Ty Segall

Download: Mixtape: Catching Up With Some Former Locals (Podcast #348)

The news that John Dwyer of San Francisco mainstays Thee Oh Sees was moving to Los Angeles – followed shortly thereafter by a Dwyer-penned press release that called the City a “graveyard” of “tech waste” – caught many of us by surprise, but it probably shouldn’t have. Indie musicians frequently leave their home bases for new environs. Musicians move for a variety of reasons–for a change of pace, to be closer to collaborators, and to find new receptive audiences. Locally, many have been concerned about the high cost of living here pushing musicians away, a frustration expressed by the Crime on the Moon label’s excellent recent compilation, San Francisco is Doomed.

In LA, Dwyer joined another former local, Ty Segall, who relocated last year to be closer to his family, and others like Bart Davenport, Damon Palermo of Magic Touch, and Mike Sempert have similarly headed south in recent years. A number of artists have moved even farther, with Matthew Melton and Alexis Georgopoulos of Arp leaving the Bay Area for Austin and New York, respectively, and Ryan Karazija of Audrye Sessions emerging in Reykjavik with a new band called Low Roar.

This mixtape checks out new and recent releases from ten artists who previously called the Bay Area home. They may no longer be locals, but they’re still extremely talented. Besides, many of these musicians frequently come back to the Bay Area to play live, and we’ll always consider all of them members of the extended Bay Area musical community.

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About the Bands:

Ty Segall – “Susie Thumb”
Now hailing from: Los Angeles, CA
For an artist who used to release records at a feverish pace, Ty Segall was surprisingly quiet for a long time after moving to Los Angeles last year. That changed in August with the release of Manipulator, an ambitious new album on Drag City. The LP has been widely hailed as a new peak for Segall, and, although his ongoing worldwide tour in support of the album hasn’t hit SF yet, it shouldn’t be too long before he and his band return for a show.

Arp – “UHF1”
Now hailing from: New York, NY
After years in beloved local post-punk-meets-krautrock wizards Tussle, Alexis Georgopoulos split off to begin performing as Arp. Georgopoulos eventually moved to New York, expressing in an interview last year that he found San Francisco to have an “artistic landscape to be a bit narrow in scope.” The project began with a more experimental electronic bent, but his new record, Pulsars e Quasars, ventures excitingly into noisy psych-pop territory.

Mike Sempert – “Finest Line (acoustic version)”
Now hailing from: Los Angeles, CA
The longtime leader of Birds & Batteries moved to LA and released a solo album earlier this year. Mid Dream finds the artist putting his synthier inclinations aside in order to more deeply explore his love of ’70s classic rock. The record was recently rereleased as Mid Dream Complete Sessions with bonus tracks from the album’s recording sessions.

Hiss Golden Messenger – “Mahogany Dread”
Now hailing from: Durham, NC
MC Taylor and Scott Hirsch’s country-influenced indie band The Court and Spark gathered significant acclaim in the late ’90s and early ’00s, but after that group’s dissolution, both left the Bay Area for the East Coast and began recording as Hiss Golden Messenger. The band’s fifth album, Lateness of Dancers, arrived in September on Merge, gaining them long overdue acclaim. The band returns to SF for a show at The Independent on November 11.

Magic Touch – “Strongbow & Spliffs (feat. Roche)”
Now hailing from: Los Angeles, CA
Both members of Mi Ami — Damon Palermo and Daniel Martin-McCormick — picked up solo electronic projects as their band dissolved. Over the past few years, Palermo’s Magic Touch has released buzzing house records on the acclaimed LA label 100% Silk. The track included here is a collaboration with labelmate and local producer Roche.

Low Roar – “I’ll Keep Coming”
Now hailing from: Reykjavik, Iceland
Oakland’s Audrye Sessions accumulated a sizable local following during the band’s run in the 2000s, eventually releasing an album on a major label before the label collapsed and the band broke up. In the aftermath, vocalist Ryan Karazija relocated to Reykjavik, where he started the solo-project-turned-full-band Low Roar. The group’s new album is called 0, and it features strings Sigur Ros collaborators Amiina.

Bart Davenport – “Fuck Fame”
Now hailing from: Los Angeles, CA
Oakland native Bart Davenport spent many years in the Bay Area music scene, as a solo artist and a member of numerous bands. A few years ago, Davenport headed to Southern California to form a new band. Physical World, which arrived earlier this year, is his first solo album in six years, and another stellar collection of rock-pop from this supremely talented songwriter.

Matthew Melton – “Painted Sign”
Now hailing from: Austin, TX
Matthew Melton left the Bay Area for Austin this year, reforming his band Warm Soda with a new Texas-based lineup and taking his Fuzz City record label and recording studio with him. His latest solo LP is Outside of Paradise, a collection of songs that were recorded over the last seven years but never found their way onto any of the prolific songwriter’s other projects.

Craft Spells – “Breaking the Angle Against the Tide”
Now hailing from: Seattle, WA
Craft Spells leader Justin Vallesteros moved to San Francisco after the release of his first LP, only to find that living in the city brought him a serious case of writer’s block. Moving back in with his parents in Lathrop (near Stockton), Vallesteros began composing on a piano, eventually crafting all of the songs on his new album Nausea. The album was recorded in Seattle, where the musician moved earlier this year.

Thee Oh Sees – “Drop”
Now hailing from: Los Angeles, CA
Thee Oh Sees’ hiatus that accompanied bandleader John Dwyer’s move from San Francisco to Los Angeles didn’t seem to last very long, what with the well-received arrival of Drop, and multiple tours so far this year. Speaking of which, the band’s upcoming North American dates conclude with two nights at The Chapel on December 4 and 5. Dwyer has reconfigured the touring version of Thee Oh Sees as a trio, but word is that Bay Area-based Brigid Dawson, Petey Dammit, and Mike Shoun continue to round out the group’s recording configuration.