Best Album Art from the Past Year [19 images]

ChaseJarvis_BestAlbumArt_SleighBells_ReignofTerror_AmyRollo

Sleigh Bells / Reign of Terror

The big record companies are struggling.  Indie labels are struggling.  The photographers, illustrators, and graphic designers who create album covers are NOT struggling.  The music industry is an entirely different beast than it was a decade ago, but apparently musicians still believe in communicating what their album, as a whole, is all about with stunning visuals.

Music seems more disposable and forgettable than ever with apps like Spotify and Rdio. I mean, you have access to more than 15 MILLION songs if you fork over the $10 bucks a month for a Spotify membership — a far lesser cost than downloading individual songs and albums to iTunes. While this accessibility to music is amazing, it’s also overwhelming. We are being bombarded with more aural pleasure than we can possibly handle.

The beauty lies in the fact that we will stumble across tunes we love that may have not crossed our path without this technology. This, in turn, can lead us to finding our new favorite band (at least until we find our NEXT new favorite band). And then we will go to their concerts. And then we will buy their vinyl. Because vinyl is making a comeback.  And then we will go home, put that record on like our forefathers did before there were 8-tracks and cassettes and cds and mp3s.  We will once again experience what it’s like to be grounded in a room without earbuds and iPhones.  To have to get up and flip the album.  To listen from beginning to end, as the artist intended.  To stare at the cover and read through the liner notes.

ChaseJarvis_BestAlbumArt_Thexx_Coexist_AmyRollo

The XX / Coexist

ChaseJarvis_BestAlbumArt_XV_PopularCulture_AmyRollo

XV / Popular Culture

ChaseJarvis_BestAlbumArt_Shigeto_Lineage_AmyRollo

Shigeto / Lineage

ChaseJarvis_BestAlbumArt_BatForLashes_AmyRollo

Bat for Lashes / The Haunted Man

ChaseJarvis_BestAlbumArt_ScratchMassive_NuitDeReve_AmyRollo

Scratch Massive / Nuit de Reve

ChaseJarvis_BestAlbumArt_ScissorSisters_MagicHour_AmyRollo

Scissor Sisters / Magic Hour

ChaseJarvis_BestAlbumArt_Santigold-Masterofmymakebelieve_AmyRollo

Santigold / Master of My Make-Believe

ChaseJarvis_BestAlbumArt_Parklive_Blur_AmyRollo

Blur / Parklive

ChaseJarvis_BestAlbumArt_Nas_LifeisGood_AmyRollo

Nas / Life is Good

ChaseJarvis_BestAlbumArt_LaurelHalo_Quarantine_AmyRollo

Laurel Halo / Quarantine

ChaseJarvis_BestAlbumArt_Ke$ha_Warrior_AmyRollo

Ke$ha / Warrior

ChaseJarvis_BestAlbumArt_GentlemanJesse_LeavingAtlanta_AmyRollo

Gentleman Jesse / Leaving Atlanta

ChaseJarvis_BestAlbumArt_FionaApple_TheIdlerWheel_AmyRollo

Fiona Apple / The Idler Wheel

ChaseJarvis_BestAlbumArt_FatherJohnMisty_FearFun_AmyRollo

Father John Misty / Fear Fun

ChaseJarvis_BestAlbumArt_Eprom_Metahuman_AmyRollo

Eprom / Metahuman

ChaseJarvis_BestAlbumArt_BrotherAli_MourninginAmericaandDreaminginColor_AmyRollo

Brother Ali / Mourning in America and Dreaming in Color

ChaseJarvis_BestAlbumArt_BlackMothSuperRainbow_CobraJuicy_AmyRollo

Black Moth Super Rainbow / Cobra Juicy

ChaseJarvis_BestAlbumArt_BestCoast_AmyRollo

Bat for Lashes / The Haunted Man

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May I suggest one of my own images to be the 20th? :)

http://lucattelli.com/downloads/HHS.jpg

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Steve Iles says:

The BBC are currently running a series of prgrams looking at the golden age of the album, so are we getting nostalgic for the album sleeve. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01qhn70

So are we missing are album art? following the words in the album sleeve while listening to the whole album? Gleening every last fact from the album notes?

Do we need more from downloads or do we go back buying ‘physical’ music. Or is it too late with the loss of HMV from our high street?

Great piece Chase
Thank you.

EddieBaba says:

Some of these have an influence from the album covers in Seventies. I wouldn’t consider this a “Best Of” list, but it reflects the weak musical bands of today that don’t have a lasting presence. I like a couple of them. But so many bands come and go nowadays, that it’s hard to keep up with what’s out there. That’s just what I think.

faisal says:

Some very amazing pics.

Chase, what you’re saying here is exactly what i’ve been feeling quite a few times, yet unable to couch it. Man, you said it! looks like aural art needs to communicate visually. Isnt that so cool. Then, on the other hand, a certain picture will recall a certain tune in my brain. Or a guitar solo will make me want to create a certain image. I just love the connection of aural and visual stimuli. Well now, its all about art. the world needs art.

I agree with you 100% Wilfred, and it’s exactly why I am yearning to break into the photography portion of music

Love the Brother Ali cover.

Luke says:

I’ve been buying all my must have albums on vinyl since Pearl Jam released Vitalogy when I was 16. One of my favorite things to these days is to listen to records with my wife and little daughter. It’s fun to play DJ. I can play the newest Radiohead album and then switch to a crackly Johnny Cash album from the 50’s. With vinyl you get awesome artwork. If you haven’t seen Pearl Jam’s “No Code”(all photography related) or Sigur Ros “Takk” giant artwork you’re missing out. You can look at them for hours. I recently found a bunch of hidden messages scratched into the inside part of my Pearl Jam albums.

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