In the strange wake of music's digital rebirth, vinyl has experienced a modest boom in popularity, seen by many as a replacement for the awkward middleman that is the compact disc. INCHES reviews the output of L.A.'s healthy vinyl community (artists and labels, indie or other), believing that good music deserves much more than a handful of ones and zeros.
Last week, we checked out a Talking Heads classic alongside an entry from local heroes No Age (and more). This week, well, everything comes in editions of 500. It just worked out that way. Questions, submissions or suggestions? Email INCHES here.
Title: "Computer Bagel" b/w "My Red Volvo"
Label: Flux Capacitor (Mt. Washington)
Format: 7-inch, 500 pressed
If you haven't heard of Flux Capacitor Records, be not dissuaded. It's merely the third in a series of one-off, 45-releasing labels started by Stones Throw CEO Peanut Butter Wolf (we previously covered the Dâm-Funk 7-inch on Circle Star). Lambo, too, is an oddity of sorts -- a goofball lothario whose stated object of affection is, well, a "Computer Bagel." We're not exactly sure how one digitizes a baked good, but some semblance of sense is attained when Lambo fires up the gratuitous AutoTune to croon over a jazzy, synth-slathered break. The novelty wears a little thin when he switches his focus to "[his] Red Volvo," but the A-side racks up a high point when Lambo bridges "Computer Love" to "California Love" (to the Jewish snack) with the line, "Shake, shake it, Bagel."
Stream samples and/or purchase via the Stones Throw web store.
Artist: The Marshmallow Ghosts
Label: Graveface (Chicago)
Format: 7-inch (+ download) picture disc, glow-in-the-dark sleeve, 500 pressed
While lacking a direct tie-in to the City of Angels, The Marshmallow Ghosts only come out for All Hallows' Eve, which makes them spiritual kin to L.A.'s invisible, winged denizens. Though no names have been given, band members' former lives were reportedly spent with Black Moth Super Rainbow, The Appleseed Cast, Dreamend, and The Casket Girls, and their sound is an appropriately nightmarish brand of ethereal post-rock. A-side "Shrieks" is an epically eerie stomper that ends on a gust of wind, while "Creaks" ditches drums for slow-growing creep and the muffled voice of a female vocalist. The jacket glows in the dark, but don't stare too long at the record in motion -- the hypnotic swirl may do you in.
Purchase now via the Graveface web store.
Artist: The Pink Noise
Title: Graffiti Youth
Label: Kill Shaman (San Gabriel)
Format: LP, 500 pressed
Drop the needle on Graffiti Youth and you might make the mistake of thinking you've got the wrong speed. Thirty-three seems too slow, 45 still lags, but at 78, the album opener becomes a whirlwind of cartoonish noises. That's just The Pink Noise (you should've stopped at 33), whose lo-fi, sometimes tribal punk hews closer to The Residents than to any of their Canadian contemporaries. Here, the Montreal three-piece colors its weird, warbly songs with vocals that roll off the cuff, pileups of guitar notes that come in bursts, shitty synthesizers and dingy drum machines. The end result is a mixed bag of inspired moments and (occasionally) off-putting asides, but each left turn taken is just as unexpected as the one that came before.
Purchase now via the Kill Shaman web store.
Artist: Bipolar Bear
Title: Harlem Pripyat
Label: Mexican Summer (Brooklyn)
Format: LP (+ download), 500 pressed
Bipolar Bear is no stranger to INCHES. The prolific local band lovea vinyl, so it makes sense that it'd wind up releasing something on Brooklyn's terrific Mexican Summer label. Harlem Pripyat is the band's biggest and best release yet -- a tight and urgent set of punk tunes that splits the difference between Mudhoney and Liars. You might hear a little Abe Vigoda too in the bright clangor of "Ocean Sport," or vocals that vaguely hark to The Ronettes on "Goth Time Rag." Still, Bipolar Bear's wall of sound is its own, and something to keep an eye--err, ear on in the coming year. Don't sleep on this release; these 500 copies are sure to move fast.
Purchase now via the Mexican Summer web store.
Vacation Vinyl's Top Ten Best-Sellers: October 10 - 23
01. Boris - Japanese Heavy Rock Hits Vol. 2 7-inch (Southern Lord)
02. Atlas Sound - Logos LP (Kranky)
03. Sunn O))) - Monoliths & Dimensions LP (Southern Lord)
04. Michael Hurley - Parsnips Snips LP (Mississippi)
05. Skeletonwitch - Breathing The Fire LP (Prosthetic)
06. Robedoor - Raiders LP (Not Not Fun)
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08. Mountains - Etching LP (Thrill Jockey)
09. Ancestors Of Sound - Mind LP (Tee Pee)
10. Keelhaul - Triumphant Return To Obscurity LP (Hydra Head)
Vacation Vinyl is located at 4679 Hollywood Blvd., 90027 (323.666.2111).