Since it's the time of year when the SF Weekly Awards celebrate the regional music scene, we decided to invite local artists to celebrate the local scene as well. It's sort of like the animals running the zoo — or, as the Violent Femmes once suggested, the blind leading the naked.
We compiled CDs from recent releases by Bay Area musicians and gave unannotated copies to four artists: Erin Skidmore from girl-poppers the Hot Toddies, Oakland hyphy rapper Mistah F.A.B., the boys and girls of raunchy electro-rap act Hottub, and Tyler McCauley from dance-punkers Tempo No Tempo (whose album, Waking Heat, comes out Oct. 20). Here's what they had to say.
Lust for Life
Psych-pop stoners rewrite the Television Personalities' catalog.
HOTTUB: Smear cupcakes on our bums and call us Aunt Charlie! We wanna eat fish tacos w/ our mates to this ditty!
F.A.B.: I love the guitar in it. It reminds me of something from the early '90s.
MCCAULEY: Ah, 2009 ... the year it was impossible to avoid Girls. I wasn't huge on this at first, but I really think it's my civic duty to get behind this band. For every 20 Brooklyn bands on Pitchfork, S.F. gets one buzz band like Girls. So, fuck yeah. 100 percent.
Riff-heavy Motörheady metal from Oaktown.
HOTTUB: Let's pierce our genitals, dig a ditch, and bury ourselves alive!!! Yeaaaah!
MCCAULEY: Uh, no thanks. My testosterone levels are fine, thanks for asking.
F.A.B.: Too much for me. Not my thing. At all.
SKIDMORE: Retro thrash. Face-melting radness.
Shady Natefeat. J.Stalin, X.O., Gary Hawkins
Oakland rapper offering wheels and deals.
MCCAULEY: Rap for ringtones.
SKIDMORE: Makes my boyfriend shake his booty. 'Nuff said.
F.A.B.: Shady Nate. This is actually one of my favorite songs off of this album.
Or, the Whale
Country-rock outfit singing about spending all your money on chips and weed.
HOTTUB: This makes us wanna have hot sex with our underage daughters.
MCCAULEY: This is some Ryan Adams–esque milquetoast. Nice harmonies, but this sounds a whole lot like a nap to me.
SKIDMORE: A lovely lazy Southern California country ballad — reminds me of the Donkeys from San Diego, with some female harmonies.
F.A.B.: Deep lyrics — sounds like it's about drugs, though. He might need an intervention.
Band's latest sounds more like Stereolab than ever.
HOTTUB: Makes us feel like riding down Sesame Street on Mr. Snuffleupagus' back eating cotton candy clowns. This made our penis wink ;).
Thao & the Get Down Stay Down
Adorably hiccupy pop for "sad people [to] dance to."
F.A.B.: Great voice — very sensual. I need to meet the lead singer.
SKIDMORE: Dancing sad people would probably not like this song ... it's too happy!
Bassnectar featuring Zumbi
Bass-loving producer and Nick Nolte–loving rapper commingle.
HOTTUB: Sparks + Pop Rocks = Warm Milk and Spank Rock. We give this one two bums up!
MCCAULEY: Burning Man folks love freaky dubsteppy shit like this. I think I'm a few dreadlocks short to enjoy this track.
F.A.B.: I like this. Who is this? I wanna collabo with this dude.
SKIDMORE: Sometimes beats and a lot of sirens are all you need for a hit song. I could get hyphy to this.
Rupa and the April Fishes
Por la Frontera
Multilingual Gypsies tour Spain with the circus.
SKIDMORE: Spanish polka with these absolutely insane solos that make the rest of us look bad, thanks a lot!
The Fresh and Onlys
Wavery garage-psych that has nothing to do with Brooke Shields.
MCCAULEY: Such a great year for S.F. garage rock. So fresh. So only.
F.A.B.: I love the groove on this.
Sugar & Gold
Slice Me Nice
Giorgio Moroder fans cover '80s Italo-disco band Fancy.
HOTTUB: This makes us feel like Kelly Bundy introducing "The new Elante!"
SKIDMORE: Didn't I hear this on the soundtrack of a John Hughes movie?
F.A.B.: Reminds me of 1984. Man, that must have been a good time.
MCCAULEY: Sugar & Gold are like the Muppet version of Studio 54 in a great way. It's too silly to be dangerous, and it's better for it. Love that they go all Moroder on this track.
Claude Von Stroke
The Greasy Beat
Minimal beats made maximal by Bootsy Collins sample.
F.A.B.: I feel like I was supposed to take a pill before listening to this.
MCCAULEY: I can seriously listen to minimal house like this for days. Gimme that tsk-tsk hi-hat and I am a pretty happy camper.
Into the Shadows
of My Embrace
Word-heavy band continues evolution away from indie-rap.
F.A.B.: I really like the lyrics and how the song changed in the middle. Good song.
MCCAULEY: I love pretty much everything Why? does. Their new album is a little piano-y for me, but Yoni is such a great lyricist, and puts together such unique, stellar melodies. I can complain, but this album is already stuck in my head.
SKIDMORE: Why? just rocks my world. I first heard this band while on tour in the U.K. and was actually embarrassed I hadn't heard of them already, since they're from my own hometown. I came home and MySpaced them my newfound love. Nice guys — they actually wrote me back!
My First Earthquake
Cool in the Cool Way
Catchy synth-pop by Carnegie Mellon grads.
MCCAULEY: The chorus is right ... this might be the least cool thing I've heard all year. But they're so stoked! This is what everyone's younger sibling's first band sounds like.
SKIDMORE: Songs about tea and socks and being uncool. I wish I could relate. The music is fun and danceable; I'd put it on a party mix for sure.
Hey, Soul Sister
Insipid Top 40 rock with annoyingly memorable chorus.
SKIDMORE: Umm ... is Jason Mraz collecting royalties on this song?
MCCAULEY: I feel like there is a record executive in L.A. who would flip his shit over this song, give it to Taylor Swift, sell a million records, and then soundtrack an awful music video filled with slow-motion shots in the rain.
Devil Makes Three singer goes mellow, still ornery.
F.A.B.: They won me over with the harmonica. I love the groove on this.
SKIDMORE: Bob Dylan has sex with the Devil Makes Three. All three of them.
Mexican-American roots band collaborates with Taj Mahal and Los Lobos' David Hidalgo.
MCCAULEY: Blues rock? Is this a viable career choice still?
HOTTUB: If this were food, it would be carne asada rib pie dipped in white gravy with a side of refried greens. Yum-my!
Music Awards Feature
Music Awards intro by Jennifer Maerz
Music Awards: Lazer Sword by Shawn Reynaldo
Music Awards: Crown City Rockers by Ezra Gale
Music Awards sidebar: Should I Stay or Should I Go? by Ezra Gale, Jennifer Maerz and Shawn Reynaldo
Music Awards Program Guide
Music Awards intro by Jennifer Maerz