Big Voices, Indie Champions and Cult Icons of the Northwest

If nothing else, rock is raw. On her fifth album Firewatcher’s Daughter, recorded almost entirely with first takes and no demos, Washington native Brandi Carlile releases a mature and emotional album that’s pure rock, if dressed in country clothes. Single “Wherever Is Your Heart” starts with driving acoustic guitar, building to fiery intensity, Carlile’s earnest voice pleading on the final refrain.


It’s been eight years since indie giants Modest Mouse released a proper studio album. Their latest tune “Lampshades on Fire,” off new offering Strangers to Ourselves, shows that the Washington troubadours haven’t missed a beat. A jaunty carnival-esque keyboard ditty takes a left turn into bouncy guitar dance jam that’s trademark Modest Mouse.

“Somebody that I Used to Know” is a cover from the on-the-nose album titled Seth Avett and Jessica Lea Mayfield Sing Elliott Smith. They lend robust sound and beautiful dual vocal harmonizing to the whispery, soft, sensitive ballad from Smith’s catalogue of melancholic gems.