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Our 37 Most Favorite Seattle Bands of 2015

Posted by December 31st, 2015 1 Comment »

Attempting to consume all of the musical delights Seattle has to offer and synthesize them into an objective list of “bests” is a fool’s errand – an impossible task, no matter how enlightened and/or connected you may be.

Nevertheless,’s amazing group of volunteer contributors tried real hard to enjoy as much Seattle music as we could in 2015. We compiled a list of 41 great underground acts (#41for2015) to keep an eye on back in March. We attended oodles of shows and great local music festivals. And we paid attention to the countless other sources of information about local music, from Band In Seattle and KEXP live footage to long-standing arts weeklies Seattle Weekly and The Stranger to the oodles of great local music blogs.

The result of our efforts is presented below in the form of our favorite 37 musical acts of 2015.

37. The No Good Hearts (#41for2015)

Continuing in the tradition of Pacific Northwest greats Modest Mouse and Built to Spill, The No Good Hearts’ primary songwriter Charles McCammon and his band pay homage to a terrific time in music history without feeling derivative. – Ben Allen

The No Good Hearts @'s #41for2015Fest at Substation by Jim Toohey.

Chuck McCammon of The No Good Hearts live @ Substation. Photo by Jim Toohey.

36. Wiscon

I love this band for their crazy weirdness, great female lead vocals, angry keys, and punk rock rhythm section. Plus, any band that has a song about Hulk Hogan’s beard being a second person (“Double Brother”) is OK in my book. Watch out for Wiscon in 2016, kids. – Tim Basaraba

Wiscon @ Macefield Music Festival by Jim Toohey for Nada Mucho

Wiscon @ Macefield Music Festival. Photo by Jim Toohey.

35. Wind Burial (#41for2015

Wind Burial are spellbinding. They are powerful. They are elegant, poetic, explosive and tender. Their debut LP We Used to Be Hunters dropped in April and flexed psych, shoegaze, folk, and classical muscles all at the same time. No matter how melodic, a looming sense of doom inhabits every song. I saw them play more than any other band this year and left feeling awed and inspired every time. – Patrick Galactic

Wind Burial @ Fisherman's Village Festival by Sunny Martini

Wind Burial @ Fisherman’s Village Music Festival. Photo by Sunny Martini.

34. Blackheart Honeymoon

Following in the footsteps of local artists like Fleet Foxes and the Head and the Heart, Blackheart Honeymoon has honed in on a lovely indie-folk sound destined to escalate them to new heights of success. Their debut full length Mountain Speaks is an exercise in precision melodic beauty and “Bodies” made our list of favorite songs of the year. – Ben Allen

33. Dirty Dirty (#41for2015)

With progressive, fuzzy rock weirdness and vocals capable of inciting madness, two piece rock group Dirty Dirty exploded on to the scene in 2015 with their self-titled debut EP. What I find most remarkable about the group is that they are skilled enough to impress prog rock fans and other musicians, but within the context of actual songs… the kind of songs that stick with music fans of all stripes, even after they’re done nodding along with band’s technical acumen. – Tim Basaraba

Dirty Dirty @ Barboza by Sydney Root for Nada Mucho

Dirty Dirty @ Barboza by Sydney Root

32. Bread & Butter

Self-deprecation is best served with whiskey and rock ‘n roll. With that in mind, listening to Bread & Butter is the elated moment when you’ve been hungover all morning and now it’s afternoon and you finally feel good enough to hit another party and start drinking again. – AJ Dent

Bread & Butter

Bread & Butter, clearly involved in some sort of shenanigan

31. Crazy Eyes (#41for2015)

Crazy Eyes perform the kind of fuzzy guitar and electric piano driven rock music that Quasi made me fell in love with in the late 1990s. Their debut album, Ring Ring Jingalong and Dark Heart Singalong, seethes with great glam and garage-rock songs in which melodies emerge from cacophonies of noise – a direct hit in one of my main musical wheelhouses. Even better, they are captivating live performers with a debut single good enough to break through to mainstream success (“WWIII Songs in Hiii Fiii”). – Matt Ashworth

Crazy Eyes @'s #41for2015Fest at Substation by Christine Mitchell.

Crazy Eyes. Photo by Christine Mitchell.

30. Future Shock (#41for2015)

It’s been suggested that perhaps “afro new wave” act Future Shock lack the necessary substance to justify their shtick, which purports that main shockers RayGun and The Doctor were exiled from Earth and are therefore required to remain anonymous during performances and interviews by wearing masks inspired by equal parts A Clockwork Orange and Eyes Wide Shut. While they’ve yet to deliver a proper album, the first three tracks on Secret Weapon, their debut EP for Sportn’ Life Records – “The Future,” “Downside Up” and “Secret Weapon” – negate that criticism by recalling acts as diverse as Shreikback, The Time and George Clinton. In fact, Clinton probably serves as Shock and RayGun’s surrogate space grandfather in whatever solar system they’re hiding out in.  – Matt Ashworth

Future Shock @ Macefield Music Festival by Jim Toohey for Nada Mucho

Future Shock. Photo by Jim Toohey.

29. The Spider Ferns (#41for2015)

Full disclosure: after seeing the Spider Ferns perform in 2014, I liked them so much I agreed to help with PR in 2015, and, what a year it was. Outlets across town, from the Stranger and Stackedd Magazine to CBS Local, took notice of their debut “trip-rock” album, Soon Enough, earning them high visibility shows at the Fisherman’s Village Music Festival and opening for Dengue Fever on a couple of west coast dates. Watch for their follow EP, Safety, early in 2016. – Matt Ashworth

The Spider Ferns on Nada Mucho

The Spider Ferns by Jim Toohey

28. My Goodness

Searing, seething, swaggering. The relentless blues-rock of Seattle trio My Goodness sounds like The Black Keys and Thrice got it on in a punk-rock basement to the sounds of classic rock and their noisier-than-ever 2014 full-length Shiver and Shake makes our raucous hearts go pitter-patter. Lead vocalist/guitarist Joel Schneider’s got a serious way with an epic falsetto, the vibrato perfectly balanced by full-throated screamo muscle. His pensive melodies coupled with Andy Lum’s fiercely powerful drumming (watching him in action is a jaw-dropping exercise) and the throbbing bass riffs of Cody Votolato’s anchoring talent is where the magic happens. The band put their live set on repeat this year, hitting venues along the West Coast and all over Seattle as well as killer performances at both Fisherman’s Village and Sasquatch. But their thrashing surprise appearance at Cha Cha during Capitol Hill Block Party was the cherry on top, as they squeezed their explosive sound into the tiny venue and wiped the floor with their sweaty, show-stopping party. – Stephanie Dore

My Goodness @ Fisherman's Village Music Festival by Sunny Martini for Nada Mucho

My Goodness. Photo by Sunny Martini.

27. Screens (#41for2015)  

Screens will make you dance and dream in tandem. Just imagine a spaceship full of talented musicians pushing through the nebula with every sonic note, carrying you farther away from the world you’ve known. You’ve entered a space-age wonderland of chord and tempo changes that combines elements of 60’s French pop, hints of Jazz and pure psychedelic bliss as vocalist Allison Tullos tickles your brain with delicious robotic effects and cosmic levels of reverb. This is music from the heart that knows how to tell a story… the kind made for smart folks that won’t leave the most basic of souls behind either. – Frida Ray

Screens backstage at Substation during #41for2015Fest. Photo by Jim Toohey.

Screens backstage at Substation during #41for2015Fest. Photo by Jim Toohey.

26. Detective Agency (#41for2015)

Seattle indie pop band Detective Agency started the year as one of my band crushes based on their excellent track “Daggers,” so I was delighted to see them play two great sets and release and excellent debut full-length before 2015 came to a close. Earlier this year we debuted “Lightbulbs” from their eponymous record, which exemplifies one of the things I like most about the band’s approach to guitar rock: boy/girl vocal interplay. The songs are great but the Ballard-based band isn’t necessarily exploring new sonic territory, so it’s that dynamic between singer/guitarists Nate Cruz and Amy Jean that makes their music so endearing. – Matt Ashworth

Detective Agency @ Summit Block Party 2015 by Alex Crick for Nada Mucho

Detective Agency during Summit Block Party. Photo by Alex Crick.

25. Thee Satisfaction  

Seattle R&B/hip-hop duo THEESatisfaction returned to the spotlight in 2015 after Sub Pop released their second album EarthEE, which features conscious poetry, atmospheric grooves and a host of Seattle area guests including Shabazz Palaces, Porter Ray and musician/producer Erik Blood. – Paul Broderson

24. Childbirth 

Funny Facebook posts mixed with catchy guitar screeds? Doing drugs with friends, deconstructing feminism, and steeping in one’s own angst through art? Yes I dig Childbirth and their terrific 2015 record Women’s Rights. Duh. – AJ Dent

Childbirth @ Capitol Hill Block Party on

Childbirth @ Capitol Hill Block Party 2014. Photo by Jim Toohey.

23. Low Hums (#41for2015)

I went out with the sole purpose of seeing Low Hums perform so many times this year that I lost count. These dudes are all amazing rockers, but the voice of Low Hums lead singer Jonas Haskins sounds like running into a cool old friend in a tiny town while you’re on vacation. The band’s dreamy, coastal psych-rock jams can wash away the shittiest moments in an instant. In fact, I’m pretty sure I would have ended up on anti-depressants without Adventuring in the Near on heavy rotation in the cassette deck in my old car. – Frida Ray

Low Hums @ Big BLDG Bash 2015 by Sunny Martini for Nada Mucho

Low Hums @ Big BLDG Bash this summer. Photo by Sunny Martini.

22. Odesza

2015 was the year local electronic act Odesza transitioned gracefully into superstars. The duo, consisting of Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight, seemed just as comfortable playing FOUR sold out shows at the Paramount earlier this month as they looked at the countless local festivals and venues they played over the last couple years. Their big beats and dreamy hooks sounded great in the huge space and thea accompanying dancers, fog, lights, and impressive visuals on back displays helped make sure they never lost the attention of the crowd. – Kyle Davis

Odesza @ The Paramount by Kyle Davis for Nada Mucho

Odesza @ The Paramount by Kyle Davis.

21. Great Grandpa

The number of times I develop a juvenile crush on a band that’s yet to release a full album seems to have gone down in the last few years, so I was extra excited when I caught Great Grandpa this summer at DIY music festival Big BLDG Bash. The group – Alex Menne, Carrie Miller, Cam LaFlam, Pat Goodwin, Dylan Hanwright – put out a terrific 2015 EP, Can Opener, that opens with Menne telling us, “Hey I found a new way / I figured out” before “Cheetoh Lust” slips into a stately Pavement vibe with enough tempo changes to be interesting but not so many that it’s annoying. “Mostly Here” and “Ram” are dreamier, more textured affairs with Menne boasting “I got my wish / I’m impervious to slips off steep cliffs.” With this debut you get the idea she’ll have the opportunity to find out soon, as the band crests many musical peaks in the coming year; this is a great group of songs. – Matt Ashworth

Great Grandpa at Big BLDG Bash on Nada Mucho

Great Grandpa at Big BLDG Bash in June. Photo by Jim Toohey.

20. Fauna Shade (#41for2015

One of the most exciting developing sounds coming from Washington is the “normcore beach rock scene” that includes Everett’s Fauna Shade. Live, the tight sounds that come from the band’s jumpy beach rock instrumentals bring out singer Scotty Smith’s raspy, neurotic vocals. – Marcus Shriver

Fauna Shade @ Big BLDG Bash 2015 by Jim Toohey for Nada Mucho

Fauna Shade. Photo by Jim Toohey.

19. Duke Evers (#41for2015)

The first time you see Duke Evers live, you will fall in love. Teenage rom-com, sneaking out past curfew, skating downhill, toking up on the stoop, Indian-summer kind of love. It’s a romance we’ve been nursing for a while and have no intention of deserting. Duke Evers spent 2015 as a twosome – vocalist/guitarist Josh Starkel and drummer Kyle Veazey – taking over any local stage they could get their mitts on with their dirty, bluesy rock and roll and making it into 107.7’s Locals Only Artist of the Month club. Tinged with pop hooks and irreverently danceable, their tunes fall in the vein of Kings of Leon, if you left Kings of Leon in a rainy Northwest forest with a turntable and a pile of grunge vinyl. Starkel comes off as a young Elvis – his model-good looks and glam-rock moves make the ladies scream – and Veazey looks like a kid in a candy store behind the kit, long hair streaming across his face, only his giant grin visible from afar. But the magic happens in the pure, unadulterated joy between the two when they play together, displaying both natural talent and “I wouldn’t be anywhere but here” drive.  A slot at Bumbershoot this year and their signing to Randm Records pretty much sealed the deal for greatness to come, plus they’ve just added a bass player. If you’re not afraid of addiction, the band’s 2014 self-released EP Handful of Pennies is out there for your pleasure. Just try not to dance. – Stephanie Dore

Duke Evers @ #LOVETHEHILL 2015. Photo by Sunny Martini.

Duke Evers @ #LOVETHEHILL 2015. Photo by Sunny Martini.

18. This Blinding Light

This wild, psychedelic collective borders on transcendent when they lock into a groove. Their track “Mars” hints at the possibility of accessibility with a verse/chorus/verse format, but This Blinding Light is in best form stoned while hurtling through the outer reaches of the galaxy. – Ben Allen

This Blinding Light

This Blinding Light

17. Grave Babies 

On their third album Holographic Violence, Hardly Art Records act Grave Babies traded in their reverb pedals for candles and eyeliner, resulting in a more keyboard-heavy gothic sound and song titles like
“Pain Iz Pleasure.” As a band that always seemed to get overlooked by our contributors, the move clearly worked here, with praise coming for the record and their set at the Capitol Hill Block Party this summer. And I don’t mean this in a dismissive way, but how great would they sound on one of those Hunger Games soundtracks? – Paul Broderson

16. The Sonics 

The city of Tacoma was rock n’ roll central in the 60s, producing Hall of Fame bands The Wailers (“Louie Louie”) and The Ventures (“Walk, Don’t Run”) as well as the First Punk Band, The Sonics. With a terrific new album, This Is the Sonics, and a string of epic live shows over the last half dozen years including a memorable all-star show at Easy Street Records this Spring (with guest spots for Eddie Vedder, Calvin Johnson and Chris Ballew), The Boys From Tacoma reminded adoring fans and a ton of fresh converts that they rock harder today than most bands 40 years younger. – Abe Beeson

The Sonics at Macefield Music Festival 2014 by Jim Toohey on

The Sonics at Macefield Music Festival 2014. Photo by Jim Toohey.

15. Lemolo

Meagan Grandall is awesome and all her songs are beautiful. Her band Lemolo’s new album, Red Right Return, belongs in Nada’s favorite albums list of 2015, but since not enough people have discovered it to propel it to the top I’ll have to settle for their worthy inclusion on this list of best local bands. – Gemma Alexander

Lemolo @ Fisherman's Village Music Festival by Sunny Martini for Nada Mucho

Lemolo at Fisherman’s Village Music Festival. Photo by Sunny Martini.

14. Hell Mary

Hell Mary came out of the blue for me this year. I went to one of TBASA’s long-running Lo-Fi All Stars nights, currently in its 279th installment at Substation, and there she was. A vision of smoke and darkness and deep throaty vocals. Rarely have I seen so much atmosphere produced by one woman and a guitar. Stunning. – Aaron Semer

Hell Mary @ The Benbow Room. Photo by Jim Toohey.

Hell Mary @ The Benbow Room. Photo by Jim Toohey.

13. Industrial Revelation 

Maybe we shouldn’t start with another rag’s accolades, but fuck it: Industrial Revelation is a Stranger Music Genius award winner, and a well-earned one at that. Swinging from the ethereal into the human, mingling righteousness into experimentation, cutting gorgeous lines into eldritch geography, Industrial Revelation is a full realization of jazz’s ability to encompass, entice, exhort, and exclaim. Featuring Evan Flory-Barnes on upright bass, Ahamefule Oluo on trumpet, Josh Rawlings on keyboard and D’Vonne Lewis on drums (each with a number of outside credits to their name), the band is a creative force we are lucky to have. – Tyson Lynn

Industrial Revelation @ CHBP by Jim Toohey for Nada Mucho

Industrial Revelation. Photo by Jim Toohey.

12. Black Breath 

Any metalhead in Seattle should feel blessed – positively blessed – to live in the same city as Black Breath. The mere fact that I get to see this band on a semi-regular basis while the rest of the world has to wait makes me smile. There are very few death metal bands in the world this good. – Aaron Semer

11. Midday Veil

In our efforts to explore and understand the unknown, it’s quite possible we’ve relied too heavily on rocketships and probes. Thankfully, Seattle’s Midday Veil understands that the biggest spaces still left to explore are inside us, and they are intent upon mapping the territory. Subtle like an ocean calm, intense and vibrant, with ravenous dark so close to the surface, and mysterious intelligences lurking below. They are heavy and of the air, a pungent smoke that knocks you into dream. – Tyson Lynn

 Midday Veil at KEXP Photo by Melissa Wax

Midday Veil at KEXP. Photo by Melissa Wax.

10. Briana Marela

Music writers are quick to pounce on Briana Marela’s local origin, often citing “sense of place.” It’s true that her on-the-nose lyrics are consistent with Seattle’s unsubtle reputation, and her music captures the dripping peace and vast majesty of the temperate rainforest’s cathedral groves. All Around Us, recorded at Sundlaugin Studio near Reykjavík, also shares the crystalline sound of the best Icelandic music, thanks to production by Alex Somers (of Jónsi & Alex) and musical support from Amiina. The result is both honest and mysterious, sounding simultaneously delicate and strong – like lace made from metal thread. Yes, All Around Us does create a sense of place, if the place you’re talking about is heaven. – Gemma Alexander

9. Chastity Belt 

Chastity Belt have rightfully become global ambassadors for Seattle’s music scene. Their lyrics are witty and lasting, their second LP Time To Go was released by Hardly Art (the greatest label in the town), and they have a reputation for putting on a show that’s energetic, hilarious, and thought-provoking. Chastity Belt intertwines current event with feminist perspective in a way reminiscent of their musical compatriots, who are everything good about Seattle’s musical exports. – Cameron Deuel

8. Constant Lovers 

The thing I appreciate most about Constant Lovers is that they just keep getting fucking weirder. Even since their last album, Experience Feelings, which is only a year old, they’ve gotten significantly weirder. Go to their shows just to see what might happen. I anxiously await their next recording. – Aaron Semer

Constant Lovers @ Bumbershoot 2015 Photo by Jim Toohey for

Constant Lovers @ Bumbershoot 2015 Photo by Jim Toohey.

7. Patrick Galactic (#41for2015)

Tacoma singer/songwriter Patrick Galactic popped on to our radar a few years back with his then-band Death By Stars but it wasn’t until he became a regular at TBASA’s Lo-Fi All-Stars, a regular acoustic showcase that will see it’s 73rd installment take place January 5, that we began to appreciate his songwriting prowess. Galactic has spent the last year performing acoustically after DBS disbanded and says his recent single, “Futures Come and Go,” represents a new direction that demonstrates his love of creepy, ominous textures.” His October set at our #41for2015Fest in Ballard was gorgeous. True to our characteristically inbred form, we also invited Pat to became a contributor last year after reading some of his blog posts. Galactic also hosts a local music show on Tacoma’s Mountainhouse TV called “The Pat Down.” Watch this guy closely in 2016. – Matt Ashworth

Patrick Galactic @ #41for2015Fest. Photo by Jim Toohey for

Patrick Galactic @ #41for2015Fest. Photo by Jim Toohey.

6. Kinski

 Seattle’s Kinski are, in many ways, a rock band’s rock band. If that sounds like faint praise, it shouldn’t; over the course of eight full lengths and multiple EPs and splits, they’ve burnt themselves a clearing that’s surrounded by blown out fuzz, soaring psychedelia, crisp atmospherics, and motorik rhythms. Their 201 release 7 (or 8) indicates they’re still at the top of their game. The record (which is incidentally more of an 8 than a 7) is full of meditative tracks you could slot on a playlist between one of Neu!’s riffier tracks and Explosions in the Sky. – Graham Isaac

Kinski @ CHBP 2015 by Jim Toohey for Nada Mucho

Kinski on the CHBP VERA stage. Photo by Jim Toohey.

5. Porter Ray 

This year Seattle MC Porter Ray played Sasquatch and Capitol Hill Block Party and opened for GoldLink’s RedBull Sound Select show with Dave B. His energy and flow is new and refreshing, with just enough classic hip-hop references mixed in. Porter Ray is just starting to get noticed more widely, but he signed with Sub Pop so that should help. (See also Shabazz Palaces, clipping, THEESatisfaction). – Marcus Shriver

Porter Ray @ Fisherman's Village Music Festival on May 15, 2015. Photo by Christine Mitchell for

Porter Ray @ Fisherman’s Village Music Festival. Photo by Christine Mitchell.

4. Ever So Android (#41for2015)

Electro-rock band Ever So Android is exploring rich sonic territory – that of precursors like Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Siouxsie and the Banshees, where guitars seer over rigid electronic beats and vocals howl. Main howler Hope Simpson’s voice is at its best when the pace is slowed down, like on sexy tracks “Good Intentions” and “Better Days” from their 2015 release Disconnect. After performing mostly as a two piece – Simpson and her musical partner Drew Murray – the band has evolved in to a full band of four, resulting in a captivating live sound. Watch for these guys to gradually gain more attention throughout 2016 as they tour. – Tim Basaraba

Ever So Android @ Substation for #41for2015Fest by Marcus Klotz for

Ever So Android @ Substation for #41for2015Fest. Photo by Marcus Klotz.

3. Wimps

Wimps’ 2015 album Suitcase is not the kind of thing I listen to very often these days. It’s more the kind of thing I would have loved when I was 16. But there’s just something so catchy, infectious, fun, and snarky about these songs. It brings me back, in a good way, but simultaneously keeps things fresh and interesting enough that I can also appreciate it as a full-fledged adult. It’s fun dumb punk for the thinking man/woman. For disclosure’s sake, I should note that I’m the guy on the couch throughout the ENTIRE video for their song “Dump.” – Aaron Semer

2. Grace Love & The True Loves

Memphis-born, Tacoma-raised Grace Love is a powerhouse vocalist on the level of Sharon Jones, Candi Staton, or Bettye Swann. Backed by the True Loves, they are an energetic 9-piece R&B&funk sensation from right here in Seattle. With a full steam sound on greased tracks speed, they accelerate the listener into ecstatic acceptance, where the only true response is to give your body and feet over to the soul. – Tyson Lynn

Grace Love & The True Loves @ The Macefield Music Festival, October 2015. Photo by Jim Toohey for

Grace Love & The True Loves @ The Macefield Music Festival. Photo by Jim Toohey.

1. Thunderpussy 

The first time I saw Thunderpussy was during Block Party and they immediately turned the entire crowd into their groupies. When a band dresses like rock superheroes and put on a show to back it up, everyone instinctively bows down. From the outside, they may appear to be somewhat of a gimmick but Thunderpussy is the only rock band worth listening to at this point. – Cameron Deuel

I confess. I tend to give all-female rock bands the side eye. Despite already being a fan of almost everyone in this band from other projects, I wasn’t too impressed when I heard them on the radio. But I was converted at Macefield Music Festival. Heavy-hitting, sex positive, tongue in… well, everywhere… Thunderpussy rocks. – Gemma Alexander

Thunderpussy at CHBP 2015. Photo by Sunny Martini.

Thunderpussy at CHBP 2015. Photo by Sunny Martini.

More Best of 2015 Coverage:

One thought on “Our 37 Most Favorite Seattle Bands of 2015

  1. Mike says:

    You seem too have missed Gravel Road Blues Band with T Model Ford. Just toured Europe and Paris…

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