Check out some of our on-air and music teams’ favorite releases of this season!
From Vi La Bianca, Media Manager
Judah Earl – “Like Wind” (single)
Judah’s catalog has been on repeat for me all summer. “Like Wind” is a bit more understated than the rest of his work–none of the electro beats found in “Lightbender” from earlier this year or sweeping choral numbers from his “Heritage” EP (2020)–but it’s perfect for welcoming fall. To me, it sounds like a promise or a lullaby: short, sweet, with just a hint of longing mixed in with all that atmosphere.
Mon Rovîa – “Outlaw For Your Love” (single)
My new obsession is Afro Appalachian folk, and I have Mon Rovîa (and TikTok) to thank for it (most of my new music recs have been coming from TikTok recently). The song itself is surprising: you don’t hear “outlaw” and think “wistful love letter against a stripped-down ensemble,” but maybe that’s the whole point? Mon Rovîa is all about challenging preconceptions, and this single is no different.
BPMoore, Karen Vogt – “Home” (EP)
Imagine you discovered the soundtrack to an experimental film from the early 2000s scored by Max Richter and the Cranberries, and you’d have “Home” by BPMoore, Karen Vogt, and contributing artists annasara and Chiara Dubey. This EP perfectly blends dark neoclassical instrumentation with bright, buzzy Britpop. Sound confusing yet addictive? You’d be correct!
From Kieran MacIntyre, host of Another State of Mind
Jeff Rosenstock – “HELLMODE”
From Cynthia Orlando, PRP team member
Half Moon Run – “Salt”
Montreal’s Half Moon Run’s newest “Salt” release is one for your collection. Their well-crafted indie alt-rock sound is always engaging and full of momentum, and the fiercely talented band has never sounded better.
This, their fourth album, emerged after the band dug through some 3,000 studio recordings that didn’t make the cut the first time around. Songs like “Goodbye Cali,” “You Can Let Go” and “Alco” (now on our playlist) will surely find their way into your heart.
Just prior to the pandemic and lockdown, Half Moon Run brought the house down at Portland’s Wonder Ballroom. Here’s hoping they return soon for another night of riveting music!
Byland – “Monstera”
Seattle’s Byland is an artist to watch. Singer-songwriter Alie Byland has scored points with both KEXP and American Songwriter.
Byland and her band are currently on tour promoting new single “Monstera,” and she just finished playing shows in both Eugene and Portland. Her cinematic indie rock setlist had show-goers enthralled.
You can find Byland’s music on their website, or on Bandcamp.
From Asia Wagner, music director for Fresh Vibe
“Ghosts” is the third solo album by the award-winning composer, pianist & vocalist, Hania Rani. It features several collaborations with acclaimed artists, including Ólafur Arnalds. “Ghosts is a story about life and death, light and darkness, real and unreal. It’s an attempt to touch ultimate qualities and craft my own mythologies; to face fears, take a deep dive into things that scare me but also seduce me subconsciously.” (Hania Rani)
Indie pop/rock foursome from NY is back with their latest album “Bunny”, which blends elements of bedroom pop, indie alt, and wholesome lyrics. “Bunny is not as uptempo and optimistic as the punk-adjacent guitar pop that put them on the map; instead it basks in its afterglow, as if spending the morning in bed after a long night out.” (Pitchfork)
This is the first solo project from the London drummer, composer, and producer extraordinaire, and it includes 19 tracks of a wide range of musical styles and influences. Dayes’ project features a number of collaborators, including Masego, Tom Misch, Jamilah Barry and more!
“There are flashes of fusion greatness like early Mahavishnu Orchestra, late 1960s era Miles Davis, and many other post-bop surprises for Dayes and his compatriots to jam over. Then there are the slight nods to post-rock, dub, ambient, modern R&B, and even – yes – a touch of classical music to keep Black Classical Music from being a traditional jazz album. This is how the London scene operates: synthesize your influences, create a new sound, and worry about the adjectives another day.” (Pop Matters)
From Veronica Bisesti, host of Subculture
The Kills – “God Games”
The duo of Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince, affectionately known as The Kills, can do no wrong in my eyes. “God Games” is their sixth album and we’ve waited seven years for it…worth every moment! From tunes that feel mellow in tempo but powerful in message to those that just straight rock your face off, these are 12 tracks you don’t want to miss.
Duran Duran – “Dance Macabre”
Hot off the heels of what some call a comeback (I don’t think they ever went away!), “Dance Macabre” is a Halloween-themed album with new tunes, covers and a couple reimagined DD classics. The best part is that Andy Taylor collabs on the album – Andy has been battling prostate cancer for several years and I for one am thrilled to see the original 5 members together, celebrating music and life!
From Jonny Polivka, host of Jonny’s Playlist
“Eye on the Bat finds its most impressive moments of clarity when Kempner highlights the disconnect between the body and the brain — as on the album’s striking opening track, where Kempner describes a romantic gesture that devolves into a feeling of absurdity. … By cataloging the painful truth of these moments, Palehound offers a reminder of how it feels to survive them.” – npr.org
“This year marks 20 years of PDX Pop Now! and on this occasion, Vol. 20 is a 3-disc compilation set showcase of the best and brightest of Portland’s music scene, featuring 60 tracks from a wide range of genres, including indie rock, pop, folk, hip hop, and electronic music.
This is a must-listen for anyone interested in discovering the latest and greatest that Portland’s music scene has to offer. It’s a diverse and eclectic album that showcases the city’s rich musical heritage and its vibrant and ever-evolving creative landscape.
Highly recommend this compilation to anyone who enjoys a variety of music genres.” – Jonny P.
(Tune in every Monday night for PDX Pop Now! Radio 7-8 PM.)
“Laugh Track, the National’s surprise 10th album, is billed as the second half of Frankenstein, with all but one song written at the same time. But the link feels surface-level: Laugh Track does away with the airy atmosphere and hand-wringing solipsism of Frankenstein, instead adopting a more grownup take on the existential conundrums of earlier National records.” — The Guardian
From Jenna Deml, host of Theme for a Tuesday
Small Million – “Passenger”
“The strength of Small Million comes in nuisances of traditional vocal elegance paired carefully with electronic landscapes which are tastefully balanced and strikingly alluring. Graham took her pain and turned into healing for us all. She captures our attention in the salve of cinematic sound from Linder’s instrumentals. Rather than sharp edges, Small Million opts for a sonic embrace. Passengers is a bold step in absolutely all the right directions for Small Million and a seven-track exploration in all the reasons why.” -Nanobot Rock
Sufjan Stevens – “Javelin”
“Throughout his career, Stevens has used the language of love songs to express religious devotion, and vice versa. Across Javelin, he seems intent on understanding and being understood, with the purpose of exposing the common thread between his pet subjects: raising the endless questions that lead us to seek meaning in one another, and rejoicing in the euphoria of sometimes finding it. And if it sounds like he is occasionally singing to us from rock bottom, it’s only so we can witness the steady ascent onward.” -Pitchfork