7 Seattle Bands that might break out in 2017

February 14, 2017

Photo by Deccio Creative

Now is the time you need to have your ear to the ground of the Seattle music scene.

It's no secret that Seattle has been pumping out the jams for years, but there's a certain energy around the city right now that feels different. Bands are working doubles, releasing albums one after another, and redefining the future of the city's sound (hint: grunge is alive, but it's not all we're good for). 

The best Seattle albums in 2016

Locals Only host Steven Graham and I (Branden) put our heads together to try to decide the bands we think are at the tip of the iceberg and most likely to start generating plenty of conversation in the next year.

We may be wrong, but these are the bands sitting in the bucket of the catapult, just waiting to be launched into the national spotlight.

1. Deep Sea Diver (Indie Rock)
An old friend of mine once said "until Deep Sea Diver has a million dollars, none of this makes sense" and I disagree. I say two million! Last year when Deep Sea Diver released their album Secrets, artists like Ben Gibbard, James Mercer, Britt Daniel and more all did a track by track review of the album. How often do the singers of some of the most popular bands in the world get together to raise a glass to another band many of their fans have never heard of?

"I seem to lack the ability to write eloquently about such a beautiful song" Gibbard said of the Deep Sea Diver Track "Creatures Of Comfort."

Not only did Deep Sea Diver play a show with Wilco last year and get a sweet Dave Matthews cameo in their music video, but they just sold out four nights in a row at The Sunset here in Seattle before taking off on national tour. It has been building for a while but everything is trending very upward for Deep Sea Diver and I would gladly bet it all on big success in their future.

What are people saying about Deep Sea Diver?
Hot takes from the singers of The Shins, Death Cab, Spoon and more.

2. Cataldo (Pop)
In 2014 Cataldo released one of my favorite albums, Gilded Oldies. In my eyes it was the best album out of the PNW in 2014. Now, with the pending release of the latest Cataldo album Keepers, due out in April, things are about to get interesting. I have had the privilege of hearing Keepers already and it is really the perfect pop album. From start to finish it is as complete as they come. It's catchy and thoughtful and I already know all the words. Come April, you'll know them all too. When you take Cataldo front man Eric Anderson's ability to write an amazing song and then you factor in the guest vocals from Death Cab's Ben Gibbard and Danielle of Wild Ones it just feels like 2017 is going to be the year of Cataldo.

3. Thunderpussy (Rock)
Last year the all-female Seattle rock band Thunderpussy made their mark in a huge way. No, they don't have an album out, but they still played pretty much every major music festival in Washington state (including the main stage at Sasquatch) and sold out two nights in a row at Neumos for New Years. That is a very solid 2016. In 2017, there has already been a story about their case pending a supreme court ruling regarding the trademark of their band name and it was also announced that they will be one of the headliners of the Fisherman's Village Music Festival in Everett. They are becoming a big deal real fast and things are not slowing down for Thunderpussy. When you hear the music or see the completely electrifying live show you understand why.

What are people saying about Thunderpussy?
"A feminist mic-drop before the amps are even plugged in. Once they are, though, it doesn’t really matter what these four women call themselves" The Seattle Times said of Thunderpussy.

4. Belgian Fog (Electro Indie Pop)
This is one of the more interesting stories in the local music community. Robert Dale, known as Belgian Fog, might as well be the Wizard of Oz, but the hype is real. Until he agreed to be my guest on Locals Only last year, I wasn't even sure he actually existed. Belgian Fog has yet to perform live, he hasn't even officially released an album or EP yet. But every time this guy drops a new song online, the internet goes crazy for it. He does everything himself. All of the recording, production, mixing and he writes a hell of a song. This guy isn't missing a single tool.

With his debut EP due out sometime in 2017 and his first live shows finally on the way (he promises), this guy is sitting on a rocket ship just looking for the GO button. And when he finds it, look out.

What are people saying about Belgian Fog?
Australian site Metratone says Desktop Philosopher will "get stuck in your head".

5. Manatee Commune (Electronic)
In the electronic music world, one of the big up-and-coming names in the PNW is Grant Eadie, who performs under the moniker Manatee Commune.

Eadie shares quite a bit with the already well-established electronic duo ODESZA, who, like Eadie, rose the ranks in Bellingham while studying at Western Washington University. Eadie’s tunes are cut of a slightly different cloth than ODESZA’s, but the path is there, Eadie definitely has the hustle, and his self-titled 2016 release already has him on the national radar. With a spot on the 2017 Sasquatch! lineup, 2017 might be the platform for Grant to jump into the national spotlight.

6. Porter Ray (hip-hop/rap)
Two albums deep with another on the way on Seattle’s SubPop Records, Porter Ray Sullivan is one to watch in the ever-growing Seattle hip-hop scene. He’s been with SubPop since 2014, so why is 2017 the big year for the Central District native? His upcoming album Watercolor, which drops March 10, is unlike anything he’s done before, and it’s good. Like, real good.

Combining with Shabazz Palace’s Ishmael Butler on the first single, “Sacred Geometry,” Sullivan is helping define the Seattle hip-hop sound, unlike what you hear across the rest of the country. The result is a Physics-like, deeply introspective record that gets to the root of who Porter Ray is and where he came from. If he’s able to synthesize that Seattle sound on the rest of the record, Seattle might have its next rap export.

What are people saying about Porter Ray?
Seattle Weekly’s Kelton Sears did a brilliant write-up about the evolution of Porter Ray.

7. Dude York (Rock)
In my opinion, Dude York might be the band most primed to start gaining national attention this year. Signed to Hardly Art (a division of SubPop), Dude York’s sophomore album Sincerely drops February 24. The record is produced by John Goodmanson who produced Sleater-Kinney, and Cody Votolato of Blood Brothers. With that kind of team, the album is in good hands and could reach quite a few ears when it is released later this month. The first two tracks from the upcoming effort are fun, light-hearted, and catchy.

What are people saying about Dude York?
Fader says the first single “Black Jack” will “get you out of bed” (whatever that means).

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