Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Old L.A, Back in the Day (Or “The way things were.”)

When I first moved to the West Coast, there was this big deal thing going on in Eagle Rock called The Ship. The premise was this : a bunch of musicians moved to LA, took over a small corner of a dilapidated neighborhood, built a studio, rented practice spaces and then assembled one of the biggest musical movements of my short life time. Even the kids that weren’t strictly part of The Ship but were/in/and/around that scene (Adeline, The Movies) had so much to say and they all managed to put together their own collections of awesome songs.

Many of The Ship bands are still around and playing – Earlimart, The Silversun Pickups and the Radar Brothers are still out there writing great records and have managed to get some time in the national spotlight.

On the other hand, there are a lot of other bands from this era that aren’t playing out live much, are on hiatus, or broke up or just haven’t go the recognition that they sooooo deserve.

These are three of my favorite LA bands from a couple years ago. Songs that really inspired me to do what I do, songs that I really, really adore. Hopefully they’ll inspire you guys -- and here is to hoping that LA’s next crop of artists, your Henry Clays, your Monolators, your Happy Hollows, here’s to hoping that they can continue LA’s great legacy of rad music.

Pine Marten

For my money, the best album Los Angeles album of 2003 was Pine Marten’s Beautiful Stakes and Power Polls. The record is full of great dissonant guitar chords, startingly brilliant melodies and vocals as sang by Mark Wooten and accompanied by Brian Thornell’s amazing keyboard/drumming. Imagine Pity Party jamming with the Silversun Pickups and Grandaddy. The funny thing about that comparison is that these guys did probably jam with SSPU and Grandaddy. I never got to see these guys play, but this record has worn a hole in my heart.

DOWNLOAD : Pine Marten - Mechanically Seperated


I am not sure exactly what these guys deal is. They are on Eenie Meenie, they released a new record a year or two ago, and they might be together, might not. Alex Church, an original member of the group, is out trying to take over the world with his new band Sea Wolf, so maybe these guys aren’t getting together anymore. The first time I heard the opening track from their 2002 record, Good Morning Beautiful, I just curled up in a ball and called in sick to work and put it on repeat for the whole day. The opening track, Crumbling Mountain Tops bears repeated listening.

DOWNLOAD : Irving - Crumbling Mountain Tops
MYSPACE : Irving

The Movies

I am pleased to report that these guys are alive and doing well. The Movies, I heard through the grapevine, have recorded a new record and are searching for someone to distribute it. I have been a big fan of the group since I heard their 2002 album, In One Era and Out the Other. Pass the Music has and will be one of my favorite tracks of all time.

DOWNLOAD : The Movies - Pass the Music
MYSPACE : The Movies

I hope you have time to listen and compare these tracks. They are from a really special time in the LA music scene, and I think it is cool to think that these guys all played show together and shared ideas, concepts, gear, shows, tours, etc. And think they did a great job of creating something bigger than the individual parts of their separate bands. The whole Ship thing made me think that, you know, this whole music thing might actually be possible and important and about community.


ashod said...

a couple of footnotes to your post. joe from pine marten is now a member of silversun pickups. brian is fronting his own project called wrong way driver (http://www.myspace.com/thewrongwaydriver).

also, most of irving plus some others have been playing around as the afternoons (http://www.myspace.com/therealafternoons).

Malcolm Sosa said...

Thanks for the heads up. I guess I should have given these guys' forward addresses as well.