Dangerbird Special: INCHES reviews Darker My Love, Silversun Pickups, Sea Wolf, Eulogies (MP3s)
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 (artists and labels, indie or other), believing that good music deserves much more than a handful of ones and zeros.
Last week, we checked out freaky entries from Lambo and The Marshmallow Ghosts (among others). This week, in honor of Silversun Pickups' homecoming last night and Dangerbird Records co-owner Jeff Castelaz's cross-country cycling expedition, we're focusing exclusively on key releases from the Silver Lake label.
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Artist: Silversun Pickups
Title: Swoon Deluxe Package
Label: Dangerbird (Silver Lake)
Format: 180 gram 2LP (+ download), gatefold jacket, 12 x 12 lyric/photo booklet, T-shirt, lithograph of cover art, buttons, stickers, 3000 made
It's no surprise that Silversun Pickups has earned both the gravitas and fan base necessary to release something like this. Since its earliest days, the band was regarded as a leading light of the Silver Lake scene. Even on 2005's Pikul EP, SSPU's grungy pop music hinted at the existence of something grandly epic and, perhaps more importantly, it was actually sexy, a quality oft-overlooked in indie rock. "Understated yet filled with tension," to borrow the words of another, has become the band's MO over the years, and SSPU pushes that dynamic far as it can go on the excellent Swoon. Big arrangements flesh out these songs, but Brian Aubert's hissed vocals keep things low to the ground and, overall, consistently tasteful. Similarly, this deluxe package has all the bells and whistles, but was designed with an eye toward the archival rather than a quick cash-in.
The medium may not actually be the message here but it's hard to ignore: Roughly five inches of vinyl neatly spread across the topside of a compact disc. 2008's Tempted To Do Nothing EP comprises four songs, with the best one isolated on the wax side. "Two Can Play" is a classy duet between Eulogies' Peter Walker, co-owner of Dangerbird, and Silversun Pickups bassist Nikki Monniger. The slight, sensitive song makes its home in a breezy sort of Greenwich Village balladry that's almost complimented by the scratchy realities of attaching vinyl to plastic (whaddya expect?). The CD itself contains three more shining examples of etherial indie pop with "Bad Connection" nodding to Elvis Costello, "Is There Anyone Here?" adding some slack and shimmer to the equation, and the titular song offering a slow anthem to apathy.