Spring Arts: New Cool Local Music

A slew of Seattle bands plan to release new albums this season
By: Brangien Davis | Posted February 08, 2011
Zoe Muth
Zoe Muth's new country album releases in April

The Head and the Heart
This local alt-country band burst onto the scene in 2009, spreading infectious songs across Seattle. Sub Pop recently snatched the group up, and will release a CD of its self-titled album (previously available for download only) on April 16. theheadandtheheart.com

Death Cab for Cutie

The Bellingham indie-rock-band-made-good is back with a new album, Codes and Keys (due out in May from Atlantic). Word has it the CD is quite a departure from past records—we hope our love will survive. deathcabforcutie.com

Zoe Muth and the Lost High Rollers

Yee-haw for Seattle’s beloved country crooner—compared variously to Iris Dement, Nanci Griffith and Emmylou Harris—who has a (yet untitled) album due out in April on Signature Sounds. zoemuth.com

Fleet Foxes
After making a splash heard ’round the world with a debut album in 2008, Seattle’s beloved nouveau folksters went mum until January, when they announced they’d signed with Sub Pop and would release a new CD, Helplessness Blues, in May. fleetfoxes.com

The Lonely Forest

Count Chris Walla (of Death Cab for Cutie) among the fans of this Anacortes-based indie band. Walla signed the group to his new label, Trans Records, which will release the band’s new record, Arrows, on March 22. facebook.com/thelonelyforest

Hip-Hop on Deck
Rumor has it local hip-hop groups Champagne Champagne (featuring MC Thomas Gray) and Shabazz Palaces (led by Ish, formerly of the Digable Planets) will release new albums this spring. Dare we hope that Blue Scholars’ long-awaited Cinemetropolis will drop, too?

The Moisture Festival will once again dazzle crowds 3/17–4/10 with its amazing array of circus arts, cabaret and comedy. moisturefestival.org
SIFF, the country’s largest film fest, returns to Seattle 5/19–6/12 with its customary mix of indie and foreign flicks you won’t see anywhere else. siff.net
Sasquatch will be bigger and better than ever, with Foo Fighters headlining the music smorgasbord in the Gorge. 5/27–5/30. sasquatchfestival.com

Seattle Symphony: Tribute to Cole Porter
Dear Cole Porter: “Every Time We Say Goodbye,” I think “You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To.” “Let’s Face It”—your music is “Something to Shout About.” I heard the Seattle Symphony was doing a tribute to you and I said, “Well, Did You Evah?” because, as you know, “I Get a Kick Out of You.” I can’t explain it—it’s “Just One of Those Things”—but “You Do Something to Me,” and I could listen to you “All Through the Night.” And Marvin Hamlisch is conducting? That will be “Out of This World.” Times and prices vary. Benaroya Hall, 200 University St.; 206.215.4747; seattlesymphony.org

Nirvana Kurt Cobain Sweater4/16/2011–4/11/2013
Nirvana: Taking Punk to the Masses
We’re not going to insist it’s what Kurt Cobain would’ve wanted, but we’re nonetheless stoked about the new Nirvana exhibit at EMP. With more than 200 “artifacts” (smashed guitars, Cobain’s handwritten lyrics, stage props and, yes, the legendary yellow cardigan), the show celebrates the band, but also examines its context and influence. With an ambient soundtrack by renowned local music producer Steve Fisk and a 250-page companion book published by Fantagraphics, this show is enough to burst your eardrums. Times and prices vary. EMP, 325 Fifth Ave.; 206.770.2700; empsfm.org

Chamber vs. Chamber: Metal and Resin
The Sorrento Hotel continues to up its indie offerings, including the megapopular Silent Reading Party (exactly what it sounds like), Drinking Lessons (cocktail classes with prominent bartenders) and Chamber vs. Chamber, which brings a rock band and a traditional chamber music group together for a one-night stand. On this night The Portland Cello Project falls into bed with Seattle heavy-metal band Lesbian—and if you grab one of the 70 seats lickety-split, you can watch. 7 p.m. $15. Sorrento Hotel, 900 Madison St.; 206.622.6400; hotelsorrento.com

Seattle Opera: The Magic Flute
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart reveals his true genius with this classic opera (1791), which tells a wild tale of kidnapping, mistaken identity, spirits, shape-shifters and an evil queen. Given the mad mix of myth, magic and Masonic elements (Mozart was a lodge brother), you might not leave feeling entirely confident about exactly why each character did what, but you’ll be pretty certain that love conquers all. Times and prices vary. McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer St.; 206.389.7676; seattleopera.org

Seattle Rock Orchestra: Tribute to Queen
This all-volunteer community of young musicians is swiftly convincing locals that rock is best played by an orchestra. Recent takes on the Beach Boys, Radiohead and Arcade Fire gained the SRO huge acclaim. Now they’re rosining up their bows for Queen’s iconic album, A Night at the Opera, setting songs like “Bohemian Rhapsody” to strings. We have a feeling Freddie Mercury would approve. 8 p.m. Prices vary. Moore Theatre, 1932 Second Ave.; 206.682.1414; stgpresents.org