The 10 Best Bay Area Rap Anthems of 2012

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Anti Records
Boots Riley in The Coup's "The Magic Clap" video.
2012 was a fertile year for Bay Area rap, a time when the intellectual, the brazen, the sexed-up, and the chilled-out all took center stage at one point or another. There were songs that inspired dances, songs of Bay Area pride and protest, and more of that straight mack flow that still bumps around these parts. These 10 highlights of 2012 offer a glimpse at an even more diverse spectrum.


See also:

* The 10 Best Bay Area Hip-Hop Records of 2012
* E-40 and Too $hort: Their Top 10 Pre-History Collaborations
* Top 10 Hella Tight Bay Area Rap T-Shirts

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10 Good Scuzzy Rock Albums You Probably Missed in 2012

Ty Segall arguably injected gritty rock 'n' roll back into the American consciousness this year with a trio of distorted albums and appearances on late night television. Yet, there are droves of groups with similar influences whose scuzzy screeds are too mangled, debauched, and nasty to achieve the national profile of Segall. Here, we collect 10 records that channel the primal spirit of rock 'n roll and compel listeners to roll around in the scuzz.

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Timmy's Organism
Raw Sewage Roq
[In the Red]

Whether with Clone Defects, Human Eye, or Timmy's Organism, Detroit's notorious enfant terrible Timmy Vulgar consistently dishes out some of the vilest dirges to grace the post-millennial rock 'n' roll landscape. His 2012 full length is no exception. Fetid and nasty guitar tones abound, percussion plods along with unpretentious oafishness, and Vulgar employs a subhuman, deranged bark throughout. The title alone conjures images of the man crawling out of a steaming Detroit manhole with guitar in tow. Thematically, Raw Sewage Roq is focused on America. If the songs' specific subject matter isn't inherently base and tasteless, then it becomes so simply by its association with Vulgar and company.

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Top 10 Bay Area Music Scandals of 2012

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TMZ
Bay Area rapper AP.9 poses with Ice T's wife, Coco.
The Bay Area music scene had a particular flair for making headlines for reasons other than actual music in 2012. Some of these 10 incidents are totally tabloid, others are cold and criminal, but none of them are boring. From Ecstasy rings and instrument thievery to lascivious infidelity and shocking allegations of racism, let's roll the best of the year's police blotter and gossip fodder.

See also:

* The New Too $hort: Oakland Rapper Reconsiders His Image After a Scandal
* S.F. Travelodge Accused of Not Accepting Black Musicians' Credit Cards

* Rrazz Room Owners Suing Hotel Nikko, Alleging Racism


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The 10 Best Bay Area Metal Albums of 2012

Our year-end listmaking continues with a look at the heavier side of things. Featuring venerable greats as well as brand-new bands -- and even some freaks in heavy costume -- here are our picks for the 10 best local metal albums of 2012:

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High on Fire
De Vermis Mysteriis
[E1]

Convoluted as the premise for High on Fire's sixth album might sound -- the twin brother of Jesus dies at the moment of birth and becomes a Quantum Leap-style time traveler -- the songs on De Vermis Mysteriis find guitarist Matt Pike and company hitting a new apex of focus and ferocity. From the cannonade drum fill that kicks off brutal opener "Serums of Liao" through the equally frenetic "Bloody Knuckles" and "Fertile Green" (maybe the most violently hectic ode to smoking pot ever laid to tape), the first 15 minutes blast by with a scorching intensity that would do Slayer proud. On slower numbers like the instrumental "Samsara" and "King of Days," High on Fire has never sounded heavier or more majestic. -- Dave Pehling

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The 10 Best Underground Rock Reissues of 2012

Recent years have given rise to many record labels devoted to reviving forgotten artists from all genres. In record stores you will find new collections of Thai funk from the '70s, field recordings from Ghana, and represses of punk 45s originally released in editions of only 200 -- all the result of reissue imprints' tireless work to bring scarce obscurities to a new audience. It's a rewarding time to be an archivist or enthusiast of obscure music from the 20th Century. For this list, we combed the underground rock reissues for 10 of the most essential albums resurrected in 2012.

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The Avengers
The Avengers (Pink Album)
[Water]

Plagued by bootlegging for decades, this seminal San Francisco punk album finally finds a legitimate reissue by way of local imprint Water. The Avengers were pivotal proponents of San Francisco's initial punk scene in 1977, and this collects their complete recorded output from the '77-'78 period. Since then, vocalist Penelope Houston has established a substantial solo career, but her early sonic outing as one of the first snarling frontwomen in punk remains as iconic and moving today as ever.

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Happy Holidays! Here Are the Least Awful Christmas Songs of 2012!

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It's a well-known fact that the worst time of year for music is Christmas. Christmas songs, by and large, stink to high heaven. They reek of sleigh bells and Santa references and tree dressing and mistletoe. They are overly sentimental and frequently border on sickly. Occasionally, however, there comes along a tolerable song for the season. This year we found five. Here are the least awful Christmas songs of 2012, in no particular order.


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The Top 10 San Francisco Dance Parties of 2012, According to Us

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Kahley Avalon Emerson
In retrospect, 2012 was one of the best years for San Francisco nightlife in a long time. A part of that was the way in which many of the city's new venues seemed to finally come into their own: 222 Hyde re-opened with a dazzling lighting array, Monarch set a new standard for sound, and Public Works has become the go-to spot for some of the biggest names on the global touring circuit. Older venues kept up by honing in on subcultures: 1015 Folsom became the spot for leftfield beats, and Mighty continued its reign as a local parish for the church of old-school house. What tied it all together was a feeling of near-constant activity that had the weekends spilling out into the week. With so much going on everywhere, it was hard to keep track of it all. Keeping that in mind, here are our top 10 picks for the parties we were able to attend.


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The 10 Best Bay Area Hip-Hop Records of 2012

It's been another big year in Bay Area hip-hop, with one huge collaboration album from two local greats and lots of strong releases from young local upstarts. So before the world ends, let's round up the 10 best Bay Area hip-hop/rap records (including albums, mixtapes, etc.) of 2012.

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Main Attrakionz
Bossalinis & Fooliyones
[Young One]

Cloud-rap chit-chat aside, with their full-length studio debut Mondre M.A.N. and Squadda B simply conjured up a breezy and funky set of rap songs. With beats handled by a whopping array of producers (including Zaytoven and Harry Fraud), the duo's slurry, freestyled flows seep into the tracks and gel just beautifully. And with "Do It For The Bay," featuring Fillmore's finest DaVinci, Main Attrakionz can claim a modern hometown anthem. -- Phillip Mlynar


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The 10 Best San Francisco Indie Rock Records of 2012

Well, it was another solid year for loud guitar music from the Bay Area. And out of the dozens of worthy releases this year, we've culled these 10 picks for the best rock albums from San Francisco in 2012. Here they are, in no particular order:

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Two Gallants
The Bloom and the Blight
[ATO]

After a brief time away, S.F. country-blues-rock duo Two Gallants returned in 2012 with their heaviest effort yet. While there's still plenty of the bluesy flourishes and sepia-toned hints of Americana here -- see delicate acoustic ballad "Broken Eyes," for example -- the focus of The Bloom and the Blight is on the angst-laced thrashing that fills most of the other songs. Luckily, Adam Stephens' voice is perfect for that sort of attack -- nasal, gritty, able to be wound high into the upper registers, it's a big part of the reason songs like "Ride Away" come off as genuine instead of affected. Two Gallants' older material sometimes suffered from a sense of trying too hard; thanks to Stephen's affecting vocals and Tyson Vogel's thundering drum work, The Bloom and the Blight tries just as hard as it needs to. -- Ian S. Port

See also: S.F.'s Two Gallants: Back After a Long Break, and Better Than Ever


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The 10 Best Bay Area Electronic Records of 2012

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Kahley Avalon Emerson
Two-thousand-twelve was an especially good year for electronic dance music in the Bay Area. Local club culture is experiencing a full-on renaissance that's bringing a whole new group of producers, labels, and promoters pushing exciting new sounds. There's a lot of stuff out there to choose from, but here's our list of the 10 best electronic dance music releases from the Bay Area underground.


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