Best of 2012: Dylan Travis on Black Jeans

Overgrown Grief by Black Jeans 2012 was a whirlwind. Suddenly there are so many truly creative and forward-thinking bands in the Bay Area that it’s almost impossible to keep up. Cohesive, considered scenes have sprung up, representing almost any genre you can think of—but somehow the landscape feels supportive across the spectrum. From the unsparing darkwave of Chasms to the vibrant no-rave arpeggiations of Uncanny Valley, the gorgeous sample-based dreamscapes of Elephant & Castle to the casual brilliance of rappers like Antwon and producers like Friendzone, the Bay Area is exploding with new perspectives and ideas. Do I even need [...]

Best of 2012: Tim Draut's Favorite Bay Area Tracks

Overall, it seems like 2012 has been a well-rounded year for Bay Area music. With solid albums from our San Francisco psych-rock standbys (Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees, The Fresh & Onlys); tracks and remixes between East Bay electronic collectives (Yalls, James & Evander, Parentz); a robust darkwave uprising (The Soft Moon, Some Ember, Black Jeans, Group Rhoda); next-level hip-hop (Main Attrakionz, Shady Blaze, Antwon); as well as two female soloists releasing breakthrough albums in their respective genres (Jessica Pratt, Holly Herndon), there are a lot of local artists who deserve recognition this year. To refresh your memory, and perhaps [...]

By |December 27, 2012|Tags: |

Best of 2012: Russell Jelinek's Favorite Tracks, New Bands, and Videos

2012 was my first full year in the Bay Area, and writing for the Bay Bridged sent me deeper into the local scene. I love end of year lists, but I prefer to call these songs and bands my "favorites" rather than "best." To start, I'll share my 17 favorite songs from Bay Area artists. 1) Main Attrakionz - "Women we Chase" (produced by Friendzone) Friendzone created an absolutely gorgeous beat sampling Tears for Fears' Woman in Chains, and Squadda and Mondre effortlessly flow over it about...well, the women they chase. Is the juxtaposition of the dark and almost haunting [...]

By |December 27, 2012|Tags: |

Best of 2012: Jon Bernson on Maus Haus

Scholars believe that the saying "It's all been done before," was introduced by the Ancient Sumerians. Through historical simulations, we know that they developed the first written language. They were also the first to contract depression. Experts attribute this to Sumerian writers, who made profound literary breakthroughs, only to realize that their stories had already been written by previous Sumerian writers. Over the course of many centuries, this led to widespread cynicism and apathy. The Babylonian writer Plagiarus described this in his famous essay 'Nothing Changes,' in which he argued that "all forms of art have been present since the [...]

By |December 26, 2012|Tags: , |

Best of 2012: Tony Bedard on Buttons

I witnessed a lot of great live shows this year by local entertainment concepts such as Swiftumz, Carlton Melton, Tortured Genies, Hot Lunch, T.I.T.S., Bill Orcutt, Caitlin Gill, Chris Thayer, and Wet Illustrated. But I’m here to talk about Buttons. I’m pretty sure they’re from Oakland. Parker Gibbs told me about them and sent me a link to the video for their song, “Sidewalk Ends”. If it can be said that Buttons have a hit, then this is it. The song’s got sort of a Swell Maps vibe (except way more shambolic) and features an array of colliding, overlapping vocals, [...]

By |December 26, 2012|Tags: , |

Best of 2012: Dan Strachota on Jessica Pratt

You need to know this first: I adore almost every obscure female folk artist from 1965-72, from Karen Dalton and Vashti Bunyan to Linda Perhacs and Sibylle Baier. I'm just a sucker for those kinds of quiet, weird albums that seem to have been recorded alone, late at night, after too much booze or LSD or bad French poetry. The singer is miserable and the guitars sound despondent, and I just can't get enough. (I'll admit that I also like their obscurity -- the fact that there's something inherently off about the records that made them flop originally.) So it's [...]

Best of 2012: Lynne Angel on The Mallard

My first experience of The Mallard version 5.0 was at Rock Make this year and I was floored. I have known founding member Greer McGettrick for a while and have followed her musical meanderings since 2006 or so. Not only was I stoked to see her playing with a group that so wholly and completely compliment her melodic sensibilities, but I was also stoked to hear such a cohesive coupling of varying genres and sounds. The Mallard feels new, vital and free. I watched the crowd, fully engaged, tossed around within the tornado of musical vastness and familiarity, blissed out [...]

Best of 2012: Best Trip Down Memory Lane: Grand Fanali Presents 16th Anniversary Show, 8/25/12

The author at age 16, sitting in her high school journalism class. When I moved back into my parents’ house in San Jose in 2009, after living in San Francisco sucked almost every dollar from my checking account, I quickly became a hopeless nostalgic – sleeping in the same bed you slept in until your last day of high school, surrounded by the posters and magazine cutouts that were there when you left, will do that to you. Nostalgia was something I did in secret – I didn't want anyone to know this super-cool music writer longed for the local [...]

Best of 2012: Paul Koehler on Social Studies

There are a lot of Bay Area rock bands that I am digging right now, but my favorite local release of the year is Developer by Social Studies, hands down. Of course, I'm biased. My label released it. But we don't really release "rock" records all that often, so what is it about this band and this amazing album that compelled us to step outside our comfort zone on this? Social Studies' first album, 2010's Wind Up Wooden Heart was all twisty and turny, a proggy affair that was somehow catchy even as it threw verse-chorus-verse structures in the trash. [...]

Go to Top