Mono Records was an early supporter of the Echo Park bands who don’t fit so easily into that kind of garage/psych/fuzz-and-fun punk-as-pop sound; instead, Mono’s select releases tend to celebrate the esoteric, and here’s the definitive statement so far: a compilation of L.A. bands heavily inspired by U.K. sounds during that bottomlessly special post-punk moment where the spirit of ‘anything goes’ met the ability to make everything sound good. Shoegaze, C86, labels like Glass and Fire and Rough Trade—this is what Life Is … or at least where it starts." /> VARIOUS ARTISTS: LIFE IS … | L.A. RECORD

VARIOUS ARTISTS: LIFE IS …

December 22nd, 2015 | Album reviews

Various Artists
Life Is …
Mono Records

Echo Park’s Mono Records was an early supporter of the Echo Park bands who don’t fit so easily into that kind of garage/psych/fuzz-and-fun punk-as-pop sound; instead, Mono’s select releases tend to celebrate the esoteric, and here’s the definitive statement so far: a compilation of L.A. bands heavily inspired by U.K. sounds during that bottomlessly special post-punk moment where the spirit of ‘anything goes’ met the ability to make everything sound good. Shoegaze, C86, labels like Glass and Fire and Rough Trade—this is what Life Is … or at least where it starts. Some tracks here are previously released—two from Froth’s excellent Bleak LP, a-side of Tracy Bryant’s “Little Things” single also on Mono—but necessary anyway, especially if you didn’t get a limited original. But some apparently exist nowhere else, like the churning “Fear” by Jeff Fribourg (ex-Froth, now in Mind Meld) and his band Numb.er and also his Omnichord, or the Nikki Sudden-Go-Betweens stand-out bum-outs from Beat Hotel, or Billy Changer’s pixilated John Carpenter-style mostly instrumental “Ride,” a close cousin to his recent LP track “Chiller.” Noah Kwid (once of Dirt Dress) also makes solo vinyl debut here as Kwid, an understated Fast Product-style drum-machine post-punk song called (naturally) “I Find Myself,” and Mother Merry Go Round delivers two striking songs that split the difference between Orange Juice and Joy Division. Altogether, it’s not just a powerfully consistent vision but a nice counterpoint to what the outside world thinks it is people do here: seven bands a little out of step and a little out of time, except for with each other.

—Chris Ziegler

FROTH, MOTHER MERRY GO ROUND, TRACY BRYANT, BEAT HOTEL AND NUMB-ER PLUS DJs TONY ACCOSTA AND NICK WINFREY AT A RELEASE SHOW FOR LIFE IS … ON TUE., DEC. 22, AT THE ECHO, 1822 SUNSET BLVD., ECHO PARK. GET TICKETS HERE! 8 PM / $8 / 21+. THEECHO.COM. VINYL WILL BE AVAILABLE AT THE SHOW OR FROM MONO RECORDS.