Do you want Nashville country or do you want the truth? That seems to be the theme of two digging-in-the-crates 1970s-era LA-centric country mixtapes recently released online. Both capture the deep, rich catalog of obscurities to be found when mining the depths of the vinyl bins and swap meets, both agree on Jack Nitzsche and Gene Clark, and both rely heavily on the twang to get their message across.
The first has a stronger theme: Aquarium Drunkard's LA Burnout mix, which documents gentle — and not so gentle — guitar songs from artists singing about Los Angeles in all its glory. Ranging from Jackie DeShannon's “Laurel Canyon” to Guy Clark's classic “LA Freeway” to Joni Mitchell's “For the Roses” to … hell … pretty much all of it … LA Burnout cracks open the Canyon scene and presents the many love (and hate) letters to Our Fair City.
DJ Turquoise Wisdom is Zach Cowie's DJ name, and he just tossed out his Bootcut Classics mix at When You Awake. Wisdom's records on Bootcut Classics crackle like a warm fire through the desktop speakers; you can hear the decades in the wax, can feel the history of Topanga dust — even if a lot of this stuff was made outside of California. Cowie worked in the independent record biz (Sub Pop, Drag City), and is worming his way into the music supervision world (he helped on Michael Mann's fantastic Public Enemies soundtrack). He just returned from the Fleet Foxes' summer tour, where he spun before and between sets — he's done the same with Animal Collective, as well — and has been playing records around town somewhere nearly every week. We've recently seem him spin Monday night poolside at the Roosevelt. Last week he played this kind of stuff at Bar Marmont, and he's spun more psyche stuff at the bi-weekly 'Dr. Who' night at the Bar in Hollywood.
Cowie's introduction to the mix explains the vibe: “This mix serves as a rough guide to a musical movement entirely relevant to the WHEN YOU AWAKE franchise that my friends and I have struggled to pinpoint with a name for years. Most occurrences of said sound appeared 1970-1974, primarily in America–there's tons of country/rural vibes, loads of fake CSN moves, GREAT pedal steel/fuzz guitar, but it's waaaaay far from your classic country.”