Stream ‘Beat LA’ featuring No Age, Crystal Antlers and more


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‘BEAT LA’ is a no-brainer with a lot of heart. Almost two dozen local bands banding together to cover one vintage Los Angeles song of their choosing -- with all proceeds going to Doctors Without Borders and the groups efforts in earthquake-ravaged Haiti.

Guests include No Age, Crystal Antlers and Bobb Bruno of Best Coast. Avant-rockers Lucky Dragons show up in the mix. So do local underground linchpins Imaad Wasif and Boom Bip (assisted by Buck 65). There are also those who you may not have heard of before (Slang Chickens, Modern Memory), who you will probably remember after.


The original songs include tracks from Gun Club, X, the Doors, Minutemen, the Germs and the Go-Gos. Plus, Angelenos had the good sense to pay tribute to Paisley Underground icon Dream Syndicate. Released digitally on Narnack/Great Minds and curated by Toddrick Spalding, Angel Mendoza and Shahin Ewalt, the compilation features good bands with a better cause.

Beat LA by totalrecordnerd

A number of participants offered thoughts on why they decided to get involved; we’ve excerpted them below:

Toddrick Spalding, Beat LA Executive Producer and Founder of Greatminds Records: ‘Three years ago, we started composing a love letter. An ode to the city I was born in and grew up in. An idea to celebrate this city and it’s unique musical history -- a history that shaped our life, our world view, and who we are. It was a solid concept. But this concept would find it’s purpose in January of 2010. Watching the news, and looking at photos on Huffington Post in the wake of Haiti’s devastating earthquake, we decided to help the only way we knew how, with the only thing that ever mattered to us: music.

Curated by myself, Angel Mendoza and our good friend Shahin Ewalt of Narnack Records, released jointly by Angel and my label Greatminds and Narnack Records and featuring liner notes from LA scene legend Geza X, BEAT LA brings together some of our favorite LA based artists donating their time and music for an amazing cause (100% of profits generated from sales of the record will benefit Doctors Without Borders and their efforts in Haiti). The concept is simple. LA bands we love covering the songs of LA bands we love from the past, all to help the cause.’

Jonny Bell of Crystal Antlers: ‘We didn’t really know what the comp was about beyond LA Punk when we first got involved, but we were very pleased to find out that it was going to help benefit Medicins Sans Frontiers. ‘I Slept In An Arcade’ seemed to be an appropriate choice for our cover as it shares a lot of the same instruments we incorporate in our music. We also felt Black Randy & The Metrosquad were one of the weirdest and most unsung groups of the era and needed to be represented.’

Jacob Cooper (Signals): ‘We chose to cover Richie Dagger’s Crime song because the Germs are the antethesis of LA punk.’

Imaad Wasif: ‘When Shahin at Narnack asked me to cover a song for the Beat LA comp, I was glad to oblige, I thought it was a great idea and I wanted to be a part of some raw power. ‘Go Insane’ is such an obscure Doors song it appealed to me as a cover, because I love deep cuts. My version is a schizoid assemblage of all the voices I hear in my head, part lullaby, part Ry Cooder slide homage, in which I break on through to the Motorik side.’


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-- Jeff Weiss