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Spanspek's Favorite Music of 2015 - Local Singles

Alllllllllright, it's Thursday and that means it's all locals from here on out! These are my favorite blogs to write because local music is fun!  It brings musicians together!

Ok, so here's the lowdown on how we do things here: tomorrow we'll discuss all our favorite local albums of the year. It's gonna be great! Today we're gonna go over our favorite singles of 2015.  This list typically excludes any album that appears in our favorite local albums list. That way, we get to talk about as many local bands as possible! Fresno and Tulare counties are home to a pretty big scene and it deserves your attention!  So turn up your reading glasses, raise a glass of milk, and get ready to munch on some great local tunes!

Amoret (Fresno, CA)
The alt/pop quartet Amoret soared on it's latest EP.  Featuring a sound reminiscent of Metric and Florence and the Machine, the bands gigantic grooves strike straight at the heart. Make no mistake, Amoret is an arena rock band in the making.

Califunions (Fresno, CA)
"Addressing Our Farewell"
Who are these dudes? I can't even remember how I learned about these guys. All I know is that these purveyors of weirdo lo-fi/psych/folk rock won me over the loopiest song ever.  The laid back groove is annotated throughout with bits of dialogue and curly cues of guitar. It's weird and wild and wonderful. The three W's man, what more do you want?!

"California or Bust"
The Blessing and the Curse (Music Road Records)
In 2015 longtime Valley troubadour Lance Canales returned to the airwaves with a strong album filled with Canales' quintessential "root stomp" folk music. And nothing brought the pain better than album opener "California or Bust", which finds the singer tearing through all sorts of towns to get back to the land he loves. This is required listening for fans of gritty folk with a heavy dollop of slide guitar. Happy stomping.

KnowYour Enemy (Romanced Records)
Also returning after a long hiatus, The Gospel Whiskey Runners dropped an album choke full of acoustic crowd pleasers. On "Brave" the group uses a swinging rhythm and reverb drenched guitar to recount overcoming struggles through faith and love. It's like Mumford & Sons for the soul.  It's good and it's good for you!

Grizzly City Boys (Fresno, CA)
"Early 2000's"
Grizzly City USA (The I.A.N. Group)
Our favorite single of the year by a landslide. Slick hooks from Producer of the Year Jukebawks coupled with confident rhymes from the biggest names in Grizzly City hip hop (FashawnOtis ReedOmar Aura and Halo) made "Early 2000's" the Valley's very own Song of the Summer. Though now that I think about it, it might have been released in the fall. BUT THAT'S HOW GOOD IT IS! Tracks be turning back time and shit!

It'll Grow Back (Fresno, CA)
"Mosquito Pool"
Mosquito Pool (Get Faced Records)
Things are changing for one of Fresno's longest running punk bands. With It'll Grow Back's drummer moving to Portland at the end of the year, the band expects to play infrequently in 2016. Still, the group ended 2015 strong with the release of a new album, which features a rip roaring title track.  Never has the Delta Vector Mosquito Abatement District (which is a real thing one of my friends use to work for) sounded sexier! Here's hoping that It'll Grow Back will still be able to lead the punk charge in 2016.

Jukebawks (Fresno, CA)
"Chalk Lettuce"
Needless to say it was a good year for producer Jukebawks (AKA Tito Fuerte, AKA Juke Skywalker, AKA this dude has the best monikers ever!). He released three beat tapes and produced excellent tracks for a plethora of local rap stars, including Zee Will and Fashawn.  "Chalk Lettuce" is prime Jukebawks, exemplifying his easy control of samples and beats.  You can hella cruise to this song. I bet you'd even score a phone number with this song booming out your speakers. 

The Keeds (The General Populus & K. Pizzle) (Fresno, CA)
"Only A Few"
After a protracted absence, The General Populus (per his own words) was inspired to begin performing anew after being invited to play at a 2014 Spanspek fundraiser (in which, I should note, he played original country music).  The results of this new found  inspiration have been sparse by very promising. On "Only A Few" Populus collaborates with longtime producer K. Pizzle to attack capitalism with acrobatic verbosity and Pops signature sense of humor (fave line, "Consumer confidence consume my condom tip"). The General Populus has long been a favorite of us Spanspek folks.  We. Cannot. Wait to see what these two come up with in 2016.

Light Thieves (Fresno, CA)
"Uncle Jerry"
2015 found Light Thieves concentrating more on touring than releasing new music.  For fans of the band, the only new morsel provided was a five minute video of a song to be featured on a yet to be announced new album. Despite the small offerings, the aforementioned "Uncle Jerry" more than whets the appetite, providing a sumptuous feast of video game keyboards, spaced out guitars and pulsing low end. The song is meaty and makes us here at Spanspek Headquarters anxious for the arrival of an albums worth of new material from Fresno's leading indie rockers.

Otis Reed feat Fashawn (Fresno, CA)
"What If God?"
Of the many members of the "Grizzly City Boys" collective, only one consistently tackled the issues facing the black community in 2015.  On both The Mind Activation of Otis Reed and Otissy Reed readily analyzes the impacts of racism on the souls of black youth. He provides a much needed voice to a community that is often voiceless. And though easy answers are hard to come by, Reed never stops asking questions. With tracks like the exquisitely produced "What If God?" (thanks again to the work of Jukebawks), Reed reveals himself to be the thoughtful and defiant activist of the Fresno underground rap scene. More power to him.

Hijole! It's late folks and I'm tired! Hope you enjoyed the post! We'll see you tomorrow with our list of favorite local albums! Good DAY sir!


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Spanspek's Favorite Music of 2016 - Local Albums

What's up! This is it folks, we made it to the end of another year! And what a doozy it was. We saw a few local venues call it quits and some come under intense scrutiny by parties both well intentioned and not. Yet we also got to see a bunch of young bands flourish and a few old timers up and tour the country. It seems like the local scene is at a point of transition. And that's kinda of scary. But it can be exciting too. I'm hoping for more of the latter in 2017.

Ok, so on this last post we're gonna share our favorite local albums of 2016.  It's my favorite blog to write (though it takes for damn ever to do) and I'm looking forward to hear what y'all think!  But before we get to that Spanspek Co-Founder Israel Flores and myself would like to thank everyone  that has supported Spanspek this year. You are all really cool people and without your support we couldn't do any of this!  So THANK YOU! And you know, if you want to kick a few scrills our way to h…