MC Chris is a true poet.

“Go wash your face,
And maybe take a shower.
Wash your vagina-place,
It’s tasting kinda sour.”

Primus – Green Naugahyde (2011)

Green Naugahyde, by Primus (2011)

Green Naugahyde is the first release from Primus in 12 years, but in no way does that mean anyone should consider these guys to be slackers.
Les Claypool formed this incredible band in 1986, after auditioning to be the new bass player for Metallica, following the tragic death of Cliff Burton.  Thankfully, he did not get hired by them and went on become one of the most innovative musicians in modern music. James Hetfield is quoted as saying “he was too good” and “should do his own thing”. Thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster for that! Can you imagine the train-wreck that likely would have ensued if Claypool started playing with those guys, especially in their later years when they got all self-important and emo and annoying?

Anyway, Primus has come and gone over the decades, even rotating band-members in and out. The one thing that has always remained consistent has been Claypool and his unique ability to craft distinctive and original music. If you hear a Primus song, you know it. And that is not to say in any way that they all sound the same, quite the opposite. But it is that distinct heavy slap-bass presence that always dominates their style, in a good way. There is a reason that their old slogan was “If you didn’t like Primus before…you probably still wont like them!”
Although Primus has vanished and re-appeared consistently over the years, Les Claypool as always continued working and innovating. He has collaborated with artists as diverse as Henry Rollins, Tom Waits, Hank Williams III, Limp Bizkit (WTF?) and Gov’t Mule. He formed the short-lived band Sausage in 1994 at the height of Primus’ “popularity”.  In the early 2000’s he formed the incredible group of musicians known as Colonel Les Claypool’s Fearless Flying Frog Brigade. They released two live albums (one of which was a recording of them covering Pink Floyd’s classic album Animals from start to finish) before releasing Purple Onion in 2002.

Fuck, I forgot one! In 2001 he formed Oysterhead with Trey Anastasio (of Phish) and Stewart Copeland (of The Police). They recorded one outstanding album and did one tour before disbanding later that year.

Ok, back to Purple Onion. It is an amazing album, possibly my favorite of all Claypool’s work. It has some of the most interesting sounds combined with lyrical gems sharp with social commentary. “Cosmic Highway” and “Up on the roof” are particular tracks that stand out, but the album as a whole is great. Maybe the most interesting track from this album is “Whamola Jam”, a nearly lyric-free dirge that Claypool plays on the instrument he invented, named the Whamola. It is essentially a one-string bass with a whammy-bar that he plays with a violin bow, piece of wood, sword, or any other thing with in reach. It is a really fascinating piece of music, and pretty incredible the range of sounds he can get from this seemingly simple construction.

The first concert I ever took my son to was the Frog Brigade tour in support of this album. He was about 8 or 9, and I know that this experience forever changed his way of looking at music, and possibly everything else.
Then, later in 2002 Claypool collaborated with virtuoso guitarist Buckethead, Parliament-Funkadelic/Talking Heads keyboardist Bernie Worrell, and former Primus drummer Bryan Mantia under the name Colonel Claypool’s Bucket of Bernie Brains. Their concerts pushed the improvisational envelope by preparing no material and not rehearsing beforehand. At one of their shows they prepared sandwiches onstage for the audience to eat.
He continued to tour and make music with his various side projects, releasing 2 solo albums and guest appearing all over the place. His bass-playing on my favorite Tom Waits album “Real Gone” really darkens the tone, and surprisingly fits seamlessly with Waits’ trademark gritty style. In 2006 he wrote a great book called “South Of The Pumphouse” and directed a not-so-great movie “Electric Apricot”. To quote the title of the Primus greatest hits collection that was also released in 2006, “They can’t all be zingers.”
Which brings us to Green Naugahyde, the first full-length studio album from Primus since 1999’s under-rated “Antipop”. It starts off in classic slow-burn Primus fashion with “Prelude To A Crawl”, which quickly moves on to the next track “Hennepin Crawler” a flat out jam with one of the greasiest bass-lines ever. Highlights of the album to me are “Eyes Of The Squirrel”, a creepy blast of insanity where he asks,”Who is gonna be the next Octo-mom?”, and “HOINFODAMAN” where the refrain is “I used to be a pimp, but now I’m hoin’ for the man.” Tunes like “Eternal Consumption Engine” and “Moron TV” combine incredibly intricate musical arrangements with sharp social commentary. My favorite track on the album has to be “Extinction Burst”, because it is completely out of control and somehow totally refined at the same time.

So, I hope you all learned something today about good music, and go out and buy/legally download this work of art as soon as you can. At the very least, now you know that Primus has done more in their career than just the South Park theme…
They also did the Robot Chicken theme song.

Grade : A

Faithfully submitted by Darth Biscuits

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American Horror Story on FX

American Horror Story Pilot.

It starts out well enough, with a flashback to 1978. A scene where two shit-talking ginger kids get cut up in the basement of the scary house on the block, after ignoring the warnings of a cute young Down’s Syndrome girl…
Then we cut to present day, and follow through with a pretty standard haunted house movie set-up. Husband and wife are going through marital stress, and decided to have a fresh start by buying a Victorian Mansion for 1/4 of what it should cost. The previous tenants died in a murder-suicide. The dog barks at the basement door. There is a creepy demon mural painted underneath the peeling wallpaper. The misfit teenage daughter who likes to cut herself says, “We’ll take it.”
It is all well-done, but very generic. They try to spruce it up a bit with some quick edits and pointless jump-cuts. Then more weird shit starts to happen. They find a genuine gimp-suit in the attic. The Down’s Syndrome girl shows up, much less cute full-grown, and starts creeping out the mom. Jessica Lange appears as the southern belle neighbor, and starts shop-lifting. We meet “Taint” (!), a problematic kid going to counseling for his Columbine fantasies. A weird burnt-face guy is peeping in the windows. A housekeeper shows up that says she has worked for the house for years, but whenever Dad looks at her he sees a smokin’ hot young red-head in a sexy maid outfit.
It is like they are throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks. I guess that is why it is so vaguely-named. The “American” part means ripping off everything you can think of, and stirring it into a big, slightly offensive pot. I mean they even rip off Tarantino, the notorious cinematic thief, in at least one spot.
Despite all of this, the show still works. The strained relationship between Mom and Dad is believable and relatable. He wants so badly to be forgiven, and she rejects him at every turn. The scene where Dylan McDermot masturbates into his own tears reminded me of my usual Friday night plans.
Lots of creepy things are going on all the time, like when the gimp-suit comes to “life” and gives Mom the high hard one while dad is holding his hand over an open flame, hypnotized. The “scaring the bully” scene was well-done with some creepy images, although it almost gave me a seizure with the strobe effect and quick editing.
Hopefully, future episodes will tone it down a little bit, and try to develop the interesting main characters and make this generic horror story a little more unique. Either way, I am looking forward to the next episode.

Grade : B

Faithfully submitted by Darth Biscuits.

I, Monster – Daydream

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