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Fall Album Frenzy: New Local Albums You Need to Know 

Wednesday, Aug 29 2012
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To call it "crowded" would be putting the onslaught of this fall's album release schedule way too mildly. Everyone and their ex-drummer is putting out a new record this season, and that includes some of the Bay Area's funniest, smartest, and most whacked-out musicians. To help you sort through the din, we've put together this list of 12 upcoming albums from local artists that ought to be on your radar. Get those headphones warmed up, 'cause it's gonna be a loud three months.

Roach Gigz, Bugged Out
Sept. 4 on 415 Rapper Inc
Should appeal to: Underground rap heads; stoners; those with a warped sense of humor
Why it's interesting: The self-proclaimed "young, pale, skinny as hell" rapper had been beavering away on the underground mixtape circuit for a few years before striking YouTube gold with his 1 million-plus viewed "Can I Rap" video. Now it's time for his debut album proper, which ups the production levels, hoping to prove that Roach's songs can stick in the mainstream consciousness. Be prepared for the usual off-kilter punchlines ("My son's black and white — should have named him Keyboard") and production that slaps from longtime collaborator C-Loz. Phillip Mlynar

Bob Mould, Silver Age
Sept. 4 on Merge
Should appeal to: Nostalgic 50-year-olds; worshippers at the altar of '90s alt-rock
Why it's interesting: 2011 was a weird year for S.F. resident and punk royalty Bob Mould. He opened for the Foo Fighters, then sat at Walt Disney Concert Hall while Britt Daniel, Craig Finn, and more played his music in homage. Both experiences pushed the legendary rocker back to the studio for this latest work, a throwback to the noisy days of Hüsker Dü and Sugar. Especially when paired with the 20th anniversary re-release of Sugar's Copper Blue (available since July), Silver Age is a blistering intro to one of the underground's best songwriters. Nathan Mattise

Sean Hayes, Before We Turn to Dust
Sept. 11, self-released
Should appeal to: Hipster dads on a mellow kick; folk-heads; closet Norah Jones fans
Why it's interesting: Longtime local voice Sean Hayes has a new album that might just be what he needs to jump to the national spotlight. His first set of songs since becoming a father, Before We Turn to Dust finds Hayes musing on the transition with a generous wit and a smoky, shy voice. Brass licks, ribbons of piano, and solid drum grooves give these plaintive tunes a dose of jazzy energy, but mostly Hayes sticks to making smart chill-back music. No wonder he's toured with Ani DiFranco and Jolie Holland. Ian S. Port

Thee Oh Sees, Putrifiers II
Sept. 11 on In the Red
Should appeal to: Card-carrying acid chemists; sweaty garage-dwellers
Why it's interesting: Thee Oh Sees never seem to have a shortage of curveballs to throw at their worshipful audience. Having careened between yelping garage-pop frenzy and more abstract psych-folk meanderings on previous albums, the group hit a fresh stride with the kraut-punk assault of last year's stunning Carrion Crawler/The Dream. Putrifiers II tempers the mayhem with fractured, fuzzy pop hooks and instrumental forays as melodic and weird as anything the band has done so far. It might be Thee Oh Sees' best record since 2009's Help. Dave Pehling

Meklit Hadero and Quinn DeVeaux, Meklit & Quinn
Sept. 18 on Porto Franco
Should appeal to: Soul devotees; jazz lovers; people who play an instrument
Why it's interesting: Meklit Hadero, S.F.'s Ethiopian-born princess of a jazz singer, teamed up with local R&B crooner Quinn DeVeaux for an album of wide-ranging, easygoing covers — some classic, some fresh. Their natural chemistry brings a smoldering quiet to the Arcade Fire, some slow-boiling funk to Stevie Wonder, and an eerie overcast to MGMT. The originals aren't bad either: DeVeaux's New Orleans-y "Saving Up" makes for a late-album highlight, underscoring the versatility and joy these two bring to bedrock Americana. I.S.P.

Sic Alps, Sic Alps
Sept. 18 on Drag City
Should appeal to: Schizophrenics; fuzzmongers; schizophrenic fuzzmongers
Why it's interesting: Wait, didn't Sic Alps just release a double LP last year? Yes: After the pervasive freakery of Napa Asylum, these S.F. rockers sped back into the studio. Staying true to their lo-fi aesthetic, the new self-titled album will provide all the vocal echo and fuzz guitar fans expect. But Sic Alps also layered a few surprises into the sound: classical strings often lead into the amplified ones, and piano playfully intertwines with the riffs. You wouldn't quite call a track like "Glyphs" orchestral, but the band looks to be branching out a bit. N.M.

Kreayshawn, Somethin' Bout Kreay
Sept. 18 on Columbia
Should appeal to: Blunt-smoking, shit-talking, Arby's-haunting tweens
Why it's interesting: Oakland's Kreayshawn sparked an Internet firestorm last year after "Gucci Gucci" blew up and the tarty white rapper landed on a major label. Was her rise a fluke? That's what we'll find out on Kreayshawn's proper debut album, which features production from Diplo and Boys Noize, and guest verses from the likes of 2Chainz and Kid Cudi. The first two singles haven't exactly been promising — the 22-year-old leaves a lot to be desired as both a lyricist and a vocalist — but they've certainly been garish. Soon we'll find out whether that's enough to stay in the game. I.S.P.

Tussle, Tempest
Sept. 25 on Smalltown Supersound
Should appeal to: Disco misfits; neo-Krautrock aficionados; James Murphy acolytes
Why it's interesting: An evolving project since 2001, Tussle has managed to hold on to its sound despite drastic personnel changes. Tempest, its fourth studio album, continues that trend with long improvisatory jams that unravel the semiotics of no wave and dance punk to their stripped-down and tripped-out — but still danceable — core. To do that, the group flew to Scotland and enlisted the production abilities of JD Twitch (aka one half of punky Glaswegian party-starters Optimo). The new LP also features guest appearances by members of original NYC funk-deconstructors Liquid Liquid. It might be fall soon, but this record will keep you on your feet like it's summer all over again. Derek Opperman

Mark Eitzel, Don't Be a Stranger
Oct. 2 on Merge
Should appeal to: Downbeat Mission denizens; slowcore disciples; sad people
Why it's interesting: Eitzel's American Music Club was long one of S.F.'s leading purveyors of slow, gorgeous, too-smart-for-its-own-good music, perfect on a forlorn late night. The band has dissolved — drummer Tim Mooney sadly passed away in June — but Eitzel is still working. He went back into the studio seeking to make a record like Harvest or Five Leaves Left, and Don't Be a Stranger is what resulted. First single "I Love You But You're Dead" is somehow weightless in its gloom and exquisitely detailed in its imagery, telling the story of one strange, loud night, and hinting that Eitzel might have reached his highest creative point in years. I.S.P.

Tamaryn, Tender New Signs
Oct. 16 on Mexican Summer
Should appeal to: Stomp-box collectors; those who look at their Doc Martens a lot
Why it's interesting: Tamaryn pretty much rocketed to the top of the S.F. shoegaze crop with her lauded debut album in 2010, and Tender New Signs will be the test of whether she can stay there. First single "I'm Gone" is as woozy and reverb-damaged as you'd expect, but the melodies shining through the din are prettier than they used to be, raising our hopes for this second batch from the newly blond singer. Hey, it's hard to go too wrong melding moody vocals with noise-soaked guitar-pop. I.S.P.

Main Attrakionz, Bossalinis & Fooliyones
Oct. 23 on Young One
Should appeal to: Lil B refugees; the perennially lifted
Why it's interesting: Loftily billing themselves as the Best Duo Ever, MondreM.A.N. and Squadda B have seen their music tagged as "cloud rap" thanks to a series of free downloads that definitely land on the breezier side of the genre. But the 17 tracks that make up Main Attrakionz's retail debut hint at a harder sound, with New York hitmaker Harry Fraud and Chicago unit Supreme Cuts contributing production. Tattoo-obsessed trap rapper Gucci Mane also snags a cameo on "Superstitious," but things come back to the bay with guest raps from local faces DaVinci and Shady Blaze. p.M.

The Soft Moon, Zeroes
Oct. 30 on Captured Tracks
Should appeal to: Post-punk synth nerds; anyone who leaves the house in all black
Why it's interesting: Already a member of lauded S.F. psych outfit Lumerians, Luis Vasquez earned even more critical adulation with his brooding solo project, The Soft Moon. His pulsing 2010 debut echoed the chilly atmospheres of Gary Numan and Joy Division with a dose of industrial menace, and earned invitations to tour from Interpol and Mogwai. Recorded with assistance from S.F. producer/engineer Monte Vallier, the teaser track "Die Life" from the forthcoming Zeroes finds Vasquez taking his sound even further down the monochrome rabbit hole than last year's deliciously bleak Total Decay EP. D.P.

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Slideshows

  • Nevada City and the South Yuba River: A gold country getaway

    Nestled in the green pine-covered hills of the Northern Sierra Nevada is the Gold Rush town of Nevada City. Beautiful Victorian houses line the streets, keeping the old-time charm alive, and a vibrant downtown is home to world-class art, theater and music. The nearby South Yuba River State Park is known for its emerald swimming holes during the summer and radiant leaf colors during autumn. These days the gold panning is more for tourists than prospectors, but the gold miner spirit is still in the air.

    South Yuba River State Park and Swimming Holes:
    The park runs along and below 20 miles of the South Yuba River, offering hiking, mountain biking, gold panning and swimming. The Highway 49 bridge swimming hole is seven-miles northwest of Nevada City where Highway 49 crosses the South Yuba River. Parking is readily available and it is a short, steep hike to a stunning swimming hole beneath a footbridge. For the more intrepid, trails extend along the river with access to secluded swim spots. The Bridgeport swimming hole has calm waters and a sandy beach -- good for families and cookouts -- and is located 14 miles northwest of Nevada City. Be sure to write down directions before heading out, GPS may not be available. Most swimming holes on the South Yuba River are best from July to September, while winter and spring can bring dangerous rapids. Always know the current before jumping in!

    Downtown Nevada City
    The welcoming, walkable downtown of Nevada City is laid back, yet full of life. Start your day at the cozy South Pine Cafe (110 S Pine St.) with a lobster benedict or a spicy Jamaican tofu scramble. Then stroll the streets and stop into the shop Kitkitdizzi (423 Broad St.) for handcrafted goods unique to the region, vintage wears and local art “all with California gold rush swagger,” as stated by owners Carrie Hawthorne and Kira Westly. Surrounded by Gold Rush history, modern gold jewelry is made from locally found nuggets and is found at Utopian Stone Custom Jewelers (301 Broad St.). For a coffee shop with Victorian charm try The Curly Wolf (217 Broad St.), an espresso house and music venue with German pastries and light fare. A perfect way to cool down during the hot summer months can be found at Treats (110 York St.) , an artisan ice cream shop with flavors like pear ginger sorbet or vegan chai coconut. Nightlife is aplenty with music halls, alehouses or dive bars like the Mine Shaft Saloon (222 Broad St.).

    The Willo Steakhouse (16898 State Hwy 49, Nevada City)
    Along Highway 49, just west of Nevada City, is The Willo, a classic roadhouse and bar where you’re welcomed by the smell of steak and a dining room full of locals. In 1947 a Quonset hut (a semi-cylindrical building) was purchased from the US Army and transported to its current location, and opened as a bar, which became popular with lumberjacks and miners. The bar was passed down through the decades and a covered structure was added to enlarge the bar and create a dining area. The original Quonset beams are still visible in the bar and current owners Mike Byrne and Nancy Wilson keep the roadhouse tradition going with carefully aged New York steaks and house made ingredients. Pair your steak or fish with a local wine, such as the Rough and Ready Red, or bring your own for a small corkage fee. Check the website for specials, such as rib-eye on Fridays.

    Outside Inn (575 E Broad St.)
    A 16-room motel a short walk from downtown, each room features a unique décor, such as the Paddlers’ Suite or the Wildflower Room. A friendly staff and an office full of information about local trails, swimming and biking gets you started on your outdoor exploration. Amenities include an outdoor shower, a summer swimming pool and picnic tables and barbeques. Don’t miss the free vegetable cart just outside the motel in the mornings.

    Written and photographed by Beth LaBerge for the SF Weekly.

  • Arcade Fire at Shoreline
    Arcade Fire opened their US tour at Shoreline Amphitheater to a full house who was there in support of their album "Reflector," which was released last fall. Dan Deacon opened the show to a happily surprised early audience and got the crowd actively dancing and warmed up. DEVO was originally on the bill to support Arcade Fire but a kayak accident last week had sidelined lead singer Mark Mothersbaugh and the duration of the west coast leg of the tour. Win Butler did a homage to DEVO by performing Uncontrollable Urge.

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