Last Saturday, Sammamish band Great Waves won the third round of semifinals for Sound Off!, EMP's annual battle of the underage bands, advancing to the finals this Saturday, March 6, along with previous winners Hooves and Beak and Candysound.
This year's competition also introduced a wild-card slot, allowing the EMP's Youth Advisory Board to choose one second-place band to advance to the finals—it chose Kelso's Seacats.
It's been a long road for these artists. Over 130 young bands entered this year's competition—more entries than ever before.
Great Waves are a quartet that play soft, harmonically layered indie rock accented with strings—their Blue Blood EP bears the influence of Arcade Fire and My Morning Jacket.
Hooves and Beak is an impressive one-woman show starring Whitney Flinn and her harp; she has a coy but funny stage presence and a sound comparable to Joanna Newsom.
Bellingham's Candysound are a drum and guitar duo that, true to their name, play crunchy and sweet melodic pop.
Wild-card band Seacats definitely have a shot at winning the finals—their bright, bouncy pop songs ("We Don't Sleep" is especially Rentals-esque) will get lodged in your head for days.
Since I'm a judge at the finals, it would be unfair for me to pick favorites here. But I can tell you that audience reaction will be a deciding factor, so you'll definitely want to come cheer on your favorite. Tickets to Saturday's show are $7 for students and $10 for the general public, and doors open at 7:00 p.m. Meet Your 2010 Sound Off! Finalists
Thurs March 4: The Separation, Jason Clackley, Diver Down, Envision at the Fusion Cafe, 7 pm, $5.
Sat March 6: Grand Hallway with Seattle Rock Orchestra at Triple Door, 7:30 pm, $15.
Sat March 6: The Cave Singers, the Dutchess and the Duke, Feral Children at Showbox at the Market, 8 pm, $15.