All week, Press Play has been bringing you DJ and artist interviews, along with custom DJ sets. In this fourth installment of our “Summer Mixtape” series, KCRW DJ Travis Holcombe shares some of the songs he can’t stop listening to right now. He breaks down a selection of three mini-playlists, from new post-punk sounds to unorthodox compilations to LA’s can’t-miss rising acts. Here are his interview highlights.
Follow all of the music from this week’s Summer Mixtape series on our Spotify playlist. Listen to our Summer Mixtapes with Jackson Browne, DJ Travis Holcombe, MBE DJs Anthony Valadez and Novena Carmel, and Yola.
“Most of these bands started to emerge around 2018, in the wake of the initial Brexit vote. They're following in the footsteps of a post-punk lineage [that] skews a little bit more toward the Joy Division end of things.
You have a lot of post-punk baselines, which are typically a little bit more rolling and propulsive [with] some sardonic humor, and they all have this detached style of talk-singing. It’s along the lines of what Velvet Underground or Sonic Youth used to do.”
The Golden Age of compilations
“A lot of these labels and compilation producers have been digging deeper and digging in the unorthodox areas of the music world that people had no idea about, unless they were from those countries or lived through those areas.
And an example of that is this compilation called “Silk Road,” which is a compilation, put together by a guy based here in Los Angeles, of Armenian funk music, which I didn't even know existed.
There's also a series called Habibi Funk, which is put out by a label of the same name. It's music from the Middle East and North Africa, primarily. But you'll get everything from Sudanese rockabilly to Iranian jazz. … As a music lover, I love sampling all this and … tasting all these different flavors.”
Los Angeles rising
“It's really hard to pick just a few local acts to talk about because there's literally 50 that I'm super excited about right now. … One of the amazing things about the LA scene is there's a little bit of everything. ... The jazz scene is super strong. We’ve also got dance music with the LA duo Club Tularosa, hip-hop with Yungmorpheus, and a lot of rock stuff like the Linda Lindas, who a lot of people are probably familiar with from the library performance that they did that went viral.
Gabriels are a group fronted by a singer named Jacob Lusk, who used to be an American Idol contestant … and things didn't really work out. … They have five songs out right now that are phenomenal. It's an EP that just got reissued by the label Parlophone in the U.K. And they seem to be making a lot of waves overseas, more so maybe than Los Angeles, but they are a group that has the sky's limit for them.”
Travis Holcombe’s playlist
Dry Cleaning - “Scratchcard Lanyard”
Billy Nomates - “No”
Sleaford Mods - “Shortcummings”
Black Midi - “Slow”
Asha Puthli - “Chipko Chipko”
Avo Haroutiounian - “Tears On My Eyes”
Jerry Reed - “Rhythm and Blues”
Mirror Tree - “Mirror Tree”
Pearl & The Oysters - “Soft Science”