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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.

Read previous installments here, or email us here.

Bell Gardens: pretty pop grows from Stars of the Lid's ambient soil (Chris Martins)
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."

Right click: Bell Gardens - "End of the World" (Skeeter Davis cover) [MP3]

Purchase at your local independent record vendor (INCHES recommends Origami or Vacation), or right now via the Bell Gardnes web store.

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Vinyl of the Week: From Stars of the Lid Emerges the Pretty Pop of Bell Gardens [MP3]

Vacation Vinyl's Top Ten Best-Sellers: July 19 - August 2

01. Best Coast - Crazy For You (Mexican Summer)

02. Torche / Boris - split 10-inch (Hydra Head)

03. Yob - Great Cessation (Southern Lord)

04. Rosetta - Wake/Lift (Translation Loss)

05. Twin Sister - Color Your Life (Infinite Best)

06. Superchunk - "Digging For Something" 7-inch (Merge)

07. Mirah - "Don't" / "The Tears That Fall" 7-inch (Mississippi)

08. Trash Talk - Eyes & Nines (Hassle)

09. Gauntlet Hair - "I Was Thinking" 7-inch (Forest Family)

10. Devo - Something For Everybody (Warner Bros.)

Vacation Vinyl is located at 3815 W. Sunset Blvd., 90026 (323.666.2111).


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