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

Apteka - Gargoyle Days
Despite never having met one another, Portland designer Dylan McConnell and Chicago's Apteka have grown a well-fitting artistic relationship through the years. McConnell's album cover for Gargoyle Days may be their most gripping collaboration yet.

QUOTES FROM: DYLAN MCCONNELL, DESIGNER ADAM LUCAS, APTEKA'S GUITARIST AND VOCALIST THEMES & CONCEPTS "We had worked with a sorta paranoid, dark op-art theme in the past for posters and albums (with a brief interlude of lopping off girls' heads). High contrast and fluid -- that's what I was going for." - Dylan McConnell COLLABORATION "We've been working with Dylan pretty much since the band formed. He's done all our cover art, and most all of our show posters so far. Things clicked from the beginning. He just has a knack of taking what we're doing musically and expressing it in a visual way. The funniest part is that we've never really met. He lives in Portland, and we're in Chicago. A mutual friend turned us on to him, but we've never had the chance to meet in person. It's all been through email. Which is kind of a weird way to communicate artistic intentions, but somehow it works, and he’s become this mysterious fifth member of the group." - Adam Lucas Record Label Carpark Records The Artists Design - Dylan McConnell Mediums & Materials Collage, Digital, Typography (hand-drawn)

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

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 +...

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 +...

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 +...

A staff-compiled list of some of our favorite songs from the year 2011, in no particular order or with allegiance to any particular style....

A staff-compiled list of some of our favorite songs from the year 2011, in no particular order or with allegiance to any particular style....

A spectrum of musical madness that represents our tastes from large to small, mainstream to obscure, spaced out to reasonable. There's no way in bloody hell you'll love every release on this list unless you have a million personalities living in your puny body, but...

When it comes to the very basic language and musical form of Junior Boys' fourth full-length release, It's All True, there is very little obscurity. Clearly, it is an album that only contains words from the English language. Clearly, the music is fairly customary for indie electronic musicians of the Western world. However, a deeper look at the album actually reveals that the songs speak in many different tongues. Whether it is the striking contrast of upbeat electronic music and dark lyrics, which each tell conflicting stories, or the worldly expeditions that were necessary to complete the songs, It's All True turns out to be somewhat of an affirmation of a universal language. Not only did the making of the album cross cultural barriers, but it also explores themes such as, honesty, deceit and authenticity, which have been questioned repeatedly by people over time and around the world in varying ways.

"Selling art doesn't bother me. Making insipid, vacuous art bothers me. The cult of personality bothers me especially because I feel as though I have very little to offer. I'm a bad self-promoter, and I'm constantly reminded of how bad a trait that is for an artist to have. I think that it is sad and frustrating." -- Jeremy Greenspan, of Junior Boys

Conflicting Stories

Though songwriter and vocalist Jeremy Greenspan technically started Junior Boys in 1999 with now former band member Johnny Dark, most people know Junior Boys as Greenspan and engineer Matt Didemus, who entered the picture in 2002. For almost 10 years, Greenspan and Didemus have shown the world that they can make fun tunes with punchy electronics that make listeners want to dance. It's All True is no different. The first – and most immediate – story the album paints is light and upbeat, typical of a dance record. Like opening track "Itchy Fingers," the songs are sultry, enticing, and full of bright keys and wiggling tones. [caption align="alignright" width="215" caption="BUY: F FOR FAKE + IT'S ALL TRUE"]
Artistic Influence:
Orson Welles

F For Fake is loosely a documentary which focuses on Elmyr de Hory's recounting of his career as a professional art forger.

It's All True features three stories about Latin America. 'Bonito the Bull', retitled 'My Friend Bonito', was about a Mexican boy's friendship with a bull; 'The Story of Samba' was centered around Brazil's 1942 Carnaval; 'Four Men On A Raft' was a reenactment of a Time Magazine article about four impoverished Brazilian fisherman who traveled 61 days and 1,650 miles in harsh weather and without navigation instruments.[/caption]

Long Island-based quintet Twin Sister put out two wonderfully dreamy indie pop EPs between 2008 and 2010, and then quietly retreated to the studio, leaving us hanging until this September. Their debut full-length, In Heaven, expands upon their atmospheric sound, giving them room to explore...