On the Web Category
RockPop Gallery recently tipped us to a new blog via their Facebook page that features Photoshop creations that combine popular album covers with cute kittens. The Kitten Covers appears to be a clever promotion for a small business called AYM Visuals. The promotion appears to be quite an Internet hit, with several major blog articles. Can a Honey Badger album cover website with narration by Randall be very far in the future?
Those who grew up during those decades like I did will recognize many of these albums from their own collections. The Disney sound effects album was played every year. Check it out and see if they've posted your Halloween favorite.
Today would have been Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury's 65th birthday. To help celebrate Freddie Mercury Day, a new animated Google doodle on the Google UK homepage. The video posted below demonstrates what users see when they click the play button.
In addition to the Google doodle, musicians, singers and other celebrities (including Miss Piggy) are uploading tribute videos to YouTube.
Cover Smart is a new website that features a new album art quiz each weekday. This is one of those things that I have to disqualify myself from simply because I am more of a professional expert on album covers with an almost photographic memory for them. However, the quizzes posted to the site so far are fairly challenging. There are covers that most album art fans will recognize immediately and few that are a bit more obscure.
Last week, Madonna announced a YouTube video contest to mark the 25th anniversary of her third studio album, True Blue. Fans are being asked to upload videos of themselves either lipsyncing or dancing to tracks from the album. The videos will be posted on Madonna's official website and to her Facebook page. Contest details are included in the promotional video posted below. The winner will receive a personalized, signed copy of the album.
The iconic photograph of Madonna that was used for the cover of True Blue was taken by the late American fashion photographer Herb Ritts. Ritts photographed dozens of major celebrities during his career. He also directed music videos for artists such as Madonna, Janet Jackson and Britney Spears.
The True Blue album is also notable because it was one of the last LP packages of the era to be marketed with deluxe features. It included a foldout poster of the cover that features an extended version of the photograph (right).
Like many of my generation, True Blue was the last LP that I purchased. The age of the CD had become firmly established and in a few years turntables and 12" albums would seem like ancient relics. Of course, those LPs are now valuable collector's items. Original LPs with the poster can be purchased on eBay from $15 to $65, depending on condition.
British actor, BBC television presenter and DJ Reggie Yates has four hilarious album cover parodies on the BBC Radio 1 website. There are clever reproductions of album covers by the Glee Cast, Adele, Cee Lo Green and Jessie J, all featuring Reggie as the recording artist. My favorite is the Jessie J cover (below).
The photograph used on the cover of The Beatles' eleventh studio album was taken by photographer Iain Macmillan, who stood on a step-ladder while a police officer held up the traffic. The photograph was taken at 11:30 in morning and it seems that is the time that many people feel will be best for getting the right light and shadows.
It is amazing that, 42 years after the album was released, people flock to the location to take their own Abbey Road photograph. The location is now simply referred to as "The Crossing" and is recognized as one of the London area's top tourist destinations.
Watching tourist brave traffic to get their photographs can be a bit unsettling. If you watch long enough, you may even see a couple of small quarrels between groups waiting to get the best shot.
Lady Gaga has posted a video preview of the upcoming Glee episode that will feature her hit single Born This Way to YouTube. The episode is scheduled to air on Tuesday, April 26, 2011.
I was somewhat disappointed to see that they didn't create special cover art for the Born This Way episode. Special art was used for the Power of Madonna episode last year. Since this will probably be one of the biggest selling singles of all time, it probably deserves special treatment.
Singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright is giving fans an opportunity to submit their photos of him to be included in the artwork for the forthcoming box set, House of Rufus. Submissions are being requested via Wainwright's Facebook page. The deadline for entries is April 26, 2011.
According to the official contest rules, Wainwright will select the winning photographs himself. Drawings, paintings or sketches will also be accepted.Comment on Facebook
Counting Crows frontman Adam Duritz has been conducting an online album cover contest for his solo album All My Bloody Valentines. Fans can visit a special webpage to upload their original artwork and download seven tracks.
Artwork that has been submitted is being uploaded on the official Counting Crows Facebook page. There are already several hundred submissions on display in five photo albums. Of course, there are lots of bloody hearts. However, many of the covers are quite good. Duritz will have a tough time choosing a winner.
I have received a couple of emails from readers about an article on the Entertainment Weekly website that raises the question of whether or not the cover of Lady Gaga's forthcoming single is a ripoff of the cover for a 2007 single by Kylie Minogue.
While there are some vague similarities, I guess the folks at EW didn't notice that Lady Gaga's photo has been altered. What looks like budding horns and bat wings have been added to the image. Kylie was going for a retro New Wave glam look. Lady Gaga is obviously supposed to look like some kind of demon freak. I doubt that there is any connection between these two covers.
|Kylie Minogue - 2 Hearts||Lady Gaga - Born This Way|
I found this cool video on YouTube of artist Christopher Konecki creating the cover for the debut album by San Diego reggae band Subliminal Trip. I do not have a release date for the album. You can check out Konecki's website for a look at his portfolio.
Singer-songwriter Tino Coury has posted a YouTube video asking fans to submit their designs for the cover of his forthcoming album to his official Facebook page. Titled Page One, the album is scheduled to be released sometime next month.
Vinyl framing specialist Art Vinyl recently announced that the winner of their Best Art Vinyl 2010 poll is the Klaxons album Surfing the Void. Swim by Caribou took second place and the Swiss dance label Cadenza was thrid with their four-track 12" EP of dance music Split.
This was the sixth year of the Best Art Vinyl online poll, which is designed to highlight the very best in sleeve design. Initial nominees were selected by a panel of expert sleeve designers before a public vote conducted both online and in person at six exhibitions in the UK, France, Belgium and Sweden.
The award was created by Art Vinyl, the London-based creator of the patented Play & Display frame which enables the owner to create their own updateable sleeve exhibits, using a hinged display frame.
Since 2005, Art Vinyl and their panel of music industry design experts nominate 50 sleeve designs from among UK and European releases for the award. The public is then invited to vote online to determine the winning design.
My favorites are Are You Experienced by The Jimi Hendrix Experience and Led Zeppelin I. They also have Metallica and Sex Pistols covers.
I was browsing Amazon.com this evening and came across this listing for an import version of Justin Bieber's album My Worlds. It looks as if Amazon.com customer Ian Porter had a little fun at Bieber's expense by uploading a photograph of Weekly World News character Bat Boy as album cover art.
I think this is very appropriate for Halloween. Justin Bieber fans are free to share their outrage in the comments section.
Sadly, I recently read at the popular blog Joe.My.God. that Medium Rare Music in San Francisco may be closing soon. A "For Lease" sign is now displayed over the storefront (right). So, it is great to see a record store doing such innovative promotions to attract customers.
My dad has a summer home in nearby Deer Park and I am certainly going to pay Jive Time Records a visit the next time I am there. And, I will be sure to print out the coupons that are available on their website.
The video certainly isn't scandalous. However, there are definitely some homoerotic aspects to it. I think it could be interpreted to be more about friendship than a romantic relationship.
The music video is appropriate for the sentimental lyrics of the song. I can't imagine anyone being offeneded by this. Although, I can understand the comparison to Brokeback Mountain.
Justin Bieber released a video for his single Love Me on YouTube today. The track was released as an iTunes exclusive single as part of the countdown to the release of Justin's debut album, My World late last year. It debuted at #37 in the Hot 100.
Like all of Bieber's other album and single covers, Bieber appeared on the cover of Love Me with a tough guy scowl. It looks as if he's had the longest case of constipation in the history of the music business. I would like to see him smile just once. I mean, what would make a 16-year-old millionaire so miserable?
A video of the photo shoot for Eminem's latest album Recovery (right) is on its way to going viral today. The video has been featured on the MTV website and several blogs since being posted on YouTube yesterday.
It is a nice little documentary of the creation of the album cover. Eminem explains the concept and the art director and photographer are shown during the creative process.
I wish more recording artists would do this kind of thing. It is a great way to give credit to the creative professionals who work behind the scenes.
Coco Sumner is an English musician who records under the name I Blame Coco. Her first album, The Constant, is scheduled to be released in the U.K. on October 4, 2010. The first single Caesar (right), which features pop singer Robyn, was released in February.
Sumner is the daughter of Sting and Trudie Styler. So, her debut album is certain to be closely watched by the media.
Several days ago, a video of the photo shoot for the album was posted on YouTube. It is a short clip that lasts for one minute. It shows Sumner supposedly posing for photos, while a soundtrack plays.
The reason why I'm writing about this is that several of the comments on YouTube are reactions to Sumner's cigarette smoking. I have to admit that I was more turned off by her grubby-looking fingers and greasy hair.
I guess the days when recording artists could look cool by puffing on a cigarette are over. Looking at the album cover, I can't help thinking about Sumner's dirty hands fumbling with an old pocket watch and a smoke. She is a beautiful young woman. I don't know why she would want to look like a homeless person.
Roadrunner Records is doing a countdown of the Ten Greatest Album Covers in Roadrunner History. The label has been producing records in the metal genre since 1980, so I am sure the Roadrunner staff has a lot of album covers from which to choose.
Here is a video of Roadrunner senior VP Monte Conner talking about #10 in the countdown, King Diamond's Abigail.
I just found this video on YouTube in which Graham Nash tells a great story about the cover of the first Crosby, Stills and Nash album. I won't give it away. You have to listen to it yourself (I promise it is priceless).
I stumbled on an interesting website today that promotes a “Belle & Sebastian Night” at a Chicago club with an online application that allows users to create their own version of the band’s album covers. The website uses a webcam photo as the background for the image. Users can choose various album titles and background colors.
I chose the 1996 album If You’re Feeling Sinister to create my graphic (right). It is actually a decent approximation of the real cover. I suppose I could have posed in bed with a book on my pillow to get a better result. It is certainly a unique way to promote an event.
I stumbled on this video of the photo shoot for Adam Lambert’s album cover today. It shows Lambert camping it up for the camera and trying out different looks. It is an interesting behind-the-scenes of how an album cover is photographed.
The cover of For Your Entertainment caused quite a stir when it was revealed in October. Tha album debuted at #3 on the Billboard 200 and is currently at #29.
Like many others, I was disappointed with the album cover. It really can’t be taken seriously. Yet, it isn’t over-the-top enough to be considered camp.
In recognition of the 60th anniversary of jazz label Prestige Records, Concord Music Group has added a slideshow of classic Prestige Records album covers to their official Facebook page. The slideshow features 100 album covers from the Prestige catalog.
Paste magazine has published a list of the 25 Best Albums of the Decade (even though the decade has an entire month to go) and Neko Case’s Middle Cyclone was chosen as number one. I think this is a surprising choice, considering how many amazing album covers have been created over the last ten years. Middle Cyclone is a 2009 release. Perhaps the fact that it is so recent made it seem more impactful than time will prove.
The cover features Case crouched on the hood of a 1968 Mercury Cougar and weilding a sword. It is definitely a dynamic and memorable image. I just don’t think it deserves to be named the best of the decade.
The runner up is Animal Collective’s Merriweather Post Pavillion, which features an optical illusion image by Akiyoshi Kitaoka, a professor at the Department of Psychology of Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, Japan. I have to agree with this choice completely. It is an amazing work of art and science.
In third place place is the repulsive cover for I Get Wet by Andrew W.K. I have disliked this particular cover since the moment it first grossed me out. This cover has actually appeared on several “worst ever” lists. I am somewhat surprised that it appears on the list.
Posted by: Music Hog
Posted by: locovic21legan
Check out the entire list. There are several other surprises, such as Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter III that was chosen for being “simultaneously hilarious and also mildly disturbing” rather than good design.
On November 3, Art Vinyl, a British manufacturer of a unique flip frame display for 12” record sleeves, launched an online competition for the best sleeve art of 2009. Art Vinyl and a panel of experts, has selected 50 sleeve designs that are currently being shown in exhibitions in London and around the U.K.
The best album art will be chosen through a public poll on the Art Vinyl website (see link below) and the winners will be announced on January 5, 2010.
The Best Art Vinyl poll is in its fifth year. Previous winners of the award include Hard-Fi’s Stars of CCTV in 2005, Thom Yorke’s The Erase’ in 2006, The Cribs Man’s Needs, Woman’s Needs, Whatever in 2007 and last year the winner was Fleet Foxes’ self titled debut album, which won with more than 3,000 public votes.
The nominating panel for this year’s competition were: Mark Sinclair of Creative Review, Spencer Hicks of Rough Trade, John Doran, Editor of The Quietus and Andrew Heeps, Director of Art Vinyl 2.
Alternative rock band Weezer is known for using geeky humor in their music videos. However, their recent infomercial that promotes the their new album Raditude by including it with a special Weezer branded Snuggie is not a joke.
Those who order the infamous blanket with sleeves with the band’s name printed on the front will also get the Raditude CD. The Snuggie and Raditude combination comes in both a standard and deluxe version.
The album cover for Raditude caused an Internet sensation several weeks ago when it was revealed along with a Photoshop template that allows fans to add their own backgrounds to the image. The album was released today and is also available without the Snuggie on Amazon.com.
Imagine wearing a tribute to a classic album cover on your feet. That is the idea with Converse’s new Chuck Taylor high top sneakers that bear the words from The Clash’s London Calling. Fashion website Highsnobiety has the details and photos.
For Spring 2010 Converse continues their music collaboration series and presents a capsule footwear collection with The Clash. They present a series of Chuck Taylor Hi’s in the collection, including white leather versions, as well as black and khaki canvas versions. All sneakers come with interesting details on the sole and the upper, in the form of special tags, prints and more.
In case you are not familiar with London Calling, it is recognized as one of the top rock albums of all time by many experts, including Rolling Stone magazine.
Online art, fashion, photography and entertainment media magazine Dazed Digital is conducting an album cover competition. The winner’s album art will be used as the cover for a compilation CD from U.K. record label Full Time Hobby called Hobbyism.
We’re looking for original work from aspiring photographers, illustrators, typographers and artists - it’s up to you what you create and how you go about it, but it will need to be able to fit on a standard CD and don’t forget this is for Full Time Hobby’s Hobbyism compilation!!
All artwork must be designed in high-resolution, 300dpi and final artwork may need to be modified due to any necessary production constraints.
Rock band Phish is promoting their Halloween Festival 8 performance with a special website that displays album art for the various albums that they are considering covering live that evening. Albums that have literally been given the axe (or stabbed, shot with arrows, etc.) are the ones that have been removed from consideration.
I just noticed a trending topic on Twitter called #chartjackers and did a quick Google search to find out what it is. I discovered that ChartJackers is some kind of YouTube project involving a BBC documentary and four young guys making a pop music single.
Frankly, I found it all a bit confusing. It all seems like cheap publicity stunt. A video posted on October 15 shows one of the guys asking people to submit artwork for the cover of the single.
Unfortunately, he did not mention the name of the single and refused to play it. So, these people are asking for artwork based on absolutely nothing. The designer does not know the name of song, what it is about, or anything. Not only that, there is no mention of how much they are willing to pay — which makes me believe that they are asking a graphic designer to work for free.
Good luck with that. Watch the video and I’m sure that unless you are a teenage girl (or otherwise inclined to appreciate a cute boy) you will find this young man’s coyness to be quite annoying. Does anyone really have time for this kind of tease? Either play the song or shut up!
INOUDID’s Attic uses the covers of unplayable LPs to create unique coasters. The coasters can be used as a simple puzzle and keep rings off your furniture.
Each LP results in nine coasters and there are dozens of artists from which to choose. I selected Revolver by The Beatles to use as an illustration for article, but there are country, jazz, pop, and many other genres represented in the coasters that are available on the website.
A set of nine is priced at $35, which seems very reasonable for something that is handcrafted and one of a kind. This seems like a great gift for any album art lover.
Amazon.com currently has a meter posted on their music store that compares the album sales of 2009 American Idol contestants, Adam Lambert, Kris Allen, and Allison Iraheta (right). Many of you will recall that Kris Allen won the competition even though Lambert was considered by many to be a sure bet.
I know that whenever I do a blog article about Adam Lambert, traffic increases dramatically. It has been reported that Lambert is outselling all other artists in presales.
The meter shows that Lambert is ahead of Allen and Iraheta by a wide margin. His album doesn’t even have a title and album art yet. I am certain that the release of the album art will cause a huge surge in traffic here on the AAX blog. It is safe to say that his is one of the most anticipated albums of the year. It is too bad that people who vote for American Idol aren’t required to do so with their wallets. If that were the case, Lambert would have won by a landslide.
A lip dub is a popular video fad that is currently sweeping college campuses. It is basically lip syncing to a popular pop song on video by several people. One of the lastest innovations is to do a lipdub in one continuous take. The camera pans from person to person as they lip sync perfectly to the song. As you can imagine this can be very difficult to accomplish.
When lip dubs go viral on the Internet, they have the potential to increase sales of a popular single significantly. Therefore, record labels tend to turn a blind eye to this particular use of their songs.
Recently, I viewed a wonderful lip dub by 172 communications students at the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM) that literally brought tears of joy to my eyes. It is lip synced to Black Eyed Peas hit single I Gotta Feeling. You may not tear up like I did, but I promise that you will smile. (For those of you with college-aged kids, please ignore the bottle of gin.)
Spinner.com reported today that rock band 30 Seconds to Mars is asking their fans to submit photos of their faces via a website for use on 2,000 album covers.
The first 2,000 people who submit their mug to the ‘Faces of Mars’ campaign on the 30 Seconds website and meet the proper specifications will be on one of 2,000 individual covers for ‘This is War’ actually going to stores.
According to Leto, this isn’t a publicity stunt but a “thank you” to the band’s followers. “I thought that the ‘Faces of Mars’ campaign would be a way to acknowledge all the people who have supported us throughout the years,” he says.
Madonna has a cool promotional website for her forthcoming album Celebration. The site features a Flash toolkit that you can use to upload your own photo and place yourself on the cover. You can even paint your face with ridiculous blue eyeshadow and red lipstick.
The AlbumArtExchange blog now has a YouTube channel. It will be the place to find the new and notable music videos and videos about album art that are posted on the blog. Plus, you’ll find many videos that didn’t make it as blog material or are still waiting in the wings. Check it out!
The cover was voted the best of the new releases for the week of September 8, 2009 in our POLLpigeon poll. I believe that it is an exceptional cover that can stand on its own as a work of art.
It is rare for a star of Jay-Z’s status not to appear on the album cover. I believe that this is the first time for Jay-Z. The image took photographer Dan Tobin Smith three days to create and shoot the still life image.
Susan Boyle just keeps amazing the world with her beautiful voice. On Sunday, what is supposed to be the first single from her forthcoming album, I Dreamed A Dream, was released on the Internet. Most people are surprised to discover that it is a cover of The Rolling Stones 1971 song Wild Horses.
Wild Horses was not a huge hit for the Stones. It peaked at #28 on the charts. However, it is one of their most covered songs, with almost 30 artist having recorded it over the years. The song is third track on the classic album Sticky Fingers, which also includes Brown Sugar and Sister Morphine.
Here is the Susan Boyle cover of Wild Horses. My interest in buying this album jumped dramatically after listening to it.
In the short time since Weezer’s cover for their forthcoming album Raditude made its debut, the Internet has gone wild for image of Sidney the dog leaping across his owner’s living room (right). It has also started a new Photoshop fad — placing Sidney in other locations, especially your own living room.
An artist who goes by the handle DuckyInferno has created a cutout that people are using to make their own version of the album cover. The cutout is one of the best that I have ever seen. It is 1500 x 1500 pixels and the designer obviously spent a great deal of time creating it.
You are likely to find hundreds of versions of the cover that show Sidney doing everything from jumping the Grand Canyon and the Great Wall of China to pouncing on an alien from outer space. This is a Photoshop fad that is certain to go viral.
Here is Sidney leaping through my own living room. If you download the cutout and use it to place Sidney somewhere cool (like your own house or apartment) send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
When I was in elementary school, I was the kid with the ugly plaid lunchbox. It wasn’t that I was a nerd. I simply didn’t think that The Partridge Family or any of the other TV characters that appeared on lunchboxes during my school days were something I could commit to carrying around every day.
Lunchboxes.com has given cool kids (and adults) of today a selection of lunchboxes that far exceeds what can be found at the local Walmart. The designs available on the website include many classic album covers, such as The Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s, Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of The Moon, and The Rolling Stones Tattoo You.
This is a great way to utilize classic album cover art. I wish these had been available when I was a kid. I think I would have carried the one that has the cover of Jimi Hendrix’s Are You Experienced? Can you imagine how that would go over with other 3rd graders? Yeah, I was a weird kid.
Since the death of Michael Jackson, there have been a few new albums released under his name. Most of them have had very tasteful album covers and a couple are actually worth owning. The Stripped Mixes is a good example. The album is a Motown collection of Jackson hits that have been stripped down to the original vocals and studio instrumentation. The cover features a photograph that is relatively unknown to Jackson fans.
Today, I just came across one of the first albums I have seen that appears to exploit Michael Jackson’s name. This album can probably be described as a “rip off” based simply on the way it is listed for sale on Amazon.com.
In Memory Of Michael Jackson: 1958-2009 does not appear to be an authorized release of music performed by Michael Jackson. The listing on Amazon.com does not include a track list nor the names of the artists who perform them. However, the artist is listed as Michael Jackson.
The album cover is not what one would expect from a label that is authorized to release Michael Jackson’s original material. It is also clearly marked “The Tribute Compilation”, which indicates that this album is more likely a tribute to Jackson by other artists.
Unfortunately, many consumers are likely to purchase this album thinking that it contains music performed by Michael Jackson. Over the next few months, we can anticipate that more albums bearing the name Michael Jackson and his likeness will pop up online and in record stores. Be very careful when purchasing these items. You may not be getting what is advertised.
The only rules are: Use the Basshunter logo
Include the album title, ‘Bass Generation’ in your design
Include the release date, 28.09.09
The rest is up to you. To enter, right click here and ‘save as’ to download the logo, then upload your design to Basshunter’s Bebo Photo Stream! If you don’t have photoshop, you can download the logo as a jpeg below!
The winner will receive their artwork signed, framed and presented to them by Basshunter at the Bass Generation tour! Get your designs in by 2nd September. Please note that this will not be the official artwork for the album, it is just for fun!
Remember, you are the Bass Generation.
In related news, Basshunter has just released a new music video for his upcoming single Every Morning. There isn’t any cover art for this single yet. But, it is worth watching because it is one of the strangest music videos I’ve seen in a very long time.
When you strat watching it, it seems like a typical youth-centric dance music video. But, the end will leave you asking “WTF?!” It is perhaps the stupidest ending for a music video of this kind imaginable.
While browsing online today, I came across the following question about the Eagles’ Hotel California on a message board:
On the cover of The Eagles album Hotel California, there is a picture of an abandoned hotel with someone in the doorway. When they took the picture there was no one in the hotel, and when they developed the picture it seemed as if there was no one there. But on the album cover there appeared someone in the doorway. The story is that a person died in the hotel before it became abandoned and then appeared in the photo. Is this real or just nonsense?
I’ve heard variations of this urban legend for years. Sometimes, it involves the inside cover image which is supposed to be of the hotel’s lobby. This time, the writer specifically mentions the cover. So, let’s take a look at it.
As you can see, there’s no one standing in the doorway. Also, the hotel in the photograph can hardly be called “abandoned” since it is the world-famous Beverly Hills Hotel. The hotel is old. However, it is not abandoned. It is a Southern California landmark. The photo at right was taken in 1925. You can clearly see the two towers shown on the Hotel California cover.
A variation on this myth involves the inside cover lobby photo. That photograph was taken at a hotel in Hollywood that has since been converted into an
I guess the song Hotel California lends itself to these kinds of rumors. The lyrics are kind of spooky — if you take them literally.
Perhaps people who are not from the Western United States view the mission revival architecture of the Beverly Hills Hotel to be somewhat exotic. I suppose the album cover could have an eerie look to people who aren’t familiar with the location. But, the photograph was taken on prime real estate in the heart of Beverly Hills.
So, I hope I’ve help put this urban legend to rest. There is no ghost on the cover of Hotel California — unless it is the ghost of 1970s rock.
On August 12, 1877, Thomas Edison invented the phonograph. His device used a cylinder to record and playback sound. The disc record (gramophone record) was invented over 10 years later by Emile Berliner, a German-born American inventor.
So, for some strange reason, August 12 has been declared Vinyl Record Day by a nonprofit organization — even though Edison did not invent the vinyl record. Personally, I think Berliner’s May 20 birthday would be a more appropriate choice. But, I guess Thomas Edison has more appeal to Americans than the man who actually invented the record as we know it today. (I apologize for my German-American pride coming through here.)
Anyway, the mission of the organization is noble enough:
Vinyl Record Day hopes to increase awareness that economics prevent record companies from transferring everything recorded to compact disc. Educating the public on why and how to care for a record collection is seen as an important step toward preservation. Responsibility for preservation rests with the public, not record companies. It’s up to you and me to preserve and care for our record collections. We’ve kept them because they represent an important part of us and now with time we have become the custodians of our recorded heritage. It is up to us to assure future generations will not lose an important link to recorded history.
Emile Berliner with gramophone. Image via Wikipedia
I still regret that day that I took my crates of vinyl to Wherehouse and traded them in for a handful of CDs. At the time, I believed news reports that eventually everything recorded on vinyl would be available on CD.
Sadly, there were a lot of records in my collection that will probably never be made available. I had quite a few rare 12” singles, such as Billy Idol’s White Wedding on white vinyl and most of The Smiths early singles. I would love to have them today.
The Vinyl Record Day website also includes a list of what poll results determined to be the top ten album covers of all time. Not surprisingly, all ten covers can be found in the AAX gallery.
You can visit http://www.vinylrecordday.com for more information on Vinyl Record Day.
Over the years, I’ve seen album covers used in many creative ways. However, this YouTube video is the first time I’ve seen someone use an album cover as inspiration for eye makeup. The young woman in the video uses the color scheme of Benny Benassi“s Rock ‘n’ Rave album cover for a very unique how to.
Pärlplattor appears to be a Swedish form of bead art that involves placing tube-shaped beads on white plastic trays of pegs. Kits are sold in crafts and toy stores and generally marketed toward children. It seems like a very practical alternative to crayons.
As we’ve seen with Legos, adults just can’t keep their hands off of these kinds of things. I recently ran across a website that features dozens of allbum covers recreated in pärlplattor.
The beads reduce the image to basic colored pixels. It is a very interesting effect.
There is an obvious language barrier that prevents me from giving more details about this art form. I don’t read Swedish and their aren’t any English translations on the website. But, the album covers are instantly recognizable.
Like needlework, these designs are framed and hung on the wall as art. I can only imagine how difficult it would be to match the colors and create a design that looks like the original.
Queer Music Heritage is both an entertaining and informative website and a radio program produced and hosted by JD Doyle. The program is part of Queer Voices on KPFT 90.1 in Houston. The website has archives going back to 2000 with lots of photographs and transcripts from the radio program.
There are also quite a few cover scans of albums by gay and lesbian recording artists, artist spotlights, and many other features.
One of my favorite sections of the website is about Camp Records, a company that produced gay novelty records in the mid-1960s.
by JD Doyle
Almost nothing is known about the mysterious 60’s record label Camp Records. They released an album and 10 45 rpm records of gay parody songs, most done with effeminate voices.
The artists singing most of the songs were uncredited, or with names obviously made up, like Byrd E. Bath and B. Bubba, but one name stands out, Rodney Dangerfield. That name credited on one of the songs, and possibly another. This would have been very early in Dangerfield’s career, as his website bio says he decided to devote his career to comedy at age 40, which would have been in 1961. But I don’t think it was the comedian we know; just a prop name used for the release. Dangerfield disclaims any knowledge of it…
In addition to historical information, the Camp Records section includes scans of the various album and 45 covers and digital music files that can be downloaded.
It is important to keep in mind that these records were marketed to a gay audience through specialty magazines of the era, such as Vagabond and Drum. They were not intended to be hateful nor disparaging toward gay men.
Ads for Camp Records recordings appeared along with books, movies, magazines and novelty products. The company ran both full-page ads and smaller ones like the one shown in the example below.
It seems that ads for Camp Records disappeared from these publications after running for only a few of months in 1965. At the same time, distributors of erotic books and magazines began to sell items that were much more explicit. It could have been that the magazines used the sale of these records to establish that they sold items that had a “redeeming social value” and thereby hoped to avoid obscenity charges. Once obscenity laws began to change, the novelty products were no longer needed — and took up space for more profitable x-rated items. Or, perhaps Camp Records simply went out of business.
Regardless of my speculation, these records are certainly unique and have a place in recording history. It is admirable that JD Doyle has taken the time to document them on his website.
Spinner.com has announced their participation in an online scavenger hunt from rock band Pearl Jam. The game involves hunting down peices of the album cover and adding them to a Flash animation.
Before Pearl Jam’s new album, ‘Backspacer,’ comes out on September 20, the band is previewing the artwork with an online scavenger hunt. Featuring images from legendary cartoonist Tom Tomorrow (of ‘This Modern World’ fame), nine different album-related pictures have been spread out across the Web, including the exclusive one below. Collect them all, the band assures us, and you’ll get a pretty sweet surprise. So what are you waiting for? Click our puzzle piece below and get to finding the rest!
Clicking the link to the Spinner.com article or the image will take you to Spinner.com where you can begin the scavenger hunt. Clicking the image at Spinner.com will take you to the Pearl Jam website.
UPDATE: I finished the scavenger hunt and downloaded my free song. It is a crappy demo version of Speed of Sound. Meh! Cheap bastards!
Beck’s brewery has an innovative art project going on at Flickr.com that will undoubtedly be of interest to album art fanatics. Beck’s Music Inspired Art - The 100 Cover Project is a Flickr group where Flickr users can claim one of a list of 100 albums and then submit their own design inspired by the album.
About Beck’s Music Inspired Art - The 100 Cover Project
By now you’ve hopefully seen our “Music Inspired Art” project, and the 10 commissioned album covers from the pens and tablets of some of the UK’s best artists.
Now we’re opening up the project to you. The covers you’ve already seen were taken from a roll of 100, created by taking the top 25 from Pitchfork’s “Album of the Decade” lists.
And now we’ve seen how good 10 of them look, we want to finish the set!
So the rest of the list is below. If you would like to submit a cover, just send us a message through Flickr claiming it, or use the forum post above, and we’ll put your name next to the cover, and wait on your to upload it to the pool.
Here are a couple of examples of what has been submitted so far:
Recently, I found a another website that features what are supposed to be the “worst” album covers. The site is called Cover Browser and it boasts over 450,000 covers of comic books, books, and more.
The section called Worst Album Covers displays many of the album covers that are typical for these websites, Scorpions Lovedrive, the Ethel Merman Disco Album, Village People Renaissance, etc. It also has many of those weird albums that seem like they were invented by the Photoshop geeks at Fark.com, such as Paddy Roberts’ Songs for Gay Dogs.
Most of the scans are pretty bad. I’m certain that many of them have been floating around the Internet for quite a long time, reproduced, compressed, and posted without much concern for quality.
As I was browsing through this particular collection, I came across an album cover that I do not think belongs in any “worst” collection, Because They Can by Nelson.
This album cover was designed by famed photographer William Wegman. Wegman is best known for his photographs of dogs, particularly Weimaraners.
Wegman’s photographs are part of the permanent collections of the Hammer Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. He is well-respected in the world of fine art.
So, seeing Wegman’s work included in a collection of worst album covers just doesn’t sit right with me. Personally, I think the Nelson cover is amusing and very appropriate for its time. Perhaps many people are not as familiar with Wegman’s work as they were 15 years ago, when the album cover was created.
The fact is, Nelson aren’t popular anymore and even photos of the duo with their long blond hair are viewed as somewhat of a joke. It is unfortunate that an album cover that is a self-parody of that image is seen as being worthy of being included in Cover Browser’s collection.
Many people have fond memories of the videos Wegman did for Sesame Street. They are absolutely brilliant.
The Museum of Bad Album Covers is a website that features over 150 of some of the worst album covers ever produced. The site is organized into numerous categories such as, Metal Mayhem, Should I Shoot The Stylist Now?, and Gay and Lesbian Village.
Pop Artist Howie Green has created over 300 colorful pop art paintings based on classic album covers. Here is a YouTube video slideshow of his work.
A mock up for a new Lady Gaga album called The Fame Monster was leaked to the Internet yesterday. It is rumored to be a a version of her current album The Fame with extra tracks. With the upcoming release of Rob Zombie’s Captain Clegg and The Night Creatures, it looks like we could have an early Halloween.
This music video should serve as a word of warning to companies that wrong singer/songwriter Dave Carroll. United Breaks Guitars is one of the best viral videos I’ve ever seen on YouTube — probably because United has managed to loose my luggage three times over the years.
Carroll sent out a tweet today that he’s being interviewed by Rolling Stone. I do not have the official cover art for this song. It has been released as an MP3 on the artist’s website (see link below). I hope that when this song gets a proper release it will have a more creative cover.
Check this out. I found a painting used for the cover of an album up for bids on eBay. The item description reads as follows:
this is the original cover painting for the 2005 CD/LP “the Great Destroyer” by the band Low. it was released via Sub Pop records. the image area measures about 24’ x 13” and is painted in watercolor on some rough gesso’d wood i found lying around somewheres. FULL DISCLOSURE: this was hanging on my son’s wall for a few years and some sun hit it (and besides we pumped the color a bit for the printed version in the first place…) so the color in this painting is considerably less saturated and dark as the printed version. i’ve never sold a damn thing on ebay, so questions are welcome.
The band is on Sup Pop records and hails from Duluth, Minnesota. I had never heard of them before and I’m not sure whether or not this painting will appeal to fans or album art collectors. The starting bid is $1,200 and there were zero bids when I saw the item on eBay.
Here is the album cover for Low’s The Great Detroyer.
I stumbled on this very cool Google Earth collection of famous album cover locations on GoogleEarthHacks.com. All you have to do is install Google Earth (a free download from Google) and open the file.
There are dozens of famous album cover locations in the file along with the album cover art (I wish the person who made this file had known about AAX, because the covers are pretty bad).
Here are a few of the albums and locations:
How cool is this? Google Earth has a nice user interface that allows you to select the location from a folder. Then, the globe literally spins you to the right spot. Most of the locations are immediately recognizable from the album cover.
Check this out! An online retailer is selling an "Album Side Table" with a "faux-album surface." I'm sure that there are a few AAX users who will be interested in owning one of these.
This item comes from Bughouse Art + Design and sells for $450. There is a DJ turntable coffee table that looks like it would go along with it. I can read Led Zeppelin, Paul Simon, The Jackson 5 and several other artists on the "faux spines" in the photo.
The site is simple and elegantly organized by artist and year. If you’re missing a cover scan for your collection, this is the place to go. I was blown away by the meticulousness of this online discography. I don’t think I’ve ever run across anything that comes close to matching this.
If you’re not a big Smiths fan, you’ll still find it interesting to see how the band’s music was released in multiple formats and with numerous variations of the cover designs. Many of the covers have been reused and repurposed — sometimes with less-than-stellar results.