FAVOURITE ALBUM COVERS #3

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: Here are just a handful of them.

Aphex Twin – Richard D. James Album

Aphex Twin has always been a bit of a weird character. Just like his collaborations with Chris Cunningham where his eerie smile was worn by creepy school children and hydrocephalic ravers, the Richard D. James Album manages to send a menacing vibe though without any need a faceswap. Every little detail, especially the lighting which adds to the sinisterness with touches like the glimmering eyes, lets listeners know from the get go that what they’re about to witness is just as peculiar and odd as the cover itself.

Bombay Bicycle Club – I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose

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Adorning the debut of geeky indie rock band Bombay Bicycle Club’s debut album, I Had The Blues… smartly chooses artwork that manages to represent the music hidden behind its noir colour. Taken by the late American photographer Joseph Sterling, well known for his Age of Adolescence collection, the story behind it further reinforces the youthful nature that drives the album. In Sterling’s own words:

“I took the picture in the early 1960’s along the Lake Michigan lakefront in Chicago,” wrote Joseph Sterling “It was in an area where a lot of kids hung out. A large group would take a blanket, holding it all around the edges, one guy (or girl) would lay on it and then the group of kids would lift and then “drop” it to almost the ground repeatedly and build up power and then throw the kid on the blanket very high in the air. Then they would catch him as he came down and probably do it again. It looked like a lot of fun but you had to have a lot of trust in your friends! It was a pretty popular thing at that time. I don’t know if kids do it now. It can be VERY DANGEROUS! (But they were doing this on a sand beach)”

-Liam Menzies (@blinkclyro)

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FAVOURITE ALBUM COVERS #2

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: Here are just a handful of them.

Death GripsThe Money Store

Starting things off a bit risque, Death Grip’s most acclaimed album also has their second most shocking album cover with No love Deep Web’s dick pic being the victor. While it simply looks like an odd man being chained up by a smoking girl, in an interview with Pitchfork the band went into detail about the cover, stating:

We consider ourselves feminists, we fiercely support homosexuality, transparent world leadership, and the idea of embracing yourself as an individual in any shape or form. Acceleration is a mantra, we’re not a political band, we are freaks and outsiders. It was important to project that message and energy through the artwork of this album. This is free thinking and eternally open-ended music… [The cover] is like an ambassador to the sound.

The cover is ultimately quite fitting with the hard hitting, bombastic sound being wonderfully accompanied by the masochistic relationship depicted, one listen turning you into the sub to Death Grip’s dom.

Outkast – Stankonia

While this cover falls into the cliche of “artist standing in front of background”, Outkast, much like with their music, stand out in quite a subtle way. Presenting Andre Benjamin and Antwan Patton , it could easily just be a patriotic cover until you notice American flag is purely black and white, no doubt hinting to the racial tension in the US. Despite being released in 2000, the message is still just as strong now as it was then and it manages to do so without being in your face, unlike Outkast themselves who are so fresh and so clean that they managed to make their mark off Stankonia alone: who says you can’t be funky and socially aware?

Foals – Antidotes

It seems that as rock juggernauts Foals shapeshift and evolve with each new record so to do their covers. Total Life Forever showed the band submerged underwater, no doubt to match the tranquil nature of the record, and Holy Fire having some stern horses that can be easily compared to the strength and beauty of that album. However, love it or hate it, Antidotes has the best cover of the lot with a simply drawn man with a mouth full of vibrant, colourful…things. Much like the behaviour many critics at the time had towards Foals, some calling them off as just another indie rock act, the band knew themselves that their appearance was deceiving as they had something interesting worth saying: thank god we let them.

Liam Menzies

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

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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

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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?

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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

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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

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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.