A Preview of EMP’s Sound Off! Semifinals #3 on February 27th

12 bands from the greater Pacific Northwest compete in Sound Off!, EMP’s official battle of the bands competition. With two semifinals done, we are excited to see the final four bands compete for a spot in the finals along with Bleachbear (semifinals #1 winner) and Naked Giants (semifinals #2 winner).

Emma Lee Toyoda

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Emma Lee Toyoda is an indie folk singer-songwriter local to Seattle, Washington. Inspired by other local Seattle folk artists such as Fleet Foxes and Bryan John Appleby, Emma Lee Toyoda and her four-piece band create a simple, yet soulful sound. While her music is similar to that of Sufjan Stevens, her voice resembles that of Regina Spektor. She is a multi-instrumentalist (vocals, guitar, banjo, baritone, and ukulele) with fun, quirky aesthetic and a soulful voice that seems so mature that its beyond her years. If you are a fellow folk enthusiast, we recommend checking her out!

Want to give her a listen? We recommend: Meadow

Mystery Machines

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Hailing from Gig Harbor, this young, four-piece punk mastery are bringing to the EMP that instance of hardcore ground shaking that the museum’s foundation never has a chance to get used to. Following bands like Thee Samedi, Mystery Machines will be providing Friday night with Washington’s punk element. With songs like “Vlad Putin” and “Sally,” Mystery Machines uses their music to approach political dialects with a furiosity that reminds you of those old school, angry icons like Black Flag but with a sort of direction to their music that remind you of punk bands with coherence, much like Fugazi. These under 21-year-olds might be new to the scene but they definitely know what they’re doing. I am excited to see how they’ll communicate with an audience that’s ready to riot with the energy and frustration Mystery Machine’s music will instill in them.

Want to give them a listen? We recommend Vlad Putin

One Above Below None

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Meet One Above Below None, a four-piece hip-hop group hailing from Renton, Washington. Many of their songs have dreamy/psychedelic hooks supported by strong and honest lyrics. Their sound is inspired by established artists including Nas and Kanye West. Along with their original work, they also incorporate other artistry into their songs such as remixing Britney Spears’ song, “Baby One More Time” into their song, “Give Me A Sign” and adding a spoken word piece in their song “Hate Y’all.” With catchy hooks, an emphasis on strong bass, and experimental beats, this group impressively establishes themselves as hip-hop artists at a young age.

Want to give them a listen? We recommend: They Don’t Know

Righteous Minds

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Product of the unionization of what once were Tribe Lovinditekai and Soul Rebel Brothaz. This Seattle based project is dedicated to creating “music with consciousness”, Righteous Minds Records support various music projects that center around political approach. Indie-punk band, Medium Size Kids is also mentioned in their website. Righteous Minds music group has non-conventional incorporations of techno elements in their rap music adding a psychedelic sense to their tracks. Their lyrics focus on musical enlightenment of various levels from realities of marginalized communities to criticism of commercial music enterprises. Their music, their videos and their social networks are testament to the incredible work ethics these folks have. It’s a little confusing to know exactly who of the Righteous Minds collective will be at the Sound Off! and which tracks from which artists will be performed. Whatever they do, I expect the members of Righteous Minds will definitely make the most out of the opportunity for audience outreach.

Want to give them a listen? Check out their video for track Kabbalah.


The Sound Off! Semifinals #3 will be on Friday, February 27th at 8 pm (doors open at 7 pm) at the EMP Museum. Tickets are available here. The final competition will feature Friday night’s winner and will be held at the EMP on March 7th. See you there!


April Jingco and Gabriel Ferri / Local Band Enthusiasts / KXSU Reporters

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