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: Charizma & Peanut Butter Wolf
Label: Swamper / Radish (Mt. Washington)
Format: 7-inch, 500 pressed
So we're well aware that INCHES has been featuring the hell out of Stones Throw's one-off micro-label 7-inch series (last week's column included the Nite Jewel 45 on "1984 Records"), but it's not for lack of other options -- we really just can't get enough. Here's the party line on this one: "This 3-song 7-inch joint venture between Swamper Records and Radish Records was done without [...] permission. [...] As part of the out-of-court settlement, Stones Throw received all 60 remaining copies of this. Or maybe it was 600. Who remembers or cares?" Well, we all should, as the A-side contains the first two demos label founder Peanut Butter Wolf ever cut with his late, great partner in rhyme, Charizma. As these funky breaks and effortlessly smooth raps reveal, the pair was on its way to becoming another 1993 Bay Area underground success story when Charizma was tragically murdered. The B-side freestyle jam, "Peanut Butter Wolf Scratch" offers an open-ended up-note to fade out on.
Artist: We Break Cameras
Title: Jock Jams Vol. 2
Label: THORN01 (Downtown)
Format: 12-inch EP, mixed color swirl, 200 pressed
You may as well get acquainted with We Break Cameras now, because if the band's debut EP is any indication, we'll be hearing a lot more from the local five-piece in the coming year. Jock Jams Vol. 2 is anything but what its title would imply. Here are six Kraut-flavored post-punk tracks that masterfully walk the line between wild improvisation and seductive groove. The A-side of this super limited platter (to be reissued in February) contains the only track with vocals -- "Dunno No," a sneered-out performance atop a punchy Can-like pulse. "Make Out One" is an eerie shredder, while B-side lead-off "Red Not Blue" is an angular epic. WBC reportedly recorded all of these live (in a Chinatown studio), letting the free-form jams coalesce into songs. Be sure to catch the band's IN-STORE AT ORIGAMI VINYL THIS SATURDAY, December 5, 7 p.m.
Download: We Break Cameras - "Dunno No" (MP3)
Stream: the entire EP.
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Title: Woodstock: 3 Days Of Peace & Music
Label: Rhino (Burbank)
Format: 5LP, 12 X 12 photobook, collectible box
This one's been out for awhile, but as Rhino Records has handily proven this year, Woodstock is an evergreen subject for audio obsession -- and besides, gift-giving season is upon us. In honor of the legendary festival's 40th anniversary, the respected reissue house released not one, but two superb packages for nostalgists and noobs alike. The six-CD set, Back To Yasgur's Farm received a lot of praise earlier this year, but the vinyl box went under-reported. Three Days Of Peace & Music rounds up both of the original "soundtrack" albums on five LPs freshly cut from "the original analog soundboard tapes." The included 20-page book is a welcome plus, eschewing mythologizing essays in favor of striking photography -- a perfect accompaniment to the imperfect, yet momentous, performances contained herein.
Stream Arlo Guthrie's "Coming Into Los Angeles"
Title: "Runaway" / "In Flight"
Label: Future Sounds / Origami Vinyl (Echo Park)
Format: 7-inch, clear vinyl, 500 pressed
Despite its being best known as a place to purchase vinyl goodies, Echo Park's Origami has been a digital record label since 2007, releasing music by by artists like West Indian Girl, Twilight Sleep, and Dame Satan. Thus, it's a significant move when that DIY institution starts pressing up wax of its own -- a sign of the times? -- and Origami has now done so, with a seven-inch released yesterday. SF-based electro duo Lilofee is named after an underwater princess from a German fairytale, and oddly enough, the handle fits. Single "Runaway" displays an appreciation for glitz and glam, but also the kind of darkness that haunts all good fables -- vocal sass and disco-house grooves undercut by New Wave angst. That melancholy is better felt in the B-side, "In Flight," which leaves behind the Ladytron for Fischerspooner's downer-epic aesthetic.
Download: Lilofee - "Runaway" (MP3)
Purchase exclusively at Origami Vinyl, in person.
Origami Vinyl's Top Ten Best-Sellers: November 14 - 27
01. Horse Stories - November, November (Perfect Black Swan)
02. Olentangy John - "See Seven Stars" 7-inch (Trailer Fire)
03. Washed Out - Life of Leisure (Mexican Summer)
04. Atlas Sound - Logos (Kranky)
05. Neutral Milk Hotel - In the Aeroplane Over the Sea (Merge)
06. Jawbox - For Your Own Special Sweetheart (DeSoto)
07. Real Estate - Real Estate (Woodsist)
08. various - Fight On, Your Time Ain't Long (Mississippi)
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10. The Raincoats - The Raincoats (Kill Rock Stars)
[*previously featured in INCHES]
Origami Vinyl is located at 1816 W. Sunset Blvd., 90026 (213.413.3030).