8 Seattle acts the city's favourite DJ thinks you should know

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The legendary KEXP radio DJ Cheryl Waters, a Seattle stalwart, shares her current local favourites.

Even if you’ve never been to Seattle, if you’re a music fan, you'll probably recognise Cheryl Waters.

The American radio DJ’s been playing her favourite music on the city’s KEXP station for 23 years (she started in 1994, right around when Kurt Cobain died). But aside from programming for her lunch show (four hours a day of music, five days a week), she also coordinates the live-on-air performances – booking the bands, introducing them, and interviewing them. That’s probably where you know her from. The videos – featuring pretty much every great band ever – have earned a collective half-a-billion views on YouTube.

So, Waters knows her stuff – particularly when it comes to her local scene, which has such a rich musical history. She's in Australia at the moment, after appearing recently at the Face The Music conference in Melbourne, and she sat down with Double J to school us on what the Seattle music scene of 2017 has to offer.

DoNormaal

"She just self-released her second album, Third Daughter, and a lot of labels would like to sign her, but she’s just kind of doing it on her own.

"She reminds me a bit of Noname – it’s really adventurous hip-hop, it’s got atmospheric textures. It’s incredible. Really personal lyrics."

Widowspeak

"They are based out of Tacoma, they lived in New York for a while. Their fourth album is called Expect The Best, it’s out on Captured Tracks."

Briana Marela

"She is on Jagjaguar, one of the Secretly Canadian labels. She went to college in Olympia and she lives in Seattle.

"Her newest album is her fourth, it’s called Call It Love. It’s really great. It’s kind of densely layered, beat-driven electro-pop."

Lo Tom

"Do you know Pedro The Lion? This is very David Bazan-sounding, because he is the singer.

"But TW Walsh, who was a member of Pedro The Lion, he’s in it. ... They did this one-off – I don’t know if they’ll do another album. But it came out this year, and I love it."

Thunderpussy

"This is an interesting story. It’s all women – four women – and it is just straight-up rock, like Led Zeppelin meets Heart.

"Molly, the singer, she is a dancer, so she is doing these sexy, really interesting [moves], slithering all over the stage. They are just so compelling to watch.

"Mike McCready, the guitarist in Pearl Jam, saw them at Sasquatch Festival [in Washington] like a year and a half ago and fell in love with them ... They made this album, and they loved the recording session, but they needed to mix it. And they [spent] all the money they had to make this recording. And Mike just gave them the money to mix it. He didn’t want anything from them. He just wanted to help them. He went to bat [for] them, and it just was announced like three weeks ago they signed with a major label."

Tacocat

"Everyone in Seattle loves Tacocat.

"It’s three women and a guy and they are just super fun – indie rock and really irreverent, funny lyrics."

Great Grandpa

"They just released their debut album, and it’s dynamic – grungy guitar and catchy pop mixed together."

FKL

"This young girl [Sage Redman] has been making music since she was in high school.

"She went over to London to go to university and study music, and she met a guy [Joe Gillick] in London. They moved back to the US and just got married and they have this band called FKL. It’s kind of like cold wave, atmospheric dream pop. I'm excited to hear what will happen with them. 

"This girl was a volunteer in the summers [at KEXP] when she was in high school, and she was kind of making this singer-songwriter music, and we were just very fond of her. She finally has found a sound."

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