[Editor's note: Weekly scribe Jeff Weiss's column, “Bizarre Ride,” appears on West Coast Sound every Wednesday. His archives are available here.]
A list is essentially an argument in numerical order. By nature, it's a reflection of personal taste and limited time. It's easy to forget that the sounds hyped online and in print rarely reflect the diversity of a city of four million — where it seems every third person has a Bandcamp or IMDb page.
Keeping up with more than one genre of music in 2013 can inspire the elliptical insanity usually found only in postal workers and Wikipedia editors. But there's something inherently wonderful in the ability to make a Spotify playlist absorbent of South Central jazz fusion and Echo Park bedroom psych-rock, ratchet R&B and orchestral emo beat music nurtured in Chatsworth.
If there's a narrative to trace, it's one of continuation rather than revolution.
The foundation of L.A. underground music laid down in the last decade continues to reap dividends. Just five years ago, L.A. was primarily maligned for offering only aging gangsta rap, Dim Mak dance punk and backpack boom-bap. Since then, it has harbored everything from Odd Future and Kendrick Lamar, to the Smell and Low End Theory, to the evanescent jerkin' dance craze.
But even something like jerkin', which seems anachronistic only four years later, incubated the careers of two of the city's biggest hip-hop stars: Y.G. and DJ Mustard. At the moment, Los Angeles seems like a city in transition, waiting for the next big club night or aesthetic collision. Yet with the year half elapsed, there are excellent options to mind the time.
The following are Bizarre Ride's best L.A. albums of the last six months — in haiku form.
10. Durag Dynasty, 360 Waves (Nature Sounds)
Alchemist comes home
Forms Venice Do-rag Wu Tang
Meet Killa Army
9. Baths, Obsidian (Anticon)
Bleak emo symphonies
Miasma skies bones and blood
Beats still very warm
8. White Fence, Cyclops Reap (Castle Face)
Greek myth guitar rock
Pink gorillas and acid tabs
Crash the monster's ball
7. TeeFlii, Annie Ruo'Tay 2 (Mixtape)
Or X-rated new The-Dream
Excuse the victor
6. Rhye, Woman (Republic/Innovative Leisure)
Do you like Sade?
This is no ordinary band
Lovers rock once more
5. The Delfonics, Adrian Younge Presents the Delfonics (Wax Poetics)
Old soul meets O.G.
Bust out your Panama hat
Stop and look again
4. Tyler, the Creator, Wolf (Odd Future/Sony Red)
When loud met awkward
Summer-camp soundtracks gone wrong
Ace's own sound arrives
See also: Tyler, the Creator: Horsing Around
3. Shlohmo, Laid Out EP (Friends of Friends)
Voodoo meets bad vibes
Sad R&B dirges kill clubs
What's going on?
2. Classixx, Hanging Gardens (Innovative Leisure)
Screaming disco back
Without robot assistance
Oil up the new kings
1. Thundercat, Apocalypse (Brainfeeder)
Bass god gets fire beats
Makes jazz fusion future sound
Death dancing and cats
Honorable mention: Apple & The Three Oranges, Free & Easy (Now-Again); Alexander Spit, A Breathtaking Trip to That Other Side (Decon); Astronautica, Replay Last Night (Alpha Pup); Bleached, Bleached (Dead Oceans); Hanni El Khatib, Head in the Dirt (Innovative Leisure); inc., No World (4AD); Jonwayne, Cassette (Stones Throw); The Lions, This Generation (Stones Throw); Meg Myers, Daughter in the Choir EP (Atlantic); Nosaj Thing, Home (Innovative Leisure); Pharaohs, Pharaohs (100% Silk); Problem & IAMSU!, Million Dollar Afro (mixtape); Quasimoto, Yessir Whatever (Stones Throw); Y.G., Just Re'd Up 2 (mixtape)