June 2011

Editor’s Letter—June 2011

Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers didn’t make it into our “50 Best L.A Bands.” Huh? What about that ode to Mulholland and the western San Fernando Valley, “Free Fallin’ ”? Well, Tom & Co. were excluded not because of their music but because Petty and bandmates formed in Gainesville, Florida, albeit under a different name, before moving here. They weren’t alone—other bands identified with our city didn’t make the list either. Check out our choices, then vote for the best ever homegrown L.A. band at latimesmagazine.com.

Los Angeles is a city saturated in music, and its influences are universal: every genre, every hour, yesterday, today and undoubtedly on into the future. One of the musicians we’re certain you’ll be hearing—and seeing—more of is our cover, Skylar Grey.

In “Hooked,” by Gerrick D. Kennedy and photographed by Mark Segal, the Grammy Award–nominated songwriter describes the move from penning and singing hooks for the likes of Rihanna, Dr. Dre and Eminem to a solo career.

In this month’s “Image,” stylist Hayley Atkin explores the influence of rock on fashion. And iconography transcends the calendar: What was startling 30 years ago continues to have a fresh interpretation today.

Music moves in cycles. In “Ready to Pop,” writer Daniel Siegal examines indie bands that have moved past the cusp but not into household-name status, many channeling ’80s pop songs in distinctly 21st-century ways. In “When Country Was King,” Elisabeth Greenbaum Kasson shows that from the ’40s through the early ’60s, L.A. was Nashville before Nashville was Nashville.

In “Troubadour of Troubled Times,” Mark Z. Barabak profiles roots rocker Dave Alvin, whose songs chronicle the not so sunny side of our great state. Exactly what makes a top music producer? Lorraine Ali queries RedOne, one of today’s hottest, in “Q+L.A.” The answer, by the way, is more about the talent of the performer than the ego of the person behind the music. We asked 15 music journalists from around the world to pick one local artist Americans should know.

And as you read about the music in these pages, we allow you to play clips of it all. The range is as broad as the oceans that separate the continents and as close as the rhythms that make music part of humanity. The sounds of our city—here in LA. Enjoy. —NANCIE CLARE, Editor