Vinyl of the Week: From Stars of the Lid Emerges the Pretty Pop of Bell Gardens [MP3]
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, believing that good music deserves much more than a handful of ones and zeros.
Bell Gardens: pretty pop grows from Stars of the Lid's ambient soil (Chris Martins)
Artist: Bell Gardens
Title: Hangups Need Company
Label: Failed Better (Echo Park)
Format: 12-inch EP, heavy cardstock sleeve, limited pressing
Read our review, and download some pretty pop, after the jump.
For its debut EP, L.A. super-duo Bell Gardens wastes no space, laying down seven shining slices of SoCal pop that belies the pair's background as an ambient music maven and an experimental electronicist, respectively. Stars of the Lid member Brian McBride and one-time Meat Beat Manifesto collaborator Kenneth James Gibson begin immediately with "Through the Rain." The opening track takes the old Wall of Sound and rebuilds it brick by brick, with tambourines, breathy harmonies, prominent bass and bright chimes. It's two kinds of reinvention -- for the artists, and of a timeless sound.
The track shared below, "End of the World," is actually a cover of a country tune from 1963, the dismal haunter made famous by Skeeter Davis, "End of the World." Here it becomes even eerier as a slow sunshine pop tune, resulting in something that could be just as easily at home on an Eels LP. Meanwhile side B first swoons its way through some melancholy, horn-laden gauziness, on "Labour at the Landmark," then brings things to a close with "Breeze (Letters by the Bed)," a beautiful pileup of piano, strings, guitar and drums.
Best of all this final song delivers a pretty poignant line, considering the sticky mellow of Hangups Need Company: "I want to stay here in this place / I don't ever want to leave / I want to keep the feeling of this breeze."
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.