Download: Mixtape: Top Notch San Francisco Bay Area Indie Pop (Podcast #375)
Indie pop music — a wide-ranging label used to describe everything from jangling rock-pop to dreamy synth-pop — has been one of the Bay Area’s successful musical exports in recent years. Groups like Geographer and Painted Palms are just some of the latest in a long line of acclaimed local indie pop bands to break out nationally, joining Rogue Wave, The Dodos, Papercuts, Film School, The Aislers Set and many, many more.
Lest one be concerned for the future of local indie pop, this mixtape shows that plenty of emerging local bands are continuing to create catchy-as-hell music. This set includes eleven great acts from across the indie pop landscape, ranging from the sunny, upbeat bliss of Summer Peaks to the hazy beach-at-sunset sounds of Bobey. The tempos and textures may vary, but every song in this set is packing a ton of melody.
About the Bands:
Summer Peaks – “Change”
Brentwood-based Summer Peaks has been making waves since early last year, when the group’s debut LP, Saturdays, first caught our ears. “Change” is a new song, and probably the trio’s best work yet.
Emily Afton – “Words From Your Tongue” (Starts at 4:23)
Singer-songwriter Emily Afton began to blend folk, pop, and electronic influences into her music after she arrived in Oakland five years ago. After impressing Stephan Jenkins of Third Eye Blind at a show both artists played, Jenkins invited Afton to open for his band on a recent tour.
Sandy’s – “Consolidated Identity” (10:10)
Led by frontman Alexi Glickman, Sandy’s crafts wonderfully lush, surf-inflected pop. Following 2014’s Fourth Dementia LP, the band’s latest EP, Prom, arrived earlier this year.
Try The Pie – “It’s Been Days” (14:12)
Bean Tupou of Sourpatch and San Jose’s Think and Die Thinking collective is also a solo artist under the name Try The Pie. “It’s Been Days” comes from Rest, a collection of raw songs self-recorded in Tupou’s San Francisco home between 2005 and 2008.
O – “Ireek” (16:52)
Psych and rock and roll influences make O’s song one of the wilder ones included in this mix, but it’s anchored by a hell of a melody. You may have previously known O when they were called Black Cobra Vipers, but it’s their new (and almost entirely unsearchable) name that you’ll want to keep an eye out for.
Chillian Murphy – “Static” (21:55)
On Facebook, Oakland’s Adam Van Der Veer describes his recording project Chillian Murphy as “Gloom Pop you can feel good about feeling bad about,” and this song nails that catchy-sad dynamic quite well. According to the artist, “Static” is a reworking of Alkaline Trio’s “Radio,” turning it into a dense and atmosphere-rich pop song.
HEARTWATCH – “Faultlines” (26:16)
HEARTWATCH had quite a 2015, performing at festivals including Outside Lands and Phono del Sol, touring with MS MR, and changing their name (previously they were The Tropics). “Faultlines” is a new single teasing an eagerly-awaited early 2016 album, and a headlining gig during Noise Pop 2016.
Hot Flash Heat Wave – “Gutter Girl” (29:40)
Neapolitan, the debut LP from Hot Flash Heat Wave, arrived in September. The album was recorded at Different Fur Studios, and it followed two years of buzzed-about singles and live performances.
Future Shapes – “Feel” (33:25)
SF’s Future Shapes bills itself as “shitwave,” a descriptor that is both hilarious and a not-entirely-ridiculous way to tag the band’s warped dream-pop. “Feel” comes from the forthcoming Microchasm EP, and it’s another winner from these “reverb-happy sad-boy fog dwellers” (again, their description).
A Yawn Worth Yelling – “Start Somewhere” (36:56)
A Yawn Worth Yelling hails from San Jose, and the band’s latest EP, Play Pretend, is full of tightly-wound melodic pop-rock songs. The EP is the group’s fifth release, with deeper and darker lyrical subject matter than the quartet’s bright music might suggest.
Bobey – “Honey Beestings” (40:58)
We don’t know much about Bay Area singer-songwriter Bobey, but this song, released on a compilation from the People Person Collective, is a pretty killer piece of dreamy indie pop.