The Blues. This band has ’em.
Left Lane Cruiser’s album “Bring Yo Ass To The Table” is the pick for Vinyl Wednesday this week.
A little backstory for ya:
I was on a really big Scott H. Biram kick about a year ago (rightfully so, because he’s awesome) and I was listening to music of his on Pandora and this band Left Lane Cruiser would pop up every once in a while. Eventually I heard about every track on this album and then I just stopped listening to Pandora. I got back into another blues kick a few months ago and just happened to check to see if this vinyl was available at our local Reckless Records store and sure as shit it was. I set out to purchase this beast immediately. This is actually the only copy of this album that I own. I didn’t download it and I didn’t have a CD. I don’t listen to them on Spotify or Pandora or anything else. Just this one vinyl album. I think it’s perfect that way. This kind of dirty, raw blues is best fit for vinyl.
Anyway, onto the artwork!
I have loved this cover since the first time it came across my phone’s screen. The band name is set in the “Birch” typeface and it just really smacks you in the face. It’s so bold and strong. Plus, I just happen to love that typeface. It’s got a kind of mechanical, yet rustic feel to it and lends itself perfectly to this cover and this band.
The other main, large element of this cover is the image. At first glance it looks like one guy sitting there playing guitar (probably a busker) but later on we’ll see that’s not quite the case. The image, and the whole cover, is set in a nice Orange duotone. I dig it. It’s warm and yet still bright, a lot like their music. The paper stock that was chosen is really nice too. It’s a matte stock and it has a really sturdy feel and is smooth to the touch. The music isn’t glossy and neither is the packaging.
My favorite part of the front of this cover is the area containing the track listing, album title and other information. This element is full of excellent design. The pill shape gives a feeling of old blues or country albums while still coming across as fitting in this modern era of design. The typefaces chosen for this area don’t seem out of place and have just enough contrast between them all to not feel cluttered or overwhelming. I especially like the logo for Alive Records. That smooth script typeface paired with the bolder slab-serif typeface just screams old-timey music.
Here’s a closer shot of the image on the front cover. It took me about a week to notice that the tape on the box said “Left Lane.” It’s nothing awesome but I sure did like that little detail. Good stuff. The box looks gross and just about done-for and while I listen to their music I get the same feelings. The music exerts a raw feeling, whether it’s through the guitars, the vocals or whatever other instrument they are using. I like when album art has that same feeling.
The back cover doesn’t stray too far from the front as far as design goes. The pill shape that contains the information makes it’s triumphant return and it’s implemented just as well on the back as it was on the front, only this time it’s featured at the bottom of the cover. The imagery that was used shows the band playing their instruments and not much else. Once again, nothing fancy is taking place here. The guys are shown in a raw setting. Nothing glossy, nothing super special. Hell, you can’t even really get a good look at their faces. The guys are too busy getting the blues out to be stoping for a smile and a picture. We also get to see that the image from the cover isn’t just one guy playing guitar with a box beside him. No, no. There is really another guy sitting there with him playing drums with that box. I suppose the cut out hole on the box (visible directly under the taped band name) is to act like a bass drum. Nicely done. These pictures perfectly represent what I imagine these guys to be doing while I listen to the music. Just two hillbillies jamming away and creating a perfect blend of down-and-out tones with the energy of horny teenagers.
The type treatment that was used on the back cover is full of good stuff. Packing a bunch of information into a small area can be really challenging and oftentimes cumbersome but once again they pull it off in spades. It’s easy to read, it has similar elements to the front cover and the color palette is the same, yet it’s not just more of the same. And just look at all that orange! Shit doesn’t get any more orange than this. Feast your peepers on those band member names/positions as well. Freddy J IV and old “Sausage Paw” really know how to throw down. I mean, who doesn’t want to listen to an album that features “trash” and “hollerin’?” I know I can’t get enough of it.
The actual vinyl record is an excellent transparent orange. Like I said before, things don’t get more orange than “Bring Yo’ Ass To The Table.”
The record, and it’s label, really bring the whole package together. I love special, colored albums. Picture discs aren’t really my thing but I LOVE colored vinyl. In this case, it just shows another level of thought that a lot of bands don’t even deal with.
The label is done very nicely. The type layout is simple and effective while fitting a lot of content and information onto a little sticker. The top portion of the label features that amazing Alive Records logo again, as well as some other little tidbits of information. The bottom half features the band name and the track listing for the specific side of the album. The same fonts and treatments show their faces again and it’s all to spectacular effect.
I love this album. I love it so much that I actively sought it out and bought it with real, physical money. No downloading. No dumb CD’s. That is what albums should do to a music fan and Left Lane Cruiser hit it right on the head with this album. The artwork is excellent. The music is super dirty, raw and energetic while retaining all of the soul that blues music is known for. When a band can take the feel of their music and apply it to their artwork I feel that they win the game and in this case, Left Lane Cruiser’s “Bring Yo’ Ass To The Table” is a born winner.