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The 10 Best Bay Area Albums of 2015

Well, another year has gone by. Local music critic, Lindsay Stickney has made my job so much easier by using her discerning and well honed ear to choose her favorite Bay Area albums of 2015. A lot of these bands are friends and I am certainly fans of all of these artists so I was personally pleased with Lindsay's choices (which I had NO say in whatsoever).

I hope you will enjoy her picks as well. Congrats to every single band who put out music in the Bay Area this year. The Deli SF loves you all and we completely acknowledge that this was an amazing year for well produced albums and truly talented artists.

I love you all.
Happy Holidays and Happy New Year. May 2016 be more musically fruitful and inspiring!

The Deli SF Editor,
Jordannah Elizabeth

1. The Stone Foxes, Twelve Spells

Bursting, bluesy-rock vibes that make you feel less like you’re listening to a record and more like you’re singing along to gospel in a church of rock n’ roll, Twelve Spells delivers an experience. With tracks like “Cold Like a Killer”, we’re reminded of how good it feels to effortlessly sway our hips to a single-note piano and how refreshing a vibrating guitar riff can be for the soul.

2. Monophonics, Sound of Sinning

Kings of dark, slinky soul, The Monophonics’ Sound of Sinning is heavily influenced by the psychedelic rock vibes of San Francisco, providing a funky 60’s-70’s sound that takes you through a colorful ride of epic horns and funky, noir beats. Packed with gut-wrenching vocals, hazy harmonies and hammond organs, it’s easy to get lost in this record and drift away to tracks like “Falling Apart”.

3. Lee Gallagher, Lee Gallagher and The Hallelujah

Lee Gallagher’s typical folky, country roots are uprooted and replaced by a much more soulful sound layered with emotional instrumentation and howling vocals. In Lee Gallagher and The Hallelujah, we’re carried back to a delightful 70’s trippy wave of movement that prove that a simplistic sound is sometimes the most powerful.

4. Lila Rose, We. Animals.

Bass. Power. Killer vocals. Power. We. Animals. is like your sweetest nightmare induced with passion, heartbreak, manic, and complexity. With whimsical beats, haunting vocals, and tribal drums, Lila Rose delivers an intense, sexually-charged album that lays its foundation on raw aggression. Tracks like “Tracking” will abruptly awaken the pissed off, sensual warrior in you.

5. Growwler, Even Tenor

Easing in with delicate acoustics and finishing with an aggressive bluesy piano sequence, the opening song “Long Hair, Short Wits” is a true ode to the San Francisco rock n’ roll scene and is a testament to the effectiveness of brilliant, simplistic instrumentation. Even Tenor is like a nostalgic storytelling that makes us miss the moments that we never lived for.

6. Ice Cream, Ice Cream

Sweet, sweet, classic garage rock. Ice Cream’s self-titled album forces us to remember the reasons we fell in love with rock in the first place. Dirty, honest guitar riffs, quick, aggressive drum patterns, weaved into gritty barely-there vocals, Ice Cream is the perfect combination of garage sound and punk attitude that will pour gasoline on that flickering fire inside.

7. Al Lover, Cave Ritual

The great Al Lover does it again. Cave Ritual is in fact exactly how it sounds: eerie, tribal, smoky, and sensual to the extreme. Textured beats layered with staccato samples give the album an imaginative sound that catapults us into a contemporary, psychedelic rock trance. Every track will take you to the sun, the moon, and then back again. Twice.

8. The Union Trade, A Place of Long Years

The Union Trade are masters of melancholy and it couldn’t be more gorgeously displayed than in their album A Place of Long Years. The subtle, aching cello atop the fluid, chilling piano make songs like “Svalbard” an escape from reality into the ethereal landscapes of your most tragic, stunning daydreams.

9. Guy Fox, Night Owl

Guy Fox are a musical enigma: elements of funk, old-school jazz, indie, pop, and rock can all be traced at different peaks in their most recent album Night Owl. Whether it be the use of timely instrumentation or charming lyricism, Guy Fox delivers an indecisive yet addicting sound. Tracks like “The City Line” create a steamy, devious tone portraying San Francisco as a playground designed for the mischievous.

10.Toro y Moi, What For?

Light, energetic beats coupled with smooth, romantic vocals make What For? the soundtrack to your hazy, yellow summer nights. Toro y Moi is known for his synthy-pop sounds, but the release of his fourth album slayed all former musical confinement. Tracks like “Lilly” walk the perfect, delicate line of modern synth and 60’s psychedelic rock, transporting you to a blurry wonderland that you’ll want to lay in for a while.





Rock out for Bernie Sanders

Those of you that support Bernie Sanders (which should be all of you, honestly), will enjoy the Bands for Bernie show happening on February 3rd at Mississippi Studios. It's a benefit show in support of Sanders' campaign, with half the proceeds from ticket sales being donated to his presedential movement. Playing the Bands for Bernie benefit will be Months, 1939 Ensemble, Dead Men Talking and The Fourth Wall. If politics are your thing and you'd like to express your support while still staying true to your musical core, mark your calendars. Tickets will be between $13-$15, but it's nice to know a great part of the proceeds are going towards a cause that actually matters.

-Cervante Pope

 





Smoking Surgeon to release You Play Music Like A Girl compilation

Recently launched PDX label Smoking Surgeon is preparing to release its first compilation, You Play Music Like A Girl, just before the holiday hits. Don't let the title upset you though, Portland. The main focus of the compilation is to spotlight Portland's various female-inclusive acts, attempting to counteract the phrase's negative connotation in a satirical and talented way, bringing new life to the phrase.

...Like A Girl will feature some of the city's finest in fem power, from bassists and guitarists to keyboardists and songwriters. Vocalists, too. Enjoy the sounds of locals Old Wave, Haley Heynderickx, Coco Columbia and Pony Village on the comp, plus many more.

A release show will be held in celebration of its launch at the Liquor Store on December 22nd. Playing the show will be Lubec, The Century and Moniker with entrance only being $5. Just so you know, $8 will get you entry plus a copy of the comp!

Smoking Surgeon Records was bred by lovely lady musician Emma Browne and Justin Chase, who happened to come from a home of musically inclined women. Aside from a mutual passion and respect for women in music, the two also share the stage as part of the band Rare Diagram. Both in the band and as a record label, the two only manifest a greatness worthy of all our attention.

-Cervante Pope





Northhampton's And The Kids plays SPACE Gallery Thursday (12/10)

This past February, Northampton, Massachussetts avant-pop trio And The Kids did nothing less than impressively filter daily angst through dancey pop. Listening to such songs as the drum-hopped opener "Pangea" and the celestial fourth one, "Glory Glory" (streaming below), one may smile at these deft musicians' ability to meld the panic of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and the calm of Beach House with compassionately direct lyrics. While it is, as frontwoman Hannah Mohan sings on the former, "alright to tell a lie," And The Kids is boldly committed to telling the truth about all-too-real pain. And The Kids has several shows coming up, including one at SPACE Gallery in Portland, ME on Thursday 12/10. - Zach Weg

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Rykarda Parasol In Letter Form and The Lion’s Den Play BOTH - 12/12

The San Francisco native singer-songwriter, Rykarda Parasol will be performing live at Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco on December 12th. The Bay Area based post punk outfit, In Letter Form will be supporting Parasol along with the rock ensemble, The Lion's Den.

This show will be Rykarda Parasol's North American Record release show! Rykarda Parasol is a San Francisco native now living in Paris, France and perhaps somewhat strangely, signed to Warner Music, Poland! For the past four years, Parasol has pursued a European music career, along with her band in Warsaw. Recently she finished a Central European tour, which included the Waves Festival in Vienna, Austria along with Poland and several Balkan countries. Parasol just released her fourth album, the Color of Destruction, which she self-produced here in San Francisco at Room 5 Recording. A conceptual album, which touches upon facing one’s fatal consequence and whether they should choose to burn or to drown.

Well, this is going to be an awesome show as Parasol's voice and style are throaty, exotic and dramatic in all the best ways! Make your way out to Bottom of the Hill on December 12th!

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