By Steven Graham
This year was stacked with great local releases. Some from familiar faces and some from new bands who blasted onto the local scene — the future continues to look very bright for music in the Pacific Northwest.
It should be mentioned that there were songs released by local artists this year that didn’t fit on the list. You really need to go check out Susy Sun, Campfire OK, Grizzled Mighty, Hot Bodies in Motion, Kairos and Manatee Commune, LAKE, Iska Dhaaf and some others I am sure I am forgetting.
Now lets get to the list!
1. The Moondoggies – “Don’t Ask Why”
This list could have easily ended up just being every song off of the new Moondoggies album Adios I’m A Ghost. The album is just that good. For some reason this song has really sat with me. It could be due to the fact that when I watched the band work on this song in the studio the line “I can see a lot better now” got stuck in my head and it was all I thought about for the next 9 months while I waited for the album to be released.
2. Mary Lambert – “She Keeps Me Warm”
Everett’s own Mary Lambert took her hook from the Macklemore song “Same Love” and turned it into this beautiful song and music video. Go get Mary’s new EP “Welcome To The Age of My Body” to hear more of her beautiful sounds and be sure to watch the Grammy’s next month to see if she takes home some Song of the Year hardware for “Same Love.”
3. Shelby Earl – “The Seer”
Shelby made a big splash this year with her new album Swift Arrows. Bringing Seattle favorite Damien Jurado in to produce the album didn’t hurt, but when Rolling Stone debuts the video for your new single and lists one of your songs as a suggestion for Zach Braff’s new movie soundtrack, you are kind of on top of the world. Swift Arrows is gorgeous and heartbreaking and it wasn’t easy to pick just one song.
4. Ruler – “Keep Moving”
I had never heard of the Seattle band Ruler, then one day I saw this song flying around the internet. What I heard when I pressed play was one of the best surprises to come out of the local scene in a while. I can’t wait to hear more from Ruler in the new year.
5. I Will Keep Your Ghost – “Nothing”
After three years of playing together, Everett-natives Bryan Bradley and Aaron Coughlin released their first official EP “It’s Natural” this year and it is pretty darn good. “Nothing” is a catchy, synth packed dance track and I can’t stop listening to it.
6. Learning Team – “Coterie”
Bellingham’s Learning Team is one of my favorite bands out there right now. Their set at Capitol Hill Block Party this year proved that it is only a matter of time before a lot of people know who these guys are. If you like “Coterie” then go pick up their Aporia Coda EP, and everything else they’ve released.
7. Brothers From Another – “Drunk Talk”
These are not your average college kids. These guys have been known to rap their way out of class so they can open for Macklemore. For real. I think it’s safe to say that nobody in the local music community is having as much fun as Brothers From Another. Just check the video for “Drunk Talk.”
8. Daniel Blue ft. Meagan Grandall – “I Don’t Need To Know”
Motopony front man Daniel Blue released some solo songs in 2013 and has more on the way. For “I Don’t Need To Know” Blue teamed up with Meagan Grandall of Lemolo and the finished product was perfect. I think 2014 is going to be a big year for Blue’s solo project and for his band Motopony.
9. RA Scion ft. Daniel Blue – “Constant”
This genre banding single from the new RA Scion album “The Sickle and The Sword” had to be one of the most highly anticipated local releases of the year, and it did not disappoint. Sadly, the release of the new album was torpedoed by a dispute between RA Scion and producer Rodney Hazard, but you can still download the whole thing for free over at rascion.com. Props to Mukilteo’s Casey Sjogren who shot and directed the video for “Constant.”
10. Fauna Shade – “10s 11s”
These Everett boys straight came out of nowhere. One day it was like “have you heard Fauna Shade?” and the next they were being talked about on KEXP, getting into Sound Off and opening for some very popular Seattle bands. I can’t wait to see what these guys do next. Check out “10s 11s” from their debut EP.