New Music Sounds from the Pacific Northwest

The Pacific Northwest has been the source for a lot of great rock music — in the early 1990s, for example, it spawned the "grunge" sound made famous by acts like Nirvana and Soundgarden. Music critic John Brady shares some of his favorite new and sometimes quirky acts:

CD cover for Calvin Johnson's 'Before the Dream Faded'

Calvin Johnson

"With his off-key, bassy voice and lean, jangly melodies, Calvin Johnson shucks off many of the usual pop music trappings. He's a cool and detached hipster with an out-of-kilter sound and sometimes surreal lyrics."

CD cover for Toothfairy's 'Formative'

Toothfairy

"Recording under the name Toothfairy, Chad Crouch sings in a soft, wispy voice that tends to dissipate at the end of the phrase. On his album Formative, he revisits his teenage years to funny and touching effect.

Cover for 'Standing in the Way of Control' by The Gossip

The Gossip

"Lead singer Beth Ditto is a punk-rock howler in the tradition of the X-Ray Spex's Poly Styrene or Bikini Kill's Kathleen Hanna. But she also has a bit of the sexy, soulful disco diva in her."

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Before the Dream Faded

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  • Album: Before the Dream Faded
  • Artist: Calvin Johnson
  • Label: K Records
  • Released: 2005
 

Formative

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  • Album: Formative
  • Artist: Toothfairy
  • Label: Hush Records
  • Released: 2005
 

Standing in the Way of Control

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  • Album: Standing in the Way of Control
  • Artist: The Gossip
  • Label: Kill Rock Stars
  • Released: 2006
 

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