If you’re a Los Angeles music nerd, you’re quite familiar with the names Jason Bentley, Chris Douridas, Anne Litt, Raul Campos and Anthony Valadez. You know them as just a handful of the stellar DJs on public radio station KCRW (89.9 on the radio dial in Los Angeles, KCRW.com everywhere else). You may have also heard of Evan Kleiman, the host of Good Food, or Matt Holzman, the man who puts the “Matt” in Matt’s Movies. One name you may not know, however, is someone who I believe to be the one person every listener needs to say thanks to the most. The busiest person on staff: Music Publicity Director, Rachel Reynolds. (more…)
It should be made an official rule: If you have never heard of (or even heard) The Parson Red Heads, you cannot consider yourself a fan of the local Los Angeles music scene. I’d even wager that 75% of the people living in the Silverlake, Los Feliz, and Echo Park know one of the past or present members personally. Of course, considering that at any one time they could have as many as 15 members on stage (though there are 6 core members of the group), that’s not as great of a feat. And with that many members, chances are even if you haven’t seen The Parson Red Heads as a whole, you will definitely have seen a past or present Parson out and about performing at different times with other LA bands like The World Record, The Idaho Falls, The Ghost Kings, Hungry Birds and up in Portland, Houndstooth, Old Light and Denver. They’ve even got a new side project, Dome, kicking into gear soon, which I’m told “will be heavy”…but I digress.
Navigating the sprawling metropolis of Los Angeles, congested with both cars and billboards everywhere you look, staring up Jack Black’s crotch or being forced to accept that Khloe and Lamar are indeed “famously” in love, it’s often hard to remember that being a celebrity used to look quite different.
It’s not that the old Hollywood is gone, you just have to pay attention. Just glance past the flashing lights at the Hollywood sign, drive by Culver Studios, grab a bite at the Formosa Cafe, and even if it’s cheesy, go to the Walk of Fame and see if your hands are as small as Gloria Swanson’s. I might work at a film studio, but sitting in a cubicle under fluorescent lights day in and day out, I often feel as close to “Hollywood” as Ron Livingston in Office Space.
So when composer/orchestrator/arranger/all-around-great-guy, Joe Trapanese asked that I meet him on one of the great old studio lots for our interview (I would tell you which, but I’m sworn to secrecy), it was painfully hard to act cool about it. While I probably said something to the effect of, “Great. Please send over parking instructions. Looking forward to it.” In my mind, I was squealing like a tween.
DJs have always fascinated me. It’s a job that seems so easy from the outside – how hard can it be to make a playlist and crossfade from song to song? – but just stand behind a really talented DJ for a few moments and you can’t help be overwhelmed by how much is actually going on. So many moving parts that all need to be perfectly balanced lest the flow be ruined. Being a DJ is an art requiring intense concentration, a delicate hand, and real musical sensibility.
For the next guest mixtape, get to know LA’s The World Record. Local fans might recognize brain trust Andy Creighton and friends from The Parson Red Heads (when they were in LA, all members of The World Record were also in The Parson Red Heads, now the line-up has some new faces), but with a new line-up, The World Record deserves attention in their own right. Hailed by Aquarium Drunkard as the “West Coast heir apparent to Big Star,” their last LP, Guitars Forever came out almost five years ago and received a plethora of favorable reviews. Since then The World Record has continued to gig around LA, taped a neat session with Little Videos, and had a song on both Gossip Girl and How I Met Your Mother. I myself used THREE of their tracks in a little film (shot in Silverlake, of course) that I music supervised in 2009, which is how I came to know Mr. Creighton. Below Andy discusses with me his mixtape, My Favorite Canadians, the definition – and value – of “sheer rockingness,” and spills a bit about what’s next for the band…