In the cramped, cluttered garage, the mildew-infested basement, the
tar-black, cloudy dive, the dinky overpriced apartment and your best
friend's beater, punk marches on. And it does so just about
everywhere you go. But without the community that's been at the heart
of the punk movement since its inception, it certainly would have
lost its legs by now.
Families of punk musicians and artists develop inside outcast-suited
holes-in-the-wall across the globe. Let's Get Rid of L.A.
documents one such family that finally grew into exactly what they'd
always hoped for, proving the old soulless L.A. no more. Because now
with dozens of feisty musicians full of heart to back it up
LA can no longer be remembered for plastic dollars and
glittered bullshit alone.
Put together by four friends aching to capture a snapshot of the
dynamic, energized punk scene around them, LGROLA boasts a
collection of messy, pared-down punk rock, bleeding with raw
intensity and sneering attitude. It's the sort of lo-fi,
crash-and-bang record you dig in the hazy wee hours while visions of
a noise-soaked evening at the local club swirl in your head. It
reminds you, in 15 different impulsive ways, why you fell for punk in
the first place. A common, no-rules, fuck-it-up aesthetic certainly
exists, but each of the 15 tracks stands its own fiery ground (read:
you definitely know when one song has ended and another begun),
giving the record an even (and excitable) balance in its coverage of
punk/rock in all its various forms.
The Rolling Blackouts kick it off with sliding garage riffs, trashcan
beats and squeaky cries, yelps and whoops on "Champagne and
Painkillers," while New Wave-inspired The Checkers' "Is He In?"
bounces around the room on speedy, tinkering keys without ever
answering the question posed in the song's title. The dub-tinged "The
Alleged Gunmen's New Bo Diddley" reminds us that Joe Strummer lives
on in this ode to one of the founding fathers of rock. Meanwhile,
Squab's creepy synth-infiltrated "Hanger" desperately hangs on,
ominous and urging on spiraling guitar and endless buildups as it
warns: "Change is not temporary." Fuse! breaks in with a manic, burst
of energy that is the gritty, beat-blasting "An Ave Maria," while the
minimal Radio Vago's "Minute" slowed things down a notch with
haunting Cramps-ish rhythms, distant erotic, pleading cries, and dark
breakdowns. Fast Forward's feedback-immersed "T-T-T-T-TET" forces a
stutter atop the fuzzy, boom-boom drum machine and super-speed noise,
while The Starvation close the collection with the country-tinged,
swinging "Fool's Gold," offering Wild West licks, down-and-out croons
and piano alongside punk's sloppy riffs and 4/4 beat.
"This isn't a definition," wrote one of the compilation's creators,
Chris Ziegler, in the liner notes. "But this is a document, a tiny
sliver of Los Angeles, California, from the summer of 2002 to the
summer of 2003. We were right there in the middle. And this is what
it sounded like."
And it sounded good so good you'll be colored slimy green in
envy for having missed it. But with a compilation offering a family
of 15 bands so good it's hard to believe they all came from the very
same place, you'll feel blessed by this second chance. Thanks for the