I was lucky enough to be the artist relations guy all day at The Bay Bridged’s big summer festival, Pono Del Sol. The highlight of the day, besides all the bands being totally chill and easy to work with (a first in my experience), was when Thee Oh Sees invited the whole crowd up onto the stage for their closer, “Dead Energy.” Bouncing around on stage with these guys prompted me to pick up a copy of their latest record, Floating Coffin, which not only made me an unequivocal fan of the band after all these years, but is easily one of the top contenders for Album of the Year, in my opinion. And it all started right here:
Well, 2012 was a pretty stellar year for music (both from the Bay Area and from the rest of the world), and I just want to call out a few of my local favorites from the year. I’m restricting myself because I’m not going to mention how Pussy Riot inspired the whole planet with their punk prayer protesting the repressive Russian regime, or how I literally did not stop playing Grimes‘ Visions for about 6 months after it came out. Nope, not even going to go there.
Best Local Show by a Local Band
My favorite local show of the year was one I didn’t even see: Tartufi at Rock Make, the annual art and music street fest thrown by The Bay Bridged along with The Bold Italic and the members of Tartufi themselves.
I was stage managing at the other end of the fest during Tartufi’s set, so I didn’t get to watch it, but I gave my trusty handheld recorder to a friend to record for my “Bay Area Live” podcast on BreakThruRadio.com (BTR). When I went back and listened to the set in order to edit it for use on my show, it completely blew me away. This is one of the few shows I’ve done for BTR that I went back to and listened to many, many times after spending the initial time editing and mastering. Pure post-rock bliss from the local band of the decade, Tartufi.
Here’s my year-end podcast of the best sets I played on my show in 2012, which, of course, features Tartufi prominently, right at the beginning:
Best Local Show by a Non-Local Band
Wye Oak completely killed it at The Independent as part of Noise Pop 2012, way back in February. Their set has stood the test of time and is definitely the single show that stands out to me as the best I saw in the Bay Area in 2012 by a traveling band. If you just watch them covering Aaliyah’s “Are You That Somebody” (above), you’ll get what I’m saying. I don’t think there’s anything else I need to add.
Best Album by a Local Band
High on Fire never disappoints, but their new one – De Vermis Mysteriis – is richly deserving of the title of best album released by a Bay Area band in 2012. Singer/guitarist Matt Pike is pretty much a full-on metal god, and he probably would be even if the relatively short career of Sleep was the only credit to his name. But over a much longer career with High on Fire, he has continued to put out some of the heaviest, sludgiest riffs ever to grace the ears of us mere mortals. Check out “King of Days”, my favorite track from the new album, and realize you can’t even argue with me here:
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