Here in San Francisco, a new brigade of superb rock bands Girls, the Mantles, the Fresh and Onlys arrives, all of whom wouldn't sound out of place on Alan McGee's Creation label back when Shields was spending all of its money in the studio. This year brings reissues of Loop's Heaven's End (Head, 1987), The World in Your Eyes (Head, 1987), Fade Out (Chapter 22, 1988), and A Gilded Eternity (1990, Situation Two), while spacemen-two acts such as California's Crocodiles (on Summer of Hate, Fat Possum) and Moon Duo loop listeners back twenty years in time like a retro-futurist astronauts.
Just last week, the DJ Alexis Le-Tan told me that 2009 should have been another summer of love, like 1967 and 1988. In the new book 1989: Bob Dylan Didn't Have This to Sing About (University of California Press, 198 pages, $21.95), the Bay Area critic and poet Joshua Clover uses Public Enemy, N.W.A., and the birth of Nirvana to establish 1989 as a pivotal year in popular music. It's a point that the music this year argues just as convincingly on an understated scale, whether it's Blues Control charting the quiet moments of Sonic Youth's Daydream Nation (Enigma, 1988), Night Control coming off like the next Guided By Voices, or Kurt Vile and Wavves jousting cross-coastal for the role of son of Dinosaur Jr. Listen back to look forward.