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.
Label: Hit City USA (Echo Park)
Format: 7-inch EP (free download), 500 pressed
Echo Park's the Franks is due its very own 7-inch rise to fame. No Age did it, Best Coast did it, Dum Dum Girls did it, and this winning garage-punk three-piece should be able to do it too. There's no reason why their raw, hook-laden econo jams shouldn't already be trading for decent scratch on eBay -- except for the almost inexplicable fact that the Duh EP, originally released in February, is still available for purchase. Lucky you.
Each of these five songs is a worthy A-side, with the propulsive "Ray Gunn Radio" leading the pack. Frontman Jean Don't sneers "Can't you see there's something wrong me?" while drummer Mimi Malone squeals backups and bassist Ronny Ray Gunn (singer for the excellent Superhumanoids) tends to the elastic pace. "Health Sciences" is a grungy comedown brightened up by hummable la-la-las -- think Modern Lovers -- while "Talk Soup" angstily careens through the band's poppier inclinations with crashing cymbals and skronky guitar (not to mention an interpolation of the Jeffersons theme).
A pair of roughed-up angularities -- "Cough it Up" and "Please Please" -- bring the EP to its screeching halt, with the Franks not once lessening their two-pronged attack: equal parts fun and noisy.
Download and stream all of Duh here:
01. Tonetta - 777 (Black Tent Press)
02. Sweaters - "Skymall" 7-inch (Slow Death)
03. ISIS - Live V (Viva Hate)
04. Torche - Meanderthal Demos (Amnesian)
05. Portal - "Lurker At The Threshold" 7-inch (Chrome Leaf)
06. Bell Gardens - Hangups Need Company (Failed Better)
07. Comet Gain - "I Never Happened" 7-inch (What's Your Rupture)
08. Lotus Eaters - Mind Control For Infants (Taiga)
09. Cave - "Pure Moods" 12-inch (Drag City)
10. Trap Them - "Seizures In Barren Praise" 12-inch (Southern Lord)
Vacation Vinyl is located at 4679 Hollywood Blvd., 90027 (323.666.2111).