outside the box

by Art Chantry:

when you look at endless piles of old used records like i do, every so often you find a real oddball treasure like this. it’s an Lp by a band called “the lowdown”. they seemed to be based in olympia and self-released this thing (i can find no dates). they apparently had almost no money, but reallly wanted to put out an LP, so, they sat down and figured out how to do it themselves (DIY).

—but, if all they cared about was looking crappy and cheap, it’s a smashing success…. i’ve worked with budgest of less than zero (literally) and churned out award winning work. so, there is NO excuse here….AC

this here is what you might call an ultimate DIY effort. they had no idea how to make a record cover, so they simply went to a thrift store and grabbed all the junk records they could afford. then they tossed out the records inside all the junk records, leaving only the junk cover. i hope they did something PC with all that PVC vinyl. they probably had enough laying around to bulld a house out of it.

their next step was to grab a bucket of latex house paint (grey – probably made by mixing all the leftover half-full cans of paint together) and LITERALLY hand brush the paint on all of those junk record covers, thus covering up all the barbara striesand and neil diamond and tijuana brass covers! i’ve never seen anythign like it before. it’s amazing, really. maybe it’s crazy or maybe it’s genius – i just don’t know. (it’s hard to see here, but you can catch a glimpse of it around the edges.)

they went to go to the local variety store and bought some of that cheap mulitcolored ‘craft’ paper (the kind they usually draw on with crayons in grade school. you know the stuff.) they also seem to have found one of those cheapo kiddie silkscreen kits. because they cut and pasted all sorts of letters (likely trimmed out of old magazines) into a “graphix dezine” and then hand silkscreened their ‘design’ onto the craft paper (i’ve tried and tried and i still can’t read it). i found two copies of this LP, and each one seems to have been totally different color combinations. this one is a green paper/yellow ink combo. the other copy i found was an orange paper/black ink combo.

then they simply glued the piece of paper onto the hand-painted junk lp cover. done! the back cover was executed the same way, except they apparently used a typewriter to generate the liner notes. there is also a hand done typewriter-and-found-image insert inside that really doesn’t say very much, but looks really cool (sorta).

the final ‘touch’ was to stuff in theitr new cheapo pressing of their own 12″ vinyl into the newly re-created cardboard Lp cover and actually shrink wrap it all together (one of my copies is still shrink-wrapped.) i imagine they had it done at the local butcher shop or somethign to save cash. money doesn’t grow on trees, ya know.

take a look. it may be hard to see all the excellent trashy details in this bad scan. but, it’s exquisitely crude and hand carved out of total garbage. you have to go all the way back to the early days of punk (or maybe to the sordid efforts of Quintron) to find something so totally DIY as this. but what the hell…. it’s olympia. what did you expect?

finding stuff like thi

such an eye-opener. everything about it is so completely outside the box that it fills my head with all sorts of interesting things to try. this is where true graphic innovation comes from – not some design agency in NYC or from the hallowed halls of YALE. it comes from people who just wanna DO something. all great cuisines of the world began as poor people food. brilliance starts here.


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