Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Here are three samples of the covers used to market the singles from the last Oasis album, Dig Out Your Soul. I have a feeling this will be the last proper Oasis album for quite a while, but I could be wrong about that.
These have always bothered me. I hate the white text in the middle; I hate that font with a passion. Love the music, love the colors and the overall design ethic used here, but that font was and is a disaster.
Thursday, March 22, 2012
Tom Verlaine has been described as a difficult, if not brilliant character and much of his catalog is woefully overlooked.
There's brilliant music here, but the packaging is tedious, at best. I don't know what effort there was to get his solo stuff out there back in the late 1970s and early 1980s, but it couldn't have extended much past "here's a Tom Verlaine album!" and I don't think there was much of an expectation that he would have hit singles and become a huge artist. But what I like about this is that people were dedicated to getting things out there that weren't awful and weren't done for commercial purposes.
Sunday, March 18, 2012
This is not nearly as strange or bad as people might think. It's actually a soft, pulsing piece of pop music that explores a lot of ideas in a way that few people get the chance to do in the modern age.
JJ Burnel is still the bass player in the Stranglers, and they are a remarkable band. Still active, thriving and putting out records after over thirty years of being together, they are remarkably ignored and unsung in the United States but well-loved in Europe. In his own right, Burnel is a gifted musician and producer, and this is one of the great "lost" singles of his career.
Deleted before it even came out because of a dispute with his record label, Girl From the Snow Country never had a chance in the marketplace. It is not a minimalist production, but it was stripped down the basic elements (drums, keyboards, bass, and a prominent vocal mix with other elements added in, sparingly).
What you see here is definitely a rarity. And, let's face it, for 1981, this is a very skillfully rendered package. The art and the concepts are all solid and there is nothing embarrassing about it at all. A must have for Stranglers fans, and for fans of intelligent pop.
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
It's never easy to take two subjects, photograph them, and make them interesting enough to put on an album cover. Somehow, Steve Kilbey and Martin Kennedy pull it off, and whoever did this work should be congratulated on capturing the mood and the theme of the album with these photos.
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
There are plenty of things to like about these releases from Simple Minds. I threw in the promo copy just to try to be a bit of a completist, but so what?
The single, Promised You a Miracle, is not something I have thought about in recent years, and this is less about the single, more about the specific care of the art direction and the effort put into these sleeves. You're seeing the cover of the twelve inch single and the cover and back of the seven inch single. This is, of course, a little bit before the advent of the compact disc single.
As far as pop music singles being a throwaway, this is definitely not what you would call cheap, temporary, or done haphazardly. These covers are vastly different affairs showing a great deal of design maturity and skill. I love the colors, the distressed appearance, and the use of typography.
This was a treasure back in the day, and I distinctly remember getting on a bus and traveling across South Minneapolis so that I could pick this up, on cassette, along with the Replacements' Don't Tell a Soul. I would have preferred CD, but getting these two albums on cassette was worth it because, well, how could you take one and not the other?
Queen Elvis was released without the title track. Listeners would have to wait for Robyn to put that track out on his Eye album (and I got that one in the summer of 1990 in Winona, Minnesota before going there for school--ugh, the horrible, horrible memories just arrive in floods when I do these posts).
Each and every track is a distinct and thoroughly plotted piece of genius. There are no muff tracks. There are no throwaways. These songs were culled from dozens of songs that would end up as B-sides and whatnot and would resurface in later years. This was Robyn being prolific and specific, which means he was being his usual self.
I love the cover and the typography. The colors are wonderfully balanced together, and the design is stunning. This was the more commercially-oriented era for Robyn and his backing group. It didn't last and it didn't succeed in breaking him to a massive audience. His work--and this CD in particular--was brilliantly conceived and executed by the fey indifference of the masses is a guarantee you can make any day of the week.
There are things buried on this album that continually resurface in the works of others, and will continue to do so for centuries. The cosmic particles that pass through all of us are smashed into this thing, and we are all beings of timeless, vibrating energy.
Sunday, March 4, 2012
Back in the day, this was what we called a masterpiece. Even Rolling Stone went so far as to heap praise on Julian Cope's magnum opus, Peggy Suicide.
Some would say that this was when Cope went weird. Well, Cope was weird and the kids who knew what weird really meant loved it and didn't care. And they didn't bother wondering what Rolling Stone's acceptance meant.
Peggy Suicide is the song to a dying planet, and the fact that Cope saw it all over twenty years ago is testament to his genius. He was in the know then, and he brought many along with him. Those who fell by the wayside have missed one of the greatest careers in the history of thinking and music since you can't enjoy Cope without being in touch with the mind and the groove.
When this landed, the world had no idea what was going on. The path forged by Julian Cope has helped illuminate why this album still matters.
- Daily Rewind: Julian Cope (929dave.radio.com)
Thursday, March 1, 2012
Not quite the 'goodbye cruel world' post that many were expecting and not necessarily a pathetic reason to give up, but still one of the most indulgent things an erstwhile emo pop star ever wrote on his personal blog? Yes. Absolutely.
Patrick Stump should have gotten mad and started putting together a follow-up album when the butter knives came out. Instead, he has crawled inside of his own misery and he has let the haters win. Perhaps it's me, but I tend to prefer artists who don't care what their kid-like fanbase thinks. An artist travels a pretty difficult road. Those who stay with you on that road are the ones worth playing to.