Thursday, August 30, 2012

Steve Kilbey Writes a Song For Jade

Musician Steve Kilbey is donating the proceeds of this Bandcamp single to the family of a lovely young lade named Jade.

You can support this effort here...

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Echo & the Bunnymen Lips Like Sugar Twelve Inch Single Cover

This is one of my favorite things, and all the more so because it arrived at precisely the moment when I did not think too much of Echo & the Bunnymen.

Oh, I was very aware of them; their first five albums coincided with my junior high and high school years; the fifth album on which this single was found came out the year I graduated high school itself and delivered me into a post-Bunnymen future (until the big reunion when I had already moved on and up and over and around).

Lips Like Sugar is a great, great single. It was better than most of what you might have heard that year. The Bunnymen, like everyone else, were trampled by the onslaught of hair metal and a band who used a thing called a Joshua Tree to take over popular music.

If I had been the one to design this single, I would have flipped the images. I would have used the back cover image for the front. I wouldn't change the colors or anything else.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Radiohead Hail to the Thief Deluxe Edition Covers

If you wanted to start a blog about Radiohead's album and single covers, you'd probably be in business for a decade or more.

I really like and appreciate all of them. In the late 1990s, when I was avidly buying the singles and everything I could get my hand on, it was evident then that the quality of the artwork was such that you always knew you were getting something special. I really adore my collection of Radiohead CD singles. I don't think there's a bad one in the bunch.

The Hail to the Thief album was a bit of a return to the guitar, and to all of that, but I think this is unnecessary. With Radiohead, you're going to get what they give you and if there's guitar on it, fine and dandy. They are not going to put out junk. That's a given.

This particular re-release is the same package as the album but with an extra compact disc full of songs. I thought that this cover was exceptionally well done and it really draws the eye into the stacks of handwritten messages. The colors are very striking.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Come Back For an Encore?

The thing is, I don't think there are many American bands who can handle a British festival crowd that is in no mood for crap sound and a poor performance. So many of them get by on image, lip-syncing, or prancing, and it's no wonder that a Nickelback or a corporate rap artist couldn't expect anything other than a good bottling from a festival crowd.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Chris Helme Good to be in Love

Chris Helme has a new album out, and this is the latest single from it. Called "The Rookery," you can buy it from Chris here.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Keane Crystal Ball Single

Keane's Crystal Ball single has always stood out to me; I love the art work here.

It's worth noting that this design is by Big Active--and they do some amazing stuff. I could look at their website all day long.

There are so many things to like here--the package is exceptionally well done, and it reflects a great combination of minimalism and design. It is not a throwaway--it's a very nice piece.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Mark Gardener Live in New Zealand Poster

Mark Gardener made a trip down to New Zealand and played a few shows; this is a wonderful poster of the event, and I am just now finding out about it too late to really say much other than if you ever get a chance to see him live, do so.

I saw Gardener perform in 2005. He uses an acoustic guitar and has all of his songs and the obligatory Ride tracks worked out. His showmanship and talent are well beyond what you would expect. This is a fellow who has been playing in front of people for over twenty years, and he has great presence, great chops.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Paul Weller The Changingman EP

Paul Weller spent the 1990s making some of the best guitar music you've never heard.

The Changingman is a fine single. I love this package and I love the design. The four quadrant, four-color retro feel on the cover is matched by a great design choice on the back. I love the stuff he put out during this period, and there are about a dozen albums and singles he did during the 1990s that are all equally worthy of praise and a listen to.

Michael Nesmith is Still a Difficult Pain in the Ass

This article does not change my mind about Michael Nesmith.

An artist and a performer? Yes. But he still seems like a pretentious pain in the ass to me.

It's sad that the death of Davy Jones has been the thing to rekindle the fading interest in the Monkees as a "band" or as a show experience. Somewhere along the way, Nesmith seems to have equated himself with John Lennon. Whether that is valid or not is a matter of opinion.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Never Call the Jesus and Mary Chain Shoegazers

The Jesus and Mary Chain were never shoegazers, although their debut album influenced a lot of people who would go on to be a part of the nascent shoegazing movement. Pink Floyd were never shoegazers, either, but they were very influential in their own way, particularly everything between Atom Heart Mother and Meddle.

Psychocandy was a seminal, original album of brilliant songs and it deconstructed rock and roll in ways that nobody has since been able to top.  It was influential, but it was not a part of the scene that it went on to help inspire; it was a stand-alone accomplishment.

This is what you get when people who don't know anything about music write about music for websites that don't care about anything other than hits.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Garbage Only Happy When it Rains Single

I was an early believer in the promise of Garbage, and I still think they are worthy of admiration. You can lament where their career went; I would say that they rode the crest of a music business that has imploded and taken many great artists down with it.

This single was, I believe, their very first and it suffers from a rather milky, murky cover. The song Only Happy When it Rains is brilliant; it is the sort of thing that fits perfectly into the culture. It is anything but mindlessness and cheap hooks. The art for this, and for the album as a whole, deals in the color pink and in blurred images. And that's fine; but it is more appropriate for a shoegazer type artist than a band that has a sound like Garbage.

This is the single that introduced the world to the dark femme fatale known as Shirley Manson; she is anything but that. What happened to her solo album is pretty much what happened to her band; the music industry is dying, but things like this remind you of what it could have been.