I'm a sucker for diverse bills on shows. I know less musically inclined or adventurous individuals take comfort in seeing the acts that they know, but I have always found that some of my favorite bands are the ones I was completely not expecting to see live. If anything, seeing different styles keeps concert-going fresh. That is why when A Place to Bury Strangers and This Will Destroy You AND Dusted came to town I declared it the best show of June. In no way was my excited ultimatum of fantasticness off from the truth.

 

June 11th, 2012 @ The Crocordile in Seattle, WA

Dusted

Dusted is the new solo project from Brian Borcherdt from Holy Fuck. It is a lo-fi project that is as far away from Holy Fuck's electronica driven dance beats as possible. Setting up under a fuzzy wash of light guitar droning, Borcherdt played a set of songs off of the new debut album Total Dust. Some songs were a little bit forgettable, but when Dusted was going, especially on songs "(Into the) Atmopshere" and "Dusted", the band was a grand surprise as the opener.

 

"Pop music shouldn't always get a bad rap," says Top Pops!, a recurring selection of pop music highlights across a selection of styles. In this post, tracks from Portland musicians Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside and Yards, as well as minimal electronic informed pop jams from Dems and Gracie.

 

Dems

Dems gently lay you down on a bed of crisp, clean vocals and washy synths in their track, "Inner O." A single coming out soon on Bad Life Recordings, "Inner O" uses just enough electronic glitchiness to stray away from being intractible, without sacrifing gentle pop tendencies. Highly recommended that you also listen to and watch the music video for "House", HERE.

 

Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside

Admittedly, it takes a certain type of personality to get down with the '50s soul-dance sound of Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside. They give an incredibly energetic live show, and you can catch a whole list of upcoming tour dates below. Their next record comes out late this year, on Partisan Records. Full tour dates at the bottom of this post.

 

Scottish electronica act Errors have shown steady growth through the years. The band's debut, It's Not Something But It Is Like Whatever, was a calculated assault of electronics and synth, and their second album, Come Down With Me, brought in a bit more melody while...

Guitarist and songwriter for The Fresh & Onlys, Wymond Miles, has just released his first solo effort on Sacred Bones, entitled Earth Has Doors. In just twenty minutes, the visually-evocative four-track EP seems to progressively journey through vast territories of earth and space. Side A, with the tracks "Hidden Things Are Asking You To Find Them" and "Temples Of Magick," begins slowly in folk-psych fashion, as though Pink Floyd have picked up a cowboy crooner, with whom they are now ambling through the desert. The cowboy gradually finds his role by lethargically using his tools -- simple compositions of guitar and drum -- and spurs his steed along with an occasional bluesy twang. As the end of "Hidden Things Are Asking You To Find Them" nears, the cowboy has located himself, as evinced by his hooting and hollering and sudden embrace of instrumental crescendos and vocal swells. "Temples Of Magick" likewise follows with wolf-like howls of noise, and heavy drums and rim shots translate visually as the cowboy bursts through saloon doors with shotgun barrels smoking. He is newly confident, panting and practically free associating as a verbal and lyrical free being. What had begun as an unsure stumbling through parched lands has reached town with an energetic bang.

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

Battles
Battles - Gloss Drop
A suite of amorphous blobs unify Battles' year of singles and full-length releases. Different in material and style yet similar in overall form, these sculptured mounds are colorful, strangely compelling, and without a doubt represent some of the most visually iconic album art off 2011.
Record Label Warp Records The Artists Design & Art Direction - Dave Konopka Photography - Leslie Unruh Mediums & Materials Photography, Sculpture

 

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

"Eery. Melancholic."
Dum Dum Girls - Only In Dreams
Art director Jeff Kleinsmith and photographer Shawn Brackbill capture the shadowy residue of an out-of-body experience.
QUOTES FROM: JEFF KLEINSMITH, ART DIRECTOR THEMES & CONCEPTS "Dee Dee from the band... had a very specific idea in mind, but I feel like it isn't my place to speak for her on this." CREATIVE PROCESS "There is a phenomenon called astral projection or astral travel which is the idea that there are two bodies - an astral body and a physical body, and there are some who believe that the astral body can travel outside of the physical one. There are some pretty famous photos depicting the astral body leaving the physical body, and Dee Dee wanted to make her own version with herself as the subject. Again, she would know better than I what this particular imagery means to her. Well, I LOVE the image. It is one of the most interesting images I've worked with in a long time. That's not exactly some high-minded insight, but it's how I feel about the image. Dee Dee never told me if it has personal meaning to her. I know she was going through some things, so it's possible that the image is directly related to that." THE EXTRAS "Tthe only thing to mention is the silver foil stamp on the front and back and maybe the old-style packaging. I'm referring to when LPs were first made, they were actually raw cardboard which was cover by a thin printed paper skin -- as opposed to printing directly on the cardboard. Most modern packaging is done this way, and this piece was done in the old style. Also, there is a 22" x 22" foldout poster inside along with a snazzy CD dust sleeve." Record Label Sub Pop Records The Artists Art Direction & Design - Dee Dee & Jeff Kleinsmith Photography - Shawn Brackbill Mediums & Materials Photography, Postcard, Computers

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
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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 +...

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...