KEXP Suggests: Sound Off! Semi-Finals #3 at the MoPOP Museum 2/23

Local Music, KEXP Suggests
Written by Annie Zaleski

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!)

Strawberry Mountain won the first semi-final round, while the next week saw Micaiah Sawyer being crowned the night’s champion. 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.

Photos courtesy of MoPOP Museum 

Beyond the Woods

On its debut, Roots, the instrumental metal quartet takes cues from a variety of genres, including nimble prog, tranquil post-rock, and hulking metalcore. Beyond The Woods' keen attention to emotional connection sets it apart from the pack, however. “I make music the same way that I consume music, in that it’s coming from a very specific place,” says bassist Mitch Baker. “Whether that’s aggression or sadness or whatever, sometimes I want to consume that, sometimes I want to create that.”

Claudine Magbag

When Marysville, Washington’s Claudine Magbag discusses what she wants to achieve via her music, the idea of making connections immediately comes up. She’s on the right track: Her intricate, meticulous electro-pop — which boasts pulsating beats, piano flourishes, and gorgeous vocal layers — beckons listeners into its hypnotic universe. “I’m here to meet new people, and build a community and get involved in a community,” she says of her Sound Off! experience. “I’m really looking forward to that.”


Nineteen-year-old EyezOthelo, who honed his craft at MoPop’s hip-hop program the Residency, is wise beyond his years. That’s evident from his ambitious debut album, Inside Thinking Out, a collection of thoughtful hip-hop rooted in soulful introspection and sleek electro production. “Being a part of Sound Off! means collaboration,” he says. “A way to get your music and yourself as an artist or a band to the next level, [and] get a little more of a feel of actually being a band or artist.”


The Seattle-based rapper Misundvrstood possesses the kind of distinctive voice that propels hopefuls to stardom: It’s animated and confident, with equal parts relatable grit and unselfconscious playfulness. Between her “remixed” cover versions of songs by Cardi B and Playboi Carti — complete with elaborate, one-take videos — and the catchy original “Flex,” Misundvrstood is well on her way to a record deal.

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.

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