Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The House of Love Babe Rainbow Covers





This album is a masterpiece.

Babe Rainbow has a fantastic cover--a real winner, if you ask me. I have a soft spot for this album because, back when it was released, I completely missed it. I had the 1990 album, aka, "Butterfly" and, after that, nothing. This was because the House of Love sort of fell off the world for me, but, really, it was just a case of not knowing about this album and what the band was doing. To say that they were underappreciated is an understatement.

They were neglected to death, in other words. And Babe Rainbow is one of the most neglected masterpieces of the 1990s. Lost in the sucking swirl of grunge, it ran into a marketplace that wasn't ready for beautiful guitar music. Had Guy Chadwick, et al, simply droned on and screamed about mother, they might have had a chance. Instead, they gave us The Girl With the Loneliest Eyes, one of the purest pop songs ever written. Every track on the album is a keeper, by the way. I could mix this whole album up on an iPod and never wonder why those tracks are there.

Acquire this one. It should--it deserves--the reissue treatment, as do all of the other House of Love albums. I would love to see these put back out there with B-sides and live tracks and all, simply because this is crucial music.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Julian Cope Try, Try, Try




Julian Cope's Try, Try, Try was a fantastic single, and this version, out on the Echo Label Limited label, is a favorite. It's all playful, weird freaking out, and this will mellow you out like nothing else.

Carry yourself to the Head Heritage website and support a real artist. The folks at Head Heritage are customer service oriented and I picked up a free copy of something-something years back that I'll be writing about at some point. It's crazy busy this time of year, but there's still time to get some pagan festival music, and, I think you can get loads of vinyl from Cope and Company as well.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Ultravox The Collection




I first acquired this as the vinyl LP release not long after it came out; I was never a huge fan of Ultravox but I could certainly appreciate the brilliance of tracks like Vienna.

As a greatest hits package, it features the standard photo of the band and the tracks on the back. It's plain, blue, and rather simple, but it worked then and I think it still works.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Love and Rockets Earth Sun Moon Covers




The third Love and Rockets album was a brilliant one, and a diversion from the beaten path that helped point the band towards the big time. The only problem was, of course, the less-than-stellar cover, at least for me, and, well, I'm weird that way.

Conceived as an homage to felt-tip markers, masking tape, and a do-it-yourself mentality, this is one of the (worst) or (best) covers imaginable, take your pick. I don't know if that's also because of the overexposed white image on the front or what. You expect meticulousness from meticulous people; you expect that a band like this will agonize over the choice of what to put on their album cover (this was the 1980s, after all). In the end, they punted and went with this, and it is in their own hand. That does give them some sort of credibility for avoiding the need to employ a marketing angle. This is minimalism for the sake of being able to call it that.

That doesn't mean that the music inside is not brilliant, and it is, and that's what mattered then and matters now. I just wish that, if they were going to go with something white and black, they would have eschewed the felt-tip marker and the cut-and-paste job and made it something more pronounced and, well, meticulous.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Limp Bizkit Had a Record Deal?

This is one of those stories where you have to say, "hold on a minute."

Limp Bizkit is still a band?

They had a record deal?

Interscope Records is still in business?

Someone released something that they recorded recently after paying them to make music?

And Fred Durst is happy that they are now unsigned?

None of that makes any sense to me. By all rights, neither Limp Bizkit nor Interscope Records should still exist. I realize that it wasn't that long ago that they were both actually viable (or were they?) but we're creeping up on 2012. At some point, you have to acknowledge that the ship has sailed.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Bleach Trip and Slide EP Covers





Now, this is a cover and a package where a lot of things are going on at once.

Bleach went 4AD on everyone with this cover. Not too overtly weird, timeless imagery, intense closeups, artsy presentation, and everything else coated with gold paint and old grapes. The use of the foot in different positions and at different angles shows all kinds of textures and possibilities.

This is what music used to be about--putting things out there no one had ever seen or heard before, and damn the consequences.

Peter Astor Submarine Covers







There is nothing that says that you HAVE to put a picture of a submarine on an album that you call "submarine." And that pretty much sums up the barren nature of this release.

And that's a shame. This could have been done with a lot more creativity. The album, in and of itself, is a classic. But the cover and the presentation marred what could have been, I feel.

Mansun Take it Easy Chicken Cover



I don't know why this one bothers me so much. There are no glaring design errors here. But the use of the vertical tinted photos, juxtaposed with the horizontal black and white photo of the band, stood out to me so I thought I would complain about it.