Posts Tagged ‘primus

22
Sep
11

Album Review: Primus – Green Naugahyde

This is not your father’s Primus. Your father’s Primus was an oddball funk-metal band with head-banging riffs and rump-shaking grooves. Today’s Primus is a bit mellower, more skewed toward a zany jazz-fusion sound, but still retains their musical complexity and irreverence. After an 11-year hiatus from studio recordings, the San Francisco Bay-area band has just released Green Naugahyde, with Larry LaLonde on guitar as always, Jay Lane – the original Primus drummer – back in the band, and the band’s leader and arguably the best bass player around, Les Claypool.
Claypool definitely leads the charge on this new album, writing all the lyrics and his voice doing more “talk-singing” than actual singing, with the vocals often sent through a sound effects box of some sort. The bass grooves are undeniably Claypool – he uses a lot of effects for that as well, but his funk-jazz sound is unmistakable. The album starts off with a little prelude that segues into “Hennepin Crawler,” a funky rock tune that lets you know that Primus is back. While Claypool has taken his signature sound and applied it to his other projects (Flying Frog Brigade, Colonel Claypool’s Bucket of Bernie Brains, solo albums, Oysterhead), there is no mistaking the sound of this trio. LaLonde’s guitar sound is instantly recognizable, though he doesn’t get a lot of chances to really wail away on this album. “Last Salmon Man” continues Claypool’s tome of fishing-themed songs, this one commenting on the diverting of water from northern California to other parts of the state. Claypool’s lyrics, while often silly and bizarre, can sometimes be politically poignant, as in “Eternal Consumption Engine,” a weird Willy Wonka-esque tune about our society’s never-ending thirst for more and more stuff. Primus’ rock sound returns in “Tragedy’s a’ Comin’,” with Claypool slapping his bass with funk ferocity. The other album highlights include the jaunty little ditty “Lee Van Cleef,” referencing the actor from old westerns like “High Noon” and “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”; “Moron TV” is a fairly benign attack on the current state of television programming – Claypool really wasn’t going out on a limb here. “HOINFODAMAN” showcases Claypool’s affection for Frank Zappa, both musically and politically. Claypool has always shied away from mainstream pop culture trappings, and the evil corporate music machine, much like Zappa. “HOINFODAMAN” is an indictment of artists who sell out for fame and fortune – Frank would approve. The band saved the best for last on the album with a tune called “Extinction Burst.” This song more than any of the others has more layers and explores some longer grooves.
Overall, I was a bit disappointed with Green Naugahyde. Following Primus’ last release, an EP entitled “Animals Should Not Try to Act like People,” and the subsequent tour, it seemed that the band was incorporating a more “jam band” style, in that they would stretch out their funky grooves and wailing guitar work, rather than keeping the songs nice and short. But this new album seems very constrictive – it almost feels like the band is playing inside a tiny box and has no room to really break out into some great song space. Their sound has always been completely unique, creative, and truly “alternative.” But this album pales in comparison to most of their other recordings; I did not expect the metal-driven sound of the “Frizzle Fry” album, or the hardcore funk of “Tales from the Punchbowl,” but taken as a whole, the album is pretty mundane for Primus. LaLonde rarely gets a chance to really let loose and shred some solos, and Lane’s drumming, while extremely well-suited for the album’s sound, seems tempered and delicate, with none of the explosiveness from the band’s earlier efforts.
I’m still looking forward to their upcoming live show, as I’m sure they will take that opportunity to breathe some new life into these songs, along with playing a lot of the old stuff (they’re doing two full sets of music). Perhaps, like most jam bands, Primus is becoming a band where the studio albums are of minimal importance, and the emphasis will be on touring and putting on a stellar live show. We shall see.
As I mentioned, the sound of Green Naugahyde is unmistakably Primus, and that’s still a good thing.
Green Naugahyde gets 3 out of 5 stars!

23
Aug
11

New Primus Song!

For those of us eagerly anticipating the release of Primus’ first studio album in 12 years, we can now get a taste of what “Green Naugahyde” will have to offer. Click on the video below to hear “Tragedy’s A’ Comin'” – you will not be disappointed. Les Claypool is slapping the funk out of his bass while guitarist Larry Lalonde lays down an awesome groove, and original Primus drummer Jay Lane is back in the fold, hammering away. The album comes out on September 13th, and their tour kicks off shortly thereafter including a stop in little ol’ Albany, as I mentioned a couple of weeks ago. Enjoy!

02
Aug
11

Primus at the Palace!

If you know what I mean when I say “Primus sucks!” and you live in the Albany area, then you probably already have tickets for their September 27th show. If not, listen up. Primus has been kicking around since 1989 or so, with virtuostic bass player Les Claypool leading the trio as they bash out tunes that encompass metal, funk, hard rock and even a little jazz. They don’t necessarily fit into one genre or another – their earlier stuff leans toward metal/hard rock, but as they have evolved, the elements of funk and jazz have crept in, and in recent years, Les has become a regular on the jam band scene, and Primus has incorporated more jamming in their live shows, which is wonderful to see. Claypool even directed and starred in the film “Electric Apricot: Quest for Festeroo,” a mockumentary about a band trying to break into the jam band scene (it’s pretty funny and worth seeing if you’re really into music).

But I digress. The point here is that Primus is a band with a truly original sound, and if you have never seen them live, you really must in order to appreciate them in full. This will be my 5th time seeing the San Francisco-based band, and each show has been phenomenal. This tour, as they have done in previous tours, they will be playing two full sets of material, some of which will be from their upcoming album “Green Naugahyde,” due out mid-September. This is their first new full-length album since their 1999 release “Antipop,” and their first studio recording since the 2003 EP “Animals Should Not Try To Act Like People.” This tour will take them around much of the Northeast, with a few stops in the Midwest and the West coast. The Palace is a relatively small place to see this amazing band – it should be fantastic. I heartily recommend you get tickets now!

17
Apr
10

Mountain Jam VI – 2010 Line Up

Ah yes, as the spring birds make their voices heard and the flowers begin to peek out from their long winters nap it’s time once again for the summer festival announcements and this year seems off to a very impressive  start. 

I am a self-admitted jam band fan since high school loving any project involving Warren Haynes and/or Dickey Betts; so I’m sure that the 6th Annual Mountain Jam Festival will be well worth the trip. 
This year’s line up is very impressive and also focuses around the 70th birthday of Levon Helm has been contributing the music scene.  Helm will be joined by a who’s-who of musicians ranging from Donald Fagen (Steely Dan), Ray LaMontange (If don’t know who this guy is you need to, very talented!), Steve Earle, and many others.

On other stages or at other times during the festival the line up is equally as impressive and I’m pleasantly surprised at the assortment and variety of artists appearing.

Alison Krauss & Union Station
Les Claypool (Primus, Oysterhead)
Matisyahu
Dave Mason
Toots & The Maytals
The Drive-by Truckers
Michael Franti & Spearhead
Yonder Mountain String Band

These are just some of the bands performing that weekend, there are too many bands to list so check the line up link on the main page.  The Mountain Jam website has a nice free player that lets you listen to an assortment of the artists performing, so if you’re not familiar them initially you can get a better idea of what to expect.  The headling act is Warren Haynes’ Government Mule.  I saw Government Mule and Black Crowes about 10 years ago at The Orpheum Theater in Boston, personally I was not impressed but I would imagine that over 10 years they’ve developed their sound. 

Yes, the pricetag in this economy for the plain old one-day ticket is a costly $79.00; tough if you married with kids like me, but perhaps worth the cost for a full day of music and sunshine (if the weather cooperates, always a risk with outside festivals!).  If you are in the New York City area or from Upstate New York where HiFi Central is located, Hunter Mountain (where the Mountain Jam is held) is a very easy drive up or down I-87  and is nestled in among the sleepy Catskills Mountains. 
I am still hoping that one year a reunion of The Hatters (an Allman Brothers-esque band that faded away in the mid-90’s) might happen at Mountain Jam, but I’m not holding my breath.

If you would like more information about this fun summertime festival check it out by clicking here: Mountain Jam VI




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