In this – the age of the Coronavirus – many of us are stuck at home, isolated with only TV screens and the glow of laptops and phones to keep us connected. In other words, there isn’t much to do.
However, one thing that is available to us all is the wide world of recorded music. And now is as good a time as ever to get to know some bands you may not have heard of but ones that you will assuredly enjoy, dear reader.
So, buckle up and get ready for a digital ride around – wait for it – Seattle (five times!). That’s right, it’s a special all-Emerald City edition of the Discovery Series! Grab a latte and unpack the fresh salmon. It’s on, Pacific Northwest-style!
Arthur James, “715 CRΣΣKS,” Seattle
Is there a sound more authentic that then wood-grain voice of Arthur James? If being struck in the head with a two-by-four could ever be a good thing, that’s the feeling of this song. It’s as if the strike creates a spell that casts the shell of your hollow self away for the sake of your spirit – your true personality – rising to it’s hallowed position amongst the ancestors. You can thank James, and this Bon Iver cover, for that.
Carlarans, “Vibez (ft. Randy Ford),” Seattle
Aesthetics come to life. Carlarans is gold glitter on the haunches of a champion jumping over the crescent moon as the sound of a million warriors shout with glee. Carlarans is not only beautiful in song and video, as you cans see here, but he also stuns – er, invigorates – live. The artist rose to regional fame with a single performance, dominating the stage at Timbrrr! Winter Music Festival in Leavenworth, Washington. Turns out Carlarans is the pinnacle of many things.
Robb Benson, “Buddy,” Seattle
A veteran in the Pacific Northwest music scene, Robb Benson has worked with just about everyone, from members of Alice in Chains and Heart to contemporary favorites like The Black Tones and Warren Dunes. Benson is often the through-line to so many Emerald City songwriters. That’s because the artist is both talented and prolific. “Buddy” is one of probably 10,000-plus songs Benson has penned in the past few decades (no exaggeration). With a voice like Manna From Heaven, Benson will continue for likely many more to come.
SassyBlack, “Wild,” Seattle
While the space-aged songwriter seemingly releases an excellent new project every week, this particular track is esepcially noteworthy because it just landed on a “Black girl magic” playlist from none other than former FLOTUS, Michelle Obama. On “Wild,” SassyBlack blends her often-frenetic style of percussion production with her smooth, jazzy vocals to create something completely her own. She is a single bridge to many islands. She is an archipelago incarnate. She is a gem that only makes more gems that only makes more gems.
Tekla Waterfield and Jeff Fielder, “Can’t Move On,” Seattle
Sincerity meets virtuosity. Delicate meets torrential. Piercing meets a wide net. When husband and wife duo, Tekla Waterfield and Jeff Fielder, collaborate, their two styles blend like the night sky and the constellations. Fielder, who’s backed up greats like Mark Lanegan, brings his seemingly effortless and endless talent to working with Waterfield, who writes gentle, encompassing songs that stay with you like sprits after leaving the family plots.