Dirty Penni Fest 4: Penniback Records’ Impact on the Local Music Scene in Los Angeles

The independent record label, Penniback Records, continues to highlight and expand the DIY music scene in Los Angeles. Dirty Penni Fest 4, the record label’s fourth annual music festival headlined by The Buttertones (special tribute to Dick Dale) and co-headlined by Tropa Magica this year, was a vivid demonstration of the record label’s promising future: expansion. 

The Buttertones (performing a special tribute to Dick Dale) headlining Dirty Penni Fest 4

Tropa Magica, co-headliners of Dirty Penni Fest 4

From hosting events at The Smell, a popular DIY venue in LA, to holding a one-day festival at LA’s hottest venues at The Echo and Echoplex, founders of Penniback Records Julian Montano and Luis Ho affirm that the essence of the festival is still very DIY. The lineups are filled with local surf-punk, psychedelic rock, punk, and “DOOM ROCK” goodness. 

Julian Montano and Luis Ho, founders of Penniback Records, performing with “Doom-Rock” band, Clit Kat
Healing Gems

The core of Penniback Records lies in providing the space and platform for local bands to be able to show their music in a time where music has become globalized and saturated due to streaming services. Penniback Records stands out from other record labels/event organizers in Los Angeles by devoting themselves to nurture this youth-driven DIY culture, while embracing and understanding that expansion is a necessary part of the movement.

Although rock music has been a dominant genre for many decades, Montano and Ho see an even brighter future for it. In a time where rap/urban beats dominate the popular market with its homogenous sounds, rock music is regaining the energy it was lacking from the youth several years ago (Montano).  The common climate everywhere revolves around the theme of needing change; the timing of the existence of Penniback couldn’t have been more important. The versatility rock music always offers is here to endlessly feed the future wave of kids in the helping hands of people like those who run Penniback.

The festival is only growing each year. At this rate of growth, Montano is confident in saying that the future direction of the festival will be “FYF scale” while still hosting local, DIY bands.

If you’re ever looking for something to do in LA, these guys are most likely having an event that week with a band from their expanding roster. Go jump in the mosh pit and chip a tooth or two. It’s your right of passage into this energizing culture.

Circle pit during Clit Kat’s set

Photographer: Jeffrey Castro