San Francisco is loaded with really good, really interesting bands right now. Whether it's the dark electronic sound of the Soft Moon, the clattering garage rock of Ty Segall, the long-running experimental art rock of Deerhoof, or the spooky psych-pop of the Fresh & Onlys, there's something good going on almost everywhere you look. Coming up strong recently are Evil Eyes. They play a darkly dramatic style of guitar pop that's not a million miles away from the Fresh & Onlys, but has more twang and a wide-screen, cinematic feel. Their new single "Keep Your Mind on Me"/"Half a Heart" is their best release yet and points the way to a truly promising future. For this week's Poplist, one of the founding members of the band, Greg, takes us on a guided tour of their hometown...
We're a band from San Francisco, and live in the eclectic Mission district. The mission is chock-full of killer restaurants, parks, bars, massive wall murals, and other treasures. Joe and I put together a short list of some of our favorite things to do in the neighborhood - five places you could find us on any given day or night.
Favorite cheap eats: Yamo
The Mission is known for taquerias, and there's hundreds. Our favorite is Metate, consistently superb food. But one of the weirder, most delicious places we frequent is a hole in the wall Burmese joint named Yamo. This place is wild. There are six seats and the stovetop is about three feet from where you eat. The ladies who work there speak little English, and they're never ever happy to see you. It's kind of like the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld, except we're talking noodles. Everything on the menu is outstanding, and all items are a flat $6. You can't go wrong with the cold noodles and tea leaf salad.
Favorite way to waste a sunny day: Dolores Park
If it's the weekend and the sun is out, pick up some beer, wine, a snack and get to Dolores park. You'll find thousands of people chilling on blankets, drinking, playing scrabble, getting loud and generally enjoying being alive. It's pretty much the freest park in the freest city in America. On my first visit to San Francisco, someone had set up a 300 foot slip n' slide down a hill and people were going head first down it. Joe hit the slide with some speed and flew off into the grass and kept on sliding for another 100 feet. He was shirtless and got a pretty nasty grass rash, if there is such a thing. The first time I spent a Saturday in Dolores, I knew I was moving to San Francisco.
Favorite bar: The Homestead
Everything we like in a bar: great jukebox, friendly bartenders, laid back vibes. It's been our home base for the band and we've probably spent way too much time here. The bar itself has an old school saloon feel. It was built in 1897 and the interior deco has a lot of dark wood and a pressed tin ceiling. They serve you peanuts and you throw the shells on the floor. The lights are dim, and we like it that way.
Favorite corner store: Serv-U Market
Now it may seem mundane to write about a corner store but hear me out. I live down the street and have gotten to know the guys that work there pretty well over the last year. The owner of the store, Adam, is from Yemen. One day I walked in and something smelled delicious and I asked him what it was. It was traditional Yemenese food he'd made at home. I asked where I could try that and he shrugged, but he said he'd bring me some. A couple days later I took a trip back to Nashville and completely forgot about it. After I got back I went to the store to get beer and he hands me a to-go plate with this crazy Yemenite croissant type pastry. It was fantastic and I was blown away by such a kind gesture.
Favorite venue: Amnesia
First off, best name for a venue/bar, ever. Second, they have killer live bluegrass music every Monday. And it doesn't cost a penny. Since we both lived in Nashville, it's a nice touch of our former digs, and in the heart of the Mission nonetheless. I mean, where else in San Francisco are you going to see Toshio Hirano, the amazing (58-year old) Japanese Cowboy, play Hank Sr. and Jimmie Rodgers songs?