Monday, October 17, 2011

Green Pleather

So I've been...preoccupied. A little sick and completely addicted to the new Magic the Gathering set Innistrad I've let the reviews fall by the wayside for the past couple days. To be honest, keeping up with seven a week is a struggle. With that in mind, I'm cutting back to five a week. I think that is fair. Two days off seems good to me.

I'm finding that I still purchase vinyl faster than I can review it. This week I grabbed a few items: Givers - In Light, Mastodon - Crack the Skye (green vinyl version), and the new Primus record, Green Naugahyde, which I will review today. When I saw the title for this album, I was like What the Fuck? Turns out Naugahyde is actually a form of imitation leather made out of vinyl. TIL...

Primus - Green Naugahyde

This pressing is sweet, but...

I'm mad guys. The distributor had posted up the first press of this album a couple months ago and I immediately threw one in the cart. It never showed, so I waited, and waited, and then I waited. Eventually, it became available again so I threw one in the cart and this one showed up. But it was not the original press. They did a small run of 750 in a plain white jacket with the band and album name rubber stamped onto the cover, hand numbered. It is so fucking cool and I want one.

This pressing is on two clear green vinyl with a CD of the album as well. I love when you get the CD instead of a download pass. Don't know about any one else, but the download cards are kind of janky and don't work right a lot of the time for me.

The album art features a strange piece of what I assume is American folk art. A strange ceramic and tin articulated boy rides a bike complete with what looks like a working chain. The jacket is heavyweight and feels sturdy.

The interior of the gatefold displays the figurine from the front, this time on its side atop various pieces of metal. The photographer used a really shallow depth of field giving it a surreal, larger than life feel.

OK, so fuck this blogger interface. I busted out my Google-Fu to try and figure out why some of my pictures import with the wrong orientation. I guess it has something to do with the specific model of Canon camera that I own, so there likely will never be a fix. But seriously Blogger, fucking fix it.

The vinyl itself is clear green with custom labels. It is standard weight (as clear vinyl usually is) and is really vibrant. Fucking stellar. It also comes with an insert featuring more photography of the biker boy and credits on the opposing side.

I see no obvious defects on the vinyl and Prawn's other stuff seems to be well made so I assume that there will be no physical medium issues. This is the first time I have spun this album so I will just give some general thoughts on composition and style.

My first impression is that it is very similar to Animals Should Not Try to Act Like People. The first side sort of ambles along and is frankly kind of uninteresting. Les' bass is excellent and technically proficient as usual, but it has of yet failed to grab me. Side A has three tracks, but to be honest, they all sounded kind of samey. The frist track is titled Prelude to a Crawl, which sums up the first side of disc 1, it crawls.

The second side picks up a little bit. Some funky percussion starts it off. Les' vocals are a little different than usual, he kind of grunts out a lot of the lyrics through some strange effects. Lyrically it is as obtuse as usual, I often have trouble discerning meaning from Primus lyrics. The feel of this side is similar to the first, carnival-esque. It is starting to grow on me. As far as I can tell from the understandable lyrics and the title of the album, thematically it deals with consumerism specifically of the cheap crappy plastic variety. The second track on side 2, Tragedy's A Comin,' is a little closer to the Primus I know and love; Funky, groove oriented, and strange. The composition on this album is, again, very similar to their last effort. Everything is very minimal, with occasional over the top outbursts. The third track, Eyes of the Squirrel, is groovy as fuck. Les man, Les. If there were a bass equivlent to Charlie Daniels who wrote the bass version of "The Devil Went Down to Georgia," Les Claypool would play the part of the devil except he would win so I guess nothing like that. But still, kind of like that. Because Les has fucking amazing skills.

Side 3 begins in an ambient fashion. Slowly building then cutting away to only Les' bass. Jilly's On Smack, the first track, has as disconcerting a feel as the titles suggests. Still though, everything is really low key and restrained. I'm having a hard time really getting into it. I want to hear them cut loose, and is has yet to occur. Everything feels and sounds a little hollow, not sure if it's the medium itself or an intentional choice. The second track, Lee Van Cleef, is more of the same. The lyrics are kind of funny, "What ever happened to Lee Van Cleef?" What did happen to Lee Van Cleef, fucked if I know. He did some spaghetti Westerns and then...Does anyone actually know? I wiki'ed him, he died bro. A while ago. Moron TV, the last track on side three, continues in the low key fashion. It's beginning to grow on me a little bit, definitely worth another listen.

Side 4 begins with Green Ranger. The same hollow, removed feeling pervades the composition. It is kind of eerie and has the effect of bringing you down. I feel like I'm coming off the tail end of a bad Mushie trip while attending a carnival freak show. The third track, Extinction Burst, mixes things up a bit. More upbeat and just more...interesting. I am actually interested in listening to it. It seems to be the focal point of the album, both lyrically and musically. Kind of a long build up, but it fits the themes and mood of the album really well. The last track really sends home the carnival feel. It is very short and a little silly.

All in all, I think this album deserves a couple listens. It kind of had the effect that certain Tom Waits albums have on me. Initial displeasure that leads to me attempting to understand why I am displeased that leads to me actually beginning to enjoy the album. As far as purchasing it goes, it is pretty well priced at $18 and comes with a copy of the CD as well. If it interests you, check it out and listen to it before taking the plunge. To be honest though, there is a listing on Amazon right now for the MFSL press of Animals Should Not Try to Act Like People for $47. I think that would be money better spent.

Altogether, I half way enjoyed this album.


  1. I disagree, I think this album really breaths. With Jay Lane's high hat work it really opens up the feel. Their sound is more mature, not just balls to the wall like usual. Say them over the weekend in Chicago and these songs really cooked live. Also, Ler stole the show, he was off the hook.

  2. Thanks for reading Louie! I've given the album another couple plays and it has definitely grown on me. The build up is long, but I agree their sound is definitely more mature.