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 dap to those who continue to tend the flame, believing that good music deserves much more than a handful of ones and zeros.
Last time, INCHES featured another installment of “Local Revolutions” (exclusively L.A. acts on L.A. imprints). This week marks the debut of the column's standard format: reviews of hot-off-the-lathe SoCal vinyl with a few bonuses to boot. Ideas? Email us.
Artist: Flying Lotus
Label: Warp Records
Title: L.A. EP 3 X 3
Format: 12-inch, 2000 pressed
A year on from the release of his stunning second album, Los Angeles, Flying Lotus is still at the center of a small galaxy abuzz. L.A. EP 3 X 3 is the final entry in a trio of very limited extended-players whose function was essentially (and quite welcomely) extending the life of their long-playing forerunner. This seven-track installment (two new pieces, five remixes/remakes) is the most ambient piece of the puzzle yet, proving that as things get hotter, FlyLo just affects a deeper chill.
Side A features 3 X 3's lone aggressor — a menacing version of “Infinitum” courtesy of Swistzerland's Dimlite — followed by matthewdavid's reinvention of “Comet Course” as a beatless field recording, and FlyLo's own “Endless White,” a cosmic piece which couldn't be better named. Side B includes solid remixes from Take and Breakage, as well as another gravity-less original, but nothing compares to closer “Auntie's Harp,” which finds daKAH Hip Hop Orchestra harpist Rebekah Raff recreating “Auntie's Lock” from scratch using organic acoustics. Sleep not: 1 X 3 and 2 X 3 are long gone.
Purchase (if you're lucky) via Warpmart.
Label: Now-Again Records
Format: 2xLP, 1000 pressed
It reddens the cheeks to learn that a band like Triorganico exists right here, under our noses, churning out near-perfect bossa nova from a nondescript Los Angeles garage with little to no fanfare. To be fair, the trio hasn't sought out the kind of attention that it deserves, and surely will receive with Convivencia making the rounds. According to Now-Again, these three only decided to record an album as an afterthought, which is hard to believe upon hearing one of their original numbers like “Correndo,” an acoustic guitar-heavy piece that manages to stay breezy despite its dark underpinnings.
Elsewhere, the group plays tribute to some Brasilian greats (Baden Powell, Hermeto Pascoal, Moacir Santos), demonstrates an extreme proficiency for flute-work, and, on Side D, composes a series of “Cositas” (little things) — small abstract pieces and song snippets that could easily provide fodder for future albums from Now-Again's big-brother label, Stones Throw. With an airiness one has to hear to believe and an ear for tasteful jazz experimentalism, Triorganico have made the double-LP to soundtrack a dozen summers.
Purchase via Stones Throw.
Artist: Adam Payne
Label: Malt Duck Records
Title: Maybelline Weeks E.P.
Format: 7-inch, 300 pressed
“It was the screaming sounds of the 110… the 5. Rumble bumble jumbled up around the ears at night. Never any silence here.” So goes the bio/manifesto of Residual Echoes (via MySpace), which is, for all intents and purposes, Adam Payne. The one-man band freely alternates between names (hell, he's even penned movie write-ups for Amoeba as “Arizona Phossils”), but there is one constant as alluded to in Payne's text: noise.
The rock and roll spirit is strong with this one (Julian Cope is an outspoken fan), and with so many bands delighting in scuzz-caked no-fi these days, it's refreshing to hear some good old lo-fi that draws from Dino Jr. as much as The Ramones. And in fact, the first side of this 7-inch, “Onallisalland,” plays like a bizarro, organ-pumping send-off to “I Wanna Be Sedated,” while B-side “…if you…” revels in its unexpected catchiness by tossing in a bluesy guitar solo and a half-slurred sing-along. Solid skronk-pop.
Purchase via Malt Duck.
Label: Dublab / Porter Records
Title: Echo Expansion
Format: 12-inch, 1000 pressed
As legend has it, two Septembers ago, Dublab's best and brightest — Daedelus, Dntel, Flying Lotus, The Gaslamp Killer, The Life Force Trio, Dimlite, Blank Blue and Adventure Time — traveled abroad bearing the original EP version of Echo Expansion, which melted into Europe's record-buying youth like butter to toast. A few MP3s survived, but before this week, physical copies were impossibly rare. Now they're only solidly rare, and backed by eight additional tracks from eight additional Dublab affiliates.
The Echo Expansion LP is an excellent primer for those looking to dig deeper into L.A.'s beat music scene (highly recommended), and also a standalone success full of vintage psych samples, thick blankets of bass/percussion, and refreshing experimentalism — “future roots music,” to use Dublab's phraseology. Alongside the old cult gems from the 2007 release, you'll find fresh entries from Ras G, Languis, Jahbitat, Kutmah, Hashim B., Take, matthewdavid, and Andrew Pekler. Cover art by Jesselisa Moretti.
Purchase at a local shop (please), or on online via Vacation Vinyl is located at 4679 Hollywood Blvd., 90027 (323.666.2111).