Album Covers of the Year 2014
In contrast to modern patterns in music consumption comes our annual Album Covers of the Year feature, where, instead of forgetting album artwork even exists, we hyperextend ourselves to assert that it is an artform that is vitally connected to the spirit of the music. This feature, which is divided at times into thematic elements and at times into artistic medium, incorporates interviews with not only musicians, but also artists involved throughout the artistic process. We pride this list in being diverse and multi-faceted, as well as philosophically exploratory. See all of our entries from previous years or get started by choosing a category below. Happy travels through the artistic universe we've crafted for you.
This week, I found myself at Portland's Doug Fir Lounge three days in a near row. While it is perhaps my second must frequented venue after Holocene, rarely do I have the chance to go so many times in one week, and to observe such varying acts. Hence, in celebration of today's full moon in Gemini -- just like our Intuitive Navigation event tomorrow eve at Holocene -- I shall endeavor a twin review of two notable female acts: Bay Area R&B singer Goapele and indie rock veteran My Brightest Diamond, both of whom put on great shows, but in vastly different ways and to vastly differing crowds. The full moon represents the femininity and intuition, and today's Full Moon in Gemini (during a Sagittarius month) looks to the twin sign for an outwards celebration of life.
My Brightest Diamond and Goapele Live Show Review at Doug Fir Lounge  

Recently back in the spotlight with their latest record, Cosmic Logic, Peaking Lights have left behind the laid-back grooves of their last two full-lengths, 936 and Lucifer, to embrace full-on the ostentation of a dance record. Cosmic Logic is guaranteed to throw the duo's long-time fans for a polarizing loop,...

O'Death - ROAM Music Video
In the music video for O'Death's latest single, "ROAM", mismatched body parts from sixteen people contribute to tunnelvision of a most peculiar kind. Psychedelic experiments usually seen on full-color blast are given carnivalesque life through black and white articulation, as viewers take a swirling ride past grim lyrics and disembodied structures. Created by band member Gabe Darling, the experience of this music video is perhaps best summarized using his own description; upon viewing it, "You're just a tourist in this fleshy-hell-party." O'Death's latest record, Out of Hands We Go, is out now on Northern Spy Records, and can be streamed in its entirety on CMJ.com. You can also catch them on their national tour now, with a series of west coast dates beginning in the Pacific Northwest with Stone Jack Jones! Full tour dates below, along with the music video stream and a Q&A with Darling, in which the humor behind his "fleshy-hell-party"-crafting mind truly shines through.
Travel with Midday Veil for eight minutes, into the pixelated fractal universes of "Within and Without". Premiering today on REDEFINE in anticipation of the Seattle band's upcoming west coast tour with Swahili, this music video is shot and edited by the band itself, as tends to be their modus operandi. What is perhaps most exciting here is not necessarily each individual shot itself -- for though highly processed, they are pretty mundane at their core; instead, what is to be celebrated are the transitions, which live up to the wax and wane of the title, the ebb and the flow of the track's oceanic imagery. Floating overlays and smooth washes of lo-fi patterning are sprinkled with just a touch of glitch, to make one forget the images from which they originally evolved. (And this is all to say nothing of synth warlock wizard David Golightly's seriously awe-inspiring cult leader robe, which naturally adds its own inexplicable charms.) Music video and full list of tour dates below, beginning tomorrow evening in the great northern lands of Bellingham, Washington, and expect records from both of these bands, coming out next year on Translinguistic Other.
To trace one's own path from infancy to adulthood can sometimes mean ascribing new meaning to past events. It can mean uncovering moments that seemed innocuous at the time of their happening, only to discover later that they were, in fact, profoundly moving. Nature and ritualistic dance, two prime inspirations for Southern California artist Nathan Hayden, came to him down the pipeline of experience, in the form of significant life events he can now place importance upon as an adult. These moments, coupled with Hayden's curiosities towards the world-at-large, make him an artist that is ever-synthesizing and ever-seeking, eager to experiment and follow his many multidisciplinary whims.
Nathan Hayden Artist Interviewwhat was meant to be here was no longer, 2014, ink on industrial felt
"I'm just trying to access the possibilities of other things, and in the same way that I look at art throughout history and nature for little pieces of those other realms, I'm hoping that I can be a part of that process and for people to get a peek into other realms by looking at my stuff, that might bring about stuff that I can't even imagine." - Nathan Hayden

Music lovers and fellow space travelers at the German label Emerald & Doreen Records have decided to bestow upon REDEFINE a 13-track mixtape with plenty of soon-to-be released tracks. The label, dedicated to "futuristic indie, chill & dance music", presents music in one of the ways we like it most:...

Phebe Schmidt Photography
In the hands of photographer Phebe Schmidt, everyday objects are set against backdrops that make one do a double take. With a refined and polished style, she highlights ideas of consumerism and stylized beauty through the recontextualization of mundane props as well as the exploration of "plasticity", or the ability of an object to shapeshift with its environment. The resulting works feel curious, having an effect similar to staring at something for so long that it begins to feel unreal by nature, its fine details becoming confusions within the mass of its existence. "My aim is to draw the viewer in with bright cheesy colours and curious props; on second glance, they realise that something is not quite right -- floating razors or a melting block of cheese often placed together with a profiled product," explains Schmidt, who gathers a number of props specific to each shoot, chosen both for their aesthetic and conceptual values.
Phebe Schmidt Photography