In an age where some bands don’t even have album artwork anymore, while others are releasing their albums in eco-friendly, thinner-than-a-slice-of-American-cheese, recycled cardboard sleeves, I was somewhat surprised (and a little confused) earlier this year, when I received No Age’s brand new album, Nouns.
Unless your name is Conor Oberst, indie bands and labels usually don’t splurge on anything over a tri-fold album cover, but No Age’s Nouns is a ¼” thick and includes a 36-page colored–yeah, that’s right, I said “colored”–booklet.
Five pages of the booklet are dedicated to album info and lyrics, while the other 31 are filled with seemingly random pictures of landscapes, foreign dudes in whitie-tighties, band equipment, and backstage snapshots. There are also six colored pages that are completely blank.
(left: Jim trying to figure out the meaning behind the blank pieces of colored paper and the guys in the whitie-tighties.)
It almost took me longer to leaf through No Age’s album booklet than it did for me to listen to their album, which clocks in at a little over 30 minutes.
Because I know many major labels are strapped for cash this year, I could only imagine what indies are doing to save a penny. I highly doubt No Age are swimming in the moolah, let alone their label Sub Pop, and for that reason I was trying to figure out why it would be worth it to create such a deluxe (and abstract) album package. Imagine how many more packs of guitar strings you could have bought if you didn’t go with the 36-page booklet. If you went with a meager bi-fold (no staples), maybe you could’ve brought a merch guy out on tour with you?
This week though, the rational finally made sense.
The trashy-experimental-indie-rock duo, No Age, was nominated for a Grammy Award.
Best Recording Package.