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,
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.