A Cool Teen’s Perspective on Local Music


Photo by Simon Weisser on Unsplash

Tarah Gilesbe

As your classic tumblr girl, I am an occasional participant in the local music scene here in Bellingham. Here are some reviews of local bands of varying genres.  


Slow Fall (Youth) 

A nice indie rock band of current Bellingham Highschool students. Somewhere in between Kimya Dawson and Arctic Monkeys in terms of sound. Relatively simple chord progressions paired with a varying bassline and introspective vocals make for a unique sound that keeps people focused on the music. I’ve loved getting to see this band grow as they expand their setlist and scope of shows. This is a great chill band with some really nice people and skilled musicians. I would highly recommend seeing them play, they have upcoming shows at Zeek’s Pizza on May 2nd, and Boundary Bay on June 18th. You can find them at @slow_fall_ on Instagram for more details about their merch and upcoming shows.  


Kitty Obsidian: 

I’ve only seen Kitty Obsidian once and honestly I don’t have that many thoughts, so I’m going to pass this one off to my friend Maddi. 

Kitty Obsidian has the best stage presence of any local band I have ever seen – I have seen them four times and will continue to see them as long as they are performing. They are so new that they don’t have music on streaming services yet, but I still get their songs stuck in my head all the time (in a good way). I can’t wait to see them progress as a band – I feel like they can only go up from here, and once they’re bigger it’ll be less weird when I geek out over them. Also all the band members are really nice, its really grounding to see normal people make the coolest music in town” 

The one time I saw Kitty Obsidian I couldn’t see any of the band members during their set and the crowd was kind of obnoxious, so that probably had an impact on my enjoyment. However, musically this band is really good. The bassist is incredible (also the drummer for The Hobby) and the vocals mix really well with the blending of bass and piano. 


The Hobby 

Hands down my personal favorite local band. Their sound pulls a lot from mid 2000’s alt rock and pop punk. With fast drum fills and countermelodies, The Hobby amazes me every time I get to hear them play. Each member of this band is incredibly talented; the singer/guitarist writes incredible elegies of hopelessness; the bassist manages speed and rhythm extremely well; and the drummer’s work on the hi-hat is truly amazing (if you ever see them, you’ll know what I’m talking about). 


Magenta Wave 

I first discovered this band because I was loitering around the state capitol in Olympia, when a random guy started talking to me. When he found out I was from Bellingham, he told me that his son played guitar in a band called Magenta Wave that was based out of Bellingham. He pointed at me, telling me to go follow them on Instagram before walking off toward the O’Brian building.  

Magenta Wave forms a heavy psychedelic rock tone, fast rhythms blending with huge melodic solos that steal the limelight. Their songs are rather predictable, but they make up for it in the talent of each member of the band. The lead guitarist has an incredible understanding of how to play a good and interesting solo while maintaining a certain level of technical simplicity for most of it and knowing when to break form and pull something faster, like a legato.  



According to one of my associates who didn’t like this one, “Basically a Nirvana cover-band”. Well… they weren’t too far off the mark with that analysis, but I didn’t hate it. While Smithers did play two Nirvana covers, they had some good original songs. Through the second half of their set one of their guitarists switched to an acoustic guitar, and it made for an interesting tone. I definitely want to hear more of their music to see where they go with that. The drummer didn’t screw down their cymbals so they kept falling off mid-song, and though it was kind of entertaining, it made it a little hard to focus on the music. The band handled it very well though, sometimes putting the kit back together in between songs, and sometimes when one of the players had a respite, they would put it back together in the middle of a song. The drummer used a double bass pedal, which I respect the heck out of. I will go see pretty much any band with a double bass drum. This was also only the band’s second time playing live ever, and all things considered it was very cohesive and fun to watch. I’ll definitely keep listening to them.  



A solo artist who was the former owner of a guitar amp I now possess. The songs they have out on soundcloud are really good, and I can’t wait to see them perform live. I first heard of this artist from their last main project, The Hookups. It was a jazz-surf rock fusion (or Jurf, as they called it) band that was a joy to listen to. Unfortunately they are no longer together, however their lead singer/guitarist continues on their own. Their latest song, entitled Please, hold featured another local musician named Rylan Fischer, and its an amazing song and I love it.  


Ossuary Wraith 

This band has a special place in my heart, it was the first black metal performance I ever attended. Some good chilling dissonance and piercing guitar riffs. I would highly recommend listening to this band, especially if you’ve never listened to black metal before because they are safe. Unfortunately they aren’t around anymore, but the two guitarists are now in a hardcore project by the name of mem//brane 


Analog Brass 

Imagine my delight when I walked into what I thought was a punk show and saw some guy holding a sousaphone. Analog Brass is a ten piece contemporary brass band made up of two percussionists, one sousaphone, three trumpets, one tenor saxophone, two trombones, and one bass trombone. They were a blast to see perform. They played a Pearl Jam Cover, and it made me indescribably happy. They don’t have that much music on streaming platforms, but they put on a great show.