In the unpredictable wake of music's digital rebirth, vinyl has experienced a modest boom in popularity, seen by many (with delicious irony) as a replacement for the awkward middleman that is the compact disc. INCHES seeks not only to review the output of L.A.'s healthy vinyl community (artists and labels, indie or otherwise), but to pay due to those who continue to tend the flame, believing that good music deserves much more than a handful of ones and zeros.
Last week, we featured new releases from Samiyam, Fool's Gold, Now-Again, and Inca Ore. This week's crop comes from a likewise boundary-pushing group of music-makers. Submissions or suggestions? Email us.
Artist: Talking Heads
Label: Rhino/Warner (Burbank)
Format: LP, 180 gram vinyl (remastered), pressing not limited
Rhino's 180-gram remastering of this monumental debut has been out for some number of months, but is there ever a bad time to talk about Talking Heads? The album 77 was released in the year '77, and it rightly encapsulated the frenetic energy of New York at the time. Art school was out for summer (for ever), and the students were running wild, injecting punk's bustle with bristling intellect, sharp style and musical ideas from distant shores. David Byrne and his distinguished crew had yet to link up with Eno, so 77 remains a raw and unslowed expression of their nascent greatness. It should come as no surprise that in a world where bands like Dirty Projectors and Animal Collective are rising stars, this album feels just as relevant as ever.
Purchase now via the Rhino web store.
Artist: Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
Label: Community Music / Fairfax Recordings (North Hollywood)
Title: Up From Below
Format: 2xLP, gatefold jacket with alternate cover art, 1100 pressed
A late arrival to the vinyl aisles, the double-LP version of Edward Sharpe's Up From Below comes to us amidst considerable hype -- a small firestorm of buzz that threatens to swallow up whatever copies of the record make it out to local stores. (Tip: Keep an eye on Origami's Twitter feed for updates.) And it doesn't hurt that this edition sports better cover art (free from those wonky psychedelic fonts), or that it splits the album into logical halves: the stunning first 25 minutes -- which includes "40 Day Dream," "Carries On," and "Home" -- and the dustier, less striking remainder not without its charm (respect due to the Heath Ledger dedication, "Brother"). Further evidence of frontman Alex Ebert's radical, hirsute rebirth -- best as we can tell, Ima Robot didn't release a thing on wax.
Purchase now via Insound.
Artist: Sole & The Skyrider Band
Label: Fake Four Inc. (New Haven, CT)
Format: 12-inch EP (free download regardless of purchase), 500 pressed
On their sophomore album, Plastique, released last week, Sole And The Skyrider Band cut a handsome figure: Anticon's eternally divisive founding emcee sounds more coherent than ever (cutting syllables, sharpening his relentless harangue against modern man), while L.A.'s Skyrider trio pares down its dooming soundscapes to a tight roil. The vinyl and digi-only Battlefields EP is an apt companion, wrangling the titular on-album track, three unreleased B-sides, and two remixes for a surprisingly filler-free set. "Battlefields" itself is a gleefully dark banger helped along by dubby, orchestral bluster and a hook sung by The Notwist's Markus Acher -- solid DJ fodder for the Low End crowd. Other highlights include a freewheeling collabo with Telephone Jim Jesus, the autobiographical screed "This Bad Reputation," and Tobacco's weird, warm take on the lead track.
Purchase now via the Strange Famous Records web store.
Artist: No Age
Label: Sub Pop (Seattle)
Title: Losing Feeling
Format: 12-inch EP (+ download), 4500 pressed
No Age's Losing Feeling drifts in on a warm gush of warbling guitar shimmer and spins out in a fit of dulcet distortion. In between, Randy Randall and Dean Spunt hit all the marks: artfully subdued surf punk on "Losing Feeling," drumless and pretty slackerdom on "Genie," field-recording-fueled vocal-less atmosphere with "Aim At The Airport," and jagged shoegaze with "You're A Target." This 12-inch, No Age's first actual EP for Sub Pop, continues the band's long tradition of short releases, and as one well-known web-based critical institution recently pointed out, it's good enough to be the backbone of a new full-length. The packaging portrays a slab of wax in various states of melty decay -- an effective visual accompaniment to No Age's organically warped tunes.
Purchase now via the Sub Pop web store.
Origami Vinyl's Top Ten Best-Sellers: October 3 - 16
02. Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros - Up From Below (Community/Fairfax)
03. Kurt Vile - Childish Prodigy (Matador)
04. John Carpenter - "Seasons" 7-inch (Mexican Summer)
05. No Age - Losing Feeling 12-inch EP (Sub Pop)
07. Atlas Sound - "Requiem For All The Lonely Teenagers..." 7-inch (Audraglint)
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08. Atlas Sound - "I'll Be Your Mirror" 7-inch (Audraglint)
09. Volcano Choir - Unmap (Jagjaguwar)
10. The Clientele - Bonfires on the Heath (Merge)
Origami Vinyl is located at 1816 W. Sunset Blvd., 90026 (213.413.3030).