The PoMo Essential Summer 2023 Playlist

Summer songs from Portlanders old and new, and even a tribute to the city itself, to spin this season on our Spotify playlist, brought to you by Portland Monthly.

By Matthew Trueherz and Margaret Seiler June 14, 2023 Published in the Summer 2023 issue of Portland Monthly

There's Buying Local, and then there's listening local. We've got you covered on the latter with our playlist, because there's no better way to set the vibe of Oregon summer than with music by our very own Portlanders. Gear up for a day on the river with some throwback hip-hop from Five Fingers of Funk, or accompany Portland poolside lazing by the latest from Unknown Mortal Orchestra.


No-No Boy

Hit play just to hear this critics' darling, from Portland singer's Julian Saporiti’s PhD dissertation in ethnomusicology at Brown University. Chapter 3 of it is an album called 1975. It's so good. 


Reyna Tropical feat. Y La Bamba

With bird chirps, wave sounds, and breathy vocals, this is a gentler tune than what one might expect from the editor-in-chief of feminist guitar culture rag She Shreds, Fabi Reyna, who performs as Reyna Tropical.

"GG #4"

Bocha, Donte Thomas, and Corey G

Smooth verses with Bocha and Thomas, two of Portland’s biggest new rap talents who can keep it flowing all day long.

"Modern Kicks"

The Exploding Hearts

Guitar Romantic, the album that is home to this timeless, forward-charging rock song, enjoys a reissue this summer, 20 years after three members of the Portland band were killed in a tour van accident on I-5.


Floating Room

Spoken word lyrics amble over jangly guitar riffs and toward haunting discordant melodies on the latest from Portlander Maya Stoner.

"We Were Big in the Nineties"

Five Fingers of Funk

This “almost famous” old-school hip-hop crew got the band back together in middle age, with rousing horns and memories of rolling blunts back in the day. Fun fact: there are 10 members, which would be 100 fingers of funk. 

"Queen of Ears"


Who says exes can't get along? Pulsing, distorted keyboards break into the dream-like chaos of a chorus on Sam Coomes and ex-wife Janet Weiss’s first album in a decade, Breaking the Balls of History, released in February.

"That Life"

Unknown Mortal Orchestra

The latest of the beguiling band’s bouncy snare hits and trademark affected vocals that sound transmitted from the space station and played through an underwater speaker. Though the band formed in New Zealand, they came to their senses and moved to Portland. 

"Portland" & "Portland 2"

Mac DeMarco

While passing through town on an existential road trip, the Canadian DeMarco recorded not one but two instrumental odes to the Rose City for his latest album, Five Easy Hot Dogs.

"July, July!"

The decemberists

The Decemberists are a Portland institution, and this is a classic from their first full-length on Hush Records in 2002. It's a delightfully chipper number considering its lyrics about “a crooked French Canadian … gut-shot running gin.”