Ten from 2009
 

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In preparing some end-of-the-year features that will run over the next week, we were once again struck by how many Bay Area bands made a significant impact on indie music this year. We were pleased to sit down with some of the Bay Area's best this year for interviews on our podcast, and have collected music from 10 of our favorite interviewed bands for this recap episode. If you like what you hear, check out our podcast episodes spotlighting each of these bands.

This will be our last podcast of the year, but we'll be continuing regular blogging right into 2010.

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About the bands:

- Thao with The Get Down Stay Down: "Cool Yourself" [from Know Better Learn Faster]. Profiled on Episode 190 of our podcast.

What we said:

[T]he new album seizes upon the trio's live energy as they explore a number of musical styles. Like before, Nguyen's vocal and lyrical charisma are a dominant force throughout, as Thao explores the end of a relationship with wit and thoughtfulness.

- Leopold and his Fiction: "Ain't No Surprise" [from Ain't No Surprise]. Profiled on Episode 150 of our podcast.

What we said:

It’s no easy feat that the group has accomplished, turning its melting pot of influences into songs that, for all the talk of "vintage", feel both innovative and exciting.

- Thee Oh Sees: "Meat Step Lightly" [from Help]. Profiled on Episode 172 of our podcast.

What we said:

[S]eriously, do we need to introduce this band to you? Through a relentless performance schedule and some excellent recordings, it's tough not to consider Thee Oh Sees one of the top rock bands in the Bay Area.

- Sleepy Sun: "Lord" [from Embrace]. Profiled on Episode 193 of our podcast.

What we said:

Embrace has both an immediate and a lasting appeal. Whether you're drawn first to the charismatic vocal hooks or potent electric guitars, the album strikes, to our ears, a great balance between melodic rock and psych experimentation.

- Vetiver: "More of This" [from Tight Knit]. Profiled on Episode 158 of our podcast.

What we said:

Cabic and Monahan have developed a folk-rock sound balancing relatively understated melodies with gorgeous layered production...[C]ritics have praised the band's ability to transform well-worn classic folk and rock sounds into something both familiar and modern.

- Garrett Pierce: "Can I Stop Breathing?" [from All Masks]. Profiled on Episode 159 of our podcast.

What we said:

For all of the collaboration involved in each of his records, however, the strongest impression All Masks leaves with the listener is that Garrett's talents as a performer and a songwriter are undeniable.

- Odawas: "Swan Song of the Humpback Angler" [from The Blue Depths]. Profiled on Episode 164 of our podcast.

What we said:

The band's unique sound results from shared interests and divided roles. Both Tapscott and Edwards have a love of film soundtracks and electronic compositions, and they harness the grandeur of these styles to maximize the emotional impact of what remain, at their core, rock songs.

- Rubies: "Stand in a Line" [from Explode from the Center]. Profiled on Episode 173 of our podcast.

What we said:

The melange has a distinctively cosmopolitan, modern feel to it, and it seems quite understandable that Rubies are already an international hit even as they introduce themselves to stateside audiences with their debut full length.

- Wallpaper.: "I Got Soul, I'm So Wasted" [from Doodoo Face]. Profiled on Episode 182 of our podcast.

What we said:

Over time, though, Wallpaper.'s sound has grown more focused and more organic, tapping into Frederic's unironic love for R&B and giving birth to his alter ego Ricky Reed...Reed may be the talented vocalist and funmaker, but it's Eric whose the genius songwriter/producer behind it all.

- Sholi: "Tourniquet" [from Sholi]. Profiled on Episode 152 of our podcast.

What we said:

What impressed us most on this second go-around is the sense that all of their time and effort has really paid off, helping the trio to forge a really strong idea about their music--what it means, how it should sound, how it feels. How many groups can create a fully-fleshed out aesthetic this enjoyable on their first album?

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