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....

I've fairly recently read a book about the hidden sexuality of Little Red Riding Hood through its surprisingly numerous and varied iterations. I don't know if this video has anything to do with the themes of that book, but it seems to. It's bloody. It's...

I personally would like to sum this video up with a YouTube comment (since we all know how educated and eloquent YouTube users generally are): "Great video, but not for the squeamish, squirmish, Amish or Hemophobic." Well, then. Let's just say the video certainly lives up...

Experimental rock bands seem to be getting a good amount of attention from the mainstream media these days, but within that subgenre is an even smaller subset of individuals who seem to channel the unconscious into droning, contemplative music that listeners can really lose themselves in. Similar to doom metal bands like Om, which lure listeners in with the calming use of repetition, psychedelic experimental bands like Clipd Beaks achieve the same effect, but via a different sonic experience. Clipd Beaks' new album, To Realize, is the band's second full-length record, and it will likely turn some heads in 2010. Whereas comparable musicians like Psychic Ills and Indian Jewelry seem to overtly drink in inspiration from world music -- with some of their songs complete with Eastern chimes and accompanying visuals to match -- Clipd Beaks seem to be a combination of the worldly sound of these bands and the accessible nature of more widely-accepted experimental bands like Fuck Buttons.
Listen to "Blood" off of To Realize - DOWNLOAD MP3 "Strangler" is the minimal track that starts off the album, immediately setting the stage for the echoey, dissonant noise that the listener is in for. The track's ambient underlayer smooths it into the next track, "Blood," which has slow, grinding bass and a background reminiscent of a room full of people simultaneously chanting the word "om". Nick Berbeln breathily expells vocals which stretch out over the top of the instrumentals like a canvas, effectively creating songs that -- dare I say -- might find themselves at home on an updated rehashing of the '90s Spawn soundtrack. And though that may sound like a criticism of sorts, it is far from one. Though it's hard to deny that some industrial and downtempo influences do shine through in the slow, sludgey beats of Clipd Beaks, their music luckily never runs into corny KMFDM territory or anything.

 
With the release of their self-titled album in 2007, HEALTH, clad in tight jeans and neon t-shirts, solidified their place amongst hipsters and teens. But while the group quickly appealed to these demographics, they had alienated themselves from the mainstream, written off by many as musicians more concerned with style than music. Two years later, their new album, Get Color, exemplifies their newfound maturity as songwriters and renders them whole conceptually. Whereas HEALTH went completely over the heads of mainstream audiences, Get Color is a bit more accessible to the layperson. Its tracks are more discernible as songs, and for the most part, they are no longer just noise, proving that HEALTH are more than a group with just a distinct fashion sense. While still experimental, the songs now harbor more melodies and qualities found in traditional songwriting.
"I think we just got better at writing our songs," says bassist John Famiglietti. "We don't want you to only like [our music] because you're supposed to like it or you like it because it's cool. I don't want you to scratch your fucking head. It should be immediate... I think [the new album] just makes our music more effective." To drive this message home, the quartet recently come off a tour supporting Nine Inch Nails, and despite getting pretzels thrown at them in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and an equally terrible show in Jacksonville, Florida, Famiglietti has only great things to say about the experience. "Trent is just about the coolest dude there is, especially for being someone who's like pretty openly worshiped by all people coming to the show," reveals Famiglietti. "After [our] first show, Trent was like, 'Hey, I don't even know what the hell's going on up there... why don't you guys use all the screens behind you?' We used literally several multi-million dollar LED screens which were like 20 feet high, and infrared cameras were put on all of us... our shows went way better after we had this gigantic light show." BAND INTERVIEW CONTINUED BELOW