While Los Angeles has always attracted a steady stream of top-tier musical talent, the opportunity remains for up-and-coming solo artists and smaller groups to stand out amongst the masses. In today’s world of music, it’s about tapping into something new – whether it is a sound that transcends traditional styles or a unique revival.
From pop to alternative rock, here are some of the local artists you should be listening to, including details on any upcoming shows near Malibu Beach Inn:
The disco queen of Los Angeles is Gavin Turek, an LA native with serious ‘70s style. Showcasing incredible dance moves and homemade fringe dresses alongside her soulful pop sound, Turek entered the city’s music scene in 2015 with the release of her mini-album, You’re Invited. (The album was actually produced by another one of our local selections, TOKiMONSTA.)
Taking inspiration from Donna Summer, Prince, Lauryn Hill, Dianna Ross, and other greats, Turek played sold-out shows across the city in 2016. She recently released the EP Good Look for You through her label, Madame Gold Records, and we are excited to see what she has planned for the rest of 2017.
LA native Jennifer Lee was a classically trained pianist before she ever made headlines as a DJ. She began working on beats in college, putting together mesmerizing sounds that transcended indie electronic, R&B, and dance music, and later released her first album, Midnight Menu, as TOKiMONSTA in 2010. Her fans know her sound as an entirely new realm of LA music.
Today, she is among the top female DJs in the city and has played at venues all over the world, including the nearby stage at Coachella. She was the first woman to join Flying Lotus’ BRAINFEEDER, an independent LA record label known for being at the forefront of LA music, and she produces through her own label, Young Art Records. Currently on tour around the country, we hope to see TOKiMONSTA return to the west coast later this year.
The Dead Ships
If you attended Coachella in 2016, you may have listened to the captivating alternative indie sound of The Dead Ships – a three-piece band that combines haunting lyrics with upbeat, cheerful energy. But that was probably the first time you heard them, or even heard of them, because they were invited to play at the festival before they had a label or an album.
The band’s first full album, CITYCIDE, came later in 2016 and found a theme around isolation in large cities. With music that is both heart-wrenching and hopeful, The Dead Ships is not a group to overlook.
The alternative rock music of Night Talks reminds you of the days when you used to listen to an entire album alone in your room. Led by the enchanting vocals of Soraya Sebghati, the four-person band just released their debut album, In Dreams, last month with fascinating lyrics that are all at once angelic and edgy.
The group is one of the highlights of the live music scene in Highland Park, where many musicians live but few perform. They are currently in residence at The Hi Hat – the neighborhood’s newly opened and much-needed, 4,000-square-foot music venue – taking the stage on Tuesday nights in March.
Def Sound’s belief that there is no limit on creativity resonates not only in his music, but in his poetry, fashion line, activist work, and all other aspects of his life. His sound is a result of constant change – the refusal to limit himself to one genre.
Originally named Emmanuel Ricketts, Def Sound first garnered worldwide attention in 2011 with music inspired by visual artists like Salvador Dali. Using complex wordplay and impulsive transitions, his style moves between genres like R&B and rap, resulting in an alien sound that truly stands alone. This March, he plans to release a new album, and with the breadth of work that he has unveiled so far, we have no idea what to expect from the multi-talented artist.
*Featured image credit: Gavin Turek