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.
Celebrating its 10th anniversary, FYF Fest brought together an impressive group of bands once again, always managing to make it seem like it's a family reunion with its mix of veterans (My Bloody Valentine, Charles Bradley, Roky Erickson, and Flag), newcomers (Lemuria, Fear Of Men, and Poolside) and even that one eccentric, but awesome uncle (Jonathan Richman). No matter your taste, it is not hard to find something that you like, or discover something that you never knew you would like. August 24th and 25th @ Los Angeles Historic State Historic Park in Los Angeles PHOTOS BY KOURY ANGELO

Charles Bradley

You wouldn't normally expect to see a funk/soul singer like Charles Bradley at a mostly indie rock/garage rock/electronic festival, but after catching his set, you're thankful that FYF Fest had the insight to have Bradley on the lineup. Clocking in at 64 years old, Bradley had some of the best energy and moves of the entire weekend. Songs like "Confusion" and "Crying in the Chapel" were raw and hit you at the core of your soul. Accompanied by a great band, which included a horn section, Bradley transcended hipster boundaries and showed the gritty and honest passion that all music should carry.

 

Toro y Moi

For any artist whose music is heavy on the electronic side, it can be easy to hide between a laptop or a pyramid of synths. But in the case of Toro y Moi, it was nothing like that. While the sun was still out at 6:00pm, it was refreshing to witness Toro y Moi's set, which was full of amiability and charm. Whether or not you were familiar with Chaz Bundick, the brains behind Toro y Moi, he and his band welcomed you with open arms. Bundick stood in the center between two keyboards while his hands moved back and forth effortlessly; he kept a cool and calm demeanor, and it was evident that he was very comfortable in his environment. While the majority of the set was dedicated to songs from Toro y Moi's latest album, Anything in Return, some old favorites like "New Beat" were also thrown into the mix. What made the set special is that you could easily and freely dance to the infectious beats and cascading synth notes, but at the same time, also feel your brain be stimulated with the intricate layers.

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,...

When it comes to putting a label on their particular brand of indie rock, Brooklyn-based Grooms are mystifyingly indescribable. Not because of how experimental they are, but because of how many jumps back and forth within the general realm of "rock" their music encompasses. On Prom, there are spastic Pavement-esque asides along with some more intricate, windy pop influences from Cursive and Modest Mouse. Mix that in with a little Dinosaur Jr. and Sonic Youth, and you have a survey of the past 30 years of important indie music.

This inability to quite grasp the tone of the record is most jarring because of the rapidly moving changes between high energy and low energy songs. Grooms can go from a rather monotone tune like "Expression Of" to a screeching-guitars-accented song like "Imagining the Bodies," and then back again with "Skating With The Girl." Only once are the vocal duties combined: "Sharing" showcases a duet between bassist Emily Ambruso and guitarist Travis Johnson.

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Canada has given us a lot to work with in terms of music, specifically indie rock. Scores of baby Brooklyn bands have tried to imitate the success of giants like Broken Social Scene, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, and Arcade Fire, with mixed success. BRAIDS is one of Canada's most recent...

A wee bit of gypsy magic brings paintings to life in this Pepper Rabbit video, which also grants the French Horn more face time than it has ever gotten in a music video. * Pepper Rabbit is now on tour with Ra Ra Riot. (* This statement has not been verified and...

2010 has come and gone, leaving in its wake a magnitude of amazing album artwork. This year, we decided to speak directly with the forces behind the album artwork about creative processes and inspirations. A massive feature with over 90 interviews with musicians and artists....

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 Buffalo used an oil painting...