Best of 2014: Sam Lefebvre of the East Bay Express on Michael Beach

In August, I booked a release event for the intermittent self-publishing enterprise you might call a “zine” but which I stubbornly refer to as a “mag.” Degenerate, the thing’s called, once in homage to the Nervous Eaters’ “I’m a Degenerate” but now intended to evoke the word as a verb: Deterioration, regression – a revolt into childhood (with judicious coverage of indie-pop). Along with a newly flexible title, I broke my minimal promotion rule and screen-printed a bunch of posters depicting the release show line-up: Alex Cruse/ARC, Violence Creeps, and Michael Beach. Michael Beach didn’t make a solo album this [...]

Best of 2014: What the other lists missed from Russell Jelinek

It's officially 2015, and all the 2014 lists are in. I honestly enjoy them, but how many times do you need to read about Run the Jewels and War on Drugs? We get it, they're good. Locally, everyone loved Cocktails, Sun Kil Moon, and tUnE-YaRdS, but what did just about every list miss? THE ANSWER IS BELOW: Odawas - Reflection of a Pink Laser: A triumphant comeback for the Indiana natives. The expansive instrumentals on the 19-minute "What If Our World is Their Heaven" leading into "Flow My Tears" makes for the best moment on any album I've heard for [...]

Best of 2014: Travis Hayes Busse on Friends W/O Benefits

I hope one day I'm fucking cool enough for California // I hope one day I'm able to say I made it in the Golden State. From the first time I listened to Friends W/O Benefits, I couldn't help instantly relating to their songs. I found myself transported back to the days of youth, angst, and mosh pits. Their music is real and tangible - unafraid to stand its ground and be its own. It is the ultimate middle finger to a scene that continues to get caught up in its own bullshit. White Trash Ninja and Cadet Edac are [...]

2014-in-Review: The Year in Bay Bridged Podcasts

Our podcast started when The Bay Bridged began -- way back in 2006! Now, at the end of 2014, the podcast is still going strong, with over 350 episodes-to-date. This year, in addition to our Live This Month monthly concert preview mixes, we published 18 mixtapes and Artist Spotlight episodes. Check them all out below and subscribe to The Bay Bridged Podcast on iTunes! Fourteen of the Bay Area's Best Record Labels Artist Spotlight: SAFE Fourteen San Francisco Bands to Watch in 2014 Artist Spotlight: Al Lover Highlights from South by Southwest 2014 Artist Spotlight: Quinn DeVeaux 2014 San Francisco [...]

By |December 30, 2014|Tags: |

Best of 2014: Nate Mercereau of WOVE on Creepers

CREEPERS are a righteous group of dark bros making creepy (as the name suggests) and heavy pieces of music. I say 'pieces' because they truly orchestrate their stuff in a way that 'song' or 'tune' doesn't do it justice. Their sound is a huge scape of laser beam guitar riffs and drone vocals with some strong prog rock tendencies. Don't be too afraid of the "prog" thing, to me it just means they fully and deeply explore their musical ideas. I met these dudes through mutual friends before I knew they totally shredded. Shiv Mehra and Dan Tracy are a [...]

The 2014 Playlist: 150 songs released by SF Bay Area bands this year

In what appears to now be an annual tradition around here, we pored over the wealth of stories we've written this year about local music and gathered this massive Spotify playlist of 150 songs released in 2014 by San Francisco Bay Area bands. As the playlist shows, Bay Area groups released a hell of a lot of albums, EPs, and singles this year, and we've collected here an extremely diverse set of indie rock, garage, punk, folk, and electronic songs to enjoy. If you're looking for a more curated selection of standouts, do check out our recent podcast of [...]

By |December 30, 2014|Tags: |

Best of 2014: Bob Patterson of the SF Critic on The Tropics

Photo by Bob Patterson The local act that most captured my imagination this year would have to be The Tropics. I first heard them when they released their video for "Sleepless" back in spring. Singer Claire George’s dreamy voice is wrapped in layered melodies of guitars and horns to create pop music without the cookie-cutter feel of many upstart acts. One song doesn’t make a band, so recently they released their debut EP Wind House with solid follow up single “Fireproof.” I got to see them perform at their EP release party in October, which was great because they [...]

Best of 2014: Patrick of Cocktails on Big Tits

Strong melodies are a super powerful thing. You could get completely black-out drunk, forget how you got home, and still wake up with some song you don’t even know stuck in your head – possibly wondering why you’re singing the words “I like it a lot” to yourself in some kind of fake British accent. The answer is because you saw Big Tits last night. And while perfecting brand new (catchy as F) melodies over familiar chords is already underrated, so is performing intense, sweaty, energetic live shows. It’s that combination that make Big Tits a great live band. Plus [...]

Best of 2014: Jessi Frick of Father/Daughter Records and BARF on the Bay’s best record labels

While yes, there are handfuls of amazing musicians in the Bay Area that I could write about, I’ve instead decided to focus on the people behind the scenes for my best of 2014 list. Full disclosure, I helped found the Bay Area Record Fair, a yearly farmers market type gathering of local record labels. Through BARF, I’ve gotten a chance to learn about and meet these peers, a few of which I want to highlight… Slumberland Records Really, what can be said about Slumberland that hasn’t been said before? They are an institution, one of those rare labels that you [...]

By |December 29, 2014|Tags: , |

Best of 2014: Bill Baird on Range of Light Wilderness

2014 was a big unclogging of old energies for some of my oldest Bay area associates. Range of Light Wilderness were the first folks I met in the Bay Area scene. I was popping in and out of Esalen for awhile a few years back (taught a songwriting class there, took LSD and talked with aliens, did a saltwater enema, wrote a musical, wore all white clothing, did other weird shit) and along the way befriended Tommy McDonald, who mans Esalen's front gate. We hit it off immediately and toured the West Coast together multiple times over the next year [...]

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