The Northwest’s premier 21 and under battle of the bands.
An annual event since 2001, MoPOP’s Sound Off! supports the all-ages scene by giving artists an opportunity to showcase original music on a large platform, launch their music careers, and connect with peer musicians, industry leaders, and other members of the artistic community invested in supporting their success and growth.
Now in its 16th year, Sound Off! has paved the way for some amazing bands and artists including The Lonely Forest, Dyme Def, Sol, Dave B, Naked Giants, Kithkin, Schoolyard Heroes, Tomten, Brite Futures, as well as members of Beat Connection, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Cumulus, Oberhofer, La Luz, Kairos and more. From Seattle and Portland to Vancouver and Boise, groups or solo musicians playing all genres of music are encouraged to submit original material for consideration.
Sound Off! judges, partners, and mentors include major music festivals, journalists, radio DJs, venues, bookers, alumni, record labels, recording studios, all-ages music community organizers, and more. Through its partners, Sound Off! has been able to connect artists with bookings at high-profile venues and partnerships across the region such as Bumbershoot, Sasquatch! Music Festival, KEXP, and the Capitol Hill Block Party.
KEXP MUSIC THAT MATTERS PODCAST: SOUND OFF! SEMIFINALISTS
DJ Sharlese showcases the 12 Sound Off! semifinalist artists from Bellingham, WA to Boise, ID on KEXP's Music that Matters podcast, Vol. 551.
Listen to songs from each Sound Off! band or artist.
Friday, February 10
MoPOP, Sky Church
Friday, February 17
MoPOP, Sky Church
Friday, February 24
MoPOP, Sky Church
Sound Off! 2017 Band Bios
Portland, OR (indie)
Animals in the Attic pairs a laid-back, psychedelic sound with catchy hooks and traditional song structures to create an infectious feeling of tranquility in an otherwise anxious world. Their concise, relatable songs make for bite-sized aural treats perfect for anyone who loves love. Mix bands like Real Estate and Beach House with the unique sounds of the Pacific Northwest and you might just get the idea of what these animals are creating.
Woodinville, WA (funk)
Brotha' Groove combines bump’n beats and screamin’ solos to create a funky groove that sets the stage for a dance scene unlike any other. With influences from James Brown to Tower of Power, every composition builds like a wave of hot fire under your feet resulting in the irresistable temptation to move to their energetic, flamboyant, and groovy style. Their phat bass lines and Chicago-esque horn section give their work a dynmic soul that’s all their own.
Boise, ID (folk)
Through carefully crafted musical arrangements and haunting lyrics, Cult Bride transports you to another world filled with delicate beauty and raw emotion. Comprised of the original members of the lively Sound Off! alum band Calico, this new project focuses on a reflective, visceral style in the vein of Daughter or Florence and the Machine. Even so, these influences only hint at the atmospheric qualities present in Cult Bride’s one-of-a-kind style of “spooky folk.”
Seattle, WA (electronic)
With influences ranging from Audien to Justin Bieber, electronic trio Fluencie energizes the crowd through a protruding bass line, skittering beats, and soulful lyrics. Each of their songs works on a finely tuned algorithm as they move through styles and textures, everything unified by a highly attuned ear. Their sound is at once huge and anthemic while remaining open and intimate, a testament to their desire to—in their words—“fight for originality and the importance of thoughtful lyrical content in electronic music.”
Bellingham, WA (punk, dream pop)
Simple, dynamic chord progressions and beautiful lyrics about, in their own words, “sad gay feelings” are at the heart of what makes Girl Teeth so charming. Their music, which they define as “riddled with an obscene amount of teen angst,” has the purity of a schoolyard crush and the honesty of a diary confession. With dreamy guitars and simple vocals, Girl Teeth is music to sway to, but don’t let their earnestness fool you, with lyrics like “Ted Cruz is the Zodiac Killer,” these musicians aren’t afraid to put a little fight into their tunes.
Federal Way, WA (indie rock)
Take the focused vocal style of Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong and lay it over guitars reminiscent of an upbeat Weezer track, and you’ll start to see what makes Federal Way trio, The Good Weird, tick. Even the most lethargic listener won’t be able to resist their upbeat, driving sound as it bounces over their ears. Distinct harmonies, thoughtful lyrics, and energetic passion make The Good Weird indie rock done right.
Seattle, WA (hip-hop)
A product of Seattle’s Central District, Koga Shabazz is a trained writer and vocalist whose dynamic style of hip-hop is grounded in such influences as the Fugees and Big Pun. With intriguing lyrics that reveal the mind of an avid thinker and a consistently high production value, his pure love of the genre is reflected in every track. In a world of dubbed performances and singles that retread established genre tropes, Koga Shabazz’s dynamic live show and intricate rhymes defy easy categorization.
Seattle, WA (alternative folk)
The wobbly, unfailingly melodic sound from alternative folk artist Jason McCue evokes the influence of artists such as The Beatles, Elliott Smith, and Built to Spill. But where he shines is in his lyricism, which alternates with ripples of wisdom, longing, blasé, and adolescent angst—often self-deprecating and satirical: “I wanna president who beats on his chest / who reassures me that America’s the very very best.” His fragile coo and intimate style of performance are the perfect pairing to deliver his sweet and folky bite-sized stories.
Tacoma, WA (pop/rock)
It’s impossible not to be in a good mood after listening to Mission 253’s smooth, melodic tracks. With lead vocal melodies influenced by Maroon 5, performed in deep, clear tones, and complimented with smart, effective harmonies, their particular brand of music recalls a mid-century aesthetic of pop that keeps a hopeful eye to the future even as it pays homage to the past. Their catchy, effective hooks will grab your attention, leaving you humming along to your new favorite songs before you know it.
Vancouver, WA (indie, alternative)
Nomad takes you on a musical journey to the highest mountains and through the lowest valleys with songs that range from joyous and uplifting ditties to brutal and angry ballads. Ethereal wind instruments, hushed lyrics, and the near ever-present ukulele make up the base of Nomads songs, showcasing their ability to create a powerful sound with minimal instrumentation. Their live show invites the audience to be a guest at their campfire as they sing of their travels to distant lands.
Seattle, WA (alternative R&B, soul)
Falon Sierra’s unique style is a combination of smooth vocals and powerful lyrics. Her work bends traditional genres in new and interesting ways, creating an alternative R&B sound blended with electric soul. With influences like SZA and Amy Winehouse, Falon Sierra is taking up the mantle of the soulful songstress in a way that is completely her own. Her EP Beauty in Danger was released in the summer of 2016.
Tacoma, WA (electronic)
Citing Sound Off! alum Manatee Commune as an influence, Torpoise combines an electronic style with a love of classical composers like Tchaikovsky to create dream-like tracks perfect for a long drive at night. He describes his sound as “if a Nintendo 64 was mashed together with a saxophone and a lucid dream,” and he’s not wrong. Torpoise’s music glides along on a 16-bit wave of melody interspersed with the perfect amount of beeps, boops, and trills.
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