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8 Musical Artists You Have to Know From Portland

Over the past 50 years or so, Portland has played host to a number of influential musical artists. Can’t think of any examples? We’ve got your covered. Below you’ll find a list of some of the most famous musical artist to hail from the Rose City.

The Kingsmen

Back in the 1960s the Kingsmen set the precedent for Portland being a national capital for rock. Think you haven’t heard of them before? Listen to “Louie Louie” and you might realize you have.

The Shins

Originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico the Shins relocated to Portland in the early 2000s and haven’t left since. The Shins is renowned for the contributions to the indie rock scene. One track of theirs that managed to main particularly large public appeal was New Slang, which happened to be featured in the movie Garden State.

The Decemberists

With hyper-literate lyrics and a penchant for the narrative, the Decemberists have truly carved a unique name for themselves in the world of rock and roll. For a taste of their unique style, check out the below:

Esperanza Spalding

From jazz bassist to cellist to singer/song-writer Esperzanz Spalding has earned a name for a being one multi-talented musician. She also boasts several Grammy’s to her name.

Elliott Smith

With a whispery silk-web voice and poignant lyrics, Elliott Smith is known for his particularly moving songs. Much of his work expertly paints the emotional landscape of anxiety, jealousy, and depression. You might know Smith from the soundtrack of  Goodwill Hunting.

Modest Mouse

Modest Mouse first started playing in the suburbs of Seattle. Eventually they relocated to Portland. And lead singer Issac Brock managed to get a portrait of himself hanging up in the mayor’s office. Although Modest Mouse was popular in indie circuits for a long while, they burst on to mainstream charts with “Float On”.


She and Him

Comprised of world-renowed guitarist M. Ward and singer/songwriter/actress Zoey Deschanel, She and Him combines light rock (reminiscent of the Kingsman) with easy-going vocals.

Are there any artists missing? Let us know!

As always, if you’re looking for a home in the Portland-Vancouver Metro Area, we hope you think of Change Realty — home of the 1% Listing Fee.