Best of 2015: Will Butler of Social Work on Hickey Fest

Hickey Fest painting by Emily Schumaker It was the summer solstice and the wind was blowing in our hair on the way up Highway 101 — mostly because Maddie’s car window had just been smashed out in a Walgreen’s parking lot in West Oakland. They had snatched Derek’s backpack, and guitar pedals too — pretty inconvenient considering his upcoming set with Bells Atlas was one of the main attractions of the weekend. There wasn’t much we could do though; I dug through the garage for an extra delay pedal and we were off to Hickey Fest, a literal wide spot [...]

Best of 2015: Paige K. Parsons’ Favorite Photos from 2015

Future Islands (By: Paige K. Parsons) Editor's note: Photographer extraordinaire Paige K. Parsons took a ton of great photos of bands throughout 2015, from large music festivals like Outside Lands and Treasure Island to venues around the Bay Area. Here are her 12 favorite photos that she took of live music in 2015. Unsurprisingly, they're all gorgeous.

By |December 31, 2015|Tags: |

Best of 2015: Stefan Aronsen of SF Intercom and Balanced Breakfast on The Damn Fanatics

Photo by David Herschorn Twenty Fifteen has come to an end. Over the last 365 days, I've heard a lot of amazing new music and experienced loads of epic performances. In addition I’d like to give a shout-out to all the new friends I’ve made that go to shows ... you are amazing. Can we also take a moment to pour one out for our homies that had to move in order to afford their rock and roll lifestyles? (pause) Thank you! Finally, I would like to assure all of the music fans and perhaps some of the skeptics in [...]

Best of 2015: Sarah Sexton of Oaktown Indie Mayhem on King Woman

Although 2015 was flooded with badass local releases, signings to hip AF labels, and love from around the globe for our tasty Bay Area music scene, there is one particular band that burrowed their way into my heart, that I'm not soon to forget. They didn't do so with doe eyes, lyrical glitter explosions, or pop laden hooks for days that I so often succumb to - oh no - but rather they shredded a whole chunk of my innards out with their razor sharp teeth, and left in its place a den to hibernate for winter. The band I [...]

Best of 2015: Joel of Talkies, Cocktails, and DSTVV on shows at the White Horse

The World at White Horse I always hated the uncritical punk mantra that commands "support the scene". As if "the scene" was some monolithic, benevolent sanctuary where a progressive community of cast-off weirdos, and, oh yeah, enlightened alt-music, was nourished — as opposed to being another hierarchical, careerist social club that, yes, occasionally produced enlightened alt-music and allowed otherwise hopeless misfits to thrive. That said, going to Saturday shows in the ramshackle back room of Oakland's WhiteHorse makes the dubious task of supporting your local scene a lot more palatable. The drinks are cheap. The regulars are friendly. Shows start [...]

Best of 2015: Paul Chalker of the SF Critic on Day Wave

If you're in music, especially live music, living in the city of San Francisco can be a humongous fucking distraction. Since I moved here about 4 years ago I've probably averaged at least one show a week. There’s just too much music, so many awesome venues, so many great bands . . . and a lot of these acts are national, meaning local bands often fall by the wayside. Seeing a local band usually means a few things; either you're friends with someone in the band, you accidentally stumbled upon them on a random night or they've been around for [...]

Opinion: The Bay’s best new band + best new release

2015 saw a lot of great things happening for Bay Area music; new spaces and accommodating houses have popped up across downtown and West Oakland, a slew of new bands have appeared out of San Francisco's outer sunset despite the technocrat insurgency, and just about every band I can think of put out new material this year. I really enjoyed the dissonant debut by Oakland's Mansion, the couple of new Crush and Unity songs that snuck out, Mall Walk's 7" and the Dick Stusso tape that came out on Rob's label Vacant Stare, just to mention a few. I'll keep this brief, but below [...]

Best of 2015: Will of Wine & Bowties on Trill Youngins

Nothing out of the Bay this year sounded quite as joyful as East Oakland's Trill Youngins did on their debut, Rich This Summer. The banner single from RTS was "I Look Fly", a twinkly, insanely catchy summer anthem about investing in your wardrobe so you can snatch away some other dude's chick. To my mind, it's one of the best singles of the year, and as of this afternoon, it's closing in 400K on YouTube, though it's received minimal-to-no push from any local outlet not named Thizzler. Across 13 tracks, produced in-house by TY’s LayEmDown, RTS boasts a sound [...]

Best of 2015: Graham of Outer Embassy on Halloween at the Starline Social Club

Something special happened in Oakland last April: the Starline Social Club officially opened its doors to the public. This century old community space is again a vibrant venue ready to nurture the community that many long time Oakland residents are working hard to preserve. Long story short, Halloween New Years was a tradition started years ago at Lobot Gallery. It's basically just Halloween except you count down to midnight and then drop a big pumpkin filled with candy from the ceiling. The more fun aspect of the tradition is the music curation. Local bands pick their "costume' and learn a [...]

Best of 2015: Rob of Vacant Stare Records and Mall Walk on The World

I attended fifty-three shows this year. That's a lot for someone who generally prefers to spend his evenings watching old sitcoms with a cat in his lap. While I don't necessarily remember all of them (no thanks to the beer bust at White Horse or El Rio's dollar beer night), one band seems to keep reappearing in my internal highlight reel, The World. The World's deconstructive take on pop music, complete with dual saxophone stabs, jarring rhythms, and textural guitar work has them sounding right at home on a compilation highlighting the no wave movement of late seventies NYC. However, [...]

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