Bay Area artists everyone should know in 2015

Local musicians from various genres are about to make big moves this year

Tommy Boys

Anyone who thinks that Emo died when the members of American Football all decided to stop playing music and go cry at their respective colleges after high school is sorely mistaken. Emo music has been very much alive since then, if not misunderstood occasionally for the purpose of commercialization (see: My Chemical Romance), through bands like Algernon Cadwallader and This Town Needs Guns. One of the most creative and exciting new bands in the genre is Tommy Boys, which went from playing house party shows in random San Francisco living rooms at this time last year to accompanying bands on a nationwide tour and signing to Other People records. Their music is an energetic cacophony of descending, twinkling guitar noodling and hoarse, almost screaming vocals, and it takes the typical sonic landscape of the genre and electrocutes it, upping the complexity, tempo and energy. Even though so far their only release besides singles has been a mostly-instrumental demo tape, their self titled debut LP is slated for release on January 27th, and if they play their cards right, Tommy Boys could very well end up headlining its own tour in the near future.

Notable Tracks: “Estate Sale,” “Song 5,” “Song 1”


Giraffage, also known as Charlie Yin, is a San Francisco based producer who has steadily been gaining popularity since his first releases under the name in 2011. His music is a mix of nostalgic old R&B samples overlaid with complex electronic instrumentation and modern drum loops. After dropping a series of remixes and two full LPs, the most recent of which, “Needs,” gained him greater widespread popularity and critical acclaim, he began to make a name for himself in the live music circuit. Giraffage was on the lineup for local festivals like BFD and Treasure Island, and supported Porter Robinson on his massive, cinematic Worlds tour. All of this culminated in him signing to Fool’s Gold records at the end of 2014 and dropping “No Reason,” a 5 track EP exemplifying his progress musically and production wise. Giraffage is off to a promising start in 2015, and whatever he’s working on next is certainly going to be well received in electronic music.

Notable tracks: “Tell Me,” “Close 2 Me,” “Music Sounds Better With You”

Death Grips

Death Grips’ musical career technically ended in July 2014 when the group announced, after a series of critically acclaimed LPs, that it was at its best and therefore would release disc two of its final double album, “The Powers That B,” before breaking up. The Sacramento based group consisted of Zach Hill, a successful drummer featured in groups such as Hella and Wavves, Andy Morin and MC Ride on vocals. Death Grips had already been building a rabid fanbase online and later in its career became notorious for disrespecting its record labels and not showing up to scheduled festival slots. The group’s fans ranged from being shocked to angry when its disbandment was suddenly announced, but they soon realized that Death Grips’ run wasn’t quite over yet. Its final LP, “Jenny Death,” was announced with a cover for the double album, and by the end of the year, a new single, “Inanimate Sensation,” was released. 2015 began with “Fashion Week,” a collection of instrumental tracks released by the group, dropping out of nowhere. The tracks were organized so that the letters in each spelled out “Jenny Death when” acrostically, the question that remains on the mind of every one of the groups followers. “Jenny Death” could drop any day, and there’s no doubt it will be one of the most significant releases of this year.

Notable Tracks: “Guillotine,” “Inanimate Sensation,” “Artificial Death in the West”

Ashley All Day

A female rapper coming out of the Bay Area and gaining huge popularity with one or two catchy tracks will sound familiar to anyone who still remembers Kreayshawn and the White Girl Mob. But history repeats itself, and Ashley All Day, whose music serves as an antithesis to the whitewashed and much hated pop derivative sound of Iggy Azalea, is poised to make big moves this year. Her lazy, lean, slurred vocals are sometimes reminiscent of those of Goth Money’s Black Kray or the Bay’s own Lil B, and the booming production on every track will get even skeptical heads nodding. Her fashionable aesthetics and clean visuals will definitely help Ashley gain popularity in varied demographics. The real challenge for Ashley is keeping the respect of the genre behind her without becoming a punchline or producing pandering trash like other female MC’s before her.

Notable Tracks: “I Be Everywhere,” “Yadadamean,” “Lean”


East Bay production partners James Laurence and Dylan Reznick, who go by the name of Friendzone, create hip hop production that’s evolved to the point that trying to put vocals on it would almost be a disgrace to the original work. Emulating similar producers like Clams Casino and Suicideyear, Friendzone skews the genre lines of hip hop and electronic to create spacey, barely sample reliant beats that range from beautifully surreal to slowed down and melancholy, all while retaining the slapping kicks and rolling snares that even the most casual hip hop fan can recognize and appreciate. Their production has been in high demand in rap for the past couple of years, and they have built their portfolio to include production for artists like local lo fi duo Main Attrakions, A$AP Rocky and Yung Lean among many others. Despite its fairly quiet year in 2014, the group promised through its Tumblr that 2015 would be the opposite, announcing its contract for a new instrumental album coming out on Vapor Records, a tour and a full collaborative tape with Main Attrakionz all on the horizon.

Notable Tracks: “Poly,” “Solarflare,” “Retailxtal”