Most of 2021 felt like 2.0, or at least a continuation of one insufferably long year that started in March 2020, but this time it allowed some plane travel, and (hallelujah) more live music.

Once again, the music scene in San Francisco saved me. The first in-person show I saw since the shutdown was on a May afternoon outside Hit Gallery in the Mission District. And, if you aren't paying attention to the SF's local music scene, it's about time you did.

Again, can I repeat, “Hallelujah!”

Sure, in May, I was still wearing masks in any crowd situation, but with vaccinations and it being outside, seeing talented live musicians ply their wares was possible again. And, in the fall, as I got more comfortable, I saw Bay Area bands at indoor venues, at their record release shows.


To say that the local indie music scene is seeing a resurgence would be an understatement. Others are definitely noticing it too.

Anyhow, here’s my top 5 of 2021. All SF bands, but the honorable mention goes to my friends in the north (whom I can’t seem to leave off my list any year they release an album).

1. Hectorine: Tears (Paisley Shirt Records)

2. Chime School:  Chime School (Slumberland)

3. Cindy: 1:2 (Mt St Mtn)

4. The Red, Pinks, and Purples: Uncommon Weather (Slumberland)

5. The Umbrellas: The Umbrellas (Slumberland)

Honorable mentions, in no particular order:

Flowertown: Flowertown (Mt St Mtn)

Team Dreams: Dream Is Murder (Morr Records)

April Magazine: If the Ceiling Were a Kite: Vol. 1 (Tough Love Records)

Blood Cultures: LUNO