Each week, LocalCut collects the best new Portland music and puts it all in one place for you, the faithful reader, to enjoy. It's like The Week In Rock, with less Tabitha Soren.
1. The Helio Sequence, "Stoic Resemblance"
The Helio Sequence's first eponymous album is their sixth, and symbolizes a creative rebirth of the Portland—by way of Beaverton—duo. Brandon Summers and Benjamin Weikel recorded many sketches of songs last spring, then assembled them into 26 tracks that were shared with their friends and family for a vote: which 10 do you like best? "Stoic Resemblance" is the first of the results to come trickling in, and its groovy bass line, coupled with a 21st century interpretation of CCR guitar and set behind Steve Miller Band-esque vocals, has us eagerly anticipating the other nine. PARKER HALL.
2. Neka & Kahlo, "We're the Ones"
"We're the ones we've been waiting for" might sound like a pretentious lyric from a hip-hop duo, if it weren't so true in this case. Rapper Mila "Kahlo" Kokich and her partner, vocalist Neka Perini, showcase their talent over anthemic bass drops and distorted guitar that grabs you from the first measure, with lyrics that fly over the grayscale past and into visions of the full-color future. "We need the earth to heal," says Kahlo. And we also need more musicians like these two. (PH)
3. Cat Hoch, "Look What You Found"
Unknown Mortal Orchestra's Riley Geare is quickly becoming Portland's go-to producer if you want your music to feel like it's levitating. This debut single from Cat Hoch, whose own credits include stints with Appendixes, Eternal Tapestry and Daydream Machine, has the dreamy, weightless quality Geare brought to Jackson Boone's mesmerizing Starlit record last year. But other than his studio atmospherics and the drums, this is all Hoch, who played the psychedelic guitar riff and bass and whose celestial voice truly carries this impressive teaser track beyond the stars. MATTHEW SINGER.
4. Farnell Newton, "Peace + Love"
This is what you call âgrown-up soul.â The latest track from versatile trumpeter Farnell Newtonâhis resume includes stints playing with Bootsy Collins, Jill Scott and another Portland powerhouse, Liv Warfieldâhas a classic, supple Soulquarian groove and features understated vocals from singer Jarrod Lawson and local funkateer Tony Ozier, who promise to continue combating the worldâs ills by spreading positive vibes through music because âI donât know what else to do.â Newton himself flutters in with a solo at the end, and the world does indeed seem to nestle into blissful calm, if only for the moment. (MS)
5. Last Giant, "Captain My Captain"
Last Giant are, unabashedly, a rock band. No need to add any qualifiers. Featuring members of longtime Portland band System and Station, the band's got riffs for days on its debut, Heavy Habitat, and on this rollicking single, it sounds something like Red Fang with the metal influences extracted. (MS)