Seattle music is always good. But right now it might be better than it’s ever been.
Young bands of every stripe are releasing impressive debut albums. Working bands are following impressive debuts with second albums that are even better. Veteran bands are perfecting their live performances. More and better industry infrastructure provides more and better opportunities for musicians to connect with audiences.
Most significantly, the city’s current generation of artists has shaken off the stigma of success that haunted the scene for so long. Twenty-some years ago, success led to the early demise of one of the Northwest’s brightest, most ambitious stars. With him went almost all semblance of ambition to make a career as a musician. Success was a path paved with entitlement and unrealistic expectations and it led to a dark, shameful place.
Things are different now. Each of the artists in this package has either conscientiously rejected Seattle’s compulsive underachievement or has never known it to begin with. Each is gaining fans in growing genres without sacrificing ingenuity or edge. As the world settles into Internet-driven, late-stage capitalism, artistic inclination no longer contradicts entrepreneurial drive. Success, self-defined, comes in many forms, few of them traditional. Why shouldn’t artists feel entitled to make a living making art?
When the torrent of music rushes in from all corners, let proximity be your filter. Let’s embrace hyperlocalism with our listening habits. Whatever your taste, however mainstream or offbeat, it’s being catered to by a band—probably more than one—that lives and works where you live and work. The Northwest boasts some of the nation’s most fertile soil for creative culture. This isn’t provincialism, it’s recognition: The best new music comes from right here in Seattle.