Official Release #65. The full saga of Läther (pronounced leather) is tangled enough to give a migraine to all but committed Zappaphiles. Basically, what you need to know is that this project was originally conceived of as a four-record box set. When record company politics prevented its release in that format, much of the material was spread over the albums Live in New York, Sleep Dirt, Studio Tan, and Orchestral Favorites. This three-CD set presents the album as it was originally conceived, with the addition of four bonus tracks at the end. It mixes previously available material, alternate mixes, and edits, and previously unissued stuff, though only the most serious Zappa fans will have a good grip on exactly what has appeared where (the liner notes are surprisingly unexact in this regard).
…Continuous European Tours followed, with an average of 125 concerts a year. They shared the stage with musicians such as Iggy Pop, Lou Reed, Mudhoney, Vic Chesnutt, Chumbawamba, Sister Double Happiness, Noir Désir, H-Blockx, The Notwist, The Jesus Lizard, Sonic Youth and Soul Asylum. Their communal way of touring and devoted fans led to Germany's Rolling Stone magazine calling A Subtle Plague "the Grateful Dead of the '90s". The end of the millennium brought the end of A Subtle Plague and a change towards the sounds of the folk and roots music of their upbringing.
Official Release #65. LATHER (pronounced "leather") was recorded in the 1970s and originally intended as a 4-LP box set. It was, however, never released that way; instead, the material from the project dribbled out over the course of 1978 and 1979 on the albums ZAPPA IN NEW YORK, SLEEP DIRT, STUDIO TAN, ORCHESTRAL FAVORITES and SHEIK YERBOUTI. This 1996 release is the first issue of the full LATHER, and it features four previously-unreleased songs, along with previously-unreleased versions or mixes of many of the tracks. Recorded between 1973 and 1977.
Angel, an exterminator recently released from a mental hospital, comes to rid a small Spanish town of tiny grubs in the soil. The local wine-making industry has found these pests responsible for giving their product an "earthy" taste that has divided local opinion. While in town, Angel becomes involved with two beautiful and very different women, and impacts their lives on a grand scale. Can either of these women accept the fact that Angel travels with a "ghost" of himself, or that he routinely speaks with the deseased townspeople?