Singer-songwriter Eleni Mandell has (too long) been an undervalued Los Angeles treasure, a true product of L.A. who grew up in the scene here and who, over 10 full-length albums, remains resolutely unbeholden to genre constraints. Or tidy pigeonholing by blogs, for that matter. Suffice to say her work has spanned rock, pop of all shades, jazz, folk and country, her tunes floating wherever the fickle breezes of songwriting carry them. So it is fitting, though tardy, that Mandell is getting her due with a digital-only tribute album being released by Yep Roc Records, the label behind her past three solo releases. “Unsung Heroes: Songs Of Eleni Mandell” (out Jan. 20) features 16 covers — by the likes of Jackson Browne, Van Dyke Parks, Priscilla Ahn, Inara George, Benji Hughes and others — and the new Mandell tune, “Empty Locket,” which features Milo Jones. The compilation was conceived by George, Mandell’s bandmate in the Living Sisters, and will benefit the Plastic Pollution Coalition. It’s sort of a best-of as picked by her peers; included, for instance, are Gus Seyffert’s version of “I’m Your Girl” (from Mandell’s 1998 debut, the Jon Brion-produced “Wishbone”) and Harper Simon’s take on the lilting “Tiny Waist” (from [our personal favorite] 2009’s “Artifical Fire”). And there’s a show Jan. 25 at the Bootleg Theater celebrating the release.
||| Stream: The new song “Empty Locket”
||| Live: The Eleni Mandell album release show is Jan. 25 at the Bootleg Theater, featuring performances by Jackson Browne, Priscilla Ahn, Alex Lilly, Gus Seyffert, Wendy Wang, Steve Gregoropoulos, Inara George and Mandell herself. Tickets.