Part 2 of my favorite songs from a great year of Bay music. Part 1 is here.
Attention Oaklanders: A new year awaits!Applications are now being accepted for the City's 2023 Cultural Funding Program supporting organizational programs and also individual artist projects. Applicants must be Oakland-based and projects must be presented between January 1 and August 31, 2023. More details here.
Velvet Pink Heart by Louie Elser (self released)
Local That slow path intro, the hand claps, everything slightly off and completely on point, a perfect two minute hit.
Breaking Glass by Friendless Summer (self released)
Local A moving tribute to a departed friend and the friends you had to tell. I read the chorus as the nick lowe song, which is a special kind of innocence, giving this a special pathos, buoyed by the tempo.
Empty Heads by Helpful People on Broken Blossom Threats (Burundi Cloud)
Local This song has powerful political connotations for me, I think abortion was outlawed in several states overnight and this was what for me broke the dam, but also I’ve just had a hard personal week and this song once again finds me, a perfect song from a classic EP.
Write It In The Sky by The Umbrellas on Write It In The Sky (Slumberland)
Local When a band releases their new single and it kicks off like this and you know exactly what they’re talking about, I don’t even need to end this sentence, life is good.
letsdanse by sndtrak on FLIPS V1: Triple Lindy (self released)
Local Sndtrak targets 70’s and 80’s radio for deconstruction on FLIPS V1: Triple Lindy and this was my favorite, someone needs to rhyme over this.
Continuous Hinge by Non Plus Temps on Desire Choir (Post Present Medium)
Local The big beat comes dubbing through the walls, stopping only for spot mod invasions and situationist laughter, I sound full of shit but i’m serious. Look up!
Big Rig Slowdown by Aux Meadows on Aux Meadows (self released)
Local It’s like the louie louie of experimental curveballs, I never get tired of it.
Sun Spracked Waste by Katsy Pline on No Peace in the Valley (self released)
Local No Peace in the Valley combines classic California Country, early 20th century parlor songs and spectral acoustic instrumentals, it's so jam-packed that this song became my new favorite just last week.
VENT by Ovrkast. (self released)
Local Ovrkast’s disarming candor hits as a gift of perspective to the listener, then the relief beat hits, unrolling all agita.
Look Again by Artsick on Fingers Crossed (Slumberland)
On Fingers Crossed, Artsick made quick work of beaucoup ideas, like this irresistible octave drop, there is no higher service than a song about being really into someone.
Lemon Year by Blue Zero on Welcome to Oakland compilation (Dandy Boy Records)
Local I love when a giant riff comes out of the sky, and then they say something ineffably true like “lemon year.”
All My Friends by Sarah Coolidge on Turning Up, Turning Out (self released)
Local Wisened tales of drinking, or not, with your friends, plus jokes.
Phone Booth by Smokin' Ziggurats on Phone Booth EP (self released)
Local One of the benefits of a local music format is that you get songs about places nearby. South Van Ness is an enchanted zone, here ringing large in the stride of the Smokin’ Ziggs’ return.
Playing House by R.E. Seraphin on Swingshift (Dandy Boy)
Local Seraphin and Tony Jay undertook a “whisper rock” tour this year, and it crystalized for me how R.E. gives his power pop such intimacy, here cutting to the poignant heart of housing arrangements, plus major solos.
Life in the Void by The Reds Pinks and Purples on Life in the Void (self released)
Local I’ve been working on a fiction project for several years now, and it was a lengthy process coming to understand when the voice is the voice, how to trust it and build a story on it. But I kept getting these missives from The Reds Pinks & Purples, in the sky from sf to oakland, both demonstrating these instincts to a high degree while also reassuring me, urging me on.
BRAND by Greyhound on Scorched Earth (self released)
Local This slot represents a whole bunch of great bands but Greyhound’s Scorched Earth crushes it, a healthy listen.
Fireworks by Healing Potpourri on Paradise (Run for Cover)
Local The HP body shop offers customized pop classicism for all types of wheels, in this case a groovy motorik, and every touch and color dazzles.
Red & Gold by Aluminum on Windowpane EP (Dandy Boy)
Local Maximum riffage and victory lap verses, bringing down the credits on your film, I do not wear 49ers gear sincerely or with irony, but the invocation of these two colors is here epic.
I'm The One That You Want by Sob Stories on Fair Shakes (Dandy Boy)
Local Our Tommy Keene, our Rick Springfield you cowards, our Sob Stories, believe it.
Lost City by Adrenochrome on In Memoriam (self released)
Local Another near dark anthem, a howling objection to the capital-driven austerity which ravages our communities.