Two Ton Boa, “Lion Snow”
Spare, elegant and instantly arresting, “Lion Snow” hits like a beam of heavenly light. Sherry Fraser launched Two Ton Boa in early-’00s Olympia as a moody solo project, accumulating plaudits and collaborators through constant touring and sporadic releases on Kill Rock Stars. Her latest album, Certain Years, is a breathtaking shift, reverent choral music for the irreligious.
You’re Me, “Oot Re Mi”
Comprising a pair of Vancouver, BC-based producers, You’re Me conjures a blissful mist of electronic ambience on Plant Cell Division, their debut for Vancouver label 1080p. Plucked from the album’s contiguous mix, this unpronounceable six-minute jam is intoxicating in its sun-warped distortion. No surprise the album’s coming out on cassette.
Y La Bamba, “Ostrich”
Y La Bamba’s upcoming fourth album Ojos Del Sol earns an early spot on 2016’s best-of list. Led by the striking vocal stylist Luz Elena Mendoza, the Portland quintet plays an effortless mix of Mexican-inflected folk and experimental pop. Mendoza helmed most of the production herself, tuning into a timeless frequency of transistor-radio texture and crisp, unexpected percussion.
Courtney Marie Andrews, “Irene”
Speaking of vocal stylists, alt-country chanteuse Courtney Marie Andrews comes from the tradition of Linda Ronstadt and Joni Mitchell: songbird balladeers with an ear for radio-ready hooks and a mind for poignant lyricism. “You are a magnet, Irene,” she sings. “Sometimes good people draw troublesome things.”
Jherek Bischoff, “Closer to Closure”
Seattle’s most famous pop composer relocated to LA, but we’re still claiming him. Especially because much of Bischoff’s new ambient-orchestral album, Cistern, was initiated during a residency in Port Townsend where Bischoff woodshedded at the bottom of an actual cistern.