As part of our Best Of 2018 series, we asked members of the local music community to weigh in on what the year in local music meant to them. Today, two Noise Pop staffers honor some of their favorite releases of the past year.
Niki Bodemann: Small Crush’s Blush EP is Indie Pop Heaven
Oakland-based indie pop group Small Crush have been one of my favorite discoveries from this year. Their first EP as a full band, Blush, was released in January — a five-song collection that notably portrays the complexities of being young.
The band’s members, including vocalist, bassist, and primary songwriter Logan Hammon, are all teenagers, and this youthful energy shines through in their music. Take the EP’s groovy opener, “Signal Dreams,” that finds Hammon daydreaming about a crush; and “Chicken Noodle,” clocking in at just over a minute, is a playfully self-deprecating firework of a song with the instant sing-along line that repeats, “I’m a mess, I’m a mess, I’m a mess!”
The band’s music is reminiscent of both hallmark twee-pop groups like the Softies and Dear Nora, and present-day acts like Frankie Cosmos and Diet Cig. Similar to these groups, Small Crush succeeds at making fun, catchy music with introspective lyrics, like on the EP’s “Mail Truck,” a dance-able song about getting run over by a mail truck and viewing the experience as one of life’s many signs.
The members’ ages, however, is not a factor that defines their music (see Frankie Cosmos’ “Young”) — as a 25-year-old, I still deeply relate to their music. On the EP’s slow-burning closer, “Transparency,” Hammon displays this maturity as she sings: “If life’s full of feelings then why not feel them all? If life’s full of beauty then why not see it all?” It’s a poignant reminder that I think everyone needs to hear, no matter their age. I hope that Small Crush continues to grow and reflect through their music, and I can’t wait to see what they have in store for 2019.
James Lopez: Finding Solace with awakebutstillinbed’s Emotionally Frank Debut Album
With so many amazingly talented musicians from the City to Oakland to San Jose, it’s difficult to choose just a single 2018 Bay Area music release to write about. If I did have to choose, however, awakebutstillinbed takes the cake — not only as my favorite Bay Area album of the year, but also as the best LP name as well.
awakebutstillinbed’s what people call low self esteem is really just seeing yourself the way that other people see you is a stunning, profound debut. Self-released on their Bandcamp just days after New Year’