By the time you read this, the holiday season will be in the rearview mirror and we'll be coasting smoothly into a new year. With luck, we've got nine (eight?) months before the next orgiastic explosion of rampant consumerism. Nine months to appreciate things for their own sake, rather than their use-value. It's with that in mind that we bring you the various Good CD Lists above. These aren't a bunch of albums you have to run out and buy for everyone you know, just some music that deserves an extra few words of praise before it becomes lost forever in the media landfill we can't pack fast enough.
For my part, here are several highlights from a year's worth of cruising and boozing in our amazing little scene:
The 2005 SF Weekly Music Awards. Shameless pat on the back? Perhaps. But this party seriously rocked. Rogue Wave brought a horn section, the guy in Federation wore a bulletproof vest, and for a short moment I felt like the SF Weekly Warfield naming-rights deal was a good idea.
Devendra Banhart's Cripple Crow. The backlash against Banhart finally arrived this year, but so did his best album, a collection of songs that proved he wasn't just a weirdo with a four-track but a versatile songwriter with what looks like an army of talented musicians backing him up.
DMBQ at 12 Galaxies. This monster foursome of Japanese garage-rock demigods played 12 Galaxies about a half-dozen times last year. From balcony-diving to bass-drum-chucking, I never knew what to expect but could be assured I'd leave with half as many brain cells as I walked in with.
Rogue Wave's Descended Like Vultures. Even USA Today agrees: The sophomore release from this Oakland quartet was one of the best collections of moody pop-rock put out all year by anyone anywhere.
Sun Kil Moon's Tiny Cities. Someday someone will commission a statue of Mark Kozelek to be erected outside Bob's Donut & Pastry Shop in Nob Hill -- he's that sweet of a dude and that much a part of the fabric of this city. For now we have the former Red House Painter's solo work as Sun Kil Moon, exemplified by this 2005 release, a gorgeous rerendering of Modest Mouse songs.
"Kontrol." Last year promoter Greg Bird did the impossible: created a minimal techno party in San Francisco that could attract world-renowned acts like Isolée and Galoppierende Zuversicht. Stop by Rx Gallery on the third Saturday of every month and get educated.
The Rickshaw Stop. Holy crap, has anyone noticed how much this place absolutely killed it last year? Who the hell is booking it? (Oh, right: SF Weekly contributor and former Music Editor Dan Strachota, duh.) With shows that ranged from top-shelf DJs like Matthew Dear and Diplo to superstar local acts like Hey Willpower, the Rickshaw was a can't-miss club in 2005.
Two Gallants at CMJ. Honestly, I don't remember as much as I'd like to about this basement show by S.F.'s very own megawatt blues-rock duo in Lower Manhattan's Cake Shop at 3 in the morning. I know I had a scorching good time, though.
Okay's High Road and Low Road. Former Dilute mad genius Marty Anderson tamed his demons both mental and physical to create this double-album wallop of cosmically layered pop ditties. One day these songs will be mapped by astronomers.
The Herms and Birdmonster. Two bands that will be big in 2006. The former sounds like vintage Ray Manzarek conducting a boogie-rock band full of sideshow freaks, the latter like Ryan Adams fronting Fugazi. Both have new albums coming out in the first half of the year. Trust me on this.