Concept albums about a specific subject are nothing new. From The Who's Tommy and The Kinks' output from the 70s, to the more recent American Idiot by Green Day, rock music has been used to tell a story ever since the rise of the long player album in the 1960s allowed songwriters to expand their storytelling range. Today, with the ease of computer-based recording, more musicians than ever are creating entire albums about any subject that suits their fancy.
Highland Park-based band Artichoke has built an impressive oeuvre consisting of nothing but concept albums. From an album about scientists to another about bees, they've now moved on to a local favorite: Historic Highland Park. Touching upon Charles Lummis, the Arroyo Seco, and gentrification, the song cycle displays the deep love the band members have for their community. Other musicians have been inspired by Highland Park - Jackson Browne with "Lawless Avenues" and Eleanor Friedberger's "Inn of the Seventh Ray" comes to mind - but Artichoke and main songwriter Timothy Sellers are the first - and perhaps only - musicians to devote an entire album to it.
Above, Highland Park-based band Artichoke perform songs about their Northeast Los Angeles neighborhood and others from their repertoire. They also discuss enjoying affordable living with like-minded residents as artists in Highland Park.
- A Los Angeles Primer
- Arrival Stories
- Block by Block
- Engaging Spaces
- Green Justice
- I Am Los Angeles