Hello dear readers! As you may have read, I gave birth a month ago. So it’s been a few weeks since I wrote this column. However, Mac Smiff did such an excellent job subbing in during my absence, I don't feel like we've missed a beat. And while round-the-clock care for a tiny human who depends on me for everything has me insanely booked, I did find a little bit of time to survey what's new in the local music landscape. From where I’m sitting—on the couch, hugged by a My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow—here are the highlights:
Two can’t miss upcoming shows.
The Thesis: Wavy Josef, Ivy, Chain Taylor, Connect Zero, DJ Verbz
Feel like partying in the presence of rap and R&B? The July edition of The Thesis—AKA our favorite First Thursday hip-hop showcase—goes off tonight, and its set to be one of the coolest (low of 70, high of 77) Portland music nights we'll see for a while. Emcee Connect Zero opens the night, followed by another standout rapper Chain Taylor. Then R&B artist iVY takes the stage. Producer/songwriter/engineer Wavy Josef headlines. (Kelly’s Olympian, 426 SW Washington, Thurs July 7, 9 pm, $15-$20 door, tickets)
Mississippi Street Fair
One of Portland’s most exuberant street fairs on one of Portland’s busiest streets, the Mississippi Street Fair is back this Saturday July 9, for a long, sunny event that’ll feature hundreds of vendors, local makers, products, food and drink. The street fair hosts three live music stages, showcasing local artists like neo-soul singer M A N E, and queer noise rock trio Gaytheist, cowpunk/outlaw country band Jenny Don't and The Spurs, and soulful powerhouse vocalist Arietta Ward. (N Mississippi from N Fremont to N Skidmore, Sat July 9, 10 am-9 pm, FREE, all ages)
Great new releases from locally relevant artists.
“DND,” Zyah Belle
As someone who’s been living in a newborn baby bubble for the last four weeks—and has subsequently become a little difficult to get on the phone—R&B singer Zyah Belle’s latest single “DND” (or Do Not Disturb) is very much the vibe. “I’m in my own world,” Belle sings on the track, which she co-wrote with Portland rapper Covi. "DND" marks her first release since November’s seven-track EP Who’s Listening Anyway, and it serves as a reminder to emphasize boundaries, protect your energy, and prioritize self care. Matching the tone of Drake and Beyoncé’s new house-music-only rule for the summer, “DND” is very much in that same lane of heavy, delightfully predictable, bass-driven electronic beats in 4/4 time. It's good for most high energy situations: anything from dancing on roller skates to hunkering down and cleaning your house (finally). Here’s hoping this is only the first taste of whatever the Portland-based singer-songwriter is cooking up.
“High Divide,” Shady Cove
Indie bedroom pop duo Shady Cove—Sarah Rose and Sarah Nienaber of the Portland band Candace— dropped a new single from their forthcoming September self-titled debut. According to a press release from their label Park the Van, “High Divide” is about the impact that childhood dreams can have on one’s dreams in adulthood. “When I was a kid I saw the sky/ running through the blues/ holding onto light/ roll the window down and wave goodbye/ rearview hometown, drive all night.” The whole thing sounds very sleepy and nostalgic, and I’m here for it.
ADDED TO THE QUEUE:
Some upcoming music buzz to put on your radar.
Rising R&B singer Givēon will bring his “Give or Take Tour” to Portland’s Roseland Theater on Tuesday September 20, and with it his beautiful dark vocal tones and pining, heartbroken lyrics. (Take note: fangirls and guys.) Don’t be fooled by his recent fluke of a performance at the BET Awards—which actually seemed like it was caused by a technical issue. Givēon sounds like an absolute dream live. His Coachella 2022 performance of “Heartbreak Anniversary” was on point, so we're hoping he also blesses the Roseland with a live performance of his cover of D. Angelo’s “Untitled (How Does It Feel).” (Roseland Theater, 8 NW 6th, Tuesday, Sept 20, 8 pm, all ages, $139)