Mixtape: Twelve Bay Area Highlights from 2011 (Podcast #263)

We might be biased, but, from this vantage point, 2011 reconfirmed that the Bay Area continues to have the most vibrant music community nationwide. The SF scene cranked out a ton of amazing albums this year, and our final podcast of 2011 highlights twelve great releases from Bay Area artists over the past twelve months. This isn’t a “Best of” list per se, but these acts did create some of our favorite music in 2011. We’ll be doing more year-in-review coverage over the next few weeks, but, for now, enjoy this collection of great songs from this year.

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Track Listing/Notes:

Lumerians – Atlanta Brook”

Lumerians’ debut album, which was released in March, fulfilled the promise of the band’s impressively heavy live shows. The Oakland/SF psych group is currently working on a new album.

Dominant Legs – “Where We Trip The Light”

We’d been awaiting Dominant Legs’ full length for a while, and Invitation did not disappoint. The SF band created a unique world of buoyant, shimmering pop on the album, with Ryan Lynch and Hannah Hunt’s vocal interplay a particular highlight.

Mikal Cronin – “Get Along”

Before this year, Mikal Cronin had collaborated with Ty Segall on Reverse Shark Attack, and released records with Moonhearts, but his self-titled solo album allowed his unique psych-pop talent to take center-stage.

Exray’s – “Hesitation”

Released in January, Exray’s saw Jon Bernson and Michael Falsetto-Mapp shaping dense pop songs from layers of synths and samples. You might also recognize this song from The Social Network.

Part Time – “I Wanna Take You Out”

As Part Time, David Speck released a collection of synth-pop gems on Mexican Summer in July. He’ll be following up What Would You Say? with a new 7″ soon.

tUnE-yArDs – “Powa”

Does this one even need any observation? tUnE-yArDs’ profile skyrocketed with the release of the universally-acclaimed w h o k i l l, and we couldn’t be happier.

Girls – “Vomit”

Girls’ third release, Father, Son, Holy Ghost, beat the expectations set by the band’s previous work with a lush collection of heart-on-sleeve compositions that also sound great live.

Nodzzz – “Heyday Past Heyday Due”

In May, local trio Nodzzz released Innings, an album full of insistent jangle-pop songs paired with smart lyrical reflections on family and getting older. It’s highly recommended.

Ty Segall – “Goodbye Bread”

Ty Segall has been cranking out great records at a feverish pace over the past few years, but 2011 saw him break out with the psych-referencing Goodbye Bread and reliably exuberant live sets.

Magic Trick – “Daylight Moon”

Even though The Fresh & Onlys didn’t release much this year, Tim Cohen stayed busy with two albums, first as Tim Cohen’s Magic Trick, and then just Magic Trick. In four epic songs, Magic Trick’s The Glad Birth of Love reveals some of Cohen’s most ambitious songwriting yet.

Little Wings – “How Come”

Black Grass is Kyle Field’s latest album as Little Wings, and it’s another winner from the folk-pop troubadour. It’s no surprise that Field’s heartfelt songs and moving voice have earned him a devoted cult following.

Raleigh Moncrief – “Cast Out For Days”

Sacramento’s Raleigh Moncrief has been recording and producing other people’s music for years (including 2011’s strong Appetite and Ganglians albums), but he also found time this year to release Watered Lawn, a wonderful collection of soulful electronic pop with an experimental bent.