January 2, 2013
Happy new year! As you have no doubt noticed, over the past few weeks, we’ve been publishing “Best of 2012″ retrospectives from our writers and photographers as well as posts from guest contributors from the local music scene about their favorite local bands of 2012. In case you missed any of them, the complete list of Best of 2012 posts is collected below.
As a reminder, we also published this podcast mixtape examining twelve local highlights from 2012, as well as a seven hour playlist collecting over 100 Bay Area bands that released new music in 2012, which you can also stream after the jump.
The Best of 2012 on The Bay Bridged:
- Michael Leahy on The French Cassettes
- A baptism by fire in Bay Area music
- Mike G.’s Best of 2012
- Paige K. Parsons’ Favorite Photos from 2012
- Mai Le on The Mallard
- Mike Schulman on Terry Malts
- Matthew Hickey on TRAILS AND WAYS
- Zack Frederick’s Favorite Shows
- Matt Jones on Burnt Ones
- Dylan Travis on Black Jeans
- Tim Draut’s Favorite Bay Area Tracks
- Russell Jelinek’s Favorite Tracks, New Bands, and Videos
- Jon Bernson on Maus Haus
- Tony Bedard on Buttons
- Dan Strachota on Jessica Pratt
- Lynne Angel on The Mallard
- Best Trip Down Memory Lane: Grand Fanali Presents 16th Anniversary Show, 8/25/12
- Paul Koehler on Social Studies
January 1, 2013
The Bay Area band that consistently impressed me in 2012 with their live shows, that I found myself humming their sticky songs, was The French Cassettes.
The French Cassettes cut their teeth in the Modesto music scene for a couple of years before settling in San Francisco last year and now has garnered the attention of well respected SF musicians, taste makers and bookers. The boys had a busy year — they booked a successful guerrilla tour storming SXSW, peddled their 4 song Radley EP, seemingly played out a couple of times a month all over the city in every nook and cranny, built a loyal fan following that claps and sings along to every song, raised funds to record via a successful Kickstarter campaign and finished their first full length record (expected out in early 2013).
Though I look forward to hearing the proper record, it is their live show that cements their reputation for me as a band to watch. Lead singer Scott Huerta is brimming with charisma and sings (shakes and moves on stage) like he’s exercising the lyrics of his perfect pop songs from the deepest part of his soul. Simply the man can sing his ass off and is a fantastic performer. I was witness to a bonus Scott moment when he was asked up on stage at a sold out Generationals show at Cafe DuNord in November to perform a duet with the band on their signature song “When We Fight” and he stole the show.
December 31, 2012
Despite amounting to nothing less than a watershed year in my life, 2012 feels like it went by in the blink of an eye. Joining The Bay Bridged in May, I was tossed headlong into the Bay Area music scene, everyday making multiple new musical discoveries and adding countless bands to my list of acts to cover. Writing about everything from psych-rock, garage rock, and “cloud rap” to indie-folk, country-punk, and Afro-Caribbean-influenced indie rock, I found myself immersed in a community of unending musical productivity, experimentation, and collaboration, and loving every minute of it.
My coverage took me far-and-wide in the Bay’s sonic landscape. I interviewed a bunch of great local acts, both scene veterans (Bart Davenport, Tea Leaf Green) and up-and-coming acts (The Buttercream Gang, Oceanography). I visited bands in the studio (that’s me above, dutifully texting with my wife while hanging out at Radical House with Coo Coo Birds). I even assisted in the production of a few of The Bay Bridged’s live events, including The Bay Brewed, where I found myself chilling in the green room with Bear In Heaven‘s Adam Wills, talking not about the show or the fact that he was set to perform in less than 20 minutes. No, the Atlanta native was more concerned about the score of the SEC Championship Game, which featured he and his dad’s favorite team (‘Bama) against his home state Georgia Bulldogs. Wills went onstage happy, as the Tide edged out the Dawgs (naturally), and the band’s set went off without a hitch. 2012 was a whirlwind, for sure.
Consistently awestruck by the devotion of our local music community’s members – not only the artists themselves, but also the fans, producers, engineers, show promoters and production folk, PR people, local media, hell even the bartenders – I only want more, still a relative newbie trying to chart my path through the best local music scene west of Brooklyn.
It was not easy paring everything I listened to over the course of the year down to a list of my favorite tracks, but I think this is a pretty good representation of the best stuff I heard coming out of the Bay Area during 2012. The list is admittedly (super) heavy on the fuzz, distortion, feedback, and just about any other loud and potentially grating noise that our local acts harnessed into a beautiful cacophony during the course of the past year, and there’s definitely a common psychedelic element among most of the tracks. But that’s the way I’ve always liked my music – loud and a bit spacey. [More...]
December 31, 2012
Well, 2012 was a pretty stellar year for music (both from the Bay Area and from the rest of the world), and I just want to call out a few of my local favorites from the year. I’m restricting myself because I’m not going to mention how Pussy Riot inspired the whole planet with their punk prayer protesting the repressive Russian regime, or how I literally did not stop playing Grimes‘ Visions for about 6 months after it came out. Nope, not even going to go there.
Best Local Show by a Local Band
My favorite local show of the year was one I didn’t even see: Tartufi at Rock Make, the annual art and music street fest thrown by The Bay Bridged along with The Bold Italic and the members of Tartufi themselves.
I was stage managing at the other end of the fest during Tartufi’s set, so I didn’t get to watch it, but I gave my trusty handheld recorder to a friend to record for my “Bay Area Live” podcast on BreakThruRadio.com (BTR). When I went back and listened to the set in order to edit it for use on my show, it completely blew me away. This is one of the few shows I’ve done for BTR that I went back to and listened to many, many times after spending the initial time editing and mastering. Pure post-rock bliss from the local band of the decade, Tartufi.
Here’s my year-end podcast of the best sets I played on my show in 2012, which, of course, features Tartufi prominently, right at the beginning:
December 31, 2012
Editor’s note: Our amazing photographer Paige K. Parsons picked this collection of favorite photos she took during 2012. Several of Paige’s 2012 picks will be included in her first solo photography show, “Once In A Lifetime.” The show runs from January 10 through February 13 at Keeble and Shuchat in Palo Alto, with a reception on January 19th.
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December 31, 2012
The first time I saw The Mallard was at a fundraiser at The Lab in April of this year. I went because Thee Oh Sees were on deck to play and The Lab is only 8 minutes from my house. It was super busy at work, so getting away from the computer for an hour or two of live music was a luxury.
December 28, 2012
My fave Bay Area band of 2012 would have to be Terry Malts, hands down. Full disclosure now — I put out some of their records on my record label. Don’t let that think dissuade you from taking my praise seriously though; I *hate*most of the bands on my label. Terry Malts encapsulate for me all that is great about noisy, poppy, punky music in 2012. They’re conversant with a huge swathe of hardcore/punk/noise/pop but unlike a lot of bands don’t seem at all weighed down by that knowledge. In fact, what continually slays me is how effortless they seem. In spite of being two-minute balls of ferocious punk/pop tension, Terry Malts’ songs seem to almost float into earshot, like they were always there and the Malters just plucked them out of the air and banged them out. And what songs they are — by turns nasty, smart and funny, full of indelible vocal melodies, careening guitars, out-of-control feedback, fuzz bass and snotty attitude. Every tune could be a single, and each one tells part of the Malts story. There’s a real economy to what they do; each song is honed down to its wiry essentials, and there’s not one dull moment on any of their records. All killer, no filler, as they say.
My name is Mike Schulman, Slumberland Records head chump, and I approve this message.
December 28, 2012
2012 has been a pretty fantastic year for Bay Area music. In fact, it’s pretty tough for me to zero in on a true favorite. Ty Segall’s Twins & Slaughterhouse are both pretty phenomenal. Exray’s Trust a Robot is a beloved release in my home. Fresh & Only’s Long Slow Dance will also make my top albums list this year. Geographer’s Myth is beautifully cinematic. Blackbird Blackbird is back with a great new album. James & Evander’s Let’s Go single got me grooving. And there have been countless debut singles by new up-and-coming Bay Area bands to be excited about.
Because it’s hard to pick a favorite, I’m going to shill for our friends in TRAILS AND WAYS in part because they let us release their debut single in our Pairings Box (we also released a super rad acoustic EP by SF’s Mikal Cronin which I’ll disqualify for consideration solely because it primarily features tracks from his 2011 debut). Now that I’ve revealed my bias, I’d also point out that because we are long sold out of the Pairings Box single, there is no financial motive for me to continue to promote them. In other words, I’m selecting them as one of my favorite new Bay Area bands for the same reason I asked them to do a single with us in the first place: I love the music they make.