In addition to Ben Jenkins and Troy Nelson's new Killroom Records, there are several other local labels that are putting out great music.


Underground-music legend Alan Bishop splits his time between Seattle and Cairo, Egypt, these days, but the commitment to high-quality releases for his Abduction imprint hasn't wavered. Abduction made a huge splash with the 2015 reissue of Sun City Girls' long out-of-print, singular ethnodelic masterpiece Torch of the Mystics. But the label is not by any means rooted in the past (not that there's anything wrong with that), even if lately it's been heavy on Alvarius B. archival digs. Bishop's newish Egyptian band, the Invisible Hands, have dropped a couple of sweet garage-rock anomalies over the last few years, and 2016 has seen the appearance of Diminished Men's Vision in Crime, a cutthroat renovation of surf rock, spy jazz, Ennio Morricone–esque soundtracking, and gamelan.

New release: Diminished Men's Vision in Crime



No local indie label has racked up more international acclaim lately than the Kirkland-based company run by Chloe Harris (aka adventurous electronic musician Raica) and her husband Mark Cullen. Further's aesthetic agenda embraces diversity, with an emphasis on electronic music that rejects orthodoxy. For instance, my favorite album of 2015—Italian techno producer Donato Dozzy's The Loud Silence—consists of exceptionally hypnotic tracks built from manipulated mouth-harp recordings. The recently released Information Pollution by Portland's Strategy is a gripping ambient record constructed from haunting shortwave-radio emissions. The two full-lengths by Decimus (ex-No-Neck Blues Band guitarist Pat Murano) take surrealist audio collage to new chthonic extremes. And those are just iceberg tips of Further's sprawling catalog.

New release: Monadh's field recording-enhanced, exotica-sample-heavy Muara



The mutant-club-music subsidiary of Sam Melancon's Debacle Records, MOTOR has revved into overdrive in the last few years with a series of vinyl and digital releases that reflect their namesake's monthly event at Kremwerk. Rough, skewed techno, house, and disco created on hardware is the (dis)order of the day for MOTOR. With a roster focused on Northwest artists, MOTOR has issued potently effective DJ tools by Mood Organ, Airport, and GOODWIN as well as more abstract, malefic output by Black Hat and Nick Bartoletti. The MOTOR brand guarantees challenging electronic music for people repulsed by the mainstream's squeaky-clean electronic offerings.

New releases: Sean Pierce's ornery tech-noise bomb Transit and IVVY's endless-Autobahn'd techno zoner Diamond Eye


Broken Press

Run by musician/visual artist Andrew Crawshaw, Broken Press has thus far served mainly as an outlet for the heavy psych-rock group Terminal Fuzz Terror (in which he drums) and for his sinister, sci-fi-filmic solo synth releases under the alias Meridian Arc. All Broken Press products are marked by Crawshaw's exacting graphic standards and eye for striking psychedelic effects. In this regard, the visuals synch up very well with the sonics. Check out kosmsiche Seattle synth magus Rainbow Wolves' [I] and Terminal Fuzz Terror's magmatic rock opus Immersed in This World of Distortion for an idea of Broken Press's range.

New release: Meridian Arc's dystopian, Conrad Schnitzler–esque synth excursion Aphantasia


Hush Hush

KEXP DJ Alex Ruder curates a prolific stream of digital electronic music that mostly falls under the "night bus" subgenre. If you like your beats spaced out, your melodies beautiful, and your atmospheres, uh, hushed, Hush Hush will present a bonanza for your ears. Not so much geared for big festival crowds or shiny clubs thronged with coked-up revelers, Hush Hush releases instead hit the sweet spot for lonesome home (or vehicular) listening pleasure. The label made its rep with those early (and still crucial!) Kid Smpl and Slow Year joints, but it's gone on to issue a dizzying array of music from a global stable. Ruder has this subdued, morose niche down to a science.

New release: Cock & Swan's Splurge Land (Original Score), a deeply melancholic work that presaged C&S's contribution to Kate Wallich's avant-garde dance piece Industrial Ballet recommended