Amy Liss

Although we’ve yet to see what summer ’19 will bring in terms of Portland-made tunes, here’s some great summer-vibed songs that should already be on your sunny-day playlist.

Sponsored
Shop Unique this holiday & support local business!
Discover & support PDX's best emerging brands! Shop outdoors in a safe, socially-distanced pop-up.

Reptaliens, “Venetian Blinds”

“Easy, breezy, beautiful” is the slogan of a popular cosmetics brand, but also the vibe of Reptaliens’ new record, Valis. Standout track “Venetian Blinds” is the right thing to blast when you’re driving back from the beach with all the windows down, warm wind blowing through your hair and golden light making everything look a little bit magical. When frontwoman Bambi Browning coos, “Nothing’s gonna change/Nothing’s ever gonna change,” it feels like a spell to make summer last forever. CIARA DOLAN


 Cry Babe, “Soft Honk”

Unfortunately, summer is prime time for creeps yelling out of windows, but at last there’s a song to perfectly illustrate how street harassment can interrupt your day and make you feel like a roiling cauldron of rage. Cry Babe’s “Soft Honk” starts off dreamy, but then the guitar comes in, and by the end they’re singing the most gorgeous “fuck you”s you’ll ever hear. CD


Y La Bamba, “Boca Llena”

There isn’t a bad song on Mujeres—the latest album from Y La Bamba, one of Portland’s most consistently brilliant bands. But gently stirring rhythms and twangy, psychedelic guitar riffs make “Boca Llena” the record’s clear standout, and the perfect soundtrack for sun-dazed summer days. CD


Amenta Abioto, “Plant It”

Although singer/songwriter/producer Amenta Abioto released this song in February, the theme and music video revolve around plant life, sunshine, lizards, and the natural world. Naturally, it’s also a treat sonically, with Abioto’s hearty soul vocals leading you through the trees, a blowing breeze, and meadows in the sun. And its “I should say know my name/I should say you know me” refrain will get stuck in your head on loop, making you want to go delicately twerk in a forest. JENNI MOORE


Blossom and Hot16, “So Cool”

This single, from neo-soul singer Blossom’s excellent debut album Tease, is a summer jam by definition. With lyrics like “Take a dip/Take a sip/Take a trip” this song could soundtrack any cookout, road trip, or pool party. Its music video leans even deeper into the summer theme, with Blossom and her girls sneaking into someone else’s pool. Also see “Black Magic Woman,” and “Loves Coming” for more euphonic nice-weather music. JM


Mic Capes feat. Aaron O’Bryan Smith and Lauren Steele, “Black Pearls”

On this standout track from Mic Capes’ debut full-length Concrete Dreams, the rapper celebrates the beauty and strength of Black women. The song isn’t necessarily a summer song, but sonically it would fit in well with the rest of your summer playlist. The up-tempo, R&B-infused single is a crowd favorite, and the melanin-packed music video from 2018 is equally gorgeous. JM


Aminé, “Caroline”

It’s hard to think of a song by a Portland artist to soundtrack the summer better than Aminé’s “Caroline.” Maybe it’s the bouncy production (by Aminé and Pasqué), or maybe it’s his now-signature sunny yellow marketing, or maybe it’s the repeatability of his lyrical wordplay: “You say I’m a tall thug, guess I’m a g-raffe/If you want safe-sex, baby, use the knee pads/Freaky with the sticky icky/Baby give me kitty kitty.” (And white people, I know you want to, but please don’t sing along to “Killa, westside nigga!” if you’re invited to the cookout.) Regardless, this song is needed for your summer fun playlist. JM

Support The Portland Mercury


“Casual,” Chanti Darling feat. the Last Artful, Dodgr

A lead single from Chanti Darling’s debut album RNB Vol. 1, this track features a verse from the Last Artful, Dodgr, and embodies the mood of a casual-yet-magical summer fling. Now, I wouldn’t know anything about that, but I do know that this song—like the rest of the project—is mesmerizing, catchy, and sultry AF. JM


“Don’t Let Up,” Umii, feat. the Last Artful, Dodgr

Singer/producer duo Umii—AKA Reva DeVito and B. Bravo—put out this remix of “Don’t Let Up,” from their This Time (Remixed) album in 2017, and it’s a true gem. And since umii is Japanese for “ocean,” the whole album is water- and ocean-themed. The entire project plays really well in the warmer months, thanks to a danceable beat, an exciting guest verse from Dodgr, and a gorgeous music video featuring choreography that evokes a lesbian romance. JM