Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog) (last update 5/23/2017)

May 14, 2012

Primus ~ Miscellaneous Debris (EP)

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Style: experimental, avant-garde
Label: Interscope
Year: 1992
Home: San Francisco, California

Members: Les Claypool ~ bass/vocals
Larry LaLonde ~ guitars/synthesizer
Tim Alexander ~ drums

For all the albums folks usually mention when recommending the the bizarre Zappa-esque experimental rock frontier of Primus, directed by ringmaster bassmaster Les Claypool, this EP tends to not be the first off the tongue, exclipsed behind Pork Soda, Sailing The Seas Of Cheese or Tales From The Punch Bowl. Though, it could be because these are more interesting names to say than the less odd Miscellaneous Debris & that this is only a covers album of a meager five songs. But, what a covers album this is to recommend. Many critics even call this a great introduction to the band, which is an extremely rare recommendation for a covers outings. Though, it may not be that great as it doesn't reflect Claypool's wierd often disorienting arrangements, but it certainly is worth the newcomer checking out due to its listenability & avant-garde interpretations. Though, while it may not have the quircky arrangements that Primus's original material studio albums do such arrangements are often the more difficult part of a Primus listening experience. Songs sometimes come across as odd piecemeal rambles or jams, not cohesive units. This EP is only cohesive units without losing a touch of the difficult strangeness ... actually, it does hone in some of the wierdness for the sake of retaining the pre-determined song structures, but doesn't lose the Primus sound or magic. Even if you don't know the songs in question you'll probably know a couple of the artists & will enjoy the comparisons that will for the most part excite you. Even if you don't consider this the best of Primus there's no way you won't appreciate the end result. If one wasn't familiar with the songs I'd challenge them to name the original artists ... if they even dare as this is 100% Primus & thus sounds like nobody except Primus. For those not wanting to be embarressed the cheat sheet is: Peter Gabriel, XTC, the Residents, the Meters & Pink Floyd. But, expect nothing sounding like this amazing range of bands reinterpretted. Reinterpretted is the key word as Primus has digested all the songs & churned them out with a whole new spirit where the bass upfront & vocals off-kilter. Personally, if I was Peter Gabriel I'd be calling up Claypool to play on my next album or re-record more old songs from my catalog or do a whole album with me. Even playing others music Claypool still manages to reinterpret the sound of the bass bringing awe to any who listen. Even a normal bassline has a different feel, while the rest of the band still weaves around him leaving the rhythm & melody in his over-capable hands. Pink Floyd has never sounded so heavy. The only weak moment is the less than minute long instrumental by the Meters where Claypool plays some lead basslines & there's more focus on the funky guitar. It's the only non-cohesive under-developed sounding bit. It's a bit of a throwaway that sounds out of place for Primus. The EP Rhinoplasty followed in 1998 as a quasi-sequel, filling in time between albums, featuring more covers & live tracks including more Peter Grabriel & XTC plus the Police, Metallica, Stanley Clarke & Jerry Reed. This follow-up might be the only Primus album not to get high reviews & basically only because the format was already done by the band.

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