The Beat Goes On

Black Noise Records: Documenting Bellingham’s hip-hop scene

Music news you can use
August 3, 2022 at 5:05 a.m.
Black Noise Records owner Nico Sanchez stands in front of the record store at 1230 Bay St. in downtown Bellingham. In addition to running the store, Sanchez has also been a force in documenting the local hip-hop scene with his record label of the same name.
Black Noise Records owner Nico Sanchez stands in front of the record store at 1230 Bay St. in downtown Bellingham. In addition to running the store, Sanchez has also been a force in documenting the local hip-hop scene with his record label of the same name. (Photo courtesy of Black Noise Records)

CDN Contributor

One of the most encouraging developments in Bellingham’s music scene over the last few years has been the emergence of Black Noise Records. Its most visible manifestation is the record store at 1230 Bay St., but owner Nico Sanchez has also been a force in documenting the local hip-hop scene with his record label of the same name.

Sanchez actually started the label back in 2016. Throughout the years, it has released music from a whole bunch of local luminaries, including the Rhetorician, Slap Serif, Estimate, and Nodalus. In an era where digital and streaming are the focus for most musicians, all Black Noise releases take some sort of physical form, either CD, cassette or vinyl. The compilation it put out last year, titled "Family Affair," makes a great starting point if you want to become familiar with its artists. 

In addition to the release, the label also acts as an umbrella for event booking. Saturday nights at Aslan Depot and the popular After Sounds series Wednesday nights at Boundary Bay Brewery both operate as presentations of Black Noise Records. Its got a whole bunch of new stuff coming up this year as well, like an EP from Ideism and LPs from Slap Serif and Estimate & OG Neeks (Sanchez’s stage name).

One thing I’d love to see more of in our local scene would be groups of like-minded artists forming similar associations for their respective genres, whether that takes the form of a record label or something else. Things like putting out compilations or regularly doing shows together have the potential to build community in a way that benefits everyone involved.

In other news: If you’re a fan of beautiful, intricate instrumental compositions played on solo acoustic guitar, make sure you’re following local virtuoso Jacob Seyer. He just dropped the first single from his upcoming album, which will be out Friday, Aug. 19.

In addition to all the usual fun of First Friday and Art Walk, for the next few months, Downtown Bellingham, Pace Rubadeau and BECU are teaming up to sponsor a whole bunch of extra-high-quality buskers. August’s lineup includes the Julian MacDonough Quartet, McKain Lakey, and Marie, The Band. You can check the Art Walk site for details or just wander around and enjoy the surprises.  

This weekend is also the Anacortes Arts Festival. A whole lot will be going on, but some of the musical highlights include the high-energy blues/rock of Chris Eger (6 p.m. Friday on the Main Stage), the gypsy jazz of Pearl Django (2 p.m. Sunday on the Jazz Stage) and the lineup curated by Anacortes Music Project on the Port Stage on Saturday.

Live Music Listings 

Wednesday, Aug. 3

Bar Cicotti: 6 p.m., Casolary, Hunter, and guest (jazz)
Beach at Birch Bay: 6 p.m., Michael Dayvid (acoustic covers)
Boundary: 6 p.m., Aaron Guest on piano
Downtown Sounds: 6 p.m., Miles Harris and the Deep Cuts, Diego Romero Band
Honey Moon: 8 p.m., Open Mic
Juxt: 8:30 p.m., Invitational Open Mic
Kulshan Trackside: 4 p.m., GLYF
Mount Baker Theatre: 7 p.m., The Mavericks
Rockfish: 6 p.m., Joan Penney (jazz)
Seafarers’ Memorial Park (Anacortes): Cascadia Big Band
Semiahmoo: 6 p.m., Free Harmony
Shakedown: 8 p.m., Pound, Nott, guests (metal)

Thursday, Aug. 4

Barkley Market: noon, The Best Intentions
Blue Room: 6 p.m., Open Mic
Boundary: 5 p.m., Robert Sarazin Blake; 8 p.m., Three for Silver, Elizabeth Cottonmouth
Elizabeth Park: 6 p.m., Prozac Mountain Boys (bluegrass)
Honey Moon: 8 p.m., Jazz Jam
Hotel Bellwether: 6 p.m., Midlife Crisis and the Alimony Horns
Karate Church: 5:30 p.m., Weald & Woe, Aterrima, Maldisdeun, Carrier Wave (metal)
Kulshan Trackside: 7 p.m., Jessie Thoreson & The Crownfire, Gibson, Medler & Dye
Make.Shift: 8:30 p.m., Jeffrey Lewis, Cat Positive, Anna Arvan
Mount Vernon Riverwalk: 6 p.m., Naughty Blokes (rock)
Paws for a Beer: 6 p.m., Kid’Sax Ensemble
Thirsty Badger: 7 p.m., Open Mic
Twin Sisters: 6 p.m., TBA
That’s What I Like: 6 p.m., J.P. Falcon and Friends (folk/rock)
Wild Buffalo: 8 p.m., The Stinkfoot Orchestra (Frank Zappa tribute)

Friday, Aug. 5

Aslan: 8 p.m., BJ Block Trio (jazz/funk)
Beach at Birch Bay: 6 p.m., Jimmy Wright Band
Bellewood Acres: 6 p.m., Heron and Crow
Blue Room: 9 p.m., Lil Jim, Humble & Fearless, SYLKROAD, Quinton Grim (hip-hop)
Burlington Summer Nights: 6 p.m., Lazy Acres (rock)
Fireside: 7 p.m., TBA
Gateway1890: 7:30 p.m., Ron Hardt
Greene’s Corner: 6:30 p.m., North Country Highway (country/rock)
Honey Moon: 8 p.m., Bad Posture Club, West of Roan (folk)
Lake Padden Golf Course: 5:30 p.m., Michael Dayvid
Lighthouse: 7:30 p.m., TBA (jazz/lounge)
Pioneer Park (Ferndale): 5:30 p.m., Pacific Twang
Semiahmoo: 6 p.m., Brie Mueller Band
Shakedown: 9 p.m., Bottle of Smoke (Pogues tribute)
Skylark’s: 5 p.m., ChangeLand
Stones Throw: 6 p.m., High Mountain String Band (bluegrass/folk)
Vault: 7 p.m., Tea Seas Trio (jazz/funk)
Wild Buffalo: 9 p.m., Dr. Fresch, Salleymane b2b Ricky Ticky, Cables, Vyrul (electronic)
WinkWink: 7 p.m., Ceras, The Hookups (rock)

Saturday, Aug. 6

American Legion Post 86 (Blaine): 6 p.m., The Takers (classic hard rock)
Beach at Birch Bay: 3 p.m., Little Big Band (classic rock)
Blue Room: 7 p.m., Erin Corday, Tret Fure, Fey Eiford
Birdsview: noon, Birdstock 2022 featuring Lil Joe Argo, The Last Resort, Lazy Acres, more
Boundary: 1 p.m., Paige Woods & The High Fives
Conway Muse: 8 p.m., Mary Ellen Likens & The CC Adams Band (blues/rock)
Chair 9: 8 p.m., Yogoman Burning Band
FireHouse: 6:30 p.m., Groove Doctors
Fireside: 3:30 p.m., Singers’ Saturday
Gateway1890: 7:30 p.m., Wicked Timing (acoustic covers)
Greene’s Corner: 6:30 p.m., Jay Irwin & The GP Sunsets (folk/rock)
Guemes Island General Store: 6:30 p.m., Scott Pemberton O Theory
Honey Moon: 8 p.m., Stephen Ray Leslie (singer-songwriter)
Kulshan Trackside: 7 p.m., Hockey Teeth, Marie, The Band
Lighthouse: 7:30 p.m., TBA (jazz/lounge)
Rockfish: 7:30 p.m., Red House (blues)
Samson Estates Winery: 4 p.m., Blues Union (jazz)
Semiahmoo: 6 p.m., Steve Jones
Shakedown: 9 p.m., Altered '90s ('90s alt rock covers)
Skylark’s: 5 p.m., Penny Stinkers (classic rock)
Station 49: 5 p.m., Chill Deville (classic rock)
Thirsty Badger: 8 p.m., Marc Urban and D-Nice (classic rock, acoustic country)
Wild Buffalo: 9 p.m., Queen Mother, guests (Queen tribute)

Sunday, Aug. 7

Beach at Birch Bay: 1 p.m., Fantasy Band
Culture Cafe: 7 p.m., Open Mic
Gilkey Square (La Conner): 1 p.m., Midlife Crisis and the Alimony Horns (blues/R&B)
Kulshan Trackside: 3 p.m., McKain Lakey (folk)
Kulshan Sunnyland: 5 p.m., Deep River Blues
Old Edison: 5:30 p.m., The Pour Boys
Riverfront Park (Sedro-Woolley): 6 p.m., Desolation Sound
Semiahmoo: 4 p.m., Jordyn Johnson
Skylark’s: 1 p.m., Will Byrne (acoustic covers)
Station 49: 2 p.m., Michael Dayvid (acoustic covers)
Uisce: 7 p.m., The Devillies (Irish/folk)
Wild Buffalo: 8 p.m., NRBQ, The Minus 5 (roots rock)

Monday, Aug. 8

Kulshan Sunnyland: 6 p.m., Lindsay Street (Celtic/folk)

Tuesday, Aug. 9

Aslan: 8 p.m., Jazz Night
Beach at Birch Bay: 6:30 p.m., Open Mic
Boundary: 6 p.m., Paul Klein on piano
Farmstrong: 6:30 p.m., Chase Rabideau & Conrad Gruener

Before heading out to listen to live music, check with individual venues to make sure the event is still taking place as scheduled. 

Jesse Stanton's music column, The Beat Goes On, runs Wednesdays. Email: or Twitter: @JSBhamMusic.

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