Tuesday, July 19, 2011

From the ITAV Design Studio: New 7" from Narc Out The Reds drops July 21st!

Coming out hot-on-the-heels of their new single for ITAV, Narc Out The Reds will be releasing a new double single on inky-black 7-inch vinyl Thursday, July 21st at Mac's Bar before immediately departing on an east coast tour with The Hat Madder.

I had the honor of working on the cover art for all-of-the-above.  In fact, in many ways I've been preparing to do the Pawnmower artwork for over a decade!

The concept for Pawnmower dates back to about 2000, before Chris Baratono had even formed Narc Out The Reds.  Chris had recently finished recording the lost Lansing indie rock classic From Turmoil's Soil with his former band The Caustic Pop, and we were working together at a Tower Records in East Lansing.  Chris mentioned that he had begun writing a song, "Pawnmower," and we started talking about vinyl cover art.  I think even a decade ago, it was always the intent that this would be on vinyl. 

I produced a hasty ballpoint sketch not that dissimilar to the finished piece.  Leak In The Disease, the flip-side of Pawnmower portrays a bleeding, machine-gunned jukebox as an extension of this idea, so as a double A-side 7" single, Leak In The Disease/Pawnmower forms an interesting dual visual narrative, full of suggestions of meaning but elusive as to who exactly the pawns are.  Are we the pawns?  Is this a polemic against fascism?  What does the drop of blood clinging to the jukebox's coin return slot insinuate?  Who pilots the plane strafing the pawns and (presumably) the jukebox?  Us?  The band?  The "industry?"  Is the jukebox standing heroically, or has it just faced a firing squad?  Despite the enigmatic qualities, I still wanted these images to buzz -- to actually produce an audible buzzing noise.  That proved technically impractical, so I got as close as I could.

Once again, I relied on World War II/Cold War-era propaganda as my source material.  The technology for jukeboxes and the technology for fighter planes arose during roughly the same era -- a 40-year pocket of time that pitted ever more fearsome mechanized engines of war against the freewheeling ideas of jazz and the early thrashing fun of rock'n'roll.

Narc Out The Reds, The Hat Madder, The Fencemen, Frank And Earnest, and Aspiga will be playing at Mac's Bar this Thursday, July 21st (Facebook event here).  Obviously, that's a not-to-be-missed lineup.  Immediately before the show, starting at 8 PM, Narc Out The Reds and The Hat Madder will be on 88.9 FM's "The Basement" spinning the new 7-inch as well as the Hat Madder's über-catchy new single Mayflies... and maybe, just maybe these songs too.

Immediately after the show, the two bands will be piling into their vans and departing on a night drive for Brooklyn, NY, the first stop of their campaign supporting this hot new circle of wax.

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