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 week, we focused exclusively on local indie, Manimal Vinyl. This week marks the return of the regular column, with two entries from San Fran-based imprints (featuting L.A. artists, of course), lots of love for size “Small” records, and an exclusive video debut from this city's own shout-and-drum ensemble, Foot Village. Dig in! Submissions or suggestions? Email us.
Label: Gold Robot (San Francisco)
Title: Designed Entropy 1
Format: 7-inch (+ download code), translucent orange vinyl, 500 pressed
San Francisco upstart Gold Robot Records has already played host to a surprising spate of talent, from Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, who dropped a likewise limited 7-inch there last year, to promising L.A. transplants Railcars. The label's first compilation showcases its more beat-oriented side. The “A” features a slow-burbler from Anticon associate/ Restiform Bodies beatsmith Bomarr alongside a more upbeat electro number by PDX mixtapist and Audio Dregs recording artist Copy. On the flip, their grooves visible through that rich pumpkin-orange wax, are this set's true gems: a moody psychedelic rap piece by Meanest Man Contest (whose Eriksolo is L.A.-based), and a warm instrumental jam from Roman Ruins, who moonlights as Beach House's touring drummer.
Purchase now via the Gold Robot web store.
Label: Southern Lord (East Hollywood)
Format: 12-inch EP, cardstock jacket, 180 gram gold vinyl, 10K pressed
Southern Lord is, without a doubt, one of the most significant metal labels currently in operation, and it turns out, that label's operations — which include tending to the output of the legendary Sunn O))) — take place right down the street in East Hollywood. Hard-rocking instrumentalists Pelican recently moved not only from Chicago to L.A., but from Hydra Head Records to the Lord, and the Ephemeral EP inaugurates that collaboration with style. These three extended songs aren't black metal so much as they're post-rock explorations of heft and gloom. Earth guitarist Dylan Carlson joins the fourpiece for a cover of his band's dooming 1990 sprawler, “Geometry Of Murder.” It's the perfect closer to a truly exceptional slice of riff-oriented and tuneful golden grinding.
Ephemeral is already out-of-print. Visit the Southern Lord web store for other releases.
Artist: James Pants
Label: Stones Throw (Mt. Washington)
Title: “Thin Moon” b/w “Chip In The Hand”
Format: 7-inch split, c. 1000 pressed
First, from Stones Throw: “This 45 contains two songs off the forthcoming LP Seven Seals. The songs are heavy on the drums, heavy on the bass, and heavy on the sacred keys. We asked James what this record about. He answered, 'One song is about making the moon disappear with your thoughts. The other side is about how I have to break up with my girlfriend cause she got an ID Chip implanted in her hand.'” Yeah, that sounds about right. These two tracks indeed play like the rhythmic ramblings of a musical lunatic — a very talented musical lunatic. Amply psychedelic but taut with percussion and sprinkled with odd instrumental flourishes (is that really a live sax solo?), “Thin Moon” and its B-side are easily the most enjoyable Pants creations we've heard thus far.
Purchase now via the Stones Throw web store.
Artist: 60 Watt Kid / Foot Village
Label: Absolutely Kosher (San Francisco)
Title: “2012” b/w “Kim ILL”
Format: 7-inch, 300 pressed
The third band mentioned this week who's recently migrated to L.A., 60 Watt Kid is a Smell regular that's greatly honed its approach over the last year. This split's A-side, “2012” finds the trio sinking into an organic and playful groove that brings Animal Collective to mind even as it opens up that group's loop-iness to a more epic sprawl. Absolutely Kosher, soon to release 60 Watt full-length, We Come From The Bright Side, calls it “intergalactic pop,” and we'd have to agree. On the flip is a shout, skronk and clatter creation from local collective Foot Village, who've just released a full-length called Anti-Magic. Best of all, their side sports five locked pre-song grooves including a Michael Jackson dedication and an endless loop of a Villager whispering “stoner.”
And now, a moving picture debut:
Purchase now via the Absolutely Kosher web store.
Origami Vinyl's Top Ten Best-Sellers: September 19 – October 2
01. Thom Yorke – “FeelingPulledApartByHorses” 12-inch (T & D)
02. Fool's Gold – Fool's Gold (IAMSOUND)
03. Girls – Album (True Panther Sounds)
04. Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti – “Can't Hear My Eyes” 7-inch (Mexican Summer)
05. The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – “Higher Than the Stars” 12-inch (Slumberland)
06. Big Star – “Feel” 7-inch (Rhino)
07. Girls – “Lust for Life” 7-inch (True Panther Sounds)
08. The Big Pink – A Brief History of Love (4AD)
09. The XX – XX (Young Turks)
10. AA – “Essential Entertainment” 7-inch (Softspot)
Origami Vinyl is located at 1816 W. Sunset Blvd., 90026 (213.413.3030).