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: Mini Mansions

Title: “Monk” b/w “Heart of Glass”

Label: Psychedelic Judaism (Echo Park)

Format: 7-inch (+ download), purple swirl, 1000 pressed

There's a key entry in the popular hand guide, Judging Various Media By Its Cover, about skipping over anything adorned with doll parts. But, as the introduction to that book sagely cautions, every rule has its exception and Mini Mansions proves that even this time-honored “indicator of bunk” can be misleading. The band's still young, but with ties to Queens of the Stone Age and Buddyhead's Wires on Fire (all three acts share member Michael Shuman), Mini Mansions knows a thing or two about balancing the bizarre with the brilliant.

Side A features “Monk,” a mercurial slice of vintage-sounding psych-pop that finds singer Shuman channeling John Lennon's stuffy croon through Elliott Smith's delicate pipes. That's not to say he's as good as either (it'd be a mighty tall bill to fill), but it's an aesthetic he wears well. Meanwhile, fuzzy distortion, organ hum, crisp bass-lines and a Zombies-like beat keep the track moving. On the flip, the Mansions take on Blondie's “Heart of Glass,” slowing the original down to achieve a similarly gluey, psychedelic atmosphere.

DOWNLOAD: Mini Mansions – “Monk” [MP3]

Purchase at your local independent record vendor (INCHES recommends Origami or Vacation), or right now via the Psychedelic Judaism web store.


Origami Vinyl's Top Ten Best-Sellers: May 31 – June 13

01. The Young Veins – Take A Vacation (One Haven)

02. Active Child – Curtis Lane (Filter)

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

04. Hot Hot Heat – Future Breeds (Dangerbird)

05. Best Coast – “Sun Was High” 7-inch (Art Fag)

06. The National – High Violet (4AD)

07. Refused – The Shape Of Punk To Come reissue (Epitaph)

08. Memory Tapes – Seek Magic (self-released)

09. Future Islands – In Evening Air (Thrill Jockey)

10. Maus Haus – “Winter” 7-inch (Rocinante)

Origami Vinyl is located at 1816 W. Sunset Blvd., 90026 (213.413.3030).

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