Trails and Ways

2012 has been a pretty fantastic year for Bay Area music. In fact, it’s pretty tough for me to zero in on a true favorite. Ty Segall’s Twins & Slaughterhouse are both pretty phenomenal. Exray’s Trust a Robot is a beloved release in my home. Fresh & Only’s Long Slow Dance will also make my top albums list this year. Geographer’s Myth is beautifully cinematic. Blackbird Blackbird is back with a great new album. James & Evander’s Let’s Go single got me grooving. And there have been countless debut singles by new up-and-coming Bay Area bands to be excited about.

Because it’s hard to pick a favorite, I’m going to shill for our friends in TRAILS AND WAYS in part because they let us release their debut single in our Pairings Box (we also released a super rad acoustic EP by SF’s Mikal Cronin which I’ll disqualify for consideration solely because it primarily features tracks from his 2011 debut). Now that I’ve revealed my bias, I’d also point out that because we are long sold out of the Pairings Box single, there is no financial motive for me to continue to promote them. In other words, I’m selecting them as one of my favorite new Bay Area bands for the same reason I asked them to do a single with us in the first place: I love the music they make.

There is plenty to love here too. By finding the common ground between artists like Jorge Ben and The Radio Dept., TRAILS AND WAYS were able to create warm and incredibly upbeat pop music as sunny as the beach in Rio and yet as stormy as a night in Sao Paulo. More importantly, their songs are a lot of fun to listen to. So far, they’ve only released a handful of original tracks, but each one is as good as the last. It’s true that they’re at a pretty early point in their career, but that’s part of the fun. As much as I’ve enjoyed the music they released in 2012, I can’t wait to see where they go in 2013.

Matthew Hickey is an entertainment lawyer and the co-founder of Turntable Kitchen.