April 15, 2011

San Francisco Sounds Delicious

For a while now, the music coming out of the Bay Area has been hovering around some level of greatness. Bands like Sonny and The Sunsets, Thee Oh Sees and The Fresh and Onlys—all written about in a recent New York Times article—play music that defies contemporary fads, standards, and to a degree, interference from computers: it's classic in every sense of the word, as if plucked right out of San Francisco during the sweet pop and psychedelic-infested 1960s via some sort of slipstream in the fabric of time. And these bands, along with the Girls and Morning Benders, are just the tip of the city's pop iceberg: groups like The Sandwitches, Bare Wires, The Mantles, and Sic Alps are all producing material of equal quality by the shovelful.

Because it's simply impossible to keep up with every little great band out there, I'm going to do my best to catch both you, my dear reader, and me up on the fabulous sounds reverberating around the various garages and warehouses within the great city by the Bay (and Oakland too).

Name: Sic Alps
Last release: Napa Asylum
MP3: "Do You Want To Give Me $$?"
Label: Drag City / Buy
Quintessential lyric: "I received a notice from the board, / They were telling me: / 'Get out, get out.' / But I worked a week, my rent was cheap. / I died. / 'You'll never catch me!' I cried."

Name: Hunx and his Punx
Last release: Too Young To Be In Love
MP3: "Can We Get Together"
Label: Hardly Art / Buy
Quintessential lyric: "I like my boys like steak / All juicy and rare."

Name: Kelley Stoltz
Last release: To Dreamers
MP3: "I Remember, You Were Wild"
Label: Sub Pop / Buy
Fun fact: Records all of his records in his home studio in the Mission on vintage equipment like a Tascam 388 1/4" reel to reel.

Name: The Sandwitches
Last release: Mrs. Jones' Cookies
MP3: "Joe Says"
Label: Empty Cellar / Buy
Quintessential lyric: "I want you to lick my ass in the garden."

Name: Ty Segall
Last release: Melted
MP3: "Caesar"
Label: Goner / Buy
Fun Fact: Appeared as the band Zig Speck and His Specktones on Sonny Smith's 100 Records project.

Name: The Mantles
Last release: Raspberry Thighs 7"
MP3: "Raspberry Thighs"
Label: Mexican Summer, SDZ / Buy
Quintessential lyric: "Nights like this will uplift even the heaviest heart."

Name: Bare Wires
Last release: Don't Ever Change 7"
MP3: "Don't Ever Change"
Label: Castle Face, Robot Elephant / Buy
Fun fact: Thee Oh Sees' John Dwyer and Sandwitches' Heidi Alexander both guest star in the music video for "Don't Ever Change."

Name: Grass Widow
Last album: Past Time
MP3: "Shadow"
Label: Kill Rock Stars / Buy
Quintessential lyric: "Chemicals are rushing through my veins, / Don't tell me without Lulu's lips I'd be the same."

Name: Magic Bullets
Last album: Magic Bullets
MP3: "Lying Around"
Label: Mon Amie Records / Buy
Fun fact: One of many San Francisco artists finding label homes across the country in Brooklyn.

Name: Royal Baths
Last release: Litanies
MP3: "Nikki Don't"
Label: Woodsist / Buy
Fun fact: They used to be called the Baths, which was really confusing for fans of Baths.

Name: Thee Oh Sees
Last release: Warm Slime
MP3: "I Was Denied"
Label: Castle Face, In The Red / Buy
Fun facts: They're one of the Walkmen's favorite bands. They also have their own label, Castle Face Records, run by frontman John Dwyer.

Name: Tim Cohen
Last release: Magic Trick
MP3: "Don't Give Up"
Label: Captured Tracks / Buy
Fun fact: He does his own awesome artwork.

Name: Weekend
Last release: Sports
MP3: "End Times"
Label: Slumberland / Buy
Fun fact: Peter Hook did not write these bass riffs.

Name: Geographer
Last release: Animal Shapes EP
MP3: "Kites"
Label: Tricycle Records / Buy
Fun fact: Their 7" for "Kites" features a cover of the New Order classic "Age of Consent" as the B-side.

Name: Sonny & The Sunsets
Last release: Hit After Hit
MP3: "I Wanna Do It"
Label: Fat Possum / Buy
Fun fact: Outside of music and the staggering 100 Records project that recently made its way through art galleries across the country, Smith has also worked as a playwright and screenwriter.

Name: The Fresh & Onlys
Last release: Play It Strange
MP3: "Waterfall"
Label: Castle Face, In The Red / Buy
Fun fact: The Sandwitches' Heidi Alexander used to play in the band and date the aforementioned frontman, Tim Cohen.

Name: The Morning Benders
Last release: Japan Echo EP
MP3: "Virgins"
Label: Rough Trade / Buy
Fun fact: 100% of the proceeds from the band's Japan Echo EP went to the Japan Society's Earthquake Relief Fund. You can still donate and download it here.

Name: Girls
Last release: Broken Dreams Club EP
MP3: "Heartbreaker"
Label: True Panthers Sounds / Buy
Quintessential lyric: "I wish I had a father / And maybe then I woulda turned out right."

Name: Earth Girl Helen Brown
Last release: Story of An Earth Girl EP
MP3: "Hit After Hit"
Label: Forest Family / Buy
Quintessential lyric: "Now I kissed a lot of space freaks / But I never found a prince / And here it seemed my luck might have changed in an instant / But with a little martian joy / Comes a little space rain."
Quintessential lyric pt. 2: "But all their eyes were missing / yeah all their eyes were gone / And they had six legs, four, five arms / And they don't got a nose, they just got a hose for a nose / And the hose goes straight into the ground / And they send thoughts to the nose hose straight down into the ground."

So that took a while to compile, but I'm positive I'm still missing some great artists. Please let me know which ones in the comments!

Name: Shannon and The Clams
Last release: Sleep Talk
MP3: "Sleep Talk"
Label: 1-2-3-4 Go! / Buy
Fun fact: Clams' lead singer Shannon Shaw joined forces with Hunx and His Punx on Too Young To Be In Love.


1 comment:

  1. So far via Twitter people have added: Man/Miracle, Tamaryn, Love Like Fire, Soft Moon, The Frail, Judgement Day, HOTTUB, A B & The Sea, Birds & Batteries, Foxtail Somersault and Shannon and The Clams (whom I quickly added above).

    I could also include bands like the Dodos, Vetiver, John Vanderslice, and Thao, but I think we all know who they are by now.