It's tops - Page 3

More Best of 2008 lists from Bay Area players

Where the embers of the Red Crayola and the Elevators' hash pipe merge with Born to Run muscle.

*The Dirtbombs

Since I toured with them this year I got to see them 53 times, and they were awesome every night — except that first night in Bloomington, Ind., but that was a bummer gig all around. "I Can't Stop Thinking About It" is the best tune I heard this year.

*Margo Guryan, Take a Picture (Sundazed)

Thanks to Chris at Groove Merchant for hipping me to this. Soft chanteuse-y vocals, booming drums, sitars, and fuzz = awesome pop.

*Beck, "Chemtrails" from Modern Guilt (Interscope)

I just really dig this tune. I like the homemade video for it on YouTube and the conspiracy theories the song alludes to.

*Randy Newman at SFJAZZ fest, playing a solo piano gig, for nearly two hours

Again, how many good songs can one person write — it's ridiculous!

*Sunday night shows at the Rite Spot

Annie Southworth does a good job booking the place: Colossal Yes, Adam Stephens, Prairie Dog, occasional jazz cats, and the Ramshackle Romeos were my year's highlights.

*Local bands at SFO

It's mostly soft 'n' gentle pop, classical, or jazz — no Caroliner concerts are planned yet. But wouldn't a Bart Davenport tune help the Xanax really take the edge off the preflight panic?

*Mon Cousin Belge at Café Du Nord

Somehow MCB unites Antony and Jello Biafra song skills, vocal chords, political proclivities, humor, and pathos into a horrifically scarred Belgian-in-exile crooner to make SF laugh and cry. Jobriath of the now!

*Jeffrey Lewis at Hotel Utah

The best concert I saw all year. The supergenius from your eighth-grade math class returns 20 years later with tunes that mix the Femmes, Jonathan Richman, and James Joyce.


*M83, "Kim & Jessie" (Mute)

'80s melancholia with good drum fills.

*The Dry Spells' "Rhiannon" to be released on Antenna Farm in spring 2009

Much better than the Fleetwood Mac original. No, I am not fucking with you.

*Realizing the Grateful Dead's "Touch of Grey" (Arista, 1987) is the best aging hippie anthem ever, and feeling like I relate to it, especially because I'm rapidly going gray.

*Tune-yards' "News" (Marriage)

This is the best unknown band I've ever heard, no joke, hands down — you'd be insane not to check it out at

*3 Leafs, Space Rock Tulip (self-released)

Amazing SF all-star mostly improv band featuring members of Gong, Tussle, Citay, and others. Epic, spacious, physical, colorful, and powerful, with catchy and fun moments throughout.

*The Botticellis, "The Reviewer" (Antenna Farm)

Total power pop, like the best upbeat Big Star meets the best Cheap Trick. One of my favorite songs of recent memory.

*Tune-yards live in SF and Portland, Maine

Citay played on a bill with Tune-yards in Portland, Maine, and then we set up a show for her here in SF. We promoted the heck out of it, the people came out, and Tune-yards killed. Truly inspiring.

*Vetiver's cover of "The Swimming Song" (Gnomonsong)

*Half Japanese at the WFMU showcase at SXSW

*Discovering Mastodon, way, way late.


1. Toxic Lipstick, "Thunderdome" (Dual Plover)

This is one of the most fucked-up songs from one of the most fucked-up records in the past 20 years.

2. Deerhoof, current tour clips on YouTube

Since I got their first two records at age 15, Deerhoof has remained one of my favorite bands, and the addition of Ed Rodriguez has pushed them into a new terrain of amazingness.


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