Beyond Indie

Luke Top's Keep LA Weird Playlist

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With everyone sequestered and self-quarantining due to the coronavirus, we’ve asked our favorite artists to come up with playlists that keep you entertained. Here is singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist Luke Top.

Songs by friends and legends that were recorded in and around Los Angeles. These cosmic wonders only scratch the surface of a more colorful and interesting aural map of L.A., rather than the numb conformity of a boxy modern townhouse development. Complete with neighborhood & artist pairings.

Jack Name (Vernon) – “Waiting For Another Moon”
Jack’s music fills the cracks of L.A.’s shadow spaces. He is one of the most effortlessly strange songwriters I’ve ever come across and we love him for it.

Big Search (El Matador Beach) – “Slow Motion Train”
Big Search has always been able to synthesize brilliant folk balladry with Beach Boys-style harmonies and also…synthesizers. Randy Newman meets Gary Numan meets Carl Wison.

Gary Wilson (San Diego) – “You Keep on Looking”
Thinking about Garys and Wilsons made me think of Gary Wilson, who is more known for living in San Diego. But he does capture a bizarre subsection of cult status SoCal electronic weirdness.

Thundercat (Downtown L.A.) “Funny Thing”
Thundercat is the undisputed king of psychedelic L.A. funk.

Dam-Funk (Pasadena) “What’s Up”
Also a contemporary L.A. funk pioneer. This one is for the backyard barbecues that we will one day be able to have again.

Electric Guest (Atwater Village) “Bound to Lose”
The guys in this band are some of the most talented and hilarious folks I know. This is my favorite song by them.

Chris Cohen (North Hollywood) “Optimist High”
I love how Chris’ music is so singular in vision and harmonically rich. Stylistically it reminds me of a lost version of LA that only surfaces in dreams and hazy memories.

Feels (Highland Park) “Awful Need”
Laena Geronimo (the lead singer) lives and breathes music and I like to be around people like that.

Gun Club (Granada Hills) “Carry Home”
Feels reminded me of the Gun Club, which is an essential and powerful L.A. band from the ’80s and ’90s. One of the best things to ever come out of the San Fernando Valley.

Swarming Branch (Glendale) “Laid Back and Practical”
Andrew Graham is a gifted songwriter with a knack for playful storytelling and oddball melodies.

Cass McCombs (Topanga Canyon) “Morning Shadows”
I’ve always admired Cass’ approach to songwriting and uncompromising attitude. I fondly remember his short stint living in Topanga canyon and long drives up the California coast listening to cassettes.

Kaitlin Aurelia Smith (Griffith Park) “Stratus”
I think Kaitlin resides in L.A. these days but I’m not totally sure. In any case, her gorgeous synth music surely helps the plants grow.

Peel’d (Echo Park) “The Song of Almost Dawn”
My former bandmate in Fool’s Gold has a gift for transcendent guitar playing. This solo instrumental track is a small sampling of that.

Vetiver (Sherman Oaks) “Can’t You Tell”
This is my favorite Vetiver track. It’s sunny and hypnotic, just like L.A.

Luke Top (Panorama City) “Poltergeist”
It me.

Quitapenas (Riverside) “Te Adoro”
There’s not enough space here to dive into all the amazing Latin style indie music in L.A. But I’ll leave you with this for further inquiry.

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