"It is as though London stretched unbroken from St Albans to Southend in a tangle of ten-lane four-deck super parkways, hamburger stands, banks, topless drug-stores, hippie hide-outs, Hiltons, drive-in mortuaries, temples of obscure and extraordinary religions, sinless joy and joyless sin, restaurants built to resemble bowler hats, insurance offices built to resemble Babylon, all shrouded below the famous blanket of acrid and corroding smog."
Ah, Los Angeles: huge both in population and square footage, unseasonably warm even in January, and home to an awe-inspiring amount of taco trucks (pictured). I don’t know about the topless drug stores that are mentioned above, but the corny restaurants and that irredeemable smog still persist. Luckily, that’s not all you’ll find in the West Coast’s center for sensory overload, and how could it be? Here is but a mere sliver of the Angeleno goodness that the Free Music Archive will have to offer this November. We hope you like it, and please let us know if there’s anything you’d like to see on the Free Music Archive by emailing us at fma [at] wfmu [dot] org. You know, we tried to streamline these city-spotlight posts, but Los Angeles (and Chicago) simply wouldn’t let us.
MP3's from the Los Angeles Free Music Society, Abominog, Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti, The Bad Trips, Caldera Lakes, Fósforo, Gang Wizard, Hecuba, Infinite Body, Kevin Shields, Lucky Dragons, Pocahaunted, Robedoor, Softboiled Eggies, Tleilaxu Music Machine, Upsilon Acrux and more after the jump!
The Los Angeles Free Music Society
Los Angeles is home to a whole slew of noise and experimental bands, all of which are seriously indebted to the sprawling collective known as the Los Angeles Free Music Society. Described by core member Rick Potts as “a party where you tell your friends to invite their friends and by midnight your house is overrun by a few hundred virtual strangers,” the LAFMS is about as enormous as the city from which it hails. And you’ll be able to listen to as much of their output as we can track down on the Free Music Archive.
Airway is just one of many configurations of LAFMS artists. Music Director Brian Turner already wrote about Airway as part of a “Recent Faves From The New Bin” post, so who better to describe their crazy good live album than him:
“Comprised of LAFMS stable stalwarts Rick Potts, Juan Gomez (also of Human Hands fame), Tom Recchion, Joe Potts, Chris Chapman, Dennis Duck (who also has a new reissue of vinyl-glop tomfoolery on the Poo-Bah label) and banshee vocalist Vetza, this set was originally an LP in 1978 and also included in the 10CD LAFMS box set years ago, but has been remastered from the original source for this disc. It blazes like few other things from Tinseltown, that's for certain; a mutant jam of unrecognizable instruments (I dare say that the blaring scrapheap that rolls over everything in the mix in the middle of track 2 might be the mandolin????) Totally berzerk short-circuit mayhem that probably never had a chance to co-star in Urgh! A Music War by a long shot. But you, dear listener, deserve to be there.”
Here is Side A (mp3). Side B can be found on the Free Music Archive when it launches in November! And of course, there will be more from LAFMS projects like Le Forte Four, Gothic Hut, Dinosaurs with Horn, Steaming Coils, The Monique Experience, and more. You can order the mammoth 10 disc box set, The Lowest Form of Music, here from the Cortical Foundation.
Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti
No doubt you’ve heard from this guy before. He’s been making tapes of AM radio hits from an alternate universe since 1996, and he is currently on tour with a full backing band. With his fuzzy, tweaked melodies, he evokes dirty beach dwellers and an LA sunset – a winning combination, if there ever was one.
Here’s a track from Homemade Hits Vol. 1 a comp by the now-defunct label, Kittridge Records: Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Want Me (mp3), which also featured a track from Holy Shit (Ariel's collaboration with Matt Fishbeck).
The Bad Trips + Abominog
Bad Trips brought their "all-original, all-instrumental, real-deal, acid casulty stripper-pole music" to WFMU's SXSW showcase earlier this year. Grady Runyan plays electric/ebow/delay guitar backed by Jeff Grimes on guitar/bass, Gordon Roberts on bass/viola, and drummer Bob Anderson. Runyan used to play in Bay Area psych-punk riffers Monoshock. He's since relocated to Ventura, CA, where he runs a local records store. Runyan and Grimes also play in Liquorball, whose fortchoming LP with Steve MacKay was recently recorded at Grady's Record Refuge. Grimes writes that "a new Bad Trips LP is in the works and a 2nd printing of the first Bad Trips LP will come out about the same time as the Liquorball LP" so get psyched.
From the first Bad Trips LP on Rocketship Records: Miracle of Marsh Chapel (mp3), If If (mp3)
Former Monoshock drummer and vocalist Rubin Fiberglass has also headed south. His primordial Abominog project, which often features Grady Runyan on guitar, is just starting to emerge from the swamp. Abominog - Peel Back the Mountain Sky (mp3)
This Spanish-language 4-piece mixes traditional Latin influences with grime, dub, a dash of high-life guitar, and electronics. Their v-drums punch out a new approach to that ubiquitous reggaeton beat sound. The group's led by Rafi Benjamin, with Edwin Portillo, Cesar Ventura, and Sasha Costanza-Chock. From last year's Macondo EP, released on the Fósforo's own Raya Records imprint: Mano de Dios (mp3) Desconocido (mp3). You can download the whole release from their website here, along with the web-only mp3 of Fosforo's Cumbia de Obama (mp3). Thanks to DJ/Rupture for the recommendation!
This band brings a lot of influences to the table but manages to make something coherent and bewitching out of it all. Expect droney chants, dub beats, girly singalongs about Yoko Ono, and creepy minimalist melodies. Their EP, Sir, is available on their website, and we have a preview of that EP right here.
Infinite Body is experimental music that goes from dreamy to frantic to peaceful, all in one song. The guy behind Infinite Body, Kyle, has his own label, Not Today, and puts drawings from his sketchbooks up on Have Some Hats.
Lucky Dragons is the musical project of Los Angeles artists Luke Fischbeck and Sarah Rara. They have put out something like twenty-one releases, and the result of their sampling and fooling is almost always joyous. They have a new album out on Marriage Records, Upset the Rhythm, and Mistletone called “Dream Island Laughing Language.” Luke and Sarah have already been licensing their music with Creative Commons, so you’ll be swimming in Lucky Dragons music in November.
Lucky Dragons - Onda Tocadisco (mp3) (from Nortenas, which can be purchased here at Marriage Records)
Lucky Dragons - I Keep Waiting For Earthquakes (mp3) (from Dream Island Laughing Language, which can also be purchased at Marriage Records)
This Not Not Fun band puts out ghostly psychedelia that stomps and shakes. Their new album, High Beams, is coming out in mid-August, and you can hear a sample track, as well as watch a great video of a live performance, on their myspace page.
Psychedelic, droney music that the band members, Amanda and Bethany, accurately describe as sounding like “the earth’s period.” Hey, don’t let that deter you. They dabble in riddim, and they nurture dreams of an orchestral funk and gospel project.
Another band from the Not Not Fun stable. Spooky, heavy long-form psych. They did a split with Pocahaunted, and it's easy to imagine what their collaboration would sound like: haunting and relentless. The track we have for you is called "Elemental Prison."
The Softboiled Eggies are a pop band with serious post-punk tendencies. Gorgeous harmonies, great melodies, and guitar riffs that are catchy as hell. At times, the lead singer sounds like she’s just signed with Rough Trade and she goes a-wassailing in Leeds. But she hasn’t, and she doesn’t -- the Eggies are on the Tiny Creatures label and they just recently toured the West Coast. One of the Eggies, Janet, runs Tiny Creatures, which doubles as a label and a performance space. And they make pretty pop music.
Softboiled Eggies - So High (mp3) (from the album Egg Soldiers, which can be purchased here)
Softboiled Eggies - Can You Send Blame? (mp3) (from the upcoming album Try It Again, which will be available soon at Upset The Rhythm)
Softboiled Eggies - She Fell Through The Trees (mp3) (from Egg Soldiers, which can be purchased here)
Softboiled Eggies - October Days (mp3) (from the upcoming album Try It Again, which will be available soon at Upset The Rhythm)
The Tleilaxu Music Machine
D. Bene Tleilax is a one-man dance party, calling upon both the techno gods and the metal gods for a rush of hardcore ravesploitation. Frenetic, joyous, relentless. How do you even dance to this? Forget what I said – this isn’t dance music, it’s music to explode to. And yes. That is a Dune reference. More tracks available for download on his seizure-inspiring myspace page.
Kevin Shields/Caldera Lakes/Winners/Gang Wizard
What, haven’t you heard? If you don’t have at least three musical projects going on, you are seriously slacking. Eva Aguila is picking up the pace for you though. She is involved with FOUR projects up on the Free Music Archive, and each one showcases her liking for the abrasive and the dissonant. Aguila also serves as a good one-woman primer in LA noise, so listen up. All releases for Eva's bands can be found via Deathbomb Arc.
First up is Gang Wizard, an improv band with members you’ve heard before on WFMU in a different permutation. This grinningly chaotic band never sticks to one melody and never adheres to a form for too long, and they don't care if you don't like it. Here's a new track from them: Gang Wizard - Whoever Invents (mp3)
Second on the list is Caldera Lakes, Eva’s collaboration with Brittnay Gould of Married in Berdichev!
Forget about the chaos, these are "noise ballads." Brittnay reels it in
with folky melodies, while Eva layers on the noise. The result is
spooky and, dare I say it, beautiful. Caldera Lakes - Silent Something (mp3)
The third band is Winners, which is Eva and her friend Andrew
McKenzie. A little cruder, a little dirtier, but still noisy dance
music. This song is about exactly what you'd think: an absurd tale
about a man and an experiment gone sadly awry. Winners - Mega Dik (mp3)
And finally, her solo project, Kevin Shields. Not to be confused with the man, although one listen to these tracks will clear up any confusion in no time. Unfiltered noise from Eva Aguila:
Kevin Shields - 06.05.06 (mp3)
Upsilon Acrux play instrumental prog with post-punk and free-jazz leanings. In athletic league with Don Caballero and Ahleuchatistas, Upsilon's slightly less metallic but no less acrobatic than Orthrelm and the Flying Luttenbachers. The lineup has fluctuated around guitarist Paul Lai since Upsilon's founding 10 years ago in Vista, CA. They're currently a 5-piece based out of LA. From last year's Cuneiform Records release Galapagos Momentum: Upsilon Acrux - So Thereby... And Furthermore. Thus Henceforth...Mono (mp3) *
All the mp3s in this post are shared under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States license, except * Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 United States
Thanks to all the artists and labels for letting us share their music, please give them some support if you like what you hear, and stay tuned for more mp3s from Los Angeles and beyond when the Free Music Archive launches this November!