5 local albums to stuff your friends' stockings

These up-and-coming Northwest artists may not have found their "Thrift Shop" yet, but they're certainly in line for the musical royalty crown.

1. Rose Windows, “The Sun Dogs”

On Rose Windows’ Facebook page, the band lists its genre as “insufferable psychedelic garbage.” That phrase — lifted from an angry music critic’s blog post — captures the self-aware and laidback nature of this Seattle band. Their debut album “The Sun Dogs” is unabashedly influenced by the sounds of Jefferson Airplane and other counter culture musical mainstays, but the result is pleasantly nostalgic rather than clichéd “garbage.”

2. Chastity Belt, “No Regerts”

Chastity Belt is a band so funny they demand to be taken seriously. Their sound channels the spirits of surf rock and garage rock, but it’s really just irreverent, tongue-in-cheek pop — track titles from the album include gems like “Nip Slip” and “Giant (Vagina).” Still, they have a soulful, almost desperate edge to their sound that connects with listeners on a level that belies their whimsical name and songwriting. “No Regerts” is great as headphone or party music.

3. The Physics “Digital Wildlife”

The Physics secured their place in Seattle hip-hop culture long ago. Their intricate rhyme patterns and soulful hooks have been titillating Seattle concertgoers for over half a decade. This newest release, “Digital Wildlife” comes just in time for the holidays. The first single released from the album “Play it off” is spectacularly synth heavy, with traces of dubstep influence.

4. La Luz, “It’s Alive”

La Luz’s stellar amalgamation of surfy dream pop has perked up the ears of many Seattle music scenesters this year. Considering they only formed in the summer of 2012, this past year has been a meteoric rise for the band, culminating in the October release of “It’s Alive.” Recently, the group suffered a car accident that destroyed most of their equipment, so record sales would probably be a blessing right now.

5. Nacho Picasso “High and Mighty”

Nacho Picasso serves as a kind of antithesis to Macklemore’s politically correct brand of Seattle rap. He’s old-fashioned party rap made new courtesy of his heavy, ethereal beats (think A$AP Rocky) and consistently humorous rhymes. Absurd movie references and artful double entendres abound here. If you like the album, Nacho has a number of excellent mix tapes available for “name your price” download on his bandcamp.

Joseph is a full-time landscaper, part-time journalist and full time culture junkie discovering the hidden joys of life as a UW graduate in Seattle. When not taking care of plants or writing, he spends his time in the company of good friends enjoying film, music and the great outdoors.


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