Sarah Bethe Nelson

Download: Mixtape: Fourteen San Francisco Bands to Watch in 2015 (Podcast #357)

What does 2015 have in store for San Francisco Bay Area music? Using our very scientific prognostication tools, this mixtape seeks to answer that question, highlighting emerging bands in a number of genres that are poised to have breakout years. Some have upcoming albums or tours, while others are continuing to gain acclaim from their 2014 releases. Whatever the case, these are fourteen local bands to watch this year. Many of them are new to our podcast, and all of them are worth checking out in the months to come.

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About the bands:

Pablo – “Stoners”
Pablo Gutierrez relocated from Sacramento to Oakland to attend Mills in 2014, which is a win for Bay Area music. The singer-songwriter’s been crafting great folk-pop for a few years, and he told us last year that he plans to form a full band and beginning playing live again.

Sarah Bethe Nelson – “Paying”
Previously the frontwoman of Prairiedog, Sarah Bethe Nelson’s debut LP comes out in March on Burger Records. Fast Moving Clouds was recorded with Kelley Stoltz and a band of talented local veterans, and Nelson will be taking her band to South by Southwest in March.

Never Young – “Like a Version”
Never Young caught our ears with Master Copy last year, and the noisy rock band’s forthcoming self-titled EP (on Father/Daughter Records) promises to be another exciting step forward. The band recorded the new four-song set with Jack Shirley at The Atomic Garden.

Musk – “Knuckle Dust”
Oakland’s Musk released an acclaimed LP on Holy Mountain last year. The heavy, noisy quartet recorded the album mostly live in just two days with Chris Woodhouse.

Teal – “Hard For Me To Focus”
James Rogers of stellar local post-punk Creative Adult is also a solo artist, recording warped, melodic gems under the moniker Teal. B.H. Records is set to release Flowers Will Lay Upon Me later this month.

King Woman – “Burn”
Vocalist Kristina Esfandiari (previously of Whirr, also of Miserable) started King Woman, which has now become a four-person band that just released its first EP. Doubt, which Esfandiari also produced, features heavy instrumentation under the singer’s commanding vocals.

Kid Trails – “Never Fall in Love”
Oakland duo Patrick Jeffords and Andy Woodward comprise Kid Trails. The Feels The Same EP came out late last year, showcasing a winning retro-futuristic pop sound.

NRVS LVRS – “City Lights”
San Francisco’s NRVS LVRS formed just last year, and “City Lights” is the first single from their forthcoming album The Golden West. The record drops in March, and was recorded in an SF apartment and at Different Fur.

Talkies – “Never Fear”
Led by Ray Seraphin (from Glitz, Legs, and other local bands), East Bay band Talkies serves up ultra-catchy power pop nuggets. The band promises physical releases in the future, and they’ll also be touring the West Coast this spring.

Lee Gallagher and the Hallelujah – “Gloryland”
“Gloryland” is from Lee Gallagher and the Hallelujah’s self-titled debut album, which came out in January. The SF psych-influenced rock band is headed on a Pacific Northwest tour this spring in conjunction with an appearance at the Treefort Music Festival in Boise.

Lee Bob & The Truth -“Let The Hate In (I Won’t)”
Lee Bob Watson isn’t a new artist by any means, but his work with The Truth (Josh Lippi and Steve Wyreman) has found the singer-songwriter reinvigorated. We’re really excited for Watson’s The Truth LP, which is expected to arrive early this year.

Night School – “Birthday”
Night School is a quartet influenced by garage, shoegaze, and ’60s girl groups. Led by Alexandra Morte (a former vocalist of Whirr), the Oakland band released its first EP, Heart Beat, on Graveface Records late last year.

Stalls – “Cola”
Stalls is an Oakland trio that delivers insistent post-punk on their self-titled debut cassette, out now on Vacant Stare Records. Led by vocalist Sam Weiss, the band’s music has been garnering great reviews, and we’re excited to see them at The Bay Bridged’s Noise Pop Happy Hour with Couches and Never Young.

Mother Room – “Walk”
James Meuleners crafts experimental drone compositions as Mother Room. The Oakland-based artist debuted with Scorched on The Native Sound last year, and has a split with Planning for Burial coming in May.