Black Hat: Covalence EP (Field Hymns) I've called Nelson Bean's distinctive industrial electronic music "primordially ambient IDM" and a "locust cloud of noise." He might be responsible for my favorite local releases for two consecutive years, with this oddly shape-shifting, futuristic gem, and with 2012's excellent Spectral Disorder EP. Best track ever: "Jaune."
Dreamdecay: N V N V N V (Iron Lung) Rarely do the words "powerviolence shoegaze" accurately describe a band, but they partially do for this four-piece's disembowelingly heavy, noise-rock full-length. Best track ever: "NVUN."
Wimps: Repeat (End of Time) Sassy garage punk that doesn't make me wanna barf (rare for the "garage" prefix); highly relatable themes include sleeping in, UFOs, and being tired of your shitty job. An irrepressibly fun garbage-can romp! Play this one over and over again. Best track ever: "Nap."
Heavy Petting: I-V (self-released) Instrumental post-rock trio Heavy Petting's emo-tinged, soft-to-loud anticlimaxes are oftentimes dreamy, occasionally optimistic, and, at their best, passionate and lushly atmospheric. Best track ever: "V."
Postmadonna: Postmadonna (Tetra) Like an Eastside-based Tera Melos, this technically berserk prog/math-rock group gets its fans nearly dog-piling with rabid enthusiasm for rapidly changing time signatures and pop-punk sing-alongs at their live shows. Wa-UH-wa-hoooo! Best track ever: "Cathy."
Health Problems: Counterproductive EP (Hanged Man) Besides being producers of perhaps the city's most feral, explosive punk shows, the young noise-rock/anti-punk trio teamed up with Olympia production wizard Captain Trips Ballsington for two EPs in 2013. I'm proud-parent excited for the future of this band. Best track ever: "Mundane."
The Exquisites: The Exquisites (Asian Man) Local punk organizer Jason Clackley fronts this emotionally candid, deceptively pop-sounding project, but his crafty guitar songs are not-so-secretly sad when you listen more closely. Best track ever: "Selfish Feelings."
Cock & Swan: Secret Angles (Hush Hush) The third LP from this West Seattle duo is prime ambrosial dream pop, possessing a totally sexable electronic-pop ambience with candlelit psych flourishes bubbling over subtly tempered vibes. Best track ever: "Inner Portal."