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Best of Olympia 2011 Staff Picks: Music

We chose Never Sleep, Jake's On 4th, Jeff Galegher, C Average, DJ Luvva J and others ...

Never Sleep: Double B and Dan Fajans know how to bring it. PHOTOGRAPHY BY ANDREA “REA” DROTER

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>>> BEST TOURING BAND

Wolves In The Throne Room

This little three-, sometimes four-, piece metal band has drummed and droned and hummed and honed their way into the black hearts of not only their originating Northwest, but the entire world. Only drug smugglers and budding terrorists jump countries like these guys do. In the last seven months, Wolves in the Throne Room have spread their radical environ-metal sound all over the U.K., Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Australia  and Canada. Wow. - Nikki Talotta

>>> HIP-HOP ALBUM OF THE YEAR

XP's William The VIII

If you are a devoted hip-hop fan and have not yet had a chance to check out XP's sophomore release, William the VIII, you're missing out on a serious Northwest classic. Not only was this the best hip-hop album to come out of Olympia in 2010, it very well may be the best hip-hop album to EVER come out of Olympia. Even with guest appearances and production from hip-hop luminaries A-Plus of Hieroglyphics and fellow Oldominion members Candidt, JFK, Smoke and Onry Ozzborn, somehow XP still shines the brightest on every song.  Xperience's smooth and sultry singing combines with his effortlessly complex raps to make for an epic release that will leave listeners begging for more. - Nic Leonard

>>> BEST LIVE HIP-HOP SHOW

Never Sleep

Some people really know how to rap ... Never Sleep really knows how to rap while putting on an entertaining show. Double B and Dan Fajans of Never Sleep have only lived in Olympia for a year and a half, but have already built one of the biggest followings I've ever seen created in such a short period of time. These two are wild and energetic and they've honed their skills playing all over The Evergreen State College's campus and at house parties, building a devoted fan base in the process. Recently Never Sleep opened for Casual of Hieroglyphics, more proof that the duo is currently creating a buzz that can't be slept on. Hop on the Never Sleep bandwagon now while there's still room. Never Sleep is playing March 4 at The Midnight Sun in Downtown Olympia. Come see for yourself why they've won this award. - NL

>>> BEST GAY-FRIENDLY SWEATY DANCE FLOOR

Jake's On 4th

What can we say about Jake's that hasn't already been said? Plain and simple: This place rocks. Whether you're doing the dance floor shuffle with your friends or pounding JELL-O shots at the bar in an effort to find some courage, Jake's has your back. The music is loud and the dance floor is always packed to capacity. The patrons, from the wildest of Greeners to the most straightest-laced, make for great eye candy. Always loud, always proud and certainly always sweaty, Jake's is the spot in Olympia to dance your heart out. - BC

[311 Fourth Ave. E., Olympia, 360.956.3247]

>>> BEST TIME

Night Of The Living Tribute Bands

Olympia Film Society is an important cog in the Olympia arts and music community. OFS and The Capitol Theater host a variety of awesome events, many of them annually. Night of the Living Tribute Bands is by far one of the coolest - an Olympia Halloween tradition that just keeps getting cooler. Since its infancy, many resurrections have been made, from C-Average covering The Who, to riot grrls from Sleater Kinney, Two Ton Boa and The Need channeling The Go-Go's. This year's L7 and Heart covers were particularly epic.  - Matt Discoll and NT

>>> BEST BIRTHDAY PARTY FEATURING THE TRUCKS

Aaron Hinchcliffe's Dirty Thirty Bash

Aaron Hinchcliffe's Dirty Thirty Bash at the Eagles was a screaming success! Rad bands, specifically the Trucks, the local all-girl badass rockers, delightful drinks and everybody who is anybody was on board for this event. Hinchcliffe stayed quite composed as he schmoozed his guests who ended up more drunk than the birthday boy himself. Undoubtedly after this one, there was plenty of hot sex, spirited karaoke, skinned knees and horrific hangovers to tide Olympia over until the next big shindig. - NT

>>> BEST HIP-HOP ARTIST OR GROUP YOU MIGHT NOT HAVE HEARD OF YET

2.0

North Carolina's Legac Jones and Florida's Yung Tac, both military brats, met in Olympia in 2006. They quickly found good chemistry together; Legac's versatile singing and rapping fused well with Tac's hardcore lyrics.  They've been grinding ever since, but living in Lacey can sometimes make it hard to get love from people who want to label you as, "Just another gangster rapper from Lacey." Well I can tell you this: 2.0 isn't that, and they bring plenty to the table. These two emcees have proved, along with cats like LA Swagga and SP, that we've got an exciting and dope hip-hop scene bubbling east of downtown Olympia. Their new mixtape, Da Opening Act, dropped Jan. 29. Do yourself a favor and get a hold of it somehow. - NL

>>> BEST HARD ROCK SOUND GUY

Jeff Galegher

Nicknamed "Tinker" for his ability to fix broken tube amps, home appliances and everything in between, this former Bacchus riff master makes the best sound even better. A regular with all the local venues and touring rock bands, Galegher's skills have afforded him the pleasure of working with Unwound, Wolves in the Throne Room and Hell's Belles - to name but a few. When asked if he'd like to comment on winning this prestigious award, he replied with this profound statement: "Um, no." - NT

>>> BEST >>> COMEBACK BAND

C Average

Back in 1998, this power duo broke out at just the right time, when it seemed liked nothing heavy was around, just a bunch of poppy crap. C Average pulled off tons of badass shows that were soaked with metal, mischief and medieval madness. After a lets-have-kids hiatus, the group re-emerged at what seems like just the right time once again, showing off their undeniable talent with old-school bands and the new stream of metal that has been sweeping Olympia. C Average, welcome back. - NT

>>> HIP-HOP RADIO DJ OF THE YEAR

DJ Luvva J

DJ Luvva J rocks Olympia's KAOS radio airwaves every Friday afternoon from 3 to 5 p.m. He's been doing his show, "Live from I-5," on KAOS for years. It has gone so well for the Oly veteran that KAOS actually decided to open up the airwaves for hip-hop every Monday through Friday. Luvva J's radio show is always packed with everything from our beloved local hip-hop to the super hyphy Bay Area freshness. You can also, from time to time, catch him  interviewing artists such as Shock G, Equipto, Sweatshop Union or whoever happens to be in the area, as well as interviewing local artists trying to promote their upcoming shows or albums. Tune into Luvva J's show every Friday from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on KAOS 89.3 FM or Comcast channel 982 from Olympia all the way up to Bellingham. - NL

>>> BEST PLACE FOR FREE MUSIC

Farmers Market

Let's see, food stands, kiddies, ice cream and even a fortune teller, you'd think you were at the fair, right? Well, throw in a bunch of organic produce, homemade delights and free admission, and now you know you're at Olympia's Farmers Market. And to top off this fantastic list of fun stuff, you get free music! Hooray! The market is open April through October and you can take a leisurely stroll through or grab a tasty treat and hunker down at one of the many picnic tables.  Your ears will be greeted by talented musicians rocking their banjos or horns or singing their hearts out. What a wonderful way to spend an Olympia day. - NT

[700 Capitol Way S, Olympia, 360.352.9096.]

>>> BEST PLACE TO GO AT NOON IN THE SUMMER FOR GREAT TUNES

Lacey Summer Music In the Park Series

The Lacey Summer Music in the Park series is a great place to get your fill of free lunchtime music. You'll find the office worker crowd on lunch break, and plenty of families and seniors out to enjoy the tunes. A variety of blankets form a patchwork on the grass for picnics and dancing children. You can grab a hot dog at the vendor if you've forgotten your lunch. The entertainment starts at noon and lasts and hour. The schedule is online and is typically heavy on country and Americana. - Brooke McKenzie

[Huntamer Park, 618 Woodland Square Loop SE, Lacey, 360.491.0857]

>>> BEST PLACE FOR THE KIDS (AND EVERYONE ELSE, ACTUALLY)

Northern

Quite simply, Northern all-ages music venue and art space and the Olympia All Ages Project have kicked ass and taken names - straight up. As the Olympia All Ages Project's Mariella Luz notes elsewhere in this Best of Olympia 2011 issue, it only took a couple months for Northern to become profitable enough to pay its rent - no small feat in this world of ever-closing music venues (especially of the all-ages persuasion). These days, Northern's eclectic and awesome  bookings rival any in hotbeds like Portland or Seattle. Northern gets to act as Oly's little secret. It's truly beautiful. And that's NOT EVEN COUNTING the arts offerings - of which there are many, of consistently awesome quality. But back to the tunes - over the last year, not only has Northern provided a space for regular local shows, it's also managed to wrangle in acts like the Thermals, Wild Flag, Cave Singers and on and on. It's awesome. - MD

[321 Fourth Ave., Olympia, northernolympia. org]

>>> BEST WEDNESDAY NIGHT PARTY BAND

The Brown Edition

A groovy, smooth jam isn't always easy to come by. Even in Olympia - the land of bands - a funky base line can sometimes be as hard to find as a conservative blogger. But not any longer. Olympia band the Brown Edition has been pumping up the funk. Anchored by lead singer Miguel Pineda's talented vocals, this eclectic six-piece ensemble brings down the house with funk, soul and everything in between. The Brown Edition has been known to shell out 20-minute-long groove-infused masterpieces at the drop of a hat. The band draws a crowd, and as soon as that bass line starts popping the crowd starts hopping. They play every Wednesday night at the Royal Lounge. Go, join the party. Just don't forget your dancing shoes. - BC

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