One of the tents disappeared but the heap of trash maintained by aggressive vagrants keeps growing. I avoid that area entirely. It used to be a normal route on my runs, but it’s too frightening now. Every day I watch as the situation becomes grimmer. Friday at 1:45 a.m. I was shaken awake, not by an earthquake which is typical for LA, but loud, obscene music and hollers. I peered out my blinds like Mrs. Kravitz from Bewitched. Discombobulated from the early hour and without my glasses all I could make out were some people gathered around a bike. It also looked like they were constructing a tent directly across from my home. Not wanting to alert my new, but definitely not desired neighbors I navigated without the light gingerly downstairs hoping desperately not to fall in order to retrieve my glasses. Safely back in my bedroom I was relieved to discover that it wasn’t a tent, but a larger trailer attached to the bike. Two men and a woman remained on the side of the road while the terrible music persisted. I watched dumbstruck as the scene became more distressing. The men began to fight. One was pushed violently into the road. Before he could stand the other perpetrator threw a bottle. Being hit he cried out in agony. The woman pleaded for them to stop. At that point I was on the phone calling the police. I heard more bottles crashing, glass exploding and shrieks of terror.
West End Junction released their debut single, “Little Sister Cedar Tree,” on July 2nd. Its ethereal quality would have been a better backdrop to have woken me from my deep slumber than the ruckus coming from the bike’s monstrous stereo system. However, the alternative, mysterious, almost eerie nature of their tune might have made an already upsetting situation feel even darker. That may be why I find it so appealing. It’s so different. I especially adore how the song’s constant, intense almost thriller movie soundtrack generated from the keys, percussion, and guitar combined with passionate vocals makes your soul ache wanting more. Luckily, the single will be followed by Cara and Dan Ristau’s EP Wandering Minds.
West End Junction’s song isn’t about the homeless crisis. “If only I had known you then. Maybe I could have saved you in the end. In that other life I prayed for peace. For breathless innocence struggling in the heat. You can see I am slipping in and out of the fog. The blue sky hiding the darkness in us all.” However, in my bedroom cocoon, gazing through the window in the dead of night I was struck by their lines. Both the deep seeded sorrow nestled within and how “Out here I’m a little bit closer to you.” Honestly, I hated being woken up in that manner, feeling frightened as well as continually watching my beloved city transformed for the worst but “Little Sister Cedar Tree” although not meant to be the message of the release, reminded me of our shared humanity, allowing for more and much needed empathy.