Calico the Band
Boise, ID (indie folk)
While this six-piece dulcet indie folk group may sound right at home in the Puget Sound, Calico the Band actually hails from Boise—making them the very first Sound Off! semifinalists from the fine state of Idaho. Driving upright bass, sweetly singing violas, and swelling harmonies evoke hints of autumnal, acoustic-based bands such as The Head and the Heart and Fleet Foxes. With delicate arrangements, earnest lyrics, and cascading tambourine rhythms, this band has enough folksy charm to satisfy a Greenwich Village musician circa 1960.
West Richland, WA (hip-hop)
A live hip-hop band from over the mountains in Richland, Washington, Tommy Cassidy brings a passion for music that could warm the stony heart of the most jaded Seattle hipster. The killer combo of Cassidy’s dynamic rap vocals and his band’s diverse live instrumentation depart from the traditional hip-hop formula. Featuring everything from a cappella rhymes to funky breakdowns, Tommy Cassidy ultimately delivers a powerful message of positive action and meaning.
Tacoma, WA (indie)
Tacoma garage band Dames doesn’t actually include any dames. This all-male band creates retro-tinged indie-pop with infectious energy and clever lyrics. Toss some Vampire Weekend and Mac DeMarco into a blender, add a bit more jangle, and you’ll get a sense of how much fun their music is. Get ready for bouncy, exuberant music guaranteed to make your feet move.
Whidbey Island, WA (indie folk)
Whidbey Island’s Sophia Duccini weaves sincere emotion and accomplished instrumental prowess into her own brand of contemporary indie-folk fare. Whether performing solo with her guitar/piano or backed by a full band, Duccini consistently delivers precociously mature, well-crafted songwriting arrangements that conjure Neko Case and Laura Cantrell. Splendidly subtle, yet confident in delivery, Duccini’s voice will inevitably be heard outside Seattle in the very near future.
Everett, WA (indie)
Fauna Shade makes self-effacing, ricochet-saturated music fit for the nocturnal hours. With brilliant flashes that are evocative of early Modest Mouse, Wolf Parade, and Panda Bear, the Everett-based trio’s music manages to remain uncorrupted and free of pretense. They skillfully synthesize a shrewd and wistful sound that will lay down roots and make a home in your head.
Seattle, WA (hip-hop)
With a touch of Left Eye and Drake in her lyrical style, Seattle rapper/singer KSneak is a music-talent worth paying attention to. She’s got the confidence and, well, swagger of a mainstream rapper, and puts on energetic shows that keep her audience numbers growing. Despite the sometimes egotistical nature of hip-hop, KSneak’s lyrics remain honest and humble, and she finds ways to outclass her opponents without uttering a single curse—no easy feat in the rap world. It’s also worth mentioning that she sings and dances, making her a triple threat.
Seattle, WA (synth pop)
Seattle’s Laser Fox deal up infectious and glittery electronic pop packed with synths, drum machines, bright guitar riffs, and surf rock tendencies. With a band name that calls to mind a Bond villain’s secret weapon or a new character on Adventure Time, Laser Fox describes their music as “Passion Pit on drugs, without the drugs.” Even though this group has been together less than a year, they have the energy and expertise to get this city dancing to their music in no time.
Bellingham, WA (electronic)
Hailing from Bellingham, WA, Manatee Commune is the dreamlike, solo electronic project of Grant Eadie. Atmospheric and ambient, Manatee Commune offers lush gradients of sound similar to Washed Out and Dirty Beaches, while overlaying mellow beats reminiscent of ADULT. and interwoven, found-sound samples that conjure The Books. The spacious, reflective vibe of Eadie’s compositions suggest a stroll through the woods, a long bike ride on a gray day, or spending time alone in your bedroom—tuned in but lost in a world of your own.
Kingston, WA (hip-hop)
Kingston, Washington-based Nabii Ko$mo delivers his own personal brand of hip-hop, channeling influences from A Tribe Called Quest and Mos Def to Joey Bada$$. With live drum accompaniment and mad personality, he brings his emcee prowess to the stage, bridging the divide between performer and audience like Mount Rainier during a weekend eruption. No, seriously.
Seattle, WA (folk)
The Onlies are a group of high school sophomores who have been playing together since birth—which explains why their banjo-driven tunes sound so polished. Using a mandolin, guitar, and fiddle, these passionate musicians expertly shape deep-rooted folk music with a sound that’s both traditional and contemporary, acoustic and modern.
Seattle, WA (R&B)
Otieno Terry creates music with an unexpectedly powerful message. A poet, pianist, singer, songwriter, and guitarist, Terry crafts songs with melodies and harmonies that don’t resonate as typical R&B. Good thing. His introspective pieces are part hip-hop, part crooning, and part slam poetry accompanied by music. His depth of music range is expansive and it’s anyone’s guess which style he’ll lead with at Sound Off! 2014.
Bellevue, WA (garage rock)
Thee Samedi is a band with a birthright to play the best basement shows in rock and roll, taking surf rock and sweat to the swarms with a menacing mix of guttural wails, unhinged howls, and instinctive riffs. This Bellevue-based quartet embodies an innate form of punk, as exciting and native as it gets. Performing with spasms, urgency, and brash, unfettered energy, their live shows are not-to-be-missed events.