Anna Gazdowicz
For me, 2009 revolved mostly around a new home and new life in the City of San Francisco. Before that, I lived across the Bay in Oakland, and while it was time to move, it was sad to say goodbye to the Oak after two very fun and enlightening years. Grand Lake will always represent Oakland to me: a local band named “after a theater that named itself after a lake, that named itself after a man,” all touchstones in Oakland’s past and present.

[audio:] Grand Lake – “Concrete Blonde On Blonde”

Grand Lake released Nevermint in 2009, a debut record that takes minimalist boundaries and makes serene, textured indie pop. Elegant guitar work kicks around this album with slightly dissonant chords and dynamic vocals, at times paying homage to the band’s rustic folk roots (frontman Caleb Nichols used to play with Port O’Brien), and otherwise crafting curiously ethereal jams. Created within a loving reference to a Bay Area city, Grand Lake’s debut and subsequent work is yet another excellent example of our unique and vibrant local music scene.

Anna Gazdowicz is the local music editor at Stranger Dance. You can follow her on twitter at @annagaz. Stranger Dance also just released their best of 2009 list which you can read here.