Tunes of the Month – January

We’re opening twenty-sixteen’s Tunes of the Month feature by keeping it local! Here are five recent tracks that we’ve been digging, all by Bay Area artists.

The Y Axes – “Meteorite”
San Francisco’s The Y Axes are following up 2014’s excellent Sunglasses & Solar Flares, as well as a victory in the first ever Idle Time Tune Tournament, with a new album later this year. “Meteorite” is the first single, and from the fiery opening drumbeat, these guys seem poised to stage a power-pop atmospheric reentry of epic proportions.

How refreshing that “space” can be a musical descriptor beyond references to jam-band synths, noodly electronics, or nebulous clouds of fuzz.* The Y Axes like to remind us that their brand of cosmic rock is from the future; thank goodness that time-and-spacefaring bands still like to dance. And rip out crazy guitar riffs. And belt out melodies that get stuck in your head for days. Check it out – you’ll see.

And then check out The Y Axes headlining The Winter Wizard Formal at Milk this Friday, January 29th. It’s the official “Meteorite” release, and figures to be the best sci-fi and sorcery mash-up this side of a San Diego summer.

*just about everyone here would like it to be known that we enjoy synths, electronics, and walls of sound. we just don’t think those bands should have a monopoly on the term “spacey.” oh, but we still don’t like jam bands.

Teens In Trouble – “Santa Monica”
Lizzie Cuevas, formerly of Oakland’s The Glowing Stars, is back as Teens in Trouble, and the first single, “Santa Monica,” came out late last year. It’s a surfrockin’ love letter to everyone’s first crush, the Pacific, that would make Best Coast proud.


Nightshuttle – “Sundowner Winds”
Nightshuttle is San Francisco’s Justin Frahm, and his new EP released a few weeks ago. Every time I hear the lyric “the City is perfect right now” (also the title of the album) I get chills, and every time that brassy crescendo opens up over those keys I want to open up my arms and hug the fog right outta Land’s End.


Starover Blue – “Spacegeist”
South Bay’s Starover Blue, formerly Cartoon Bar Fight, have a new album dropping any minute now, and “Spacegeist” is the lead single and title track. All that stuff I said about spacey and noodly and electronic? Yeah, I do enjoy it. And on this tune, I enjoy the hell out of it.


Burnt Palms – “Last Time”
These guys hail from the Monterey area, and, with next month’s release of Back On My Wall, seem geared for a breakout 2016. The first single, “Last Time,” serves up an eff-you with a side of rattling percussion and bottomless cup of pedal-stomping.