A film about Northwest hip-hop from

Renaissance Bitch

Da Qween—a self-described reefer-smoking, black, queer, non-binary, hard femme—delivers bars upon bars that will bury your favorite rapper. Look no further than “When Worst Comes To Worst,” the second track on Renaissance Bitch. It’s three-and-a-half minutes of unrelenting, baller verses with nary a breath. (Except for two brief moments during which the tune—and your attention—are held in stasis.) Seattle Met describes the record as “coming in hot.” Renaissance is an expansive, ambitious, and theatrical listen that’s easily one of my favorites of the year.

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A film about Northwest hip-hop from

Alchemy Union 4: Gaia

Alchemy Union produce these absolutely killer mix compilation CDs, like AU 4: Gaia, pictured here. They are intimidatingly good. This one explores themes related to climate change. Track two, Alden Lightning‘s enviro-anthem title track, produced by Vaughn, has bass drums pounding down like hydro-fluorocarbons. She sings, “I don’t know why you think this will end well for you.” Some tracks are gorgeously, technically precise, Gershwin… or Classical-even. A few tracks in, your speakers are transformed into tin cans, while Araless raps, “We Can’t See” with verses about all the discarded plastic bottles in the ocean. And moments later, during Carter Wilson‘s “Present Tense,” you’re involuntarily snapping your fingers, and singing along that we’re all “trying to do the right thing.” Mixes like this remind me of the wealth of talent in this city. And damn, this is definitely the place where you’ll find it.

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A film about Northwest hip-hop from

Distinction Management Essentials 001

This opens with DoNormaal’s “50 Jasper Horses,” (feat. the newly renamed “Rave Holly”), and the placement of that song, first, forces you to hear it anew. The flow into “Dead Rose” by Nightspace is seamless, demonstrating the genre fluidity inherent in Seattle music. (The Deadmics track, with Hekl, The Mad Scientist is a revelation.)

Distinction Management throw these ultra-hip underground parties, at places with made-up names, where everyone attending is a celebrity and you have to know them, or know of them, to know who and where and when. Last Thursday’s had pop-up clothing shops, Taylar Elizza Beth and Aaron Cohen.

Distinction puts out these coveted mixed CDs–this is the first one… The second one was just released. It’s their collection of who’s hot right now, and they know: nerdy hard rock-tronica from Youngster Jiji, gender-fluid Michete (who’s “Red Rover” kicks some serious team-switching ass), musical chameleon Wolftone and of course Sleep Steady. Anna, Jasmine, Sasha and crew, hats off to you. Of course this CD is great.

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