Over the weekend, we heard about a group of people in London who get together every month and listen to an entire album, uninterrupted, according to BBC. There is no talking or texting, not even when the record is turned over. Why would anyone do this? you might ask. The club founders and members believe that modern-day innovations such as the iPod have prevented us from listening to albums as they were intended--singular works of art to be enjoyed as a whole. We have to admit they might have a point. Sometimes, anyway. What follows is a list of Southern California albums we feel are best consumed in their entirety.
Free the Robots
Ctrl Alt Delete
The album's samples range from ragtime to ragga, and while it's possible to appreciate the artistry of each song taken separately, listening to the record as a whole shows you why Free the Robots are now at the forefront of the LA beat scene. As our friends at Urb put it, "Meticulously constructed, the album is a culmination of countless late nights at Low End Theory Club, combined with a spirit of fearless experimentation." Enjoy en toto.
My love for Teebs is no surprise. Teebs' album Ardour is music to sink into and float away with. Made from samples culled from cast-off Christmas and gospel records, the songs eschew a narrative format to effortlessly bloom in and out of transitions. This is possibly the most beautiful, delicate album I heard all year--enjoyed well separately, but for best results, listen to it all at once.
Okay, so Laetitia isn't from Southern California, but her record label is, so I'm putting her on this list. Her first solo release since Monad, The Trip tackles the difficult subject matter of her little sister's suicide and creates an arc of emotions ranging from sorrow to denial to acceptance to even joy. Sadier's voice, as always, is hypnotic; take a listen and let her mesmerize.
Glasser is one-woman-orchestra Camerion Mesirow, and The Ring is like a river. Each song moves into the other, building from a collection of classic influences to ceate fresh takes on disparate genres. The result is Joni Mitchell-meets-Fever Ray. The album as a whole creates a story that is bigger than each individual song.
(Touch and Go)
Pitchfork referred to this record as a "surprisingly focused affair," and we agree. The Antlers are something between punk and psychedelic, and their songs seem to fit together to catapult the listener into a state of catharsis. The other thing about this band is that MP3s, as compressed files, just sound too clean. Antlers are best enjoyed on actual vinyl, so you can be consumed by the rumbling fury.
Yes. I'm taking it back. Way back to 1979, when some of the country's most influential punk bands formed right here in Orange County. Social Distortion, Agent Orange and the Adolescents were like tour guides to 1980s suburban-tract-housing hell, reacting to a mix of boredom and understimulation by exploding with furious sound. The Adolescents' self-titled release stood out from its peers--even at the time--and became an instant classic. Do yourself a favor, and throw this record on the turntable, remember what it was like to be a young skater punk and get immersed in Orange County cultural history.