Seattle’s Most Outstanding Musical Artists of the Year

Anchored by the deft drumming of Seattle rock ’n’ roll royalty D’Vonne Lewis (his father was R&B legend Dave Lewis), garage-jazz band Industrial Revelation revels in lengthy and often slashing jazz deconstructions from organist Josh Rawlings, stand-up bass player Evan Flory Barnes, and trumpet player Ahamefule J. Oluo. But what put the band over the top this year was Oak Head, its third album and one that bravely challenges the group’s strengths. The band plays conservative with its talents here while dipping into numerous styles including modal jazz, funk, and Dixieland, but in that restraint is a sense of cool befitting one of the great jazz combos in the history of this city, which is exactly what IR is. MARK BAUMGARTEN

Shortly after forming and releasing its debut EP, Damp Face, last year, La Luz wasted no time embarking on separate spring and summer tours while simultaneously releasing a series of singles and videos and partnering with Hardly Art, who released its excellent full-length It’s Alive. (Things only slowed down for the surf-noir four-piece when, while on tour with Of Montreal, its van was totalled in a terrifying accident). A cursory look at La Luz’s swift rise offers the ideal formula for any band trying to make it: Work hard, play nice, shrug off the flat notes, and carry on. (Fri., Dec. 27–Sat., Dec. 28, Neumos) GWENDOLYN ELLIOTT

For sheer cultural impact, Macklemore makes this list. With his producer, Ryan Lewis, the MC known to his dentist as Ben Haggerty occupied Billboard’s #1 spot with two songs for a total of 11 weeks and garnered seven Grammy nominations, and the videos for the four singles from debut record The Heist racked up more than 600 million views on YouTube. That record was released at the end of 2012, the year in which Haggerty and Lewis showed an ability to craft topical pop songs that could launch them into the stratosphere. 2013 was the year they proved they have the talent and business savvy to stay there. MB

The Moondoggies are the ballast on the rocking ship that is Seattle’s folk-rock scene. Where fellow folkies The Head and the Heart have broken out and Fleet Foxes have faded from view, the Moondoggies have quietly, steadily stayed the course. The band’s third release, Adios, I’m a Ghost, maintains the band’s trademark template of rollicking roots rock, yet stands out as its most expansive album yet. Merry, ramshackle melodies remain—like the jam-tastic, Rhodes-forward “Red Eye” and the jangly “One More Chance”—but the band’s three-part harmonies are more cohesive now and thus more haunted, interwoven with layers of reverb that roll in and out like the a.m. Seattle fog. GE

In September 2012, two recent Western Washington University grads posted their debut album, Summer’s Gone, online. Within a year, the duo—producers Catacombkid and BeachesBeaches, known together as Odesza—has traveled the country playing countless festivals and sold-out shows while touring with EDM mega-giant Pretty Lights. To top it off, the eponymous track from the band’s 2013 EP My Friends Never Die reached #1 on music-blog aggregator Hype Machine. Odesza’s unique take on electronic music almost sounds analog; the mixture of warm, crackling drum samples and chopped-up, hazy vocals make My Friends sound like a DJ spinning vinyl at a dance party orbiting the sun. KELTON SEARS

music@seattleweekly.com

 
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