Friday, December 5, 2014

Favorite Record Covers of 2014

This might be cheating a bit, but the above is my favorite album art from this year. You might be wondering how I could choose a cover from a piece of music that came out two decades ago. Well, back in the day, Crayon's 'Brick Factory' was released via Harriet Records on CD and cassette... before quickly going out of print. HHBTM Records recently resurrected this lost treasure and gave it to us on vinyl for the first time ever. I don't have to tell you it's not only the music that's better on wax. I love the blurred hustle and bustle attempting to envelop a couple that doesn't seem to notice any of the other students. Is this where love begins? Anyway, that's how I see it. I know nothing about the artist, but there were two names credited to the artwork on the original CD. So, I'll thank George Pfromm II and Todd Christensen and hope that covers it. HHBTM pressed 500 copies, and the label is including 20 bonus tracks for download with purchase. It's a twee/punk masterpiece.

Sometimes you know you're going to love a band just by seeing the art. The cover of Cosines' debut single from 2013, "Hey Sailor Boy!" grabbed me with the font used for their logo, the brown cardboard used to house the 7", and the simple sketch of a ship. The 2014 followup, "Commuter Love," used the same formula, only with a speeding train. I love the aesthetic and enjoy looking at these two images side by side while listening to these fine singles. Credit goes to illustrator Tom Greatorex. The band's first full-length album is out now, and it's wonderful. These first two singles are not on 'Oscillations.' So, you need to find the trio.

I won't spend too much time touting the new album from the Popguns. I'll have plenty of time to do that when I reveal my favorites of the year next week. Today is all about the artwork. Credit for the cover of the "Lovejunky" single and 'Pop Fiction' album goes to, as the band described him, the "astonishingly talented" Jason Brooks. You can find these and other works in his 'Paris Sketchbook.' The art fits the Popguns' latest so well. Just listen to "Alfa Romeo" and think about Chet Baker wandering the same city streets half a century ago. I took this photo of the 'Lovejunky' single from the Matinée Recordings site because, well, there's something beautiful about it as well. I have certainly heard of a story within a story, but can you have art within art?

Ah, the American dream in action. Cookie-cutter houses, a strip of grass, an above-ground pool and never ever leaving Mom and Dad's basement. Chumped certainly know where it's at, and the band perfectly captures those awkward young-adult years in their songs... and on the cover of 'Teenage Retirement.'


george said...

....I'm just listening to The Cosines album, and I find it similar to Cate Le Bon, which is absolutely no bad thing.

Brian said...

Happy to hear you found Cosines. George. Oscillations will be on my year-end list for sure.