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Review: Love L.A., an ORG Music Compilation for RSD

Produced by Paige Stark, Rick Ross and Andrew Rossiter

Mastered By Kern Haug

The cover of ORG Music's Love L.A. Compilation

Think about one of your favorite regions in the world, what do they mean to you? What makes it that treasured location? Is it the food, the people, the weather? Or, is it the sound of the place? Moreover, how do you decide what a place even sounds like? Maybe it’s what you hear as you’re walking down the street, or maybe there is an actual musical thread that runs through your favorite locale. Los Angeles has a long musical history, so long that it’s hard to pinpoint a true sound because so many different genres and styles are associated with Tinseltown. But for the purposes of ORG Music’s Record Store Day release, Love L.A., it’s a visit to Laurel Canyon - and a bit beyond - it’s a fusion between older songs and newer artists.

You can come to Love L.A. to hear how one of your favorite songs have been interpreted, or you might come to listen to one of your favorite artists covering a track that interests you. Either way, there’s a lot to choose from which is often the beauty of a good compilation. And this one succeeds in presenting songs in a manner to achieve a mood, a California mood which to me always means tempering the sunny skies with the spooky nights. And it’s all duets, did I mention it’s all duets?

Leslie Steven and Jim James do their best Stevie and Don with their version of “Leather and Lace” and their version is a good one, but the track features a puzzling amount of overdrive and excessive gain which I am assuming was a stylistic choice as the rest of the album doesn’t sound like this. Unfortunately, it interferes with the tender sweetness that Leslie and Jim bring to the track. Love’s “Signed” is approached in a dirge-like fashion by Marc Maron and Paige Stark. Gold Star (Marlon Rabenreither from the band was a guest on my podcast) and Johanna Samuels remind me of how upbeat and bright the Velvet Underground can be with their interpretation of “I Found a Reason” which is fantastic; I would have pushed the fader up a teensy bit on Samuels’ vocals, but overall the song is great: light, open, airy and breezy. More* contribute Marc Benno’s “Speak Your Mind” which is full of plenty of atmosphere and fantastic flange; it’s an excellent track. 

A gold vinyl record

Poppy Jean Crawford & Tashaki Miyaki’s take on The Turtles’ “You Showed Me” is a standout on the record and features plenty of sunshine pop. LA stalwarts the Red Hot Chili Peppers are also covered on the album by Cherry Glazer and Jeffertitti with their version of “Dosed” (a super smashing RHCP song) giving it a Mazzy Star spin with maybe a bit too much crunch, but also successfully darkening an already shadowy song. Black Francis’ “Los Angeles” by Joel Jerome & Paloma Parfrey doesn’t veer too much from the original template. If nothing else it got me wondering what Johnny Cash might have sounded like covering this tune. 

The pressing is a good one, it’s just a squinch off-center, but the disc is quite noise free with no outworldly auditory imperfections, and of course it’s pressed on gold vinyl, just like all of those shiny awards handed out in Los Angeles every year! Proceeds from the releases will benefit the Fernando Pullum Community Arts Center, which provides performing arts instruction to youth in South Central Los Angeles. So, you can grab something for RSD, and simultaneously support the arts. 

It’s nice to be focused on specific releases when you’re out shopping, especially on Record Store Day, but part of going to your local record store is taking a bit of a chance, learning about something new and dipping your toe into a sound, an aesthetic, a scene. Love L.A. gives you a chance to do just that this RSD: to allow yourself to be engulfed in the sounds of the City of Angels, and to learn about a few artists that you might not be aware of. It’s records like these that can serve to introduce you to one of your future favorite performers and that - folks - is exactly what Record Store Day is supposed to be about. 


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