The Bay Area hasn’t featured prominently on the music map since 1967
, when Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead serenaded the counterculture masses at the Monterey Pop Festival. But with influential record labels (Slumberland
), audience-drawing festivals (PopFest
, Outside Lands
, and Treasure Island
), and blogs pushing local buzz bands (The Bay Bridged
), the NoCal music scene may be back.
: San Francisco is known for its eclecticism, but the current strain of garage rock powering through the city’s amps owes much to the genre’s local progenitors. Besides Thee Oh Sees
, a shambolic, yet prolific, four-piece outfit, Ty Segall is leading the scene. Segall, an Orange County native, could have ended up as a character on The Hills
(he actually did have a cameo on Laguna Beach
). Instead, he moved to San Francisco and started churning out Nuggets
-informed fuzz-pop gems. Although he’s refined his sound on his latest album, Goodbye Bread
, his references (John Lennon, Neil Young) prove that he has no intention of straying from his primal rock roots.
: It’s hard to describe The Sandwitches. Like their genre-bending San Francisco contemporaries Girls
and the Dodos
, this trio hopscotches from eccentric folk to minimalist post-punk to campfire pop. The band—Grace Cooper, Heidi Alexander, and Roxy Brodeur—features former members of The Fresh and Onlys
and shows up regularly on the lineups of local benefits and in the track lists of San Francisco compilations
. Their look is just as enigmatic—when the Sandwitches aren’t covered in clown face paint, they’re wearing fashionable vintage dresses. Despite their variant style, one thing remains clear: This band likes to have fun.
: After peeling back their layers of distortion and feedback, Weekend is, at heart, a post-punk band with a penchant for pop hooks. That explains why they’re on the roster of Slumberland Records
, the Berkeley-based label best known for upbeat indie acts like Black Tambourines and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. Since forming in 2009, the San Francisco trio has released two EPs and one full-length album, Sports
, which solidified their standing as underground rock darlings
. Following up a handful of recent remixes and a single released in May, the band is touring Europe this summer—and no doubt, gaining many ardent new fans in the process.