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Mixtape: Rocking Out to San Francisco's Best Heavy Bands

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Banquet. (Photo: William Dauel)

The term “hard rock” may have taken a serious beating over the last several decades, conjuring up images of slick radio-baiting songs that actually have more in common with soft pop than anything truly rock and roll. That wasn’t always the case. Not only did the heavy, bluesy rock and roll bands of the ’60s and ’70s — including pioneers like SF’s own Blue Cheer — offer some killer tunes, but they also laid substantial groundwork for the emergence of metal, punk, and other rock subgenres in the years to come.

While rock and roll has fragmented in the ensuing decades, and a new indie trend seems to appear every few weeks, plenty of emerging San Francisco acts continue to serve up heavy slabs of rock today. Perhaps most impressively, many of them deliver compelling and inventive approaches to back-to-basics sounds. Consider, as one brief example, the self-description provided by Wild Eyes SF: “Blue Cheer kidnaps Tina Turner and ties her to the tracks of the Grand Funk Railroad.”

That creativity means that this set of loud, hard, and heavy songs covers a surprising amount of ground. There’s the psych-sludge of Love Moon and the primitive pounding of Feral Ohms. Hot Lunch kicks off the set with a shreddy-punk jam from their new self-titled EP; we’ve also included a pummeling number from their recent tourmates in Banquet. And the more psychedelic side of rock is represented by great songs from recent albums by Mondo Drag and Queen Crescent.

Regardless of how one tries to define these bands, they all share one common characteristic: for lack of a better or more precise term, they just f@*king rock. Turn this mix up loud and enjoy!

Track Listing:


Hot Lunch – “Slappy Sunday”
Feral Ohms – “Super Ape”
Lecherous Gaze – “New Distortion”
Older Sun – “Bad Man”
War Cloud – “Speed Demon”
Queen Crescent – “Culture Vulture”
Love Moon – “Not With Me”
Wild Eyes SF – “Amnesia”
Banquet – “Run To You”
Mondo Drag – “Plumajilla”

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