Jul 022013


You may recall this series that Mr. Moderator has run in the past. He posts an album cover and then says:

In 50 words or less, please describe how the album cover for Album Title, by Artist says all that there is to say, for better and for worse, about the music contained within.

It’s gotten to the point where I have trouble listening to new music; too often it’s a letdown. More often than that, the new release lives down to my expectations, expectations based primarily on the album cover art. I know that’s not right; I know I shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but I do. As Paula Deen recently said, “I is what I is.” See if you don’t find yourself weeping in my strong embrace after you find yourself in the same boat with your reactions to the following relatively new releases. After the jump

Sep 092012

Elephants Memory n. A record that fails to live up to it’s packaging. See here for background.

Ever come across an album that looked so cool in its packaging that you had to buy it—possibly without the slightest idea what the record would sound like? Maybe it was the album sleeve artwork. Maybe it was the title. Maybe it was the die-cut sleeve. Maybe the album sleeve’s font caught you eye. Most likely it was some combination of factors that landed this slab of vinyl a loving home.

Sometimes there is truth in packaging that delivers. Other times, you’ve bought yourself an Elephants Memory.

Sep 152010


Certainly, you can’t judge a book by it’s cover. We know this to be true, or true enough that we do our part to pass this wisdom down to younger generations, but sometimes we do – judge a book, or record album, by it’s cover, that is. I’m sure I’m not the only Townsperson who’s bought an album based almost solely on the strength of its album cover.

Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake, in its die-cut, round cover, was a no-brainer purchase many years ago. I took it home, however, and never fell for it. A few years later I sold it, only to buy it again because the cover was so damn cool! I still don’t like that album.

On the other hand, there are some albums I’ve bought almost solely because of a cool album cover that have delivered. I picked up the first Undertones album based on the cover shot of those cheery, aware teens wearing “floods” before I knew anything about them other than the fact that they were one of those new-fangled punk bands I’d was just getting into. (As an aside, this old Trouser Press article I ran across reminds me that it’s no wonder I still love The Undertones as deeply and as personally as I do!)

There are others, I’m sure (in fact, I had one in mind when I thought about this thread, but it’s slipped my mind), and I’m sure I’ll remember some more as you share your album covers that delivered!

Apr 202010

“Good effort, but, like, they totally got the details wrong!”

I’ve yet to hear this new record by indie supergroup Sweet Apple (two members of Cobra Verde, J. Mascis, and one of Mascis’ bandmates in Witch), but I appreciated the tribute-style album cover the first time I saw it. I’m a Cobra Verde fan, so I’ll be picking up this album for more than one obvious reason.

However, soon after appreciating this album cover and determining that the women were lacking some of the charms of the models on Roxy Music‘s Country Life, I began to wonder whether I should don the patented RTH Pince Nez and critique all the details missed from the original album cover. Then, even sooner thereafter, I thought I should invite my fellow Townspeople to join in this critique. So put down your latest issue of Cat Fancy, blow your nose, pick up your monacle, and see if you can help me identify the key missing details that separates the women from the girls, in this case, when it comes to paying tribute to one of rock’s all-time greatest album covers.

I look forward to your respectful, family friendly analysis.

Mar 282010


You can’t judge an album by its cover, but let’s face it: sometimes we do. Based on cover art alone, which album was most likely to suck?

When you finally heard that album with the lousy record cover, did it actually suck, was there truth in packaging?

What’s a rare example of an album with a lousy cover that far surpassed your unfair expectations?

Aug 072009

Recently I had the pleasure of being contracted to design the art for the latest release by Philly phaves, Nixon’s Head. The Enemies List (available for purchase here) cover was an exercise of almost pure creativity. Listening and then designing.

The back cover though was a joy for different reasons. The band wanted the back to be a take on the back of The Beatles Rubber Soul. (I derive an odd pleasure from finding/duplicating just the right font.)

This got me thinking about album parodies and more specifically album backs. There are loads and loads of album parodies. Not the least of which include Townsman mrclean’s band, The Dead Milkmen’s Smokin’ Banana Peels cover:

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