Sound Off! 2016

The Northwest’s premier 21 and under battle of the bands.

  1. Sound Off! 2018 winner, Micaiah Sawyer shines as the future of folk music with exuberant, powerful vocals sailing over intricately picked acoustic guitar creating a much larger sonic experience than its traditional singer-songwriter setup.

    Photo by Nate Watters.


  2. Jason McCue snagged first place at Sound Off! 2017 with his inventive lyrics, excellent acoustic technique, and unfailingly melodic sound. As one of his many first place prizes, he will perform at Bumbershoot later this year.

     Photo by Nate Watters.

  3. Winner of Semifinals #3, Falon Sierra's unique sound is a mix of alternative R&B and electric soul. Her winning performance secured her a spot in the Sound Off! Finals on March 11, where she will be joined by Jason McCue (Semifinals #1 winner), The Good Weird (Semifinals #3 winner), and Torpoise (wild card artist selected by MoPOP's Youth Advisory Board).

    Photo by Nate Watters.

  4. The Good Weird brought their weirdly good style of indie rock to the Sky Church stage for Sound Off! 2017 Semifinals #2 and it paid off. The Federal Way trio will advance to Finals on March 11. 

    Photo by Nate Watters.

An annual event since 2001, MoPOP’s Sound Off! supports the all-ages scene by giving artists an opportunity to showcase original music, launch their music careers, and connect with the larger artistic community.

Now in its 15th year, Sound Off! has paved the way for some amazing bands and artists including The Lonely Forest, Dyme Def, Sol, Kithkin, Brothers from Another, Manatee Commune, Fauna Shade, Schoolyard Heroes, Tomten, and Brite Futures. Read more about and listen to tracks below of the newest group of Sound Off! bands to join the ranks of these luminary musicians.


A big congrats to COSMOS, who wowed the judges with their lively set and took the top prize at Finals, securing them performance spots at Sasquatch! Music Festival and Bumbershoot. All Finalists bands take home prize packages including performances at high-profile venues in the region including Timber! Outdoor Music Festival, Northwest Folklife, and the KEXP Community Show; plus a ton new gear, industry consultations, professional photoshoots, and more.

Sound Off! Info + More

  • 2015: One Above Below None, Naked Giants, Emma Lee Toyoda, Bleachbear, Champagne Babylon, Hemlock Lane, Charlie and the Rays, Honcho Poncho, Mystery Machines, Nightspace, Righteous Minds, Super Soaked
  • 2014: Otieno Terry, Fauna Shade, Laser Fox, Thee Samedi, Calico the Band, Tommy Cassidy, Dames, Sophia Duccini, KSneak, Manatee Commune, Nabii Ko$mo, The Onlies
  • 2013: Dave B, SHEBEAR, The Fame Riot, As it Starts, Vervex, Maiah Manser, I for Eye, Mister Mista, Rose, Shogun Barbie, SoccerMom, The Female Fiends
  • 2012: Nude Pop, The Deep Wake, Feet, Special Explosion, Honora, Sam Lachow, Brothers From Another, Cassiopeia, Dungeon Science, The Unibroz, Ulrich, Your Rival
  • 2011: Tomten, Northern Departure, Fit for Hounds, The Oh Wells, Kung Foo Grip, Land of Pines, Ambulance, Electricity and its Double, Kids and Animals, Kithkin, Micah B, The Oh Wells, Young Pacific
  • 2010: Great Waves, Hooves and Beak, Candysound, SEACATS, Pan Pan, Sea Fever, A Cozy Kitchen, Apache Chief, Subtle Like a T-Rex, (Sui-Generis), The Cat From Hue, Us on Roofs
  • 2009: Dyno Jamz, Sol, Dearboy, Makeup Monsters, The Mission Orange, Cyrus Fell Down, Brier Rose, Free City Collective, Kids Get Hit By Buses, Love Trucker, Schoolboy Gutbuster, Razpy & The Vigilantes
  • 2008: New Faces, Nextdoor Neighbors, Man Down Medic, The Dead Are Judged, Southgate, KnowMads, Pat Goodwin, Scribes, Deer City, Kusikia, Shotty, The Batteries
  • 2007: The Globes, Brite Futures, The Army Corps of Architects, Don't Tell Sophie, Halfbreed, The Oregon Donor, Dreamwright, Left At the Castle, Black Swade, The Freetown, Skull bot, Emi Meyer
  • 2006: The Lonely Forest, Ben Rice and The Youth of Blues, Capital Basement, Ballroom Integrity and Grace, Dynamik, The Histrionics, Marquetta Miller, Dyme Def, Get Dressed
  • 2005: Gruff Mummies, The Last Romance, Handshakes, The Sutures (formerly the Neons), Paper or Plastic, Aluzjun, Nameless Danger, The Paramours, Squid vs. Shark
  • 2004: Mon Frere, The Lonely H, Idiot Pilot, Massive Habit, The Mechanical Dolls, Courtney Fortune, Abident
  • 2003: The Split Licks, Schoolyard Heroes, The Hollow Points, Bench Grinder, Royale, The Revelators, Soybomb, Massive Habit, Red Fish Blue Fish
  • 2002: Aaron Richner and the Blues Drivers, Asahi, Magnetic North, k through six, Vespin, Orizon, Steve Koozer, Sub-Motive

Sound Off! 2016 Band Bios


      Burien, WA (indie pop/rock)
      Psych-pop outfit Animal Camera is perfectly in control and simultaneously ungovernable. At times they are extra-terrestrial, eccentric, and dreamy (echoing an Ariel Pink basement recording) before suddenly transforming into a murky, menacing, rambunctious, and even campy sound (invoking intonations resonant of Lux Interior of the Cramps). One thing that becomes clear quickly is that this is a band with a sense of humor and a shrewd wit. Their gloom is offered alongside a joke, and we’re happy to both laugh, cry, and rock with them.


      Woodinville, WA (indie/psychedelic punk)
      Copalis slowly starts to assemble their mood within a blizzard of scourging guitar chords: dark, spooky, and intriguing. Inspired by a wide range of bands including Radiohead, Weezer, the Beach Boys, and the Pixies, they ride a brooding swathe of inventive rhythms and subtly layered vocals to transform your standard psychedelic grunge into their own unique brand of slightly angsty, quasi-anthemic song.

    • COSMOS

      Seattle, WA (hip-hop/R&B)
      COSMOS’ brand of genre-busting hip-hop is densely layered and expertly produced. With influences including Thundercat, Kendrick Lamar, and Chance the Rapper, it’s no surprise that a bold, hybrid sound underscores their easy swagger. From sax solos to electro-beats, their natural charisma as storytellers shines through the speakers with a meticulously crafted sound they describe as a “Sunday Morning after a kickass Saturday night.”

    • CREWS

      Olympia, WA (indie rock)
      Led by Tom McGahern’s beautifully haunting vocals, Crews elicits a wellspring of emotion that pivots on a clean, echoing guitar line. It’s an expressive voice, changing and morphing with the mood of the songs. With influences from Tame Impala to King Krule, the riffs here feel instantly knowable, but the unique beauty of McGahern’s vocals as they spill across the background pull you into an atmospheric journey on a dark and winding path, a restless tension underscoring each curve in the road.


      Renton, WA (hip-hop)
      Dre’zy and Too Smoove describe themselves as “a band that likes surprises,” and they deliver on that promise with soulful hip-hop that demands you dance to its smooth sounds. Chock-full with catchy beats alongside their laid-back attitude, their musical inventiveness is best approached as an instrumental head-trip. Citing influences from A Tribe Called Quest to Snarky Puppy, expect something new and exciting from them at each performance.


      Bellingham, WA (rock)
      Rock outfit Hello, I’m Sorry rests somewhere in the balance between melody and menace. The music is trebly and drowned in indistinct reverb, stumbling its way from speed-freak noise of staggering volume to almost-bouncy pop—a sonic landscape where distortion is promoted as a featured attraction. Nevertheless, underscoring this flurry of sound is an earnest, romantic belief in something beautiful and unattainable in the midst of it.


      Vancouver, BC (R&B/hip-hop)
      A range of beats punctuated by wild vocal displays and tempered by soulful crooning characterize the best of Jazzy Tee. With inventive phrasings and rap eruptions that delve deeper into her signature sound, her lyrics already assert her place as a leading lady in R&B: “I float like Lauryn and I’m bobbing like Alicia.” She may be right: her sultry mix of contemporary R&B, hip-hop, and soulful pop is strong, forceful, and self-assertive—not to mention maddeningly catchy.

    • LEE

      Seattle, (indie pop, R&B)
      In its own way, LEE’s music is ambient music: it drifts, ebbs, and flows. Taking inspiration from artists like Erykah Badu, Kendrick Lamar, and Robert Glasper, her eclectic style compellingly drifts across genre lines, and is underscored by soft melodies and slow-burning beats. But it’s LEE’s voice that guides this visionary sound at a lounging, loopy leisure, intimately pulling you into the depth of her story, one filled with mantra-like messages of hope and determination.


      Lake Stevens, WA (electropop)
      Paralexis translates directly to “a feeling beyond words.” Influenced by the work of the dark and upbeat ASTR, dreamy Odesza, and throwback princess LIZ, their electropop sound dives deep into syrupy synths and neon lights, encompassing the strongest of our deepest emotions. Their music is like a dream; shades of meaning hidden in the colors and the narrative—all wrapped up in a warm oasis of sound and rhythm. 


      Redmond, WA (R&B/pop)
      Paris Alexa’s playful doo-wop pop is masterfully crafted using nothing more than a bit of technology and her voice. Many of her songs are done using no instruments, and indeed Alexa’s strength comes from her complex vocal arrangements, ones with Motown and old-school soulful cues written all over them. Citing influences from Sarah Bareilles to Earth, Wind and Fire, the resulting sound gives her brand of pop plenty of separation from the rest, adding a unique R&B flavor to the contemporary pop song. 


      Lake Forest Park, WA (rock)
      Party Shark describes themselves as “a shark with sunglasses, on land at a party, eating people alive.” And that’s exactly what they are: a shrieking, shredding, psychedelic scattershot of styles with fuzzed-out hooks dished out at blazing speeds. With influences ranging from David Bowie to Bad Brains, the four-piece sound like they’re having a blast, excited with every sound and riff they produce, even as they slow down to zoom in on the details.


      Burien, WA (hip-hop)
      Seattle rapper Travis Thompson is a throwback to a time when hip-hop music was light-hearted and fun. Refusing to take himself too seriously, Thompson raps about being a pudgy, hilarious goofball. That type of self-awareness and honesty lends an authenticity to his music that’s missing in most of today’s radio raps. Through his genuine verses and slick beats, Thompson is quickly raising his stock with songs on wide-ranging subjects including Tom Hanks, Horchata, and social justice.



MoPOP would like to thank the following organizations for their generous support of Sound Off!: