Giving Guide 2016

Giving the Gift of Good Local Music

Five albums for the curious fan on your list.

Authentic Living by Nail Polish Nail Polish’s songs sound like they’re barely held together—tin cans and broken glass strung up with metal wire. The local punk band subverts expected form and structure by working against what the listener thinks is going to happen next, zigzagging and stumbling all over itself in an exhilarating, nervy mess that’ll make your friends grin with its crushing calculation. The cassette comes with a fold-out risograph-printed insert from the band’s vocalist/bassist and part-time comic artist, Aidan Fitzgerald. $5, nailpolishseattle.bandcamp.com

Leavings by Tay Sean Leavings cements Tay Sean’s place as one of Seattle’s most thoughtful artists—one who hasn’t forgotten that music, at its core, is a sacred act. Over impeccably self-produced cosmic funk and hip-hop, inventive rhythms, and extrasolar synths, Leavings asserts its own cosmology, informed equally by Carl Jung, Carl Sagan, ancient esoteric texts, and physics—or as Tay Sean says in the glistening, hand-drum-driven lead track “Australopithecus,” some “natural mystic shit.” Available on white vinyl or in a spendy deluxe version with a hand-engraved prayer-bead necklace. $25/$175, taysean.com

Fleuve by Ô Paon A singular Northwest artist, Anacortes’ Geneviève Castrée tragically passed away in July at 35 after a year-long battle with pancreatic cancer. She left behind an amazing body of comic art and music, including her last album, 2015’s Fleuve, recorded under her alias, Ô Paon. Sung in her native Québécois French, the album is a haunting hymnal to winter set to eldritch drone folk. Another thing she left behind—her husband, Phil Elverum, and their newborn baby, who this record’s sales will directly benefit. $15, pwelverumandsun.com

Post Romanticism by Trowa Barton In April, Seattle’s Trowa Barton put out one of the year’s most underrated hip-hop records, his dusky, magickal Post Romanticism. “Revolution,” the standout track, is a glimmering, hypnagogic trap-tune that floats along languidly like a contented, levitating ghost and inspires repeat listens. “Ashes Out the Window” is similarly swirling, gently riding a subtle snare-and-hat rhythm over cavernous church-choir reverberations. There’s a lacy, wraithlike warmth to the record, tinting its gruff darkness with a shade of pink that’s hard to place and utterly unique. Digital only, name your price; underworlddustfunk.bandcamp.com

Afterthought EP by Ings “Afterthought,” the single on Seattle songwriter Inge Chiles’ newest EP, takes the Zen-like minimalism of her style to its logical conclusion—a pop song that doubles as meditation. “I will not be your afterthought/I will not/You gotta go/You gotta go now,” she repeats over and over, slowly adding layers of her own vocal harmonies onto each carefully uttered syllable. Listening to the song feels like going through a Japanese tea ceremony. If you need a mind bath, Ings’ art will take care of you. $5, ings.bandcamp.com

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