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.

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Artist: Hanni El Khatib

Title: “Dead Wrong” b/w “You Rascal You”

Label: Innovative Leisure (Highland Park)

Format: 7-inch (45), 1000 pressed

Read our review and stream some malt-shop garage-blues after the jump.

A press bio states, “Hanni El Khatib makes music for relationships on the verge of exquisite failure,” while his blog and Twitter account sport the respective tags, “These songs were written for anyone who's ever been shot or hit by a train,” and simply “knife fight music.”

But domestic violence (as in “relationships failing via knife fights”) is not the connective tissue here — it's the aesthetic of classic catastrophe that rules the day, both in Khatib's lyrics and in his sound, which instantly evokes '50s Los Angeles as seen through the lens that shot Rebel Without a Cause.

It's no coincidence that the video for “Dead Wrong” (streaming below) features vintage footage of California greasers doing their thing, while the song itself dances out a swaggerful and airy blues to Khatib's playful sneer: “Yeah, I know it might be a scary sight/To run into a bunch of us at night.”

Likewise for his off-kilter cover of “You Rascal You,” a '30s standard that shows off Khatib's love for American archetypes like Sam Cooke and Robert Johnson. This isn't just dress-up (though the one-man band has dabbled in clothing design as well). These two songs suggest a real mastery of a long-lost craft. It stands up in the face of modern day girl-group remakes and indie blues duos alike, and hints at a highly promising full-length to come.

Hanni El Khatib performs at Sunset Junction Saturday, on the Bates stage at 3:00 p.m.

Purchase “Dead Wrong” at your local independent record vendor (INCHES recommends Origami or Vacation), or right now via the Stones Throw web store.

Instead of a download this week, we have double video, all the way:


Vacation Vinyl's Top Ten Best-Sellers: August 2 – 15

01. Autolux – Transit Transit (tbd)

02. Black Breath – Heavy Breathing (Southern Lord)

03. Melvins / Isis – split 12-inch (Hydra Head)

04. Arcade Fire – Suburbs (Merge)

05. Boris – Amplifier Worship (Southern Lord)

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

07. Best Coast – Crazy For You (Mexican Summer)

08. Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti – Before Today (4AD)

09. Twilight – Monument To Time End (Total Holocaust)

10. Night Horse – Perdition Hymns (Tee Pee)

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

LA Weekly