Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Year In Review 2015- Best Album Art

We kick off our Year in Review section of 2015 with a favorite feature in the Best of... area, Album Art.  Like in years past we will be choosing our Best Albums of the Year, a few we were underwhelmed with and our favorite show. Today we are starting out by judging books (records) by their covers (vinyl sleeves, jackets, digital pics, etc). We are going to support the creative minds behind the Best Album Art Work of 2015

The biggest gripe RtBE has with digital music is not the quality (that has been massively improved the last few years) nor the disposal nature of it (still a problem, but whatever), it is the lack of amazing album covers and art work.

Sure there may be great artists out there but seeing it on a screen, in iTunes or elsewhere is nothing compared to holding an LP cover or even a CD booklet with pages of lyrics, pictures etc. Thankfully the rise of vinyl is helping this dilemma but it is still not enough. The hours we spent staring at covers while listening to music can not be adequately recorded, it added new dimensions to the sounds...Anyways...  

 Let's get right to it. We will talk about a few like, one we hate, link to the review of the release if there is one and celebrate a winner who wins nothing but internet praise at the end. Oh and we will keep our release from this year out of the running for obvious conflicts of interest.

Honorable Mentions:
Catfish and the Bottlemen The Balcony:
This cover says it all for the power pop of Catfish and the Bottlemen. Teenage lust, clumsiness, direct and to the point, we really dig this simple cover.

Hanni El Khatib- Moonlight
While we were underwhelmed with this disk, the art direction  that HEK travels is really top notch. Moonlight's cover art is grand, cool, and classy.

Billy Shaddox- I Melt, I Howl
Sometimes the cover just completely captures the music contained with in and that is exactly what happened on Billy Shaddox's I Melt, I Howl. This is "Cosmic American Music" and this naturalistic cover captures that wonderfully.

Deafheaven- New Bermuda

While we haven't completely given into the bands noise/beautiful dichotomy, we can give into their amazing artwork. People went nuts over Sunbather, but we like New Bermuda's art work even more and feel it really represents the music presented within.  

Before we get to our favorite album art of the year, a moment needs to be given to the worst album art of the year that we came across...

Built To Spill- Untethered Moon 
While this album was a complete return to form for BtS the art made it look like a Junior High Schooler's bad design project. Maybe we just hate cats, but this seems so half-assed, especially because the music inside is so good that we felt the need to point this out.

And now to our favorite of the year:
Father John Misty- I Love You, Honeybear
The music fits, sure he is making himself Jesus around crazy animals and colors but this album speaks to all of that either directly or within the music. Bombastic in tone, self centered, arrogant, satirical, creepiness lurking in the background...it is all on the sleeve of the record and in the music.

The vinyl is a kaleidoscope on both the actual disk and the fold outs, are worth your dollars

Thanks for reading, feel free to comment on any covers/album art that we missed and stay tuned for more Best of 2015.

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