For 17 years, MoPOP’s Sound Off! has highlighted the best up-and-coming musicians in the region. Our track record is excellent: This annual competition, which brings together the best under-21 artists in the area, has been a launching pad for groups such as The Lonely Forest, Naked Giants, and Manatee Commune.
The premise of Sound Off! is simple: Each Friday night in February, four competitors will gather for a concert at MoPOP. One band will advance to the finals, which take place on Saturday, March 3. (As an added bonus, KEXP’s Audioasis will be broadcasting live from that main event!)
On Friday, February 9, Strawberry Mountain won the first semi-final round. The 2018 event continues tonight, Friday, February 16th, with our second round of semi-finalists: Micaiah Sawyer, NËSTRÄ, Sam Foster, and Step Dads. Here's some info on what to expect:
“I really want to be able to relate to people, as well as let them know that even though we’re struggling, there’s something there over the hill,” the Olympia-based, blues-folk songwriter tells MoPOP. That certainty and optimism shine through on Sawyer’s Rest EP, which provides a showcase for her evocative acoustic guitar playing and smoky voice, and on an inventive YouTube take on a classic rock staple, Kansas’ “Carry On My Wayward Son.”
Hailing from Lynwood, Washington, NËSTRÄ has lofty goals. "I want to change how R&B is perceived," the 19-year-old tells MoPOP, noting that he wants to accomplish this by using live bands and fusing disparate styles. "My goal is to create a genre." Judging by the seductive new single "11:11," which combines slinky finger-snaps, Quiet Storm-inspired programming, and hypnotic vocals, NËSTRÄ is well on his way there. Expect a new EP, dubbed N Ü N Ö, soon.
Sam Foster — whose latest record, OCD, recalls Jeff Buckley's ethereal folk and John Mayer's bluesy rock — isn't exaggerating when he says that music saved his life. "Starting early in my high school years, I started using music as a way to cope with my increasingly severe OCD," the Issaquah-based songwriter reveals to MoPOP. "This was really a godsend for me. I wouldn’t be here without [music]… It’s a great release. And it’s a great way to make meaning of pain that seems meaningless at the time."
Step Dads are no strangers to Seattle: Three-fourths of the band did VERA Project, EMP, and STG summer camps growing up. Now based in Bellingham, Washington, the quartet favor garage-pop with a decided surf-rock (and melodic indie) bent. "There’s so much crazy stuff going on in the world," says Nate Kahn to MoPOP. "It’s 2018. I mean, come on, let’s just rock and roll together for a little bit."
Tickets to tonight’s show are $14 for the general public, $10 for students with ID, $9 for MoPOP Members, and $5 for Teen Tix Members. (Online tickets available here.) Doors are at 7:00 PM with the show starting at 8:00 PM.
Throughout February, MoPop's annual under-21 competition Sound Off! brought together twelve of the region's most promising young artists. This Saturday, March 3, four finalists will battle it out at MoPop's Sky Church stage for a chance to be crowned the 2018 winner, and Audioasis on KEXP will be...
The 2018 semi-finals conclude tonight, Friday, February 23rd, with our last round of competitors: Beyond the Woods, Claudine Magbag, EyezOthelo, and Misundvrstood. Here’s some info on what to expect.
For 17 years, MoPOP’s Sound Off! has highlighted the best up-and-coming musicians in the region. The 2018 event kicks off tonight, Friday, February 9th, with our first round of semi-finalists: Dreadlight, Jawzilla, Maiah Wynne, and Strawberry Mountain.
For 16 years, the Sound Off! competition has supported all ages music by giving a platform to young, local artists. All competitors are under 21, reside within the Pacific Northwest, and almost always give us a few show-stopping moments. We've seen Sound Off! kick off the careers of Northwest fav...
This Saturday, March 11th, MoPOP hosts this year's finals of Sound Off!. KEXP will broadcast the competition live on air as part of Audioasis, our local music show. The pairing is perfect, as not only is Sound Off! the Northwest’s premiere 21-and-under battle of the bands, but many past artists h...