In our 2012 Album Covers of the Year feature, we once again get our hands on everyone we can. Through interviews with designers, musicians, labels, and plenty of others, we take a close look at just how many hands are in the pot when it comes to the album artwork process. Inside this feature are 98 album covers spanning a wide array of sonic and visual styles, each selected for its own unique contribution to the world. They are not ranked; instead, they are broken down into sections based on conceptual underpinnings or artistic mediums, and then are displayed on spectrums. Get started by navigating into any of these six sections: Geometric & Pattern-Based Classically-Influenced Narrative & Symbolic Photography & Manipulations Painting & Illustration Collage, Sculpture & Mixed Media You can also see last year's at 2011 Year-End Respect For Album Cover Art
 
Attending Culture Collide is the easiest and cheapest way to feel like you have been around the world in just four days. When you watch two US bands open a show where groups from Singapore, Argentina and the Netherlands are also on the bill, you start to feel like the most worldly person on the planet. And night after night, numerous different countries were represented under one roof, giving people the opportunity to discover bands that maybe otherwise they would have not come across. Culture Collide deserves praise for making diversity the rule and not the exception. But if I had one suggestion for this young festival, it is to go beyond the comforts of the indie rock and electronic genres a bit. With bands flying in from countries like Peru and Estonia, it'd be nice to take the cultural schooling up a notch and invite bands who are giving new life to traditional sounds from their native countries. It didn't take long for American rock n' roll to start influencing music in other countries, but hopefully a festival like this will help more international sounds infiltrate the US. SEE FULL FESTIVAL RECAP
PHOTOGRAPHY BY Jasmine Safaeian, FILTER

 

Poolside

When Brazil's Bonde do Rolê had to cancel because of visa issues, Los Angeles' Poolside stepped in to provide some tropical tunes and funky beats. While not as wild as Bonde do Rolê, Poolside were a pleasant addition to the outdoor portion of the festival. With the sun shining, the duo was accompanied by a drummer and second keyboardist, and provided a nice warm up for a full night of dancing. The main stage would later see Niki & The Dove and of Montreal. Instead of taking an aggressive approach to dance music, Poolside provided a relaxed atmosphere with mid-tempo melodies and calming synth lines. Still, you couldn't help but feel like you were whisked away to some exotic island.

 

 

In its third year, Culture Collide Festival will be welcoming 63 artists from 25 countries to Los Angeles in the span of four days. Other than SXSW, there are very few festivals that consciously provide such an international scope of the indie music scene. And considering how common it is for international bands to come across visa issues, Culture Collide takes on an admirable task in the name of global harmony. The nice thing about the festival is that most artists schedule more than one show during those four days. So while you may stick to the big names for one night, you'll have plenty of opportunities to take a chance on a few unknowns that hail from a country across the globe. SEE ALL 14 FESTIVAL PICKS

of Montreal (USA)

Saturday, October 6 - 12:00am @ The Echoplex Sunday, October 7th - 8:00pm @ The Main Stage It's pretty impossible to not have fun at an of Montreal show. This group is kooky with a whirlwind of pop, psychedelia, electro, and glam. And with six members, it's always a party on stage. There will probably be some costumes too, so just embrace it, don't ask questions. of Montreal have recently have recently released Daughter of Cloud, a compilation of 17 of Montreal recordings from the time of their Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? era to the present. The track "Hindlopp Stat" from the album is below, along with the tripped-out music video for "Spiteful Intervention", from Paralytic Stalks.

 

Bonde do Rolê (Brazil)

Sunday, October 7 - 5:30pm @ The Main Stage Even if you don't understand Portuguese, Bonde do Rolê are so worth your time. Heavily hyped by Diplo, the trio is always out to start a sweaty dance party and is known for singing about having a crazy good time. The group features a female and male MC who roll quick lyrics over club beats that you'd hear in the US and a type of Brazilian dance music called funk carioca. Just remember, it gets pretty sweltering on the other side of the equator. SEE ALSO: Bonde Do Role + DIPLO + BRAZILIAN ARTISTS & MUSICIANS

 

Everything the rainbow light touches in this music video for Onuinu's "Ice Palace" turns to psychedelic flourish and ethereal whimsy. A lack of contrast and many a post-production effect create a piece that is half sensual and half digitized, a well-paired visual aid for Onuinu's music, which possesses those same qualities. Director Andrew Sloan and choreographer Jin Camou discuss the visual decisions and the mentality that led to the final creation of "Ice Palace", in the following Q&A. Onuinu's "Ice Palace" will also be featured at REDEFINE magazine's Motion & Movement In Music Video panel at Bumbershoot and MusicfestNW 2012. SEE FULL DETAILS
"This is a very sexy song. The images are meant to combine to create a visual aphrodisiac for the viewer; alone, an orange might not be that sexy, but when you bounce it around next to a pomegranate, a flaming house, and some nice looking women, suddenly the meaning of the orange changes." -- Andrew Sloan, Director of Onuinu's "Ice Palace"

 

The Titans Of Industry is a Seattle-based indie rock band with some oddball elements and vocals, which create a vibe reminiscent of bands like Of Montreal. Their new LMNOEP EP begins with "These Cold Hands," a catchy track with a curious mixture of pounding keys, strings, and crunchy guitar riffs; "Touch...

Of Montreal is a band that has seen success as the result of good music (arguable), but also good marketing (possibly also arguable, but not as much). First, their music video for "Wraith Pinned To The Mist And Other Games," featuring cutsy-wootsy pop art animation, garnered wide attention from the web...