INCHES004: New Wax from Division Day, Nosaj Thing, Anticon and Bygones (+ MP3s, chart)
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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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.
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.