1998: The Year in Lists

Brian Alcorn's Top 10 Songs Bay Area Radio Missed the Boat On
Any music fan can name dozens of wonderful, obscure songs that never made it on the radio, but here are 10 wonderful mainstream singles that got spins in other markets, yet somehow failed to impress local music directors:

1) Lucinda Williams, "Right in Time": KFOG picked up on the swampy groove of "Can't Let Go"; otherwise one of the year's best and most talked-about albums (Car Wheels on a Gravel Road) would have had no local airplay whatsoever. Trouble is, "Can't Let Go" was the second single. Oops.

2) The Mavericks, "Tell Me Why": If a great country band that can't get on country radio does a great pop record that can't get on pop radio, does it actually make a sound?

3) Beth Orton, "She Cries Your Name": Memo to Alice (KLLC) -- Like that Lilith thing you're doing. But why'd you miss this one? Not whiny enough?

4) Jeff Buckley, "Everybody Here Wants You": Even a tragic death couldn't get Buckley airtime in the Bay Area. His posthumous album was unfinished in the extreme, but there's nothing unfinished about this soulful, smooth, sexy ballad.

5) David Garza, "Slave": Everything Rufus Wainwright wants to be.
6) Son Volt, "Driving the View": Overlooked masterpiece on an underrated album by an overrated band. Enough to make one carsick.

7) Billy Bragg & Wilco, "California Stars": Odd collaboration among a British folkie, an altcountry pioneer, and long-dead icon Woody Guthrie produced one of the tenderest, most compelling records of the year. But if you wanted to hear it, you had to get thee to a Virgin Megastore listening post.

8) Gomez, "78 Stone Wobble": Too hip for KFOG, too rough for Alice. Yo, Live 105 (KITS)! This was your baby all the way. What's up?

9) Golden Smog, "Until You Came Along": A flawless pop gem.
10) Barenaked Ladies, "One Week": Eventually found its way into regular rotation here, but that was several weeks after release, and long after this infectious ditty became the breakout hit for this 10-year-old Canadian band.

Robert Arriaga's List of Bay Area Clubs That Shouldn't Have Closed ...
1) Trocadero: Booker George Lazaneo made this one of the best venues to catch good ol' punk rock, from Bad Brains to the Toy Dolls.

2) Chameleon: One of the best places to get drunk on cheap beer and catch live music of any stripe.

3) Starcleaners: So what if it was technically illegal and doomed to failure? It was a second home for new punk bands and death metal.

4) Cat's Alley Club: Bands complained about the sound, yet it was one of the few spaces that would touch underground hip-hop during the week and book death metal on Sundays. It's reopened as a dance-only venue.

... And Four That Show There's Hope
1) Justice League: Opened in 1997, but this year Michael O'Connor resurrected part of its Kennel Club past by adding rock to its already stellar world beat, DJ, and hip hop booking policy. So far this year it's hosted Neurosis, Fu Manchu, the Hellacopters, and Cornelius.

2) Annie's: It doesn't get any better than punk rock karaoke just across the street from police headquarters.

3) Storyville: Changed its booking policy this year and managed to become one of the best DJ clubs in the city.

4) Il Pirata: The bar's been around for years, but it recently became host to good monthly hip-hop parties such as "Brick."

Dave Clifford's 10 Things More Exciting Than 1998's Rock Music
1) Sex.
2) Jim Goad, The Redneck Manifesto (Simon & Schuster): Goad examines the unsavory topic of racism in America -- as directed against poor "white trash" -- with this bitingly funny and baiting frolic through our subsumed class structure.

3) The paintings of Joe Coleman (www.heck.com/coleman): Packing more apocalyptic chaos and rabid catharsis within a single canvas than any rock band produced this year, artist/misanthrope Coleman's surreal visuals astound in detail, color, and execution.

4) Dock Boggs, Country Blues (Revenant): The same ghastly horror lurking within Robert Johnson's antique recordings haunts this 21-track archive of Boggs' shrieking detuned-banjo standards.

5) Anton LaVey, Satan Speaks (Feral House): Founder of the Church of Satan, LaVey exited this mortal coil just after completing this grumpy, yet witty collection of essays.

6) John Waters, Pecker: The postmodern film-sleaze king decries highbrow art and declares the end of irony with his usual perky candor.

7) Elvis on Tour: The King topped the recent zombified reanimations of murdered rap stars with this bizarre tour video, which shows footage of the bloated Elvis on giant screens accompanying a live band.

8) Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, live at the Warfield, Sept. 16: Cave's slithering insincerity mixes a lounge lizard showman's grace with compulsive acts of passion -- be they religious, sexual, or violent. Here, he demonstrated how his sentimental music can lurch into pure fury at the twist of a knife.

9) E-Bay (www.ebay.com): The fastest, most enjoyable way to find all the useless collectible crap one could ever want -- then launch bidding wars against other losers for stuff with little to no value.

10) David Lee Roth, Crazy From the Heat: Diamond Dave's book demonstrates the insight, humor, and goofy charm behind every kick, every squeal, and every scourged brown M&M.

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