One of the true joys writing about music offers is the chance to meet new musicians and bear witness to their creative evolutions. Over the years, I’ve seen café coworkers go on to sign record deals and tour the world. I’ve watched friends open for Hall of Fame rock musicians. And I’ve heard demos turn into songs that run on the radio for months. Watching all this transpire – and being part of it in some small way – is most assuredly rewarding. And that’s the same feeling I get when I listen to the music of Seattle-based rockers Black Ends, a project fronted by Emerald City rock musician Nicolle Swims.

Black Ends, “Life Waist Dead” 

Black Ends, “Life Waist Dead” on Bandcamp

While Black Ends is in the process of writing and recording new music, which we hope will hit the sonic streets sooner rather than later, here is a taste of what Swims has to offer with her 2017 demo, “Life Waist Dead,” a track I just came across. It’s a lo-fi concoction layered with multiple guitars and voice that hints at a new participant in the lineage of the local Grunge Greats. 

Erin Rae and the Heart Beets, “At It Again”

(photo: Philip Johnson Photography)

Erin Rae and the Heart Beets, “At It Again,” on Bandcamp

Something tells me Rae and her merry band are going to be hitting the major summer festivals and touring the west coast before even they know it. Fronted by the rustic-voiced songwriter, the group released its first single this month before playing an opening slot for a packed crowd at Neumos in January. Watch out, world! 

Raven Hollywood, “I Miss My Girlfriend”

Hollywood walks a dichotomous line in the Emerald City. He’s as “out there” as any, posting intimate stream-of-consciousness thoughts on his social media platforms while also remaining one of the city’s most mysterious and mercurial artists. Regardless, he’s made a hit here. A 2-minute forlorn pang of absence relatable to any who’s missed a loved one. 

Lyle, “Believe in the Dark”

The Seattle art-rock band switches both instruments and roles on stage and in the recording studio. Their most recent track features the timeless timbre of vocalist, Art Lipatan. The band seems to be strategic how it releases its singles, so keep a look out for their next offering. In the meantime, enjoy this full tune.

Warren Dunes, “Talkin’ About That Burden”

Warren Dunes, “Talkin’ About That Burden”

The trio will be releasing a much-anticipated record in April. But in the meantime, thirsty fans can check out this yet-to-be-unreleased track on the band’s Facebook page recorded live in their practice space. It features front woman Julia Massey, playing two keyboards at once while wearing her signature Kevin Durant jersey. She’s at her most spritely, singing in her own familial way about the weight of a single day. In another life, Massey would be the world’s therapist.

Good Quiver, “You’re The Tiger”

This song is simply fucking fun. It’s also mesmerizing, hypnotic and goofy (“Go get ‘em, meow!”). And it’s the type of song that if you were driving down the highway and it came on the radio, you’d instantly speed up and let the invigoration surge. But it’s not the type of rush that takes itself too seriously. It’s self-deprecating. It’s just, like we said, fun. 

ZELLi, “Thotfull”

Speaking of fun, this new track from ZELLi adds a bit of flirt and sultry to the smile-inducing. This song would be perfect for taking a few shots with friends or when you and your chosen partner for the evening want to turn down the lights and live life to the fullest.