Favourite Album Covers (Part 1?)

Album covers were originally just flimsy bits of paper to try and protect the shiny goods underneath but they have since evolved into something that musicians can use for their artistic expression. Although many artists tend to go for a bland picture of themselves with an equally as bland background, some musicians have produced some iconic and fantastic artwork. Just so my list doesn’t come across as too bias I’m going to only put one album cover per artist, also this is just some of my favourites so if you don’t agree or don’t see any of your favourites then just drop a message in my ask.

Biffy Clyro – The Vertigo Of Bliss

download (5)

With erotic titled tracks like “Toys,Toys,Toys,Choke,Toys,Toys,Toys”, it should be no surprise that the cover, which was created by prolific comic book writer and artist Manera, for the cult Scottish rock band’s second album was equally as erotic and controversial.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs – It’s Blitz

download (6)

A testament to how simplicity can be equally as cool, the New York band’s cover for their critically acclaimed third album is egg-cellent.

Joy Division – Unknown Pleasures

Unknown_Pleasures_Joy_Division_LP_sleeve

It wouldn’t be an artwork list without mentioning one of the most iconic album covers of all time, one that features neither the artist’s name or the album name. Undoubtedly cool as well as simple, the set of successive pulses are from the first pulsar ever discovered,PSR B1919+21.

The Strokes – Is This It?

download (7)

Even on their debut, the New York band manage to cement their place as one of the coolest bands around. If it wasn’t their music, haircuts or names that done it then it had to be the album cover, one that’s become an all time classic and is instantly recognisable.

Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here

download (8)

EMI have stated that after Atom Heart Mother’s artwork that they knew working with the band would be difficult to work with. Although their previous album Dark Side Of The Moon’s front cover is far more recognisable, Pink Floyd’s artwork for their ninth album is equally as impressive. The image of two men having a handshake whilst one’s on fire is one that any music fan will recognise.

Nirvana – In Utero

download (9)

Cobain reportedly wanted to call Nirvana’s follow up album to Nevermind “I Hate Myself And I Want To Die” but thankfully bandmate Novosellic convinced him to change it. Although it would have made for some very odd artwork, In Utero still managed to have some equally as absurd artwork with a toned down title. It might not have the same cult status as Nevermind’s but In Utero still has one of the most odd yet captivating pieces of artwork for an album.

ALBUM REVIEW: TURN BLUE – THE BLACK KEYS

The Black Keys aren’t exactly new to the music scene. In their career that has spanned 13 years, Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney have released 7 albums that have gathered praise from critics and rock fans alike, most notably their 2010 release Brothers which brought the duo a lot of commercial success as they were now a grammy winning household name. Have the Ohio boys managed to continue their golden run with Turn Blue or has the success finally came to a halt?

One thing that you can rely the Black Keys delivering the goods on is production values and Turn Blue isn’t any different. Co-Producer Brian “Danger Mouse” Burton returns to lend a helping hand after assisting on El Camino and Brothers and his involvement really shows, managing to use the band’s blues rock canvas and fine stroking every detail that adds to the artistic brilliance of this album. This isn’t just a one man effort like it may have been back when the band started off as Auerbach and Carney are well regarded producers themselves with Dan assisting the likes of Lana Del Rey while Patrick has helped with lower profile bands like The Sheepdogs. You’d expect too many producers meddling with the sound to spoilt it but it does just the opposite.

After 8 albums, you’d expect Auerbach and Carney’s quality song-writing and talent to slip somewhat but you’d be wrong. The title track manages to highlight Auerbach’s falsetto voice’s finesse which prowls after Carney’s pitter patter drums which help to create a song that’s large in scale and one that needs to be listened through earphones, as advised by the duo, to really experience every fine detail that it captivates. Fever, the record’s first single, has an almost cyborg sounding background noise at the start and the rest of the track is just as interesting, showing the duo’s funkiness and an organ melody that once you’ve heard, you’ll fall in love with instantly. In Time features some ghostly vocals that are weirdly seductive sounding at the same time, as if Patrick Swayze somehow made his way onto the track. One of Turn Blue’s highlights has to be opening track Weight Of Love that has an intro so reminiscent of Pink Floyd’s Speak To Me/ Breathe that you can see the 70’s influence escaping from your earphones. At 7 minutes long, it ‘s dangerously close to overstaying it’s welcome but its absence would definitely be one that would be missed.

Image

Other critics, I’m looking at you NME, might complain that Turn Blue isn’t like the band’s previous outings but when an alteration of the formula sounds as funky, psychedelic and overall amazing as Black Key’s latest record is, is that really a bad thing? The duo’s golden run is still continuing and at this rate, it’ll be one to make Dorothy herself jealous.

CLASSIC REVIEW: The Strokes – Is This It

Whether you like to call it the 2000’s or the noughties,there’s no doubt that the decade was a very exciting time for music as not only were applauded albums by former well praised bands released, Radiohead’s Kid A as an example, but the new wave of bands not only surprised critics but intrigued them as well with bands like Bloc Party and Arctic Monkeys releasing some of the best albums to be released in the past 15 years.

One band that can proudly admit to being a part of this new wave are The Strokes, an American rock band that hail from New York, who came out of nowhere to not only release one of the most exciting pieces of music in the past couple of decades but also change the face of modern rock as we know it.

Throughout this album, there’s an ever present mood and atmosphere that are wonderfully brought to life by various aspects of the band, be it Casablancas’ hauntingly mesmerising voice which narrates the 11 tracks on this album, the dexterous and dazzling guitar performances by Valensi, Hammond Jnr and Fraiture or Moretti’s consistent flow that he provides on drums.

The songs on this album are of a very high standard and observe the life and times of living in a metropolis such as New York City. A song which represents this very well is the opening track Is This It? that tells of the manipulation that relationships can be a victim of with Casablanca’s voice hovering gracefully over the sound of quiet drums and a calming choir of guitars and this same theme continues over to Last Nite. This track gained the band a lot of initial hype and tells of the disappointment and aggravation that relationships can provide over time with a very upbeat tempo which will stick in your mind long after the album is finished.

image

New York City Cops is clearly a not so sly hit at the city’s police department with a tongue in cheek snort at the end that adds to the album’s unique charisma. Take It Or Leave It is the concluding track and what a send off it is with Casablancas shouting over a hyperactive clash of drums and guitars that provide a brilliant album for the band’s debut.

What else can be said about an album that hasn’t been said by the hundreds of thousands of people that have listened to it? The album not only provides an insight into life in New York City but also provides the kind of character and charm that most albums can only dream of having. The album is a milestone is music and it’s no surprise that the album is regarded as one of the best albums ever made and the thing that makes me appreciate the album is even though the themes on this album were initially to give an insight of a life in a metropolis, it’s oddly relatable and explains why the album is cherished by music lovers all around the world as well as showing why this album is the greatest record produced during the noughties.