Local Music Blog Uncovers Thriving SF Music Scene – BetterKnowanSFBlog: The Deli SF

Every Tuesday morning we profile one of the bay's many cool blogs in a segment we call -- BetterKnowanSFBlog. This week: Your New Year's resolution is to quit your day job and start a band.

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By Tyler Callister

Local music can be an amorphous thing. It’s not that hard to start a “band” (i.e., a kid with a guitar, a drum machine, and a MySpace account), a “record label” (i.e., a kid in his garage writing on burned CDs with a Sharpie) or a “venue” (i.e., a dive bar that keeps a hundred-dollar PA and karaoke mic in the back). But beyond the DIY stylings, there needs to be something that brings all the bands together — a sound, a fashion, a cause, or, perhaps, a kickass Web site.

Enter The Deli SF, one of …

San Francisco’s most comprehensive indie music blogs. In a telephone interview, The Deli SF editor Emily Logan spoke confidently about the current state of the SF music scene. “It’s really exciting right now,” she said. “There are a lot of really good bands, and there are a handful of bands who are getting some national press.”

Logan is right. SF’s emo-folkster Emily Jane White earned a spot in Rolling Stone recently, SF band LoveLikeFire was a Spin Magazine artist of the day in September, SF synth-country group Birds and Batteries took the mic on NPR recently, and SF dream-poppers Minipop made it into Alternative Press in January.

But the Internet blurs the lines between national and local press, and The Deli SF is part of that emerging music journalism paradigm. The Deli Magazine started in New York in 2005, and a former intern there imported it to the bay. When he moved on, Logan took over as editor. Now, The Deli LA is expected to open in the next few months.

Logan, who recently graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with degrees in both music and journalism, echoed what you’ll hear from a lot of SF musicians — there’s a distinct sense of camaraderie within the scene. “I think what’s unique about the San Francisco scene is everyone is really supportive of everyone else,” she said.

Logan is not the only one to feel a rising fire in the SF indie music scene. Live 105’s Aaron Axelsen recently told The Owl Mag: “There’s sort of this unifying goal of everyone trying to promote the Bay Area together," he said. "I haven’t seen it like this in — seriously — eight or nine years. … I have A&R men flocking… A&R executives from all over the country that are coming to San Francisco to see bands.”

No doubt local online journalism is part of what attracts A&R people to the Bay Area. But Logan said that the Internet is "sort of a blessing, and sort of sucks for some bands.” In other words, bands that aren’t willing to resort to cheap Internet tactics are sometimes left in the dust. Case in point: any band with a little time can amass thousands of MySpace friends, regardless of talent or actual fan base. Logan admitted that this is a problem and The Deli SF feels it when they do their “band of the month” poll: Bands that don’t have a high number of MySpace friends usually lose.

But in some ways, where MySpace leaves off is where The Deli SF steps in, not only providing an online hub for all things related to the Bay Area music scene, but also acting as a promotional tool that’s not so bogged down as the mainstream sites. The blog has perhaps the most complete list of Bay Area bands of any site on the Internet, has a close relationship with the video podcast Pacific Noise (which has interviewed the likes of Deerhoof and Xiu Xiu), and they have an open blog where musicians can advertise shows and give advice to fellow musicians. If you’re in a band, this is one site you’ll want to bookmark.

Logan’s day job is at Care2.com, a socially conscious networking site based in Redwood City. On top of work, she says The Deli SF is a “pretty heavy hobby” and if it were to take off she would love to do it full-time.

But for now, Logan proves that only the truly dedicated can tough it out in the trenches of unpaid music journalism: “I had a coeditor for a while, but he got kinda bogged down with school and stuff, so now it’s just me.”

The Deli SF reminds us that the San Francisco blogosphere is no longer the land of reclusive nerds and bored Dilberts. In a city where the increasing cost of living is putting the art community at risk, the resurgence of the SF music scene is arriving just in time.

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