Portland Monthly’s Essential Spring 2023 Playlist

Days are getting longer, bees are buzzing, Margo Cilker is crooning, and Yeat’s bars are flowing. Loves, good and bad, old and new, fill out our spring tunes.

By Matthew Trueherz March 20, 2023 Published in the March 2023 issue of Portland Monthly

Need a soundtrack to bring you through the most transitional of seasons? We’ve strung together a few PNW tracks to help you shake the frost. They’re breakup songs and tales of intrigue. And, of course, Yeat makes the case for showing yourself some love. Alexandra Savior feels it in her bones, and wants to know, “How’s it for you, baby?” Be sure to follow us on Spotify for more mixes. (Scroll down to read a bit about each selection.)

“Alameda,” Elliott Smith

A quarter-century on, Either/Or feels as tactile and contemporary as ever with its walloping “nobody broke your heart / you broke your own / ’cause you can’t / finish what you start.” 

“That River,” Margo Cilker

Bare-bones country arrangement that shines in its brutal, raw state 

“Bones,” Alexandra Savior

Organ-drenched, base-driven, hypnotizing indie-pop with a sinister twist

“Rollercoaster,” M. Ward

Jangly piano number with the tinny feel of something that was recorded in an attic in the ’30s

“Kill for Love,” Chromatics 

An anthemic dreamscape of soft pop from a band featuring our favorite ex-Rontoms bartender 

“Flawlëss” (feat. Lil Uzi Vert), Yeat 

Self-care: the greatest love of all. The chart-topping, Lake Oswego–raised rapper unpacks the art with the pioneer of emo-rap. 

“Fall In,” Esperanza Spalding 

An intoxicating, syrupy piano ballad from the five-time Grammy winner

“Mystery Boy,” Plastic Cactus 

Surf rock under an umbrella, with sweet vocal harmonies, a bit of humdrum strum, and meandering, reverbed-out riffs about an enigmatic boy

“Everybody Wants to Love You,” Japanese Breakfast

Read all about the recording of this heart-on-her-sleeves 2016 album in the pages of Michelle Zauner’s Crying in H-Mart.

“I Want Wind to Blow,” The Microphones

Low-fi, plucky, nylon-string guitars recorded in stereo over droning, melancholic vocals that bring a gut punch 

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