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Locals Only: Favorite Singles of 2013


That's right people of the Shire, it's that time of the year where everyone's making out all hardcore under the mistletoe.  And that can mean only one thing; it's time for our annual "Favorites Music of 2013" Lists!

We'll be hitting you with three this year, assuming this cold of mine goes away.  First up is our list of Favorite Local Singles.  Note that in an effort to write about as many local bands as possible, this list leaves out those bands who we'll be writing about in future favorite albums post.

Alright!  So read on, listen in, buy some music, and head out to a local show!

Blind Bison (Fresno, CA)
A Seismic Laugh

Part of the Valley's blues/roots rock contingent, Blind Bison distinguished itself this year by releasing an album that embraces the sounds of indie rock.  On "Agadega" the band combines elegance with with guitar theatrics that traverse the heavens.  This is what Band of Horses would sound like if they just soloed a little more often.

Brian Kenney Fresno (Fresno, CA)
"Veni, Vidi, Vici"
We'll Always Have Fresno (Bonghit Records)
"Country on crack" seems to be an apt summation of this particular track from Fresno adopted son and bass virtuoso Brian Kenney Fresno.  In the span of 5 minutes the song fits in a hoedown, a rock jam, and a full blown question and answer session with the owners of the titular restaurant.  This is why the term "tour de force" was invented.  This song is completely bonkers and I love it and you need to experience it right away.

Esem, production by Louden Beats (Dinuba/Highland Park, CA)
After a night of beer and moscato fueled debauchery, rapper Esem decided to try his hand at an online song contest hosted by LA producer Louden Beats.  The resulting track shows the MF DOOM disciple at his very best, uttering flow of consciousness rhymes at a breakneck, albiet drunken, pace.  Its a strong effort from the Roach Collection member. 

I Do Not Exist (Fresno, CA)
"Annie's Song" (John Denver cover)
Branch Tramp
On the ghostly Branch Tramp, vocalist Genise McCormick teams up with Arkansas troubadour Restaurnaut for a skeletal set of tunes about love and loss.  Their cover of "Annie's Song", the albums closer and highlight, evinces the possibility of hope after the pain of days past.

It'll Grow Back (Fresno, CA)
"Babies: Like Drunks"
5 New Singles (Get Faced Records)
From the opening yowl "Babies: Like Drunks", the closer from the punk rockers third album, is classic It'll Grow Back.  Coming in at a sleek two minutes, the track provides an adrenaline rush perfect for moshing.  Plus I can totally see a baby getting super wasted to this song, which is not a visual you get while listening to Radiohead, so thank you for that IGB!

Mantis Watch (Fresno, CA)
"Once Upon A Werewolf"
Once Upon A Werewolf

Fresh to the Fresno Friendcore scene, Mantis Watch came on strong with one of the most upbeat tunes ever to grace the Valley floor.  Can werewolves find love?  I'm not sure, but this song makes a stong case that maybe, just maybe, they can.

NoGenre (Fresno, CA)
They probably get this all the time, but NoGenre really is Fresno's answer to The Roots.  The cool and collected "Connect" brims with an easy confidence as MC Shawn Johnson lays out just how much better he is at the rap game than you are.

The Regime (Visalia, CA)
"Contorted by Centuries"
The days of hardcore progressive rock are alive and well folks.  This pummeling track from Visalia throat shredders The Regime pulverizes everything in its path.  It's great to hear that after a brief hiatus, the band is looking to come back strong in 2014.

Sunburns (Fresno, CA)
"Summertime" (Brother Luke & the Comrades cover)
Fresno Covers Fresno
This high concept covers album by Creative Fresno yielded a slew of interesting tracks from Fresno bands young and old.  But none reached the grandiose heights of pop bliss quite like Sunburns cover of "Summertime".  Hella swooning on this jam.

Underwater Track Team (Fresno, CA)
"The Call"
Underwater Track Team
Earnest, refreshing, and celebratory, "The Call" is a fantastic introduction to Fresno upstarts Underwater Track Team.  The song perfectly soundtracks those magical Friday nights where anything and everything seems possible.

Cristobal Carrillo
December 17, 2013


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