From Nat King Cole to Concrete Blonde, from La Bamba to Boom Boom Pow, from beach pop to Laurel Canyon folk to West Coast rap to Sunset Strip Rock and beyond, the City of Angels has always been a hotbed of musical revolutions. Happily, L.A.'s locally grown music scene is as vibrant and diverse as ever with a slew of recent independent E.P.s and L.P.s so fresh and creative, they deserve your love and attention -- and airplay (KCRW and KCSN are you listening?).
Yonatan Monster (E.P.)
A singer/songwriter who can rock an upright bass like nobody's business, Yonatan's debut E.P. Monster is a sexy, gravelly, eclectic treasure (think The The meets Tom Waits) that just gets better with each listen. The title cut is a great big alternative rock hit waiting to happen. The Boat Keeps Rockin' and This Day churn with spooky atmospheric blues, and the best part, you can experience it all live every Monday night at 10pm at downtown L.A's most underrated music venue, The Escondite. Monster is available on iTunes Yonatan The Boat Keeps Rockin' (live)
Bunny West A Worthy Adversary (E.P.)
Bunny West is another weekly favorite of downtown L.A.'s Escondite (catch her there Tuesdays at 10pm). A Worthy Adversary, her debut E.P. gently rolls through a delicious trio of twangy melodies in a wisened, soulful vein that carries a torch for Bessie Smith and Memphis Minnie with a dash of Michelle Shocked and Joss Stone for good measure. This girl is something special, a terrific live performer. Produced by Yonatan, A Worthy Adversary is the first of three E.P.s by Bunny West to unfold over the next year. Available on iTunes.
Bunny West Honey
Funky Jenn & The Fringe Benefits Rock & Roll Voodoo Queen (E.P.)
Are you ready to rock? Funky Jenn sure is. A native daughter of the Golden West, Funky Jenn's Rock & Roll Voodoo Queen (drops November 12th on iTunes) is an explosive, lusty guitar driven ride through female fronted classic rock terrain previously navigated by the likes of Heart and Lydia Pense. Bursting with attitude, personality, sex appeal and a big voice, Funky Jenn's six track E.P. proves that down home rock and soul is alive and well in 2013. Catch her live Thursday 10/24 at 9pm at The Mint (6010 Pico Blvd).
Funky Jenn & The Fringe Benefits Rock & Roll Voodoo Queen
Powdercoat Powdercoat (E.P.)
The duo of Claire Holley and Kristin Mooney have created one of the year's loveliest recordings with their seven track Powdercoat E.P. I caught them live earlier this year, and was completely entranced by their spare, well-crafted acoustic arrangements, intricate harmonies and melodies evoking Shawn Colvin or early Suzanne Vega. This is music for the heart and soul. Their next show is Tuesday, October 29 at Soho Music Club in Santa Barbara. To purchase the E.P. and for touring information, check out Powdercoat at Bandcamp.com.
Powdercoat Movie Star (live at McCabe's)
Shyboy Water On Mars (full length album)
The enigmatic performer known as Shyboy casts a fresh, intelligent spell over the indie pop landscape with his compelling debut CD, Water On Mars. Shyboy's ethereal tenor and dramatic, hypnotic rhythms echo the best of Nick Drake, M83, Roxy Music, Sufjan Stevens and mid-period Moody Blues, while remaining entirely his own. Water On Mars' impressive cast of collaborators include Wendy Waldman, Allee Willis, David Batteau and producer Mark Nubar. Available on iTunes and Amazon.
Shyboy's stellar cover of Nik Kershaw's new wave chestnut Wouldn't It Be Good
Tracy Newman & The Reinforcements I Just See You (full length album)
Tracy Newman is an Emmy Award winning TV writer, founding member of Groundlings and consummate musician. Her second album, I Just See You, is a sweet, Prairie Home Companion-esque journey sparkling with poignant, humorous observations and warm, infectious melodies. The enormously catchy Already Missing You is begging for Dolly, Reba or Willie to discover it and turn it into the country radio classic it deserves to be. Both the title track and Fire Up The Weed (an anthem for marijuana enthusiasts!) have rightly won songwriting awards. Available on iTunes and Amazon. For tour dates, check out: www.tracynewman.com
Tracy Newman & The Reinforcements I Just See You (Live at McCabe's)
Sanguin Drake Pretty Tricks (full length album)
Sarah Sanguin Carter and David Drake's debut, Pretty Tricks, is an otherworldly chill-out treat: equal parts haunting, pretty and seductive evoking Mazzy Star and early 10,000 Maniacs. Their upcoming E.P., Mandragora (due in early 2014) finds Sanguin Drake to have grown into a quintet with Kevin X. Barth, Frank DiVanna and Ben Masters rounding out the dreamy ensemble. Pretty Tricks available on iTunes and at sanguindrake.com
Sanguin Drake Brand New Truth (Carnival version)