It's January 2013, and Seattle Sounds Like ...

Our take on every new local release.


Matt Bacnis, Home (Deluxe Edition) (out now, self-released, Gibbard/Owl City-esque vocals preside over radio-friendly, emotive electro and acoustic ballads that resemble what you expect from the likes of One Direction or the Biebs. MA'CHELL DUMA LAVASSAR

* Blue Sky Black Death, Presents "Skull and Bones" (out now, self-released, Local rap duo Skull and Bones (Caz Greez and Bolo Nef) tell tall tales of concrete piracy and street sorcery with a veteran's knack for cadence. TODD HAMM

* Blue Sky Black Death and Deniro Farrar, Cliff of Death (out now, self-released, North Carolina rapper Farrar relates chilling but personal stories of coming up tough and desperate, and later thriving in the murky underworld, as well as any BSBD collaborator. TH

Cex, "Lorena" (out now, Automation Records, Vocoder-stretched vocals and sampled background conversations flutter in that frustrating place between discernible and strictly instrumental, which can get to you if you let it—but maybe that's the point. TH

Charms, Hillary (out now, self-released, This bassless Seattle trio plays jangly garage rock, though unlike many of their peers, they didn't produce this six-track EP to be decidedly lo-fi. They did, however, bury the vocals and smother them in reverb, which makes them act more as an additional ambient instrument than the focal point of the songs. DAVE LAKE (Thurs., Jan. 3, Chop Suey)

Colt Kraft Band, Colt Kraft Band (1/5, self-titled, The two songs on this debut are familiar: hushed indie rock on the country side of the spectrum. The next step for Colt—as for so many others—is differentiation. CHRIS KORNELIS (Sat., Jan. 5, Columbia City Theater)

* Crown Hill Repeater, The Patient Sessions, Vol. 1 (out now, Pleasure Boat Records, Four glitchy sound-blanket-style pieces with less of a discernibly systematic structure and more of a hailstorm of sound bites that surround the listener. Great sonics and a few eye-popping moments. TH

The Curious Mystery, Be Still (1/22, K Records, Short and sweet, these three lo-fi tunes are a good primer for this Seattle psych-folk duo's work; "Cock of the Rock" heightens the experimental brew with hypnotic beats and jangly refrains. GWENDOLYN ELLIOTT

Anthony Disparte, The Best-Looking Horse in the Glue Factory (out now, self-released, Though there are shades of The Postal Service and Greg Laswell in Disparte's warm and gentle ballads, a closer comparison might be Jimmy Eat World with the punk rock stripped away. This EP's love-heavy lyrics make it easy to label as emo folk. DL (Thurs., Jan. 3, Crocodile)

DJAO, Screwmixes (out now, Hush Hush Records, If remixes simply recontextualize their source material, then Screwmixes transforms it into something completely foreign. Here, Alex Osuch slows down and chops up songs from Mount Kimbie, Grimes, and Janet Jackson until they turn into Vaseline-smeared aural mush. It's music designed to envelop rather than engage. ANDREW GOSPE

* Patrick Doherty, Railcar (out now, Swoon, These four solo tracks from the frontman of Tacoma's the Wheelies are subtly charming pieces of folk-pop, with Doherty's languid vocals complemented by tinkling percussion and picturesque lyrics. The opening track, "Dirty Paws," is a catchy, foot-stomping gem. ERIN K. THOMPSON

Generifus, Back in Time (out now, Sultan Serves Records, Mellow, plugged-in indie pop that's not afraid to employ keys, strings, and horns. With appearances by members of LAKE and Meowtain. MDL

Giza, Future Ruins (out now, self-released, Instrumental drone metal in sluggish tempos that culminates in a few great, heavy moments, but is a bit predictable overall. TH

* HAVi, "The End" (out now, self-released, This Tacoma/Seattle MC is a rapper's rapper. He lays down an extended verse here with no chorus to get in the way of his tack-sharp rhymes about living in the face of the end of the world. TH

Justin Klump, Sticks & Stones (out now, self-released, Vancouver, Wash.'s Klump falls squarely on the pop side of folk on this self-produced EP, having less in common with Sam Beam or David Bazan than with, say, Damien Rice. Banjo mingles with guitar on the opener, "Sticks & Stones," the EP's best track, which has a pretty chorus if predictable metaphors. DL

Myth of Progress, Myth of Progress (out now, self-released, Essentially a 13-song instrumental psychedelic jam session, Myth of Progress could be fun in a live setting with the right crowd, but otherwise it seems a bit empty and misguided. Electric guitar solos only take you so far. JOE WILLIAMS

Naturebot, You & Whose Mother?! (out now, Pleasure Boat Records, Very danceable late-night house with all kinds of lasers and blips that will keep you entertained but won't change your life. TH

New Lungs, Lanterns (1/4, self-released, The prog quartet formerly known as How to Operate Your Brain made one wise decision by changing their name to something much less clunky, and a second one by recording this polished EP of five songs that thrum with a passionate vitality. The rush of isolated vocal harmonies on "Concrete" is a standout. EKT (Tues., Jan. 15, Comet Tavern)

* Pepper Proud, Riddles & Rhymes (out now, self-released, There's nothing amateur about this album. "Wrinkled Love" is richly deep with beautiful instrumentation and lyrics, while "Fishing Girl" is addictingly sweet and graceful. JW

* PonyHomie, Remable (out now, self-released, These purveyors of melodic electronica combine indie-rock vocals and danceability for a very of-the-moment sound. The track "I Was Asleep," though released in December, is sure to be a summer 2013 jam. MDL (Fri., Jan. 4, Chop Suey)

Red Sea, Waking to a New Light (out now, self-released, The problem with Waking is there's nothing catchy about it. Mixing the pep of Say Anything with a funkier Red Hot Chili Peppers, the album comes off unintentionally shallow and void of anything that you'd hum the next day. JW

Relcad, Anonymous City (out now, Pleasure Boat Records, Eight pretty, drawn-out movements that could function effectively as background music while you're twirling glow sticks but aren't necessarily grabbing on their own, save for a few cool end-moments (as on "Herd Not Heard"). TH

Relcad, Bike Crush (out now, Pleasure Boat, Structured more like a theme and variations than a traditional EP, this four-track effort from producer Alex Duff takes the title track, itself a decent piece of abstract techno, and remixes it to great effect, particularly on the icy "False Flat" mix. AG

Skuntdunanna, Now or Never Vol. 1 (out now, Street Level Records, Skuntdunanna, aka Mafia, has a raspy voice that vaguely resembles that of once-lyrical hero Canibus, but takes more of a real-world/everyman stance. The subject matter feels a little stagnant at times during the album's 18 tracks, but Skunt moves capably through his verses, and comes through with a strong release. TH

* Stag, Stag (out now, Fin Records, Stag is a sort of indie-rock supergroup, with an inaugural full-length produced by indie-rock super-producer Jack Endino. Their tunes are tight, exuberant, and fun, characteristics that feel oddly nostalgic—in a wholly positive way—when set against the mopier acoustic fare which is emblematic of the Seattle scene today. MIKE SEELY (Fri., Jan. 25, Barboza)

Us on Roofs, Us on Roofs (1/20, self-released, This four-piece has filled out its sound considerably since 2011's Some Unrecorded Beam EP, and the result is its strongest set of songs to date, striking an appropriate balance between melodic indie-rock riffage and brawny math-rock passages. AG (Sun., Jan. 20, The Crocodile)

* Wimps, Repeat (1/22, End of Time Records, The first full-length from the punk trio of Rachel Ratner, Matt Nyce, and Dave Ramm is a propulsive collection of short, riotously fun songs. Highlights include the squiggly guitar noodling on "Slept In Late,", the sturdy, clangorous riffs on "Wet Cardboard," the chanty chorus of "Hello Frustration," and the cleverly impassive lyrics on nearly every track. Ratner sings in an impetuous rallying cry that's perfectly suited to the snotty songs she writes: "When your life seems stuck on repeat/Eat sleep eat sleep eat sleep," she sings on the title track as Nyce yelps along in the background. "You're not an alien/Don't like yourself at all/Why not try something new/Like answer when I call," she bristles on "UFO." It's blase with a barb. Repeat clocks in at just under 24 minutes—a brevity that only encourages, as its title suggests, repeat listens. EKT (Sat., Jan. 26, Cafe Venus/Mars Bar)

Young Silky, Crub Fnk (out now, Pleasure Boat, Half of this producer's six-song album are remixes of the title song, a propulsive, sample- and vocoder-heavy IDM track. The other two songs, however, are the most interesting: the obtuse bedroom R&B of "Silk Keys" and the electric-piano-led James Blake wannabe "Exxoes." AG


* Lost Animal, Ex Tropical (1/29, Hardly Art, Australian musician Jarrod Quarrell's debut album as Lost Animal is an exploratory fusion of jazzy textures, tropical percussion, and calmly soulful vocals. The resulting songs, the best of which is the moody and mysterious "Lose the Baby," are distinct and delectable. EKT

The Ruby Suns, Christopher (1/29, Sub Pop, Ryan McPhun conceived of and recorded the fourth Ruby Suns album while in Oslo, Norway, retreating from his New Zealand home after breaking up with a longtime girlfriend. Glassy and chilly, Christopher's songs largely reflect their Scandinavian birthplace, but the vibrant dance beats on tracks like "Desert of Pop," an ode to McPhun's musical idol, Robyn, add warmth and zest. EKT (Sun. Feb. 17, Barboza)

* Marcos Valle, Garra (1/9, Light in the Attic, Breezy pop sambas fill this reissue of the 1971 classic from the Brazilian singer/songwriter. One of LITA's planned quartet of Valle reissues (see below for the second one), it features a backing band of exclusively studio musicians, including a brass section, strings, and even a men's choir on opener "Jesus Meu Rei." It's lush, easy-listening pop—and it's only a matter of time before one of these suckers shows up on a Wes Anderson soundtrack. DL

Marcos Valle, Marcos Valle (1/9, Light In the Attic, First released in 1970, this bossa nova pop album is a audible conversation piece for Mad Men fans, better suited as a cocktail-party soundtrack than for extended play in your earbuds. CK

Ra Ra Riot, Beta Love (1/22, Barsuk, One of last year's worst indie-label releases was the self-titled debut of POP ETC (ne the Morning Benders), in which the band underwent a wholesale sonic makeover from fussy chamber rock to AutoTuned faux-R&B. Ra Ra Riot have more success with Beta Love, abandoning the indie pop of its first two albums for the sort of polished-to-a-sheen electropop that has made bands like Passion Pit so successful. The results are mixed—the whole thing sounds overproduced and scattershot. But when the band is on point, as in the slinky "Is It Too Much," they show plenty of potential to grow into their new sound, and singer Wes Miles has the pipes and charisma to take them there. ANDREW GOSPE (Fri., Feb. 8, The Neptune)

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