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.

"Pop music shouldn't always get a bad rap," says Top Pops!, a recurring selection of pop music highlights across a selection of styles. Emil & Friends return with their signature indie electro sound and Spain's Cocolixe groove.
SEE ALSO +++ FULL POST + ALL TOP POP COLUMNS + ALL MUSIC COLUMNS

 

Emil & Friends

Emil & Friends' last two releases, 2011's Lo & Behold and 2010's Downed Economy EP, have been reliable releases year after year. This year's short five-track EP (with two tracks and three remixes) does not pack quite the same punch, but the track below, "Internal Affairs" is veritably Emil & Friends, in the best of groovy and swaggery ways. You can also hear a minimix of the rest of the release on Kitsune's Website. It features "Internal Affairs" along with another original track, "Royal Oats", and three remixes of "Royal Oats" by Dubka, Radial, and DVNO.

 

"Pop music shouldn't always get a bad rap," says Top Pops!, a recurring selection of pop music highlights across a selection of styles. A bit more straight-forward indie rock this time than usual.

Slam Donahue

With their latest offering to the internet masses, their Big House Nice Dreams mixtape, Slam Donahue sound a bit like all of their posi Cantora Records counterparts (MGMT, Bear Hands, Emil & Friends), minus the polish. These guys are absolutely bursting with personality through their lo-fi pop jams, with so much bounce in their musical step they might shake themselves into having some sort of complex. Feed that pop-loving juvenile left in you with Slam Donahue! They'll scream their way into your heart with absolute disregard for adhering to one convention. Their Hemlock Tea EP comes out August 21st.

 

Our third-annual album cover art feature uses interviews with artists and musicians to highlight the philosophical, thematic, and conceptual significance of great album cover artwork. THE BREAKDOWN    12 Collage + 14 Digital Illustration, Drawing, Design + 19 Illustration, Painting, Drawing + 8 Black And White Photography + 22 Color Photography + 6 Deluxe Packaging + 10 Fashion, Sculpture, Installation _____________________________    91 Album Covers For 2011 Best Of 2011 Album Cover Art

Adventure - Lesser Known
Using a purely spontaneous creative process that begins with nothing more than a general interest, Elena Johnston created an album cover for Adventure that musically and thematically captures the band's dynamic spirit.
QUOTES FROM: ELENA JOHNSTON, DESIGNER THEMES & CONCEPTS "I had been working with the idea of framing compelling found images with other found images to play with texture and spacial relations. I was also really into water imagery and space imagery at the time, so I played with how these two ideas visually and conceptually play with each other." THE EXTRAS "I hand-drew the typography, and it was eventually printed in glossy ink onto the matte finish of the image, so it stands out more." Record Label Carpark Records The Artists Design - Elena Johnston Booklet Design - Benny Boeldt Mediums & Materials Collage, Digital
RELATED ARTICLES: LESSER KNOWN ALBUM REVIEW
Adventure "Rio" by Carpark Records

On Lo & Behold, Emil & Friends have assembled a pop album the way a mash-up DJ might piece together a mix. By incorporating a wide-reaching mélange of elements, the band has created a playful universe of sound where just about anything they can dream up goes.

 

See all Emil & Friends-related posts From track to track and within each track itself, the possibilities are... unpredictable. "Rain Check," with its groovy basslines and horns, could soundtrack a New York street party in the middle of a summer; "Mask Like Face" begins as a traditional indie pop track but explodes into digitized voice manipulations that cavort with strings and electronic blips. "C.U.P.I.D." rolls with modern hip-hop swagger yet bears proggy guitar breakdowns; "Flashback" starts off peacefully nostalgic but builds into a cheesy '80s guitar solo that disappears just as quickly as it appears. Listen to "Crystal Ball" - DOWNLOAD MP3

 

Article compiled by Vivian Hua, Sammy Baek, and Brian Meyers If you are just joining us, START FROM THE BEGINNING. #18 The White Buffalo Prepare For Black & Blue Ruff Shod Records BUY / DOWNLOAD THIS ALBUM For the cover of Prepare For Black & Blue, The White...

Emil & Friends' new EP, Downed Economy, is perhaps best exemplified by its opening track and title track. Although the most upbeat track on the EP, "Downed Economy" shares similarities with the other songs by featuring an abundance of electronic sound clips, trickling into the...

You, my friends, can download Bear Hands' recent The Rumpus Session at bearhandsband.com. Once you sign up you will receive a Bear Hands // Rumpus Room digital bundle containing the full video session and an MP3 of the live session mixed + mastered audio. Cantora...

Bear Hands are on tour right now with Passion Pit, and the hype surrounding the Brooklyners is friggin' huge! If this song is any indication, though, the hype might very well be warranted. Stop blowing up the scene, Brooklyn. Directed by Ted Feldman. ...