Seattle, WA (indie)
Bleachbear is an all-female family band that was recently named “Seattle’s Best Underage Band” by Seattle Weekly. Packing an indie dreampop punch, they’re heavy on an atmosphere full of vintage influences, while front woman Tigerlily Cooley’s angst-soaked lyrics create an evocative, wistful vibe. With their breezily sweet harmonies layered over a fusion of distortion, Bleachbear is the perfect juxtaposition of fragile and badass.
Seattle, WA (indie, electronic, pop)
There’s some deep and intangible element of electronic dream pop that Champagne Babylon gets right. Hailing from Orange County, this now Seattle-based troop of friends is making waves with their multimedia performances. Their fresh and urgent delivery invokes the stadium-sized sound of Arcade Fire and the 80s synth-nostalgia of Daft Punk in a fusion of big-tent indie anthems with a glossy disco-pop sheen that’s sure to get your feet moving.
Charlie and the Rays
Seattle, WA (folk)
This musical trio combines folk with blues-inspired harmonies for songs that range from a mellow twang to a full-on, spitting assault of oldie-styled guitar licks. With a raw energy that shines through soulful singing, and citing influences from Elvis Costello to Little Richard, Charlie and the Rays will transport you to a time when rock ‘n’ roll was bunkering down to make some serious waves.
EMMA LEE TOYODA
Seattle, WA (indie, folk)
Singer-songwriter Emma Lee Toyoda channels the intimate atmosphere of folk greats like Fleet Foxes and Sufjan Stevens, invoking a rural aesthetic that unfurls like a whisper from another time. With a rustic sound that cherry-picks from a broad spectrum of styles, it’s the strong sense of empathy at the core of this nostalgic escapism that’s at the heart of what makes Toyoda so special.
Eugene, Or (rock)
Inspired by bands like The Killers and Minus the Bear, Hemlock Lane forges an earnest alternative sound where bright synth tones balance out fuzzed-out guitars, and thoughtful lyrics provide substance to sing-along melodies. They describe their debut studio EP, Last Night on Earth, as a record for “anyone who’s ever given up something good in hopes that something better is on its way.” Looks like better just arrived.
Seattle, WA (folk, Americana)
Led by singer-songwriter Sam Gelband’s hypnotic voice, Honcho Poncho is a haunting evocation of folk Americana at its best—transporting you to a landscape of remote roads and rugged pathways with songs that dreamily magnify and powerfully roam. Demonstrating a rare ability to transform traditional tunes into something magical, this hodgepodge of folk artists make the relentless passage of time just a little bit easier to swallow.
Gig Harbor, WA (punk)
Mystery Machines exhales punk aggression, maintaining a raw intensity that invokes the ferocity of bands like Black Flag, Rancid, and Nirvana. Pairing socially resonant subject matter with sonically savage instrumentals, this four-piece grunge super-group subverts punk cliché’s with a whole lot of dark humor for a live show that’s high-energy and just the right kind of moshy. Prepare for a rhythmic onslaught!
Mercer Island, WA (rock)
Naked Giants weave a stomping garage blues rock template that invokes the likes of Ty Segall, The White Stripes, and Thee Oh Sees. The group revels in styles from soft psych to blistering rock in a textural landscape painted with fuzzy distortion and ghostly vocals. The catchier the tune, the more fun they sound like they’re having—and who can argue with that?
Redmond, WA (electronic)
Bailey “Nightspace” Skye’s sonic palette ranges from electronic and dreamcore to darkwave and aggressively ambient. Through it all Skye’s cavernous, echoing vocals are perfectly complemented by a brooding bass line and swirling bed of distortion. The prevailing vibe is smooth but urgent, with enough reverb to drown in—an ethereal, prodding sound that’ll melt your senses and send you to the moon.
One Above Below None
Seattle, WA (hip-hop)
One Above Below None paint a hip-hop landscape loaded with slow-burning beats that float along without ever losing their edge. Bubbling bass lines underscore complex lyrics and fearless, stylistically restless hooks. Inspired by names from Nas to Kanye West to Dom Kennedy, it’s the heart and exuberance in their flow that’ll win you over.
Vancouver, WA (hip-hop, soul)
Righteous Minds describe themselves as a conscious hip-hop group, “rapping to enlighten the minds of the weary and lost.” With a production style laden with cinematic flourishes and knockout rhymes, it’s their dexterity in blurring genre that’s their greatest asset. Their curious, darting lyrics aren’t afraid to call out a commercial rap scene inundated with materialism and disposable hooks—as they declare on their track “Cold Reflections”: real rap is back.
Oregon City, OR (punk)
Super Soaked may only have two members, but what they lack in numbers they make up in volume. Their bouncy, fuzzy pop-punk sound pits sweet melodies against bratty, rowdy riffs and distorted power chords that bring down the house. In a world of meandering bummer pop, look no further for a change of pace: Super Soaked describes their music as “hard, fast, and to the damn point.”