Hits of the Bay 2021 part one!
All the songs I couldn't stop playing, all the songs that saved me, by your neighbors and friends.
This episode is dedicated to all the bands not featured, I love playing your music.
Part 2 next week!
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Contact Contamination by Midnite Snaxxx on Contact Contamination EP (Self-Released)
Local This blast of cooped up quarantine rage launched me into the new year.
Lava by Blue Ocean on Blue Ocean (Paisley Shirt)
Local Few have parlayed light industrial noise to such pop impact, everything on their debut EP spins and travels.
Valley Riff by 300D (self released)
Local The other 300D song is also really good.
Waking by ASTU on ALTARS (Boyish)
Local Urgently sweeping from the outset, the verses build on the singular voicing of each line, the chorus totally delivers, and then you dance.
Helpless Circumstance by Cool Ghouls on At George's Zoo (Empty Cellar)
Local Across ten years they were often having such a good time that I took for granted how good they are at songs, the way they lock in together, the particular blend of these voices.
Lasties by Smile Too Much on Smile Too Much (Dandy Boy)
Local The lead vocals lay intimate melancholy over warm jets set to fuzzy. Between this and Cruz and Psychic Hit, a good year for expressive guitar solos.
Ox '45 by Toner on White Buffalo Roam (Smoking Room)
Local So Toner have now ascended to some kind of my bloody valentine plane of sonic swords?! Always has been.
The Lonely Men by Sonny and the Sunsets on New Day With New Possibiities (Rocks In Your Head)
Local This rings true to me.
Flowertown by Flowertown on Flowertown (Paisley Shirt)
Local I don’t know if it’s still there but for a while there was a sign on a fancy condo in Hayes Valley that said “Hayes Valley– not just a state of mind, but a state of being.” It’s some real bullshit! But Flowertown? Flowertown is a state of being, where it’s always after hours.
Cliff Walking by Polytherian on Role Play (self released)
Local This song and album bring me peace and perspective, I'm thankful.
No Mutuals by Fake Fruit on Fake Fruit (Rocks In Your Head)
Local With apologies to their mid-year single “I Am the Car”, hearing this song in January felt like a huge deal, and then the album did too.
Feelings by Brijean on Feelings (Ghostly International)
Local On album Feelings Brijean explored the outer bounds of maximalist percussion, and it turns out there’s a point at which it gives me butterflies.
Earth to Mike by Spiritual Cramp on Here Comes More Bad News (Industry Standards)
Local Every new Spiritual Cramp song seems more quintessentially Spiritual Cramp, as if every song is their theme song.
Adhesion by Dax Pierson on Nerve Bumps (A Queer Divine Satisfaction) (Ratskin)
Local Dax Pierson, “Adhesion”: Instrumental electronic music occasionally pries its way onto I Luv Mondays, to cleanse the airwaves, and album Nerve Bumps (A Queer Divine Satisfaction) made it happen all year long. Listen for strings in the middle.
Wasted Time by Madeline Kenney on Summer Quarter EP (Carpark)
Local Whereby Kenney crafts a liminal space for voices and instrumental languages engaged in multivalent communication. I don’t know how to play bass but there’s one hanging on the wall and when I play it I feel like I’m talking without the burden of words, the wild synth in this song likewise speaks for me.
Running 2: Still Running by Toads on TOADS (Self-Released)
Local Toads, “Running 2: Still Running”: This rides the perfect ontological balance between talking about “running” and talking literally about running, their debut is all fun songs like this.
Take Me With You by Silverware on No Plans (self released)
Local On Silverware’s early EPs I wondered how band arrangements could even be applied, the vocals were practically everything including the rhythm. EP No Plans shows it working to fantastic tension, with Wagoner’s voice rising to new heights and dramatic descents.
Leave Me Out of This by Brontez Purnell on White Boy Music EP (Post Present Medium)
Local Brontez Purnell, “Leave Me Out of This”: Local Novelist Never Writes Bad Songs. And no matter the situation Purnell seems to be penning a victory lap. “I Don’t Have 20/20 Vision” was great way to kick off the year.
Death Threat by Lolly Gaggers on Death Threat/Size Queen split 7 (Turkey Baster)
Local Wherein suddenly the Gaggers have swagger, with snaking guitar and a chant made for the streets, radical queer punk had some messages for the people this year.
Scratch n Sniff by Mae Powell on Both Ways Brighter (Park the Van)
Local Going all the way back to their early demos Mae could make “like being together/ in a dream” feel real, Mae helps me believe.