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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.





Ghost & The City Gear Up to Release New EP

We love Ghost & The City's sultry jazz inspired music, so it shouldn't be a surprise that we're super excited to announce that the band is gearing up to release a new EP on January 15th! The new album is entitled Patchwork Soul and if you recall, we covered to release of the first single off this album, Steady Trippin'. Take a listen to it and we'll keep you posted on any new developments!

Oakland outfit Ghost & the City is dedicated to elevating style and experience to create music that embodies elements of soul, trip-hop and jazz. Traveling across numerous musical genres to appeal to many tastes, Ghost & the City makes music that defies conventionality, yet solidifies a distinctive sound. Over the past five years, the project has successfully performed at venues all over the Bay Area, supporting such acts as The Internet, Hiatus Kaiyote, Incognito and Marco Benevento. Next year will see the release of Patchwork Soul, a 6-song EP that features fresh collaborations and a new direction.

You can catch Ghost & the City's last show of the year on December 15th at Great American Music Hall. They open for Judith Hill.

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Lowell's Spooky Future plays Midway Cafe on 12/15

Back in March, Lowell, Massachussetts trio Spooky Future released 'Chrese,' a palpably intriguing collection of jazz-rock songs. Calmer than its title may imply, the first track "Finally, You've Lost Your Mind" (streaming below) is a smooth blend of drum clasps and guitar curls that is pleasantly reminiscent of The Bad Plus and BADBADNOTGOOD. The second-to-last song, "The National Fun Deficit," similarly, plays along to a graceful pace, its thick bass lines effectively showing the elegant power of instrumental music. Spooky Future plays at the Midway Cafe in Jamaica Plain, MA on 12/15.- Zach Weg

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Northampton's Mammal Dap plays Stomping Ground in Putnam, CT on 12.10

With their sputtering beats and trotting guitars, Northampton, Massachussetts indie funk quartet Mammal Dap powerfully reminds the listener that instruments alone can be deeply affecting. Excluding a human voice, songs like the drum-skipped "Ariel" and the bass-rubbed "Tried Tides" (streaming below) evoke autumnal melancholy while ultimately letting summer joy slide through. A compelling combination of Ratatat's elasticity and Flying Lotus's claustrophobia, such subtle yet fierce tracks play along to an intriguingly unpredictable pace. Mammal Dap has many forthcoming shows listed, including one this Thursday (12/10) at Stomping Ground in Putnam, CT. - Zach Weg

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Are you DTF?

At some point or another, it's likely you've been asked if you're "DTF" or not. Usually, the acronym would imply you're down for some, let's say, "sensual relations," but here in Portland in references a different sort of gathering. December to Forget is our giant "F U" to this month of lame weather, ugly sweaters and gifts you didn't ask for. The last December to Forget, hosted by Party Boyz in 2013, got quite crazy. The ladies of Party Boyz are hoping for the same this year.

December to Forget will be held at the Liquor Store this Saturday, December 12th. Sets at the show include breakout band Moon By You, our beloved Wampire and San Francisco's Everyone Is Dirty. Tickets are $5 and the show starts at 9pm, so come prepared to get messed up with the best of us!

DTF is also doubling as a canned food drive, so if you bring a can of shelf stable food with you, you'll get $1 off your ticket! All the food is being donated to the Oregon Food Bank to benefit those less fortunate this holiday season, so nutrient dense foods are highly needed (think vegetables, soups, etc.)!

 

-Cervante Pope

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