Mushroom's eclectic stylings could have landed them in any other category, but their ongoing exploration of sound makes them a shoe-in for one of 2008's best experimental acts. Their 1997 debut single, "The Reeperbahn," came with the influence of 70s krautrock like Neu! and Kraftwerk. Fast-forward a few years and their Analog Hi-Fi Surprise release took a turn down a funkier avenue, highlighted by psychedelic jazz inflections sporting Booker T-style organs and electronic beats. Now taking a totally different path, the band's next project is a reworking of an unreleased rock opera written by the Who's Pete Townshend that Mushroom plan on performing live in early 2009.
Mushroom's all-encompassing sound has attracted a slew of notable musicians to play alongside the Oakland band. Through the years, Mushroom's roster of guests has seen the likes of John Birdsong of Beck fame, Tom Waits' sideman Ralph Carney, and legendary Blue Note recording artist Eddie Gale.
If you're a fan of Mushroom's ever-evolving genre melds, cast your vote and help them take home an SF Weekly Music Award. --Oscar Pascual