, eclectic Global Bass DJ duo and Portland institution, Anjali & the Incredible Kid, will say goodbye to Dig as we know it by spinning vintage Bollywood vinyl records in the bar’s hip space on SE Grand. Pull up a chair, grab a burger, one of the bar’s signature cocktails, and/or—may we suggest—some ricotta gnocchi in vodka sauce while you still can. Dig A Pony deserves to go out with a bang and you deserve to groove the night away, at least as well as anyone can on a weeknight.
(Thurs April 28, 9 pm, Dig A Pony, 736 SE Grand, FREE)

One great new release from locally relevant artists.

“Thriving,” Drae Slapz, Hunter Love

On March 23, Portland producer/rapper Drae Slapz—known prominently for his collaborations with St. Johns rapper Mic Capes—released a new single with producer/saxophonist/vocalist Hunter Love. Over an ethereal, dynamic beat that lasts just under three minutes, “Thriving” sees Love intro, singing a chorus: “I’m on top of the world/ Don’t you mistake this/ Now I’m thriving I’m gone/ It took me a minute/ Now look it’s a long way to get here…” Slapz then delivers the first verse, in his signature raspy drawl: “Five am alarms and dreams of marble floors/ In reality is he saying ‘it could all be yours’?/ Success a little different with the right one/cause anytime I stumble, she says ‘Slapz, you ain’t done/Tears from my eyes when I see what we build/ a real nigga from the north, they said my future sell/ My niggas looking at me like I came from money/ That’s god’s light shining on me, no darkness can stunt me” Listen to the full track on all streaming platforms, Bandcamp perhaps.

Some upcoming music buzz to put on your radar.

Pickathon 2022

After being on hiatus the last couple summers, Pickathon 2022 is finally scheduled to return this August 4–7, and tickets are on sale now. Set on Happy Valley’s Pendarvis Farm, the music festival is acclaimed for its attempts to operate in harmony with nature, and make conscious choices around consumption—like the no-disposable-dishes-and-utensils rule, and BYO-water-bottle rule. This year, Pickathon promises that the fest will be a “new world,” and settle into its natural environment like never before: “When the sun is high in the sky, you’ll discover new forested music stages, set under the natural shade of the evergreen trees of the Pacific Northwest,” a statement on the festival’s blog read. “As the sun sets, you’ll move to meadows with sweeping vistas of Mt Hood to enjoy open air programming on stages that come alive at night.” For folks (like me) who didn’t think Pickathon could get any better, this is superb news. Organizers will release the full lineup on Tuesday, April 12 at 10 am PST.