Dale Crover (Melvins) Releasing 12-Sided Record / Art Object: “SKINS”

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Dale Crover w/Melvins @ Roseland Theater
Portland, Oregon – October 2014

I believe that it was probably a little over a year ago when I first discovered the masterful, innovative lathe work of Piaptk (people in a position to know) Recordings founder, Mike Dixon.  The Piaptik website describes the label as “Limited Edition Vinyl Records and Handmade Artifacts from Tucson, AZ via Olympia, Wa,” and, at the time, I was visiting my friend, Carlos, that runs a small limited run label of his own called Analog Ghost out of his home in the Ballard district of Seattle.  Showing me his own lathe and some terrific one-of-a-kind stuff that he either created himself, or simply has in his own collection, he handed me a CD single by Money Mark (Beastie Boys, etc) and told me that I could have it, because he had extras.  He just needed to make sure that he was giving me a copy that had an “adapter,” because, as he explained, this compact disc could be played on a turntable.  The back of the little sleeve that it came in read “This CD-Record is an analog/digital hybrid.  It will play on your turntable and in your cd player or computer.  Included is a small washer to be used as an adapter.”  Later on, The Flaming Lips would release a unique 4-track lathe cut of “Good Vibrations,” especially for the 2015 Austin psyche fest, Levitation, which contained 3 separate spindle holes, each for playing one of 3 small, overlapping circular grooves on one side, backed with a normal, much larger one on the reverse.  Carlos had also turned me onto the mindblowing solo work of former Monotonix guitarist, Yonatan Gat, so the minute that I saw that Joyful Noise recordings was releasing one of those CD/lathe hybrids for him, there was absolutely no question in my mind who the label had tapped to put that together — the same guy that put out that Money Mark single.  Now, Joyful Noise is releasing a brand new limited edition album from drumming powerhouse, Dale Crover (Melvins, Shrinebuilder, Altamont, Fecal Matter) and it’s a crazy one, being referred to as ‘the most impractical record of all time.”

As a big fan of Dale Crover, it’s not going to take much to sell me on most things just by letting me know that he’s involved with it.  After having the opportunity to meet Dale during our interview with Melvins, a couple years back, I can confirm that he’s an incredibly humble guy and, as the only other consistent member of Melvins over the last 30-plus years, aside from King Buzzo, it’s obvious that all that he really gives a shit about is the music.  For those less familiar with his name, you can go open up the CD booklet of your Incesticide album and see his picture (or his name in the credits of Bleach and, if you bought it, the With The Lights Out boxset) — he was once even offered and turned down the drumming gig for his old friends, Nirvana, to remain in, what he, respectfully, still believes is, “the better band, absolutely.”  If you need just a quick taste of a minute fraction of what Crover can do, just listen to the song, “Honey Bucket” off of the 1993 Melvins album, Houdini.  If that doesn’t do anything for you, then I guess that I can’t do anything for you, either.

His new release that he’s putting out through Joyful Noise has so many sides to it that it might as well have been cut into a Dungeons & Dragons playing die.  Titled Skins, it is being marketed as both an album and an “art object,” and will cost $100, due to the fact there will only be 127 (signed) copies available, each of which take a full hour to produce.  127 may seem like a high number if you’re measuring the amount of hours that someone could have their arm trapped in a boulder, but it’s an incredibly small number when it comes to the amount of limited edition records that exist on the planet.  Speaking off the desperation of cutting off a limb for something, Melvins have a lot of rabid collectors out there and, if you’re one of them, then you already know that these things shouldn’t have any trouble disappearing IMMEDIATELY.  As a fan of Melvins, Joyful Noise, and what Mike Dixon have all been so consistent about producing, I love seeing things like this come together.

Due to the unique nature of the project and the doubt that I have in my abilities to ever explain it fully at the level that it deserves, we’re posting what is, more or less, the full press release below, including an instructional video about playing the album, right after the following pair of product images.

If you want to get your hands on a copy of SKINS before they’re all gone, and so that you don’t have to risk being fleeced on the secondary market later, you can purchase it via Joyful Noise, now! If you want it, then get on it.

skins front skins back

via press release:

Dale Crover, best known as the drummer of the Melvins, teamed up with Joyful Noise Recordings to create a 12-sided record called Skins. The first release of its kind, the unique art object was hand made by lathe virtuoso Mike Dixon and is limited to 127 signed copies. Each record features six spindle holes, which correspond to twelve short songs written by Crover (six on side A and six on side B.)

This unique format required Crover to work within a highly constraining framework, creating individual pieces of music that almost mimic haikus. Each piece is less than 30 seconds in length, and these distinct works ultimately became the seed for Crover’s upcoming full-length album, slated for release in 2017.

Because each record was individually cut using 1940s technology (on a 1942 Presto 6N record lathe), these are lo-fi, mono records that will not possess the same fidelity as a modern record. Each of the 127 copies available required more than an hour of work to produce. See below

Turntable Setup: Lathe-cut records have more shallow grooves than pressed records, which can make them difficult to play. Adjustments to your standard turntable setup may be required. If the only turntable you own is a Crosley, do not buy this record. Not only will it not play on your setup, but you’ll likely damage the record in the process. Due to the multi-spindle-hole design, we cannot guarantee that this record will be playable on all turntables.

A note about the price:
Yes, it would be totally insane to pay $100 for 5 minutes of audio. But music is not all you are buying here. This is one of the most unique records ever made in the history of music. Each of the 127 copies required over an hour of work to make, not to mention the countless hours that were put into the design, composition and recording. If you cannot afford this art object, feel free to wait for Dale’s full-length. But to those who can, you can comfort yourself with the knowledge that in the not-too-distant future, this record will be sold on eBay for a far more obscene amount of money


Skins Track Listing:

1. Slide On Up (0:27)
2. The Short Con (0:26)
3. Our Supreme Leader (0:16)
4. String Bean (0:32)
5. Why Not? (0:11)
6. Prismo (0:15)
7. Trick Dirt (0:29)
8. Chicken Ala King (0:30)
9. Vulnavia (0:30)
10. None No More (0:31)
11. Horse Pills (0:30)
12. Just Walk Around (0:29)

Dead C

Located in Seattle, Dead C is the founder/editor, as well as the principal writer and photographer, of Monster Fresh. Creating the site in 2007, he did so with a specific dream in mind. Unfortunately, being a muscle relaxer-fueled fever dream, it’s hard to recall all of the details.

I remember that my mom was there, but it wasn’t actually her in the dream, it was actually 70s heart throb, Jan Michael Vincent. And everything took place here, in this room… but it wasn’t actually here… it was different. The colors were washed out and, for some reason, there was a raccoon kicking it with us and it was wearing a holographic monocle.

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