INCHES reviews Nite Jewel, 'My Estrogeneration', Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, Slang Chickens (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 took a trip northward to cover releases by Lazer Sword, Themselves and more. This week, we return to L.A. to cover some impressive hometown hero ish. Submissions or suggestions? Email INCHES here.
Local quartet Slang Chickens may have just celebrated its first anniversary as a band, but its debut album showcases a group that's honed a disparate set of influences into a cohesive, extremely promising whole. The Chickens' eponymous LP opens with "Tropics" (download it below), where southern-tinged harmonies and downright purty acoustic strumming merge seamlessly with garage rock grind and punk pacing. "Blues (Dripping Down My Leg)" combines lapsteel guitar, grungy vocals and a country amble (plus a trumpet solo), while "Parasited Out" sounds like The Strokes sped up -- until, that is, it morphs into a halftime crawl through jangle and feedback. New band, new ideas, new label. Slang Chickens play at Unknown Theater this Saturday. Show your support by dressing in burlap.
When the news came last week that Nite Jewel was releasing a 7-inch through Stones Thr--err, "1984 Records," it seemed surprising that a historically hip-hop (+ funk/soul) label would drop a waxy gem from one of this city's leading ladies of lo-fi. But upon further inspection, it makes perfect sense: Ramona Gonzales' synth-heavy tracks are stoney, catchy, rhythmic and full of funk -- thrift store funk, at least. Both of these tracks appeared on her excellent and out-of-print Good Evening LP, but they're given new warbly, warmth on this release. "Weak For Me" sports a strange brand of '80s pop refracted through a dingy lens and colored with the beat-oriented eccentricities of Gary Wilson. Gonzales' high keen lords over reverberating drum rolls here, while "Suburbia" finds her spacing out over a subdued but driving soundscape. Neither was meant for the crispness of digital audio. Download the MP3 below, but do your turntable a favor and pick up the 45.
Download: Nite Jewel - "Weak For Me" (MP3)
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