Think Globally, Listen Locally

The year's not over...yet.

A weekly distillation of musical goings-on, local and otherwise.

It's only October. Needless to say, I was a little freaked out by the "Best of 2006" reminder e-mail I received this week. For those of you who don't work in the music press, now is the time of year writers start fending off the battalion of publicists and record labels who want us to consider including their artists in our year-end wrap-ups. Though I wasn't prepared to be looking back just yet, this e-mail got me thinking:

2006 has been a banner year for up 'n' coming Seattle rock. As I stood at the Tractor last Thursday, watching Whalebones kick it like Crazy Horse through a set of foot-stomping soggy mountain jams, I realized that the best music I've heard all year was from locals just gaining momentum.

Aside from the massive success of ragged rockers Band of Horses—who not only released my favorite album of the year (at least so far, but it's gonna take a lot to top it), Everything All the Time, but also put on my favorite show, in which Ben Bridwell knocked over his mike stand during "The Funeral" at Neumo's, prompting the entire band to lose their shit altogether—there really seems to be a wealth of great bands poised to bust out of the regional scene.

It was only, like, last winter when Tiny Vipers (aka Jesy Fortino) started slicing the air in half with her bone-chilling vocals and ghost-ship guitar plucking. And though boozy crowds seem to enjoy running their mouths while Fortino delivers her pensive numbers onstage, at least we know the right people have been listening. As luck would have it, she heads into the studio this December to record her debut EP for local heavies Sub Pop.

Same goes for garage thrashers the Tall Birds, who debuted at the Sunset just last January (whose 7-inch, "Internalize" b/w "The Sky Is Falling," is one of the finer nuggets of the year), and left-coast pop outfit Fleet Foxes (their EPs are all hand-pressed), who have received praise from publications as far-flung as The Seattle Times and Billboard. The self-released, self-titled debut from the all-female electro-punk group the Trucks has been on KEXP's Top 40 for quite a while, as has Brilliant Ideas From Amazing People, the debut from Spokane transplants Iceage Cobra, which is absolutely crammed with greasy riffs and hip-shaking grooves.

Naturally, I'm just barely skimming the surface here, but for one year in a scene as saturated as ours, it's pretty good to come out at the other end with that level of homegrown talent. Of course, the year's not over yet, so I'm looking for two more months of mighty fine tunes. And who knows what kind of bands will start up as the rainy season sets in, and restless types start searching for creative outlets?

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