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.
Artist: The Anasazis
Title: Introducing The Anasazis
Label: I Hate Rock N' Roll (Eagle Rock)
Format: 7-inch, 400 pressed (150 in white jacket)
On its MySpace profile, NYC by way of San Diego trio The Anasazis sites its influences as "nuggets, pebbles, and stuff like that," which is about right. The band's short songs (four fit onto this release) range from vintage-sounding psychedelic punk to vintage-sounding punky psychedelia, and that's not a problem. With no bass in the mix, singers/guitarists Chris Rosi and Chris Eck, accompanied by drummer Lucas Blankartz, carve out a tinny, slack-filled space where simple vocal harmonies and easy guitar solos reign supreme. A solid fourth release from young upstart label I Hate Rock N' Roll recommended if you like, well, Nuggets, Pebbles, and stuff like that.
Purchase now via the I Hate Rock N' Roll web store.
Artist: Mayer Hawthorne
Title: "The Ills"
Label: Stones Throw (Mt. Washington)
Format: limited 7-inch, unknown amount pressed
Over the past couple of months, Stones Throw artist Mayer Hawthorne has become one of this city's biggest rising talents -- a spectacles-sporting white kid originally from Ann Arbor Michigan who has an undeniable gift for creating throwback soul without a whiff of irony. He's currently touring Europe (where he recently hopped into the studio to record some vocals for Snoop Dogg) and he's carrying this limited 7-inch slab with him. Lucky for us, it's currently available online as well. "The Ills" is a "What's Going On"-style rundown of societal troubles -- from deadbeat dads to the piss-poor aid response following Hurricane Katrina -- but over Hawthorne's far more upbeat composition. You might hear a little "Judy Blue Eyes" in the horns, but mostly, you'll get a healthy dose of rollicking, blustery soul that'll inspire you to do just as these people are:*
*Err, the dancing. Not the self-immolating, or the being-abused-by-authority-figures.
Stream a sample and purchase via Stones Throw.
Label: Not Not Fun (Eagle Rock)
Format: 12-inch EP on marbled grey vinyl, 250 pressed (250 on black)
Robedoor gets its name from "an esoteric street drug of dubious reality," as main man Britt Brown once told OC Weekly. "You soak Doritos in Robitussin, and then smoke 'em through a bong." Pair this knowledge with the realization that the band's last album was titled Endlessly Blazing, and that this one includes a song called "Indo Shadow," and you may think you've got these guys pegged. There is a distinct stoney-ness to Raiders, but the group run by Not Not Fun's co-owner (Britt) has quite a bit more going on. It's in the sludge-fueled dirges that bask in doom, then come up for air when you least expect it. It's in the wasteland atmospherics, and the Krautrock pulse. It's in the general badassedness of these songs, which, incidentally, are well accompanied by a well-loaded water pipe.
Purchase now via the Not Not Fun web store.
Title: Cathedral With No Eyes
Label: Stumparumper (New York) / Gold Robot (San Francisco)
Format: 12-inch EP (+ download) on 140 gram vinyl, 1000 pressed
On his second release as Railcars, "Aria Jalali recounts the life of Edmund the Martyr, a 9th Century king of East Anglia, with songs about his life and succession to the throne as a young boy, his conquests, his suffering at the hands of vikings and death by their arrows." The label's claims may be true, but you wouldn't be able to make that out listening to Cathedral With No Eyes. The lyrics are far too muddled to piece together any sort of literary narrative (though the album art helps, featuring a miracle-working Saint Edmund on the front, and his severed head in a display case on the back), but there is plenty to glean, aurally speaking from this L.A. transplant's music. Jalali has a real knack for the artfully noisy, arranging decaying electronics, analog feedback, odd percussives, and a whirlwind of vocals into some downright pretty and driving soundscapes.
Purchase now via the Stumparumper web store.
Vacation Vinyl's Top Ten Best-Sellers: October 24 - November 6
01. Broadcast & The Focus Group - Investigate Witch Cults Of The Radio Age (Warp)
02. Cold Cave - Death Comes Close 12-inch (Matador)
03. Horrors - "Whole New Way" 7-inch (XL)
04. Rose Melberg - Homemade Ship (K Records)
05. Cold Cave - Love Comes Close (Matador)
06. Doomriders - Darkness Come Alive (Deathwish)
07. Moon Duo - Killing Time 12-inch EP (Sacred Bones)
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08. White Shit - White Shi'ite 10-inch (Wantage)
09. Atlas Sound - Logos (Kranky)
10. Boredoms - Super Roots 10 (Thrill Jockey)
Vacation Vinyl is located at 4679 Hollywood Blvd., 90027 (323.666.2111).