Mixtape: Bay Area Musicians to Watch in 2018

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 (Photo by Rachel McCord)

The many challenges of 2017 didn't magically disappear when the year ended, but one bright spot in 2018 is the wealth of emerging Bay Area musicians poised for big breaks. This mix showcases 14 local artists to watch in the coming months, highlighting a variety of genres including hip-hop, electronic pop, folk, and punk.

Several of the acts included here released acclaimed projects in 2017. Rose Droll's debut EP, Photograph, introduced an extremely talented singer-songwriter who had, for years, accumulated countless home recordings but only recently began performing live. Madi Sipes & The Painted Blue are getting ready to release a second EP. (Last year's Sex & Sadness received an endorsement from Elton John on his radio show.) Oakland rapper ALLBLACK had a similarly accomplished 2017, capped by the launch of the KimSon EP in October and a nomination for "Rookie of the Year" by Thizzler.

The mix also showcases several exciting, newer projects from great long-time Bay Area musicians. Curls was originally a studio collaboration to support the latest solo recordings of Christopher Owens of Girls, but they eventually emerged as a real band. Lapel finds local singer-songwriter Debbie Neigher moving away from folk and rock influences, instead exploring a new sound mixing by electronic pop and R&B. And while you might not yet be familiar with the intense post-punk of Fearing or the thrashy hardcore of Primal Rite, these bands draw talented members from local bands Creative Adult and Scalped, respectively.

Listen to the mixtape to learn more about all 14 artists.


Rose Droll, "A Change in Weather"


Curls, "Emotion"

Ricky Lake, "Wino"

Spiritual Cramp, "All My Friends Are Out Tonight (Alright)"

Ismay, "River of Light (Through the Inland Empire)"

Remember Karen, "Afternoon Waking Life"

Madi Sipes & The Painted Blue, "Sex & Sadness"

Just Rese, "Fluffy Pink Lights"

Fearing, "Black Sand"

Primal Rite, "Demon"

Lapel, "Less of a Woman"

The Saxophones, "If You’re On The Water"

Cryderman, "Albatross"

ALLBLACK, "Change The Gloves"