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.
We've raved before about the visual work of San Francisco graphic designer and ambient electronic musician Tycho, aka Scott Hansen -- but how exciting that similarly-styled graphic designer and director Charles Bergquist has now been enlisted to turn both of their still image styles into moving image! Both Bergquist and Hansen are known visually for their use of overlaid imagery and washed out colors, and the video for "Ascension" possesses all of these elements. But unlike any hand-held video edited together by any ol' dream pop band with a penchant for Polaroid dreaminess, this is a well-executed, high-quality visual treat that feels pulled straight out of a fashion magazine universe. It also incorporates the best of both Bergquist and Hansen's graphical tendencies, most evidenced by the constant use of the sunset from Tycho's last release, Dive. The primary difference is that here, worlds of water are left behind, as listeners are lifted into mountains of dry sand. I might also add that it is likely the Ghostly International connection, but the slowly-expanding paint splotches used occasionally in this video are reminiscent of the genius abstractions from Matthew Dear's Headcage EP... and you should definitely view this in 1080p HD.

 

Throughout the year FYF produces some of the best shows all around the LA area, but when it comes to Labor Day weekend, the FYF Fest is their indie rock prom. And since this year, they made it a two-day affair, you can consider it their homecoming dance too. Everyone dresses up in their best summer attire and afterward spends days talking about about it all. The festival's lineup is always impressive, but this year was really something to write home about, from beginning to end. So if you were fashionably late, you missed out on some great openers. And if you called it an early night, you can consider your weekend a failure for not watching some epic sets. While it seemed a bit subliminal to see two big screens on the ends of the main stage flashing text that said "best weekend of the summer," looking back, it actually was the best weekend of the summer.

 

WORDS BY KARLA HERNANDEZ; PHOTOS BY KOURY ANGELO THE CROWD AT REFUSED

 

Los Angeles' FYF Fest is a growing festival. No more are the days when it would let you tuck it in at night and read it a bed time story. No, you can no longer guide and keep under your protection. After many successful years, the creators of FYF Fest have decided that one day is no longer enough. The festival will now be taking up both Saturday and Sunday of Labor Day weekend so we hope that you have Monday off from work because you'll surely need it to recover. - KARLA HERNÁNDEZ
 

Refused

Saturday, September 1, 10:55pm @ Main St. Stage What can we say about Refused that hasn't already been said? Refused is one of those bands that no matter what genre of music you're into, you just know that these hardcore punk rockers deserve some respect. For me Refused was the band that almost made me want to go to Coachella this year. But I held out because I knew FYF Fest would work their magic and present them in a more bearable setting. If you dare to go into the pit, stay safe and play nice.   See all Previews & Picks For SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 1

Beirut

Sunday, September 2, 10:55pm @ Main St. Stage Do you know that part in the "Little Mermaid" where Ursula takes Ariel's voice and carries it in a shell around her neck? That is exactly what I want to do with Zach Condon's voice. Of course I won't deprive the world of such beauty, but Beirut's music is nothing short of awe-inspiring with a mix of instrumentation that includes a ukulele, a horn section, strings and much more. Beirut's style is smart, romantic and worldly, what more could you ask for?   See all Previews & Picks For SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 2

This in-depth feature highlights how well-executed album artwork can go beyond genre lines to expand into territories of philosophical, thematic, and conceptual significance. Perhaps now more than ever, album cover artwork plays a vital role in music....

Yet another Little Dragon-related post, but with more of a focus on Scott Hansen, also known as Tycho or graphic artist ISO50. His latest record recently came out on Ghostly International, and it certainly sounds music created by someone who knows how to craft a visually-evocative landscape. The music...