Mixtape: Things You May Have Missed Earlier This Year
Listen to The Bay Bridged mix of eleven bands, some local, some not, whose 2012 releases should not be overlooked.
When it was pitched, this episode was known informally as an "underrated bands" mix, a label that seems as unworkable as it feels insulting. In an age of increasing access to a perpetually growing volume of music, and a culture that focuses on always keeping an eye out for the next big thing, the idea that any band could hold attention long enough to be over- or under-rated seems unlikely. Forget ratings and rankings: just remembering what you like can be challenging enough in a constant barrage of new music.
With that in mind, as we approach 2012's halfway point, here's a mix of eleven bands, some local, some not, that have all released interesting albums this year. These records may have slipped past you when they first came out -- and include some that we haven't written about much or at all -- but they're some of the recent works that continue to stick with us even as new sounds stream forward every day. These days, that's no small feat.
About the bands:
Mac DeMarco -- "Baby's Wearing Blue Jeans"
In March, Captured Tracks released Rock and Roll Night Club, a terrific collection of warped and inventive bedroom pop songs from Vancouver's Mac DeMarco.
Billy & Dolly -- "Gold"
This SF duo's second album delivers classic-feeling power pop, aided by tight harmonies and recording help from Papercuts' Jason Quever.
Royal Headache -- "Down the Lane"
Although frequently categorized as garage or punk, this Australian act's catchy melodies would survive close scrutiny even with the fuzz removed.
The Mallard -- "Vines"
Like their Castle Face Records brethren, The Mallard have been playing a ton of shows this year, and the band's psychy, noisy take on garage rock is a unique and exciting one.
Royal Baths -- "Darling Divine"
After relocating to New York from the Bay last year, Royal Baths released Better Luck Next Life, a collection of raw, Velvets-inflected songs in February.
Chuck Prophet -- "Castro Halloween"
As a love letter to SF, Chuck Prophet's latest, Temple Beautiful, would have probably stuck with us regardless of its quality. Thankfully, though, it's also an impressive collection of songs from a veteran with a unique ear for hooks.
PS I Love You -- "Sentimental Dishes"
After releasing a terrific debut, this Ontario duo returned earlier this year with Death Dreams, an album that is just as noisy and addictive as its predecessor.
Digital Leather -- "Hot Bubblegum"
Displaying an uncommon earnestness, Modern Problems soars above the bedroom/lo-fi pop norm with a slate of should-have-been pop hits.
Donovan Quinn -- "Shadow on the Stone"
One half of Skygreen Leopards, Quinn also recorded and produced Honky Tonk Medusa, an intimate, lyrically-rich affair.
Seventeen Evergreen -- "Burn The Fruit (Pegasus)"
This SF duo's recent album, Steady On, Scientist!, offers an expansive and psychedelic take on danceable electro-pop.
Windy & Carl -- "Remember"
Windy & Carl have been recording ambient-drone songs for almost two decades, but the poignant tracks on the band's latest album, We Will Always Be, are regarded as among their all-time best.
Also on KQED.org this week ...
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