Every year, we interview a number of musicians and artists about the intimate details and philosophical underpinnings of their album cover artwork. It's an ever-massive undertaking, but we make sure to include every genre, from doom metal to disco, minimal electronic to mainstream pop, with the intention of highlighting the best visual art, regardless of why or who created it. You can see entries from previous years here, and browse 2013's entries by either scrolling down or selecting a category below. > Narrative & Mythological Album Covers > Photographic Album Covers > Illustrative Album Covers > Mixed Media & Collage-Based Album Covers
"Pop music shouldn't always get a bad rap," says Top Pops!, a recurring selection of indie pop highlights across a selection of styles, updated every month to keep you on your dancing toes. This month, we rope in a lot of notable artists with new songs on the horizon... be it the Micachu-produced Tirzah, R&B vocalist Jessy Lanza, 18-year-old Brazilian-French producer Dream Koala, or the tried-and-true sounds of BRAIDS and Julia Holter. Also included are tracks by Foxygen member Diane Coffee and Arts & Crafts artists The Darcys.
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Jessy Lanza - "5785021"

As a hardcore lover of R&B in the '90s, I'm a fucking hard sell when it comes to the indie R&B revival that slinketh around these days. I need more than just a pretty voice; that helps, but a hook needs to catch me, and not in a shallow way, either. On "5785021", probably the best track on Jessy Lanza's upcoming release, Pull My Hair Back. Tender vocal melodies that slink and out of upper registries couple with background synths reminiscent of Art of Noise's "Moments in Love", without being actually derivative. Pull My Hair Back comes out September 10th on Hyperdub; stay tuned for a full album review.  

Tirzah

I can recall a time far, far away... back in 2009, when my musical playlist was dominated by tUnE-yArDs and Micachu and the Shapes, in their lo-fi heydays. Since then, Micachu has been back here and there in small doses -- though with nothing as earthquaking as the debut Jewellery record, I would argue. So it is with great delight that I stumbled upon the I'm Not Dancing four-track EP from Tirzah, which was produced by Micachu and features some of her distinctive drum sounds and general aural simplicity. The EP is out now on Greco-Roman. The Grant Amour-directed music video for "I'm Not Dancing" is also delightfully awkward and fitting for the album title.  
Whim is a collection of media focused on independent rock/pop/garage and everything surrounding it. This week gives us a new Thick Shakes single, tracks from Arc In Sound and Pure Bathing Culture, and the announcement that Girls might be done.

Thick Shakes

Boston's best kept secret isn’t some hole-in-the-wall diner or hidden cabaret, but a four garage rock outfit led by bassist and vocalist Lindsay Crudele. Thick Shakes have been thrashing the east coast for a few years now, originally breaking onto the national scene with early 2011's raucous Why Buy the Cow 7". On French Dyppe, the group’s newest single, the band refines their brand of wall-smashing thrash pop, creating even more buzz on the east coast and beyond. French Dyppe is out on cassette via Aurora 7 on July 7th.

 

Watch pasty, emaciated characters doing ambiguous things lethargically and fall into a drug-induced haze! Perfectly fitting for the slowcore music of Timber Timbre. Sprinkle in some Eraserhead vibes, and this is one cryptically engaging creeper. Directed by Kate Young & Eriver Hijano...

Nice, Nice, Very Nice is more than just nice. Mangan expertly blends folk rock and country with expressive lyrics that build vivid stories.  Mangan's voice has the gravelly tones and vulnerability of Damien Rice or Conor Oberst, but with a deeper, heavier quality. Most of Mangan's songs have both gentle and...