Sunday, December 22, 2013

Favorite Album Covers of 2013

Going back as far as I can remember I have always enjoyed holding the cover and losing myself in the art while listening to the album. These paintings and photos really captured the moods of the music and continued to catch my eye with each listen. This is why I will never be able to embrace the digital download. You only get part of the story.

Album: 'Pretty Decent Swimmers' by Northern Portrait
Photo: Carla Acevedo-Blumenkrantz
Note: The Beverly Hills Hotel turned 100 last year. To celebrate, the legendary spot hosted several live poolside performances by the water ballet entertainment company Aqualillies. This photo was taken there.

Album: 'Slow Summits' by The Pastels
Painting: Annabel Wright

Album: 'Bankrupt!' by Phoenix
Illustration: Ben Garvie

Album: 'Songs Cycled' by Van Dyke Parks
Painting: Kenton Nelson
Note: The art of 'Songs Cycled' is the best I have seen this year. Each song has an accompanying painting by artists like Klaus Voorman, Ed Ruscha and Frank Holmes. The artists also share their insights next to the lyrics of each tune. You could look at this booklet for hours.

Album: 'Desire Lines' by Camera Obscura
Painting: Daniel Ablitt

7 comments:

friend of rachel worth said...

Great choices. Id add in blood sports by suede just because it is so ........ well si suede

Brian said...

Very nice choice, FORW... and a pretty good listen as well. This is obviously a list that could have been much longer, and I'm very happy to hear what others thought about this year's covers.

How was the 'High Land, Hard Rain' show? The review of your show in the Guardian was positive but too brief. Caught a couple of clips of the Glasgow show... looked like a special night.

Echorich said...

Have to agree with the Northern Portrait cover - and this is a release that has stuck with me all year!
I have to give credit to the anti-art concept of Bowie's The Next Day, Prefab Sprout's play on Rothko for Crimson/Red and Peter Saville's cover for OMD's English Electric.

Brian said...

Yes, yes, yes, Echorich. All three of your selections are excellent, and I had them all on my long list.

Truthfully, the only reason why I didn't have Bowie here is because there has been so much talk about it already.

Saville has still got it. I was thinking English Electric, along with OMD's singles from the album, would look great on my wall above the stereo.

I'm glad you mentioned Crimson/Red. It reminded me that I saw your assessment of the album on your blog last night. A very good read, sir. Really enjoyed it.

Echorich said...

Ta Brian! I spent sometime going over the album. I felt it deserved a song blow by blow. Happy Holidays to you and your's

friend of rachel worth said...

Ac were fantastic. Started with a solo acoustic set kicking off birth of the true and a beatifully soulful version of how men are among others. Band then joined to play a set of early b sides and tracks that didn't make the lp. Then he played the lp and ended with a selection of favs . Every note was crystal clear and rf was really funny and entertaining

Brian said...

Sounds great, FORW. Thanks. I'm thinking we may get a live album out of one of those shows. I got swept up in the High Land mania and bought the Domino reissue on vinyl... mostly for the 7" bonus signed by Roddy. The remaster is really good. Wonder how many copies of the record I need?