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.
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Label: Sargent House
Format: 12-inch (+ download card), yellow vinyl, 1000 pressed
Supergroups are a dime a dozen these days. Power trios are passé, and perhaps that's what's inspired the coupling rampage that Hella's Zach Hill has been on of late: he's pioneering a new format - the megaduo. The hyper-aggressive drummer has paired with Marnie Stern, Scott Herren, Rob Crow, and Christopher Willits to name but a few of his still-fresh projects, and Bygones sees him joining Nick Reinhart (guitarist and singer from NorCal prog demons Tera Melos) for an album's worth of high-octane, sinewy math rock.
There's something about tempo-shifting aural pileups that just works with a turntable in the most wonderfully converse way, suggesting skips and warbles where those don't exist, and leaving the air crackling at the completion of a side. Released by Echo Park's vinyl-loving Sargent House, by- yields some beautiful moments from all that extreme vibrancy (see "Click On That" and "Fool Evolved"), so it's well-matched by the Playschool-yellow wax and crisp cover photograph (modeled by the Dirty Projector's Amber Coffman).
Purchase via Hello Merch.
Artist: Division Day
Format: 12-inch (+ download card), 500 pressed
Rock quartet Division Day has always sounded best at its most claustrophobic, so it makes sense that the group's Dangerbird debut finds the local boys in their darkest corner yet. Singer/keyboardist Rohnet Segnitz says he spent the last year listening to black metal (then again, what singer didn't in 2008/9?), and though the direct influence may not be felt here, a general inkiness pervades. To wit, a lyric from "Carrier": "Maligned - In coal dark / Maligned, then devoured to death on cold tables/ Devoured bit by bit." The gallows poetry is fittingly backed by a stormy score, but one which chooses mercurial dynamism over solipsistic sludge.
Perhaps the biggest paean to the dark side is the jacket itself, adorned as it is with a highly creepy geisha-like apparition and a craggy font that suggests the titular visitation is an unwelcome (though undeniable) one. The vinyl release is very limited, though the bells and whistles were saved for the aural production, manned by current Nine Inch Nails bassist Justin Meldal-Johnsen.
Purchase via the Dangerbird store.
Label: Dublab / Anticon
Title: In The Loop 5
Format: 12-inch, 1000 pressed, die-cut jacket
Both Dublab and Anticon have recently rounded the 10-year mark, making for two decades (sorta) of amassed innovation: the former, a radio collective whose various outputs and events (in film, graphic art, and music) have become nigh-inextricable from this city's bleeding edge; the latter, a label recently relocated to L.A. that's long been a gold standard in genre-busting exploration. Naturally, the first collaboration to emerge from these two camps doesn't disappoint, and - continuing Dublab's "In The Loop" series, previously released via Plug Research - it only exists on vinyl.
This compilation pulls equally from the local experimental scene (including Lucky Dragons, Hecuba, Julia Holter, and matthewdavid with OBA) and locales farther flung (represented by the Ruby Suns, Teengirl Fantasy, White Rainbow, and Zackey Force Funk) for a winning collage of fresh ideas that, truth be told, reach even beyond the musical realms typically associated with the curators. The sleeve itself offers a duality as well: two illustrated covers (by Kyotarow Aoki and Moira Hahn, respectively) culled from the 'Lab's "Up Our Sleeve" exhibition.
Purchase at the Anticon store.
Artist: Nosaj Thing
Label: Alpha Pup / Poo-Bah Records
Format: 12-inch, 600 pressed
Lovely as it would be to hear a new album's worth of Nosaj Thing only three months on from the release of his fantastic debut, well, no such thing. That said, Drift has heretofore only existed in the digital mediums, which was a shame considering how truly meant-for-vinyl this album sounds. As noted previously, Nosaj's approach to production begs for deeper inspection, steeped as it is in the methods of a sound designer more than those of a beatsmith. Those buzzing synth effects and deep-bass burbles sound all the warmer on wax, and this belated release serves as a fresh reminder of the talent that lies in the hands of this Pasadena-based Low End Theory associate. As Alpha Pup, the label owned by Daddy Kev, doesn't cut vinyl itself, Poo-Bah Records stepped in to handle the job. Download the MP3, then watch Nosaj's video of Drift going under the lathe.
Origami Vinyl's Top Ten Best-Sellers: August 8 - 21
01. El Guincho - Palmitos Park 7-inch (Young Turks)
02. Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix LP (Glassnote)
03. Grizzly Bear - Horn Of Plenty LP (Kanine)
04. Rainbow Arabia - Kabukimono LP (Manimal Vinyl)
05. Pissed Jeans - King Of Jeans LP (Sub Pop)
05. Julian Plenti - is... Skyscraper LP (Matador)
06. Cass McCombs - Catacombs LP (Domino)
07. Antony & The Johnsons - Aeon 7-inch (Secretly Canadian)
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08. Destroyer - Bay Of Pigs 12-inch EP (Merge)
09. Ty Segall - Lemons LP (Goner)
10. Alexandra Hope - Invisible Sunday LP (Manimal Vinyl)
Origami Vinyl is located at 1816 W. Sunset Blvd., 90026 (213.413.3030).