I meant to do a post as part of my End of the Year Rankstravaganza specifically focused on Bay Area bands and musicians. Of course, I didn’t get around to it. As it got later and later in January, I said: “Bah! Why bother? At this point, who is going to be interested in hearing what I thought about last year’s local music?”
Avenue Live, that’s who! Avenue Live is a Foster City-based start-up that is preparing to release an app that lets performers, venue operators, bloggers and other music geeks create their own interactive radio streams. The folks behind this service have been reaching out to people they think will help the app catch on, and they have evidently mistaken me for someone with influence. At any rate, they asked me to submit a list of my favorite songs of 2013 by Bay Area artists for their blog, and I obliged them because I love spreading the word about good music.
Here are the songs I ended up submitting for what’s being called “All the City Lights’ Bay Area Mixtape 2013.” Mixtape? Oooh, look at me, I’m just like Chance the Rapper!
- Art Elliot, “Postcard”
- Shannon and the Clams, “Rat House”
- Maurice Tani and Mike Anderson, “Out With the Old”
- Thao & The Get Down Stay Down, “City”
- Thee Oh Sees, “No Spell”
- Vandella, “Easy”
- The Dodos, “Confidence”
- Everyone is Dirty, “California”
- Myron & E, “If I Gave You My Love”
- Painted Palms, “Over Me”
Click on over to the post to see the full write-up, complete with embedded music and my attempt to describe each song in one run-on sentence of randomly cobbled-together genre adjectives.
While you’re at it, you should also probably check out this thing I submitted for another blog, run by yet another person who seems to be under the impression that I am a member of the music industry. Eric Alper, director of media relations for record label eOne Music Canada and music correspondent for Canadian network CTV, reached out to me for a feature where he asks people to blab about their favorite album, and how am I going to say no to that?! I used it as an opportunity to share my love for Great Lakes Myth Society.
Update (June 30, 2014): Avenue Live seems to have mysteriously disappeared from the interwebs without a trace like Flight 370. So I’m going to just publish my write-up, complete with embedded songs, right here.
10. “Over Me,” Painted Palms
Trippy electro-pop that just chugs along. This is from an EP the duo released before their full-length debut, which just came out on Polyvinyl.
9. “If I Gave You My Love,” Myron & E
The pair, who met while singing and spinning for hip-hop group Blackalicious, teamed up to make some old-school retro-soul that’s both sweet and ragged.
8. “California,” Everyone is Dirty
Recorded at a pop-up recording studio that Converse—yes, the shoe people—set up in town, this rollicking tune serves as a violin-assisted intervention for the Golden State: “California, put your pants on. You’ve had to much to drink.”
7. “Confidence,” The Dodos
After almost a decade, this duo is officially veterans of SanFran’s indie-rock scene. This track is a two parter—the first half is all bouncy guitar lines, the second is a grungy sprint to the finish.
6. “Easy,” Vandella
Vaguely alt-country, complete with twangy blues riffs, a lively backbeat, swirly organ and an immensely likable melody.
5. “No Spell,” Thee Oh Sees
It starts off with an absolute slab of guitar before transitioning into one of the vamp-happy band’s more laid-back groves, though it’s still punctuated by some free-wheeling instrumental breaks.
4. “City,” Thao & The Get Down Stay Down
The group often gets pegged as alternative folk, but this song is all about a snarling electric guitar riff, blasts of bass drum and a final, inspirational message: “Rest and be strong, wash and be clean, start a new year whenever you need.”
3. “Out With the Old,” Maurice Tani and Mike Anderson
The frontman and bassist of country band 77 El Deora made a stripped-down acoustic album that leads off with this stately track, which follows a gorgeous path that wanders from major chord to minor chord.
2. “Rat House,” Shannon and the Clams
It only has eight words—assuming you count “wanna” as a single word—and it’s kind of obnoxious, but that’s part of the appeal of this zany, retro-punk trio.
1. “Postcard,” Art Elliot
Sing us a song, post-apocalyptic piano man. Sing us a sad and sweet memory about being the last man on earth.