Conor Oberst, man of many bands, returns with his punk flavored quartet Desaparecidos. The name of the new effort is Payola and it has an interesting album cover. A memo, complete with redactions (covered up with back marker), describes an alleged payola scheme. On the front cover of the album the redactions (black marker) are actually cut out and a black inner sleeve gives the illusion of the back marker. Is it cool? Hell yeah it's cool, but...
There have been many problematic packaging issues in the past that have actually caused damage to the records inside or were easily bent because of design. Rolling Stones Sticky Fingers had an pants zipper on the front that when shrink wrapped caused the records inside to warp. Recently a similar issue with the Father John Misty I Love You, Honeybear Deluxe packaging when the electronic music maker that reacted upon opening the gatefold cover also warped the beautiful color vinyl records inside. Despite these fails, so many other unique and inspired designs do well and often are limited in release making awesome collector finds.
So when receiving the new Desaparecidos we realized that the cut out parts of the front of the record makes for a very flimsy cover overall. When shrink wrapped the cover's outer corners want to curl up. No damage to the record that we can tell and no permanent damage to the cover, but it would be so easy for those corners to bend and with normal use most probably will.
So what does this mean to you? This may be a first edition collector item ready to happen! I have a feeling many of these are going to be returned along the way for bent covers, probably making the record label quickly stop the cut out portions and return it to a sturdier solid record cover with printed marker highlights (The back cover already has the printed marker as opposed to the cut out.) I compare this to the Wild Nothing Nocturne Album that features a windowpane cutout front cover that continues to be made and we continue to send back bent or creased.
The best news is that it is also a great record to listen to, so even if it doesn't turn out to be a collector's item you will still be happy with the purchase.
- Carter, IndieVinylDen.com