Offstage, Bre Loughlin is easy- going, a good listener, humble, gracious about other bands and musicians — very girl-next-door. Onstage, an invisible switch...

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Offstage, Bre Loughlin is easy-

going, a good listener, humble, gracious about other bands and musicians — very girl-next-door. Onstage, an invisible switch is flipped: She becomes wildly charismatic, gracefully alluring, intensely passionate and radiantly sexy.

As a writer with Seattle’s music blog put it: “Onstage, Bre looked devastating, controlled, doll-like, strong, mesmerized and mesmerizing all at once … I saw nothing but confidence and a natural-born performer.” That was two Decembers ago, when Loughlin was with a sizzling electro-Goth band called Kuma.

It’s a safe bet to say that any band featuring Loughlin would be worthy of attention. Yet this new one she is leading, Daylight Basement, has the makings to be one of the brightest lights in Seattle’s night skyline. In addition to Loughlin, Daylight Basement features the singer of Rotten Apples, the drummer of Maktub and the guitar player of the Jeunes.

This rare combination of Seattle music veterans — combined with Loughlin’s striking vocal talent and stage presence — puts Daylight Basement atop the list of 2005’s 10 best new local bands.

1. Daylight Basement

Loughlin started the year with Kuma, which seemed to be ready to grow out of its Northwest base. Like many other singers, she wanted to explore a solo side project in mid-2005. Insisting on a “no side projects” rule, the other members of Kuma stunned their fans by firing Loughlin (which seems like the janitor firing Donald Trump).

She played a few solo shows around Seattle earlier this fall, then decided she liked the collaborative environment. Her musician friends quickly lined up to join Daylight Basement. First came Dejha Colantuono, the spunky singer of the female punk-band Rotten Apples. Colantuono really does have a daylight basement, in her West Seattle home, which became the rehearsal space and general headquarters of the band.

Davis Martin, the Maktub drummer, was next to join DB (Maktub is in semi-hiatus, with singer Reggie Watts concentrating on his comedy career). Guitarist David Bos of the Jeunes and keyboardist Joey Veneziani of Secret Civilians came onboard, and Daylight Basement quickly went into the studio to record Loughlin’s songs.

Daylight Basement unveils its debut CD, “Any Kind of Pretty,” at 10 tonight at Chop Suey ($8).

Fans of the dark, heavy Kuma might be surprised by Daylight Basement, a far poppier, often upbeat band with ’80s beats and garage-punk edgings.

The common denominator is Loughlin, possessing a powerful, wide-ranging rock voice. The songs on the CD include a Billy Bragg-ish “Godspeed Girl,” the jittery layers of guitar on “Honey Bees,” the pure pop of the title track and the moaning anguish of “12 Doors.”

While the recording is a treat, Loughlin live is enticing and unpredictable, singing each line as if she is revealing a chunk of a mystery, a piece of her soul.

Daylight Basement also plays from “Any Kind of Pretty” at 5 p.m. Saturday at Sonic Boom Records in Ballard (2209 N.W. Market St., free). Upcoming shows include a New Year’s Eve concert at the Showbox, with Maktub (busy night for Martin).

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2. The Emergency

This is another female-fronted band, with Zana “Dita Vox” Geddes leading the way, which has been a shot of adrenaline straight to the chest of indie-pop-dominated Seattle. Geddes is far less experienced than the likes of Bre Loughlin but brings to the stage a riveting sense of intense play.

The Emergency is like kindergarten for adult punks, a playground of screaming, colorful lyrics. The guitar and bass players practically tackle and wrestle each other, again in childish style.

For all its Detroit-rock-worshipping showmanship, this is an extremely tight band — the result of playing scores of shows this year. The Emergency is hungry to play and has put together a handful of muscular, smart songs: the irresistible anthem “Get It Up” (a call to get off the couch), “The Dope Song,” “Sweat Sex” and “Can You Dig It.”

The Emergency rips into the Crocodile at 10 tonight ($8;

3. Band of Horses

When Carissa’s Wierd called it quits in 2003, Ben Bridwell was at a loss. Home in South Carolina for the holidays, he locked himself up and starting writing songs … and the twangy, carefully measured melancholy of Band of Horses was born. He played a few shows around town, recorded a few low-key, brutally emotional demos, then signed to Sub Pop. Mat Brooke, former co-leader of Carissa’s Wierd, joined Bridwell as a back-up player, and his contributions only make this lean, sharp band all the more promising. The debut CD is due out in early 2006 (

4. The Weapons

With songs like “Numb,” “Jawbreaker” and “Heartless,” this Theo Prince-led trio is bringing back the grunge. Erik Schultz is a virtuoso drummer, and Prince sounds like Kurt Cobain here, Layne Staley there … The Weapons shoot their neo-grunge sound off at Fremont’s High Dive at 9 p.m. Saturday ($6;

5. Bats of Belfry

In addition to the quirky name, this band has a singer who looks like a young Tom Petty and a chaotic, psychedelic-Stones-glam-Beatles sound. It’s a work-in-progress and sometimes just a bit sloppy, but it’s an exciting mess. You get the feeling this band might be onto something big, some day soon. The Bats fly into Capitol Hill’s the War Room at 10 p.m. Dec. 15 ($5).

6. Panda and Angel

The quiet-to-cathartic song “Dangerous” is the best evidence this young band, formed by powerful singer Carrie Murphy and guitarist Josh Wackerly, has explosive potential. While the band is still figuring out its live sound, a demo CD is one of the best local recordings of the year. They’ll be playing beautiful songs like “Christmas” at Neumos, 10 p.m. next Friday ($8;

7. Sera Cahoone

Yet another former Carissa’s Wierd member, Cahoone has launched an alt-country solo career. Cahoone played drums for C.W. and backed some of the Band of Horses and Panda and Angel recordings. Upon hearing her sing, it’s clear she belongs in front of a microphone, no matter how good a drummer she is. Sounding more Austin than Seattle, often accompanied by pedal-steel-guitarist Jay Kardong, she performs at Conor Byrne at 9 p.m. Saturday ($5), the High Dive at 5:30 p.m. Sunday ($10), then Chop Suey at 8 p.m. Dec. 18 ($5;

8. Slender Means

Slender Means formed in 2003 but counts as a “new band,” since it only recently released its first CD. “Neon & Ruin” is a nice collection of indie-pop — nothing earth-shakingly original, just solid songs. Slender Means plays Neumos at 10 p.m. next Friday ($8;

9. Razrez

This band hearkens back to the likes of Adam Ant, the Stranglers and Echo and the Bunnymen — very ’80s, very dance-friendly. Razrez plays at TJ’s in Kirkland at 9 tonight ($5), followed by a show at the Crocodile at 9 p.m. Dec. 15 ($7;

10. The Cops

It’s tempting to call them “arresting.” The Cops reach back in time to recycle the Clash — not a bad choice, at all. The Cops get busy with a holiday-themed show at Chop Suey at 9 p.m. Thursday ($5, $2 with canned-food donation;

Tom Scanlon: