MUSIC There’s no underlying theme running through the 12 acts profiled here other than geographic: they all reside somewhere in the Bay Area. Well, that and we think they’ll break huge this year. Or at least, deserve a larger audience in 2012. It’s not based on buzz or hype, I can assure you of that. It’s about their artistic output, innovation, and listenability, the grand scheme of the band’s lifespan (just how many EPs did they record?), and the current cultural zeitgeist as we see it.
Perhaps what links them is what divides them — their musical diversity. As opposed to recent years, we are not in 2012 overloaded with a single genre. That blanket, behemoth of fuzzed out garage rock, which at times felt overdone, overhyped, and overworked, is finally expanding. That’s not to say we aren’t fans of garage, it’s just a note that there’s so much more out there in our freaky little section of the West Coast. This year feels electric; it began with a refreshing mix of acts on the rise.
In the Bay Area blender there’s doomy metal, tropical synth pop, cloud rap, moombahton, dirty rock, and all the gratuitous additional descriptors you can stomach. In asking the chosen acts how they personally described their sound, I got back cerebral explanations such as “post-Apocalyptic-art-wave,” “zenith snowflake pop” and “an avalanche of barbed wire and rabid sharks.” I can’t stop listening.
Some of the bands and DJs have been haunting around Bay for nearly a decade, others picked up their instruments as a collective just last year. Some have amassed thousands of social media fans, a modern indicator of popularity if ever there was one, while others currently hover around 100 likes. Most have an exciting new release coming in the next twelve months, and all will likely be touring to a city near you.
It can be difficult to capture the essence of a living, breathing band, so we went straight to the source. I asked the tough questions — how would you describe your sound (as in, here’s a soapbox, let’s get it right this time) — and the headier ones, because everyone wants to know what musicians eat, right? Below, I’ve given you a brief wrap-up of who they are and why they should be on your radar in 2012. Following that you’ll see their answers to our quickie take off the Proust questionnaire.