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Bomarr, Meanest Man Contest, Roman Ruins on Gold Robot Records compilation

As we leave behind a decade that saw the decline (if not near extinction) of the indie record label, those few survivors it seems are faced with certain existential questions. When, for less than the price of Friday night's bar tab, practically any band or single recording can find it's way onto the downloadable markets of iTunes and it's ilk, and any small time musical flunky with an email can spam out copies of their songs to try and get the attention of blogs and other media (and boy do they spam), what is the roll of the indie record label here now in the future?
I suppose that question can be pawned off to someone else but for our purposes now, Gold Robot Records (a local Bay Area indie record label responsible for releases by railcars, lady genius, and others), having recently released the compilation Designed Entropy, at least has found a way to stay relevant in spite of the push towards the superfluous. Here perhaps is a bit of saving grace for the small label; it can serve as a road sign to local acts. Releasing compilations can be a great way to pull together talent and focus attention (often spread thin in this musical landscape) in appropriate directions.
Designed Entropy brings together three San Francisco acts and one Portland band for a tight sample of some great (mostly) electronic music. Further, being released as a 7inch (a process a bit more involved than throwing your rubbish onto the internet) Gold Robot Records has provided tactility, a fading quality of the album experience, to the listener. Though enough for now of this mumbo-jumbo, on to the meat of the EP: the music.
Side A of Designed Entropy features two tracks, the first "Exchange Among Systems" by Bomarr and the second "Karate Eyes" by Copy (Portland’s single contribution to the album). Both tracks sound as though they originated in the electronic music era of Kraftwerk. There is a certain simplicity to the tracks, built as a series of minimal electronic loops that, while in actuality were probably fastidiously arranged, sound as though they could have been composed on a very basic 70s synthesizer.
Though not from San Francisco, Copy's contribution to this album might be my favorite. There is a certain levity and cheerfulness to it that is so sincere it demands a smile in spite of any cynicism (a welcome difference in quality than what I normally am found listening to). All in all the elemental sound in these songs makes them stand out in a genre in which simplicity far to often falls rapidly into the mundane.
If side A recalls the sounds of Kraftwerk, side B resembles much more the electronic sounds of Joy Division and New Order. Meanest Man Contest’s track “Takitani Edit” pounds out a dark piano riff over a subtle electronic mix with the vocals sounding something of a cross between Ian Curtis and Nick Cave. It’s a nice dark turn from the levity of the previous side.
A soothing ethereal finale Roman Ruins’ “Plea for Performance” rounds out the EP in a graceful outro. Owing much of its sound to New Order, “Plea for Performance” sounds as though it was recorded at the heyday of New Wave.
Certainly this EP, compiled by Gold Robot Records, is a good sampling of Bay Area electronica. It gives a good taste of what these bands, which may not have come so quickly to my attention, have to offer. As a series too, Designed Entropy promises to continue providing us with samples of different local artists, and hopefully provide Gold Robot with the relevance in needs to stay around.

-Ada Lann

   

Birds & Batteries, Winter's Fall, Waste Band and Forest Floor at the Starry Plough

Birds & Batteries

San Francisco's Birds & Batteries will be making their way over to the East Bay this Friday to play at Berkeley's Starry Plough. They will be joined by East Bayer's Winter's Fall, Waste Band, and Forest Floor which should make the evening a fun mixture of synth pop, indie rock, and a touch of folk.

Birds & Batteries, Winter's Fall, Waste Band and Forest Floor
@ The Starry Plough, Berkeley
Friday, January 8th

Starry Plough is located at 3101 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley
Cover is $8

   

SF Open Contest results + Readers' Poll is now on!

SF Bay Area Deli readers,

We apologize for being a little slow lately with all things related to our Best of SF 2009 poll for emerging indie artists. Our NYC Readers' Poll (which we recommend you to check out here) has brought an unexpected amount of traffic to our site, which has caused our server to crash several times yesterday, making us waste a lot of time. Because of this we decided to postpone slightly the beginning of some of the other cities' readers' polls, SF included.

Anyhoo... we just finished collecting the nominations from our knowledgeable and attractive panel of jurors and we are now ready to hit you all with an impressive list of awesome local, emerging and 100% independent artists. If you’d like to learn more about our voting process, please check out the rules here.

While we are organizing the list of nominees for the readers' poll, we wanted to announce the winners of our SF Open Contest. For those unaware, this Contest is the part of our Best of SF Poll that nominates artists through an open submission system - while the majority of our finalists are freely selected by a jury of local bloggers, promoters and scenemakers. We’d like to thank all the artists who participated in our Open Contest, the ones who submitted directly, and the ones who qualified throughout 2009 by winning our monthly polls. Choosing the winners was not an easy decision to make for The Deli writers, which is a testament to our amazing music scene. We are happy to announce that the following artists qualified for the next phase of the poll:

Man/Miracle
James & Evander
Baby Dino
Orchestra of Antlers
The Music Lovers

Special congratulations to Man/Miracle (in the picture, playing in someone's house with bad lighting) who were the overall winners of our Open Contest!

The SF Best of 2009 Readers' has officially started... vote away!

The Deli SF staff

   

Sorry for the interruptions...

Deli Readers,

The Year End Polls are bringing in a lot of traffic and our server provider doesn't like that - they suspended our account for a few hours because of eccessive load on their server's CPU. We tweaked the site's settings on our end and hopefully we won't have this problem again.

Sorry for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience!

Paolo
www.thedelimagazine.com

   

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