San Jose rapper Antwon

We explore 2014’s most noteworthy musicians coming out of the Bay Area and across the nation, from hardcore to hip-hop to alternative. Our local music reviewers share their favorite up-and-coming artists and the music trends for this year.

Guests' Recommendations

Anthony Bedard's Picks

Top Local Bands


Violent Change

Hot Lunch

Top Local Albums

Scraper – Scraper

CCR Headcleaner – Lace the Earth with Arms Wide Open

Tony Molina -Dissed and Dismissed

Best Bay Area Venues

Hemlock Tavern (self-interest alert!)

Great American Music Hall

Andrew Gilbert's Picks

Top Local Bands

Nathan Clevenger Group

Pacific Mambo Orchestra

Top Local Albums

Noel Jewkes – "Chasin' The Pres"

Calvin Keys – "Electric Keys"

Kelvin Coelho – "Turn It Up"

Best Bay Area Venues

Duende in Oakland


Freight & Salvage

The Sound Room

Red Poppy Art House

Dawson Ludwig's Picks

Top Local Bands


Social Studies


Top Local Albums

White Fence – Live in San Francisco

Dan Casey – Empty City

Mikal Cronin – MCII

Best Bay Area Venues

The Independent

The Chapel

St. Cyprian's Church in Noe Valley

Ian Port's List

Top Local Bands


Mikal Cronin


Top Local Albums

Thee Oh Sees – Floating Coffin

Cass McCombs – Big Wheel and Others

Sonny and the Sunsets – Antenna to the Afterworld

Best Venues in the Bay Area

Great American Music Hall

Hemlock Tavern

The Independent

Ian S. Port, music editor for the SF Weekly
Anthony Bedard, local musician and booking manager for the Hemlock Tavern
Dawson Ludwig, general manager of the Noise Pop Festival and co-host of the Noise Pop podcast
Andrew Gilbert, freelance writer who also reviews jazz for The California Report

  • The Vernacular

    Do you know Bear Lincoln? They put on a killer live show, perform all over the bay area, and have a fabulous recorded output. Check em out!

  • Harold Pierce

    Whiskerman. Oakland based psychedelic folk rock band – pulls you right into its center with incredible musicianship, eery songwriting and with new material at every show. Led by Graham Patzner whose vocals are always unexpected – never sings a song the same way twice.

  • Sandy’s is a new project from Alexi Glickman. Inspired
    by Big Star-infused guitar-pop in reverby open tunings, he grew up
    writing songs and surfing in Santa Monica, and is the son of a
    choreographer and a scientist. Glickman was previously the singer and
    guitarist for The Botticellis. Sandy’s are currently recording their
    debut album.

    Rustangs started out as a “moped gang” in an Outer Sunset garage and released their first album Garage Club on vinyl in 2009. Members include Ben Young, Brett Simundson, Nelson Saarni and Josh Yoches. Rustang, the band’s 2013 release is described by The Bay Bridged as “clearly influenced by surf rock throughout, but with a more laid-back, cooler vibe than you may be used to.”

    Both bands playing with Elle Belle at the Hemlock Tavern in San Francisco, CA on Thursday, February 13th.

    Sound samples at:

  • Elizabeth Storch Monticue

    Oatmeal Cookie, based in Boulder Creek. They headline in Boulder Creek, Santa Cruz, have played in San Jose and other local venues. Loud, fun, rock ‘n roll!

  • Guest

    Yes! When I’m not listening to KQED, I like going to punk rock shows around the Bay Area and I feel like I’ve seen a lot of great bands lately! One of my favorites is No Business, a great band from Oakland that plays late 70s LA-styled punk. Additionally, I’ve seen this band called Sex Snobs a few times and they are equally cool! I should also say that I’m with Anthony Bedard on this one; Tony Molina, Violent Change, and Quaaludes are all wonderful!!!

  • Curioso

    Does your guest know Moira Scar and/or Floating Corpses? Long-time SF based dirty theatrical unconventional excellent.

  • Peter

    Beats Antique!

  • BookStarr Saunders

    If you are looking for edgy pop, check our Starr Saunders “Queen of the Friends Zone” and “I could Ruin You” these songs have real teeth in them; also “Rocket Ship” will move you to tears with its incredible back-story.


    Starr is another wildly talented Bay Area artist (like all those featured here today on radio and in the comments section) who writes profound, irreverent and compelling song lyrics, possesses amazing stage presence, and whose music that sticks with you the first time you hear it.

    • Michael Brant

      What shameless self-promotion! Hmmm…. that’s really good!!! ‘Hope I catch you! 8)

  • robynhartzell

    Last Friday I saw Planet Booty at Slim’s. What an incredible live performance! The entire floor was grinding to their funky, R&B-ish tunes. Seriously, a great time, worth checking out. . .

  • Overrated

    I have caught Tyler Matthew Smith a few times in San Francisco. He is fantastic! A different mix of soul and folk and some world influence. He’s unlike any new band I’ve caught recently. He does some sax and flute interludes and solos that had myself and my friends floored.

    • harmoneez75

      Yes! Killer horns. Great live show. Also tune-yards, already mentioned above.

  • laura

    You’ve got to mention Lia Rose who is a talented singer songwriter who has been based in the SF/East Bay area for years. She originally had her own band (Built for the Sea) and is now on her own and has released a couple of solo albums. She was also part of Or the Whale for a time. She is fabulous solo– great, heartfelt songs and performances.

  • I think Dawson Ludwig’s Picks are spot on … for my list of hot bands check this link (i.e. Social Studies, Picture Atlantic, Rin Tin Tiger) –

  • harmoneez75

    Modern day Paul Simon-esque feel good tunes. love these guys:

  • Wiley Laufman

    Farallons! Sandys! Both unreal

  • Wiley Laufman
  • Wiley Laufman


  • Jon Gold

    Starred…Vermillion Lies…Fear Before the March of Flames…

  • Tom Balancid

    Hurry up shotgun and victory and associates!!

  • Donovan Plant

    this is a great edition of Forum!

  • KG

    Who were they discussing with “homespun psychedelic rock” with catchy tunes and high not quite falsetto vocals? Just got back home and wanted to look them up…

  • Sebastian Stuart

    Great show this morning on KQED. Speaking of genre blending, be sure to check out THE DIVVYS from Oakland. Our friend Doug from The Nighlight bar/venue dubbed us “Oi Division”, a subtle mix of late 70s UK street punk with a little Joy Division weirdness.

  • Guest

    Check out AAA Battery based in San Francsco with colaboration with Canadian pop icon Spokey Rubin. New Album, Year of the Woman on Rescord Records. New sound of psycho-dream pop, futuristic supercharged. They also have some crazy videos out.

  • RoccoSF

    Anaura – Champion of the Moon (2014)

    “Sweet Lover Lost” Beautiful song with great guitars.

  • Maj

    Check out AA Battery out of San Francisco in colaboration with Canadian pop icon, Spokey Rubin. New album, Year of the Woman just out on Rescord Records. New sound of psycho-dream pop, with layers of pleasure. Crazy videos. Reviews have been great.

  • This was a pretty great segment, i’d love to hear this kind of thing as a regular feature. There is so much to talk about when it comes to bay area music, I’m sure the guests alone could have gone on for some time.

    I’m a music obsessive, play in a band, and even run a music based podcast… but there were a few new names that were new even to me. Not something I would expect from NPR (no offense)

    Forum is not always my thing, but if this kind of programming was more regular it woudl keep me tuned *IN* to that station, instead of turning it off…

  • Carlos!

    French Cassettes and Black Cobra Vipers!! Easily the best SF bands!!!

  • radiocycle

    I can dig all the new bands and my gf and I love LIVE music and dancing. And no,
    I don’t mean karaoke or a DJ, I mean people playing their instruments in real
    time. So almost more important to me is WHERE can we hear and see live bands??
    And not only in SF but in the greater Bay Area. Where can we find a place to
    dance to live bands in Martinez, Vallejo, San Pablo, Berkeley? We used to go to Ferry Street Station or Le Beau’s in Martinez but they’ll all gone now…

  • T. Maguey
  • T. Maguey

    bAd bAd!!! Can’t believe they didn’t make these lists…

  • Marshall Holland

    The Bay Area is funny. You can be a big hit in other states and countries, but totally get ignored locally. My new album And the Etceteras is a smash in Spain, but at home, nada. I’ll give it some time… Still new.

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