Now that we've confessed what albums we've been unable to get out of our heads this entire year, we're revealing the artists we'll be keeping our eyes on this next year to crawl their way into the collective conscience.
Countless local shows and a dreamily grungy self-titled EP whet our appetites for Lilac's forth-coming LP, due out next year and recorded at Different Fur Studios. Will Ivy, a veteran of our local scene from bands such as Bridez, Honey Hunx & His Punx and even Girls, provides the riffs and solos while sharing vocal duties with partner in crime and keyboardist Kirsten Knick. Squalls of sound and a certain air of mysticism reminiscent of Opal envelope songs like "So Young" and "Endless Sleep," and word is that the new stuff gets even hotter and heavier. To tide yourself over, catch them at Noise Pop next year opening for Bleached.
Key track: "So Young"
So Young by LILAC_MUSIC
2. Terry Malts
Easily one of the best live bands in town (watch out for flying beer cans), Terry Malts melds the snot-nosed recklessness of the Ramones with the booming reverb of the Jesus & Mary Chain and a killer ear for pop songwriting. After a slew of singles that can turn any room into a beer-swilling, slam-dancing sweat lounge, these guys are finally (finally!) releasing their debut LP Killing Time in February 2012 on Slumberland. In the meantime, may we kindly suggest you get tickets to their New Year's Eve show with Wax Idols at Hemlock Tavern? You won't regret it.
Key track: "Something About You"
3. The She's
Sometimes I think, if I were as cool in high school as The She's are, I might just be conquering the world right now. These gangly-limbed ladies still have a year or two to hit adulthood, but they sound as seasoned as bands a decade older than they are–thanks to the fact that they've been jamming together since elementary school. Sun-dazed harmonies, tight, toe-tapping rhythms and the kind of beachy pop you'd listen to in a convertible on vacation lights up their just-dropped debut Then It Starts To Feel Like Summer. Look for them opening up for Surfer Blood at Noise Pop 2012, and (just maybe) after that, possible world domination.
Key track: "Jimmy"
Wet Illustrated is a band that, even through headphones, sounds like its having a blast, like their blissed-out energy is literally what keeps the record spinning round and round. This spazzy trio mixes together off-kilter garage pop, art-damaged punk and goofball quirks on its November debut 1x1x1 (True Panther). Watching their wind-up toy movements and singer-drummer Robbie Simon's frantic vocal style in the flesh, it's hard to get as amped on life as they seem to be. Now that we've seen the light, we're waiting to see if they can get any weirder or tap into their dark side next year.
Key track: "Gypsy Town"
Disclaimer: we're not sitting around blasting the White Girl Mob or anything, but there's something about this posse of ladies that keeps us wanting to hear more. Maybe it's the car wreck effect? As SF Weekly said, WGM member V-Nasty started 2011 out in jail for robbery and somehow managed to climb out of that hole so far that she ended this year riding shotgun with Gucci Mane on a whacked out collaboration album called BAYTL–talk about a huge opportunity. While she's certainly no Nicki Minaj or Azealia Banks, we're intrigued to see where this Oakland provocateur takes her career now that her N-word controversy is largely in the past and she can concentrate on honing her lyricism.
Key track: "Whip Appeal"