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After Low End Theory, Beat Culture Lives On

This month, the flagship beat culture weekly of Los Angeles, and possibly the planet - ended. To be fair, Daddy Kev and the Low End Theory team gave fair warning, announcing that they’d bring the event to a close with ten final shows, after a dozen years of blowing the roof off of The Airliner every Wednesday.

image courtesy of LA Daily News

As someone who’s participated in the beat scene as a producer, event organizer, and all out fanboy for just as long, I feel the loss but am also excited for the vacuum left to be filled. In fact, the lines for the last shows exceeded two hours, and the enthusiasm of attendees points to a bright future for beats in Southern California. Several collectives are well poised to take the beat scene to new heights and capture lo-fi and future beats lovers’ interest and curiosity moving forward.

Beat Cinema

The most obvious torch carriers are the crew of Beat Cinema, who’ve developed into a community of 15 residents over the past nine years. Their events have often featured visuals from Major Gape and special guests that are on-par, and arguably exceeding those of Low End Theory. Their headliners are just as impressive - from Eureka The Butcher and Zeroh to Daedelus , Dibiase, and Devonwho. Unlike LET, they’ve been flexible in moving across spaces, from their origins at The Hip Kitty in Claremont to the ramen-boasting Tokyo Beat, an actual boat cruise party, and their most recent venue, Apt. 503. Their 9-year anniversary show is coming up on September 5th, and features LET’s own DJ Nobody, alongside Free The Robots and Gypsy Mamba. Stellar merch like this pin and their new compilation will be available at this event, which is also a collaboration with Restless Nights.

NTS Radio

Senay Kenfe photo for NTS radio, credit

In case you missed it, NTS is probably the best source for future music these days. Primarily an online radio station, they’ve moved into Los Angeles this past year and have started to host amazing shows with Gerry Read, Kutmah, and most recently Harriet Brown with a live audience broadcast just this week. Long Beach DJ Senay Kenfe's Quiet Storm broadcast (pictured) is an eclectic journey, Compton-based artist Ashtrejinkins' radio show Buried Light is unparalleled, and Pbdy is one of the most solid hosts around. While their in-person shows aren’t necessarily regular as their broadcasts, it’s a good idea to keep an eye out, because they’re certainly top notch when you can catch em live.

Timetable Records

Similarly, you'll also find some great shows going down as Timetable Records one-offs - D Tiberio, Holodec, and 4thSex join Nosaj Thing and others at Grand Park this Friday Aug 31, playing a free show, one that should bridge the lofi tech-house and hip hop chasm beautifully and darkly. Backbeat LA

I will admit, I’ve slept on this one. It’s certainly at the top of my to-hear list after all the rave reviews I’ve heard from friends. In addition to ample beat producers, they also have hosted some pretty incredible live music jam sessions that fall in alignment with the eclectic past of Low End Theory. Located at the Grand Star Jazz Club, they’ve hosted impressive headliners such as Kief, Mousey, Pyramid Vritra, and Earoh. Visuals by Society of Shadows keep the events adequately trippy, and the community vibe seems tangible even through their social media posts. Ironically, I just missed the last BackBeat LA show earlier this week, but it occurs monthly on the last Wednesdays (thank the beat gods).


Long Beach’s only monthly beat show, Grn+Gld has built a group of twelve resident artists, and continues to draw emerging global talent to the stage of The Que Sera. Their variety of styles and electronic gadgetry, alongside 3D visual stylings of resident Paul Plastic and a pretty sweet sound system, make this show truly unique. They’ve featured beat scene trailblazers such as Ahwlee, Lanzo, Bry.Zen, and Mono/Poly in the past. No wonder they were dubbed LET of Long Beach years ago. Beyond their events, they’ve also excelled in compelling, unique, and daring music - having a superb vinyl compilation as well as several individual releases from their residents, who mutually support one another with art and aesthetics. Check out their next show on 9/13 with Soulection's Niceguyxvinny, Force Placement, and Limousine.

Condina Records

Producers from Condina records graciously infiltrate just about every event in the beat scene, fulfilling beatgoers’ appetites for SP404-driven lo-fi music. They’re also unique in that they’re a cassette focused cooperative label. They use what’s called a condina model for getting things done - meaning, according to their page, that “Every member contributes their talent and time including: making tapes, setting up shows and events, facilitating meetings and live streams, and connecting with other local creative groups.” They recently launched a residency at Silverlake Lounge that featured Sokro, Lakewood, Flat Stanley, and Annata, and they've done live broadcasts on Dublab radio. Another artist to watch in the collective is Anahedron, whose live analog synth-driven music is simply mind-bending and progressive.

Late Night LoFi

Though this brand new monthly takes a bit of its aesthetic style from Low End Theory, the initial artists are likely to be completely new to your ears, and they're not reliant on known headliners to spearhead their homespun beat night. Since the first show hasn’t happened yet, it’s hard to know just how much it will pop off, but the talent is promising. Theo Hux, whose beats span from brazilian footwork to head-nodding boom-bap, heads up this new monthly alongside Kelsey Toussant and Lonelier. Their inaugural show is Saturday September 1st from 11-1 at the Mccadden Theater, with an $8 cover. Also on the bill are Chapter 3, Haz, and CK Jones.


Many of the artists involved with Late Night Lo-Fi have also been frequent performers at BeatGrade’s Beat Battle series. BeatGrade recently signed with YouTube to make original hip-hop producer showcase content, and their new pop-up event will be a starting point for artists that want to make it onto the ‘Tube. Their video production skills have been fairly consistent and clean, and their website has worked nicely as a forum for sharing and giving feedback on beats, so this network’s efforts may make it onto the global stage quite easily. They've got plenty of traditional boom-bap, lofi and chill music, and some future and space wave artists in the mix. Their upcoming event, dubbed 4Real Fridays, pops off on August 31st at 10pm in LA’s midcity venue, LVL UP Lounge, which also has legit grub from Trap Kitchen. Artists can sign up at to be considered for the upcoming YouTube series as well.

Well there you go, the beat scene is obvs not dead. While this list certainly isn’t exhaustive, it reflects the reality that the beat scene was never just about Low End Theory - but it reflects its values of bringing open-minded people together to share in diverse sonic experiences, and to collaborate and mutually support one another to get that music into the world beyond Los Angeles. Here’s to another great decade of beats, and many incredible discoveries in sound!

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