The first time I saw The Mallard was at a fundraiser at The Lab in April of this year. I went because Thee Oh Sees were on deck to play and The Lab is only 8 minutes from my house. It was super busy at work, so getting away from the computer for an hour or two of live music was a luxury.

When I saw The Mallard‘s instrument set-up I was excited that I made the effort to come out. See, I have this thing for drums (and drummers) and Dylan Tidyman-Jones’ stand-up drum set-up isn’t something I’ve often seen. Novelty doesn’t necessarily mean good music, but without much ceremony, The Mallard put their guitars on, grabbed their drumsticks, and went on to blow me away. Their psychedelic influenced surf pop, punctuated with angular riffs and staccato drumming made my heart do the thing I hope for each time I see live music. My heart went ping-ping in response. A 3-piece at the time, Greer McGettrick’s haunting vocal style (harmonized by the two Dylans) created the perfect accompaniment to their quick paced music. (Dylan Edrich rounded out the line-up with her guitar and bass duties.)

This performance inspired me to take their photo, post it to Instagram and note the band’s name (the main way I remember new things these days). And they haven’t disappointed, the second time I saw them, at Rock Make, solidified their place in my heart as my favorite SF band of 2012.

Mai Le is a San Francisco-based photographer, stylist, and bicycling advocate. She is best known for her street style blog, fashionist.