A LOVE LETTER TO los angeles
The new compilation Beat L.A. features current artists reimaging tracks by the classic alternative Los Angeles bands that helped shape the sound of the city. More than just punk, it features folks like Josh Klinghoffer of the Red Hot Chili Peppers doing Thelonious Monster's “Anymore” and No Age on the Urinals' “Male Masturbation.” Other covered groups include classic Los Angeles punks the Germs, the more obscure Nervous Gender and the Doors.
Los Angeles the city often is criticized as being little more than scattered bits of sleepy suburbs and slums, connected by long stretches of stagnant freeways. Toddrick Spalding of Greatminds Records — which along with Narnack Records is releasing the compilation, which benefits Doctors Without Borders — believes our town gets a bad rap, and Beat L.A. seeks to help change that. “There's a big misunderstanding between Los Angeles and the rest of the world,” he says, “and this comp [shows] some of the magic of L.A.”
In fact, one could argue that because the city spreads itself thin, its scene is more diverse, as it's harder for local bands to overlap with one another. “They're not really thinking genre,” says Narnak Records' Shahin Ewalt. “I think that's the way L.A. has always been.”
Beat L.A. is a music education, an organic way for a new generation to discover bands that can't easily be tracked down on their Pandora channel or The Hype Machine aggregate. Jonny Bell of Crystal Antlers — who perform Black Randy & Metrosquad's “I Slept in an Arcade” on the album — notes that he discovered Black Randy by going to record stores, but today's kids might not have that option. “This compilation is a organic way of introducing people to a lot of these more obscure bands,” he says. “That's cool.”