Meatbodies: Meatbodies

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Artist: Meatbodies

Album: Meatbodies

Label: In the Red

Cover Art: Tatiana Kartomten

Producer: Eric Bauer

Release Date: October 14, 2014

I was browsing NPR’s First Listen and became unexpectedly mesmerized by swirls of vivid colors, captured in an intricate psychedelic pattern, that seemed to symbolize a mind trying to escape from the constraints of its body.

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Lemon Jelly: Lost Horizons

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Artist: Lemon Jelly

Album: Lost Horizons

Label: XL Recordings

Cover Art: Airside

Producer: Nick Franglen

Release Date: October 8, 2002

Twelve years ago, today, Lemon Jelly released their second album. It followed a debut of hit singles + sounds, cobbled together to make a proper release which also made the duo of DJ/designer Fred Deakin and producer Nick Franglen relevant to a whole generation who felt connected to downtempo, ambient electronic music.

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SBTRKT: Wonder Where We Land

Artist: SBTRKT

Album: Wonder Where We Land

Label: XL Recordings

Cover Art: A Hidden Place

Producer: SBTRKT

Release Date: October 7, 2014

Take out the vowels, substitute a “K” in place of the “C,” and you have SBTRKT (subtract). Aaron Jerome has spent his career as a DJ concealing his personal identity as much as it’s possible for someone who also contributes to tracks with up-and-comers including Jessie Ware, Warpaint, and A$AP Ferg.

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SOHN: Tremors

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Artist: SOHN

Album: Tremors

Label: 4AD

Cover Art: Carla Fernández Andrade

Producer: SOHN

Release Date: April 8, 2014

It’s July 1st and that means only one thing to everyone else who isn’t Canadian: the year is halfway over.

Today, as I was skimming through my Facebook newsfeed, I noticed quite a few “best of 2014” type posts listing the musical highlights of 2014 thus far. I don’t have the bandwidth, time-wise, to conduct extensive research into 2014’s best album covers (so far) but it’s an idea that, if I start planning ahead, could be executed at the end of the year…with a barrage of other insufferable year-end lists.

Yet I digress, there is only one album that would make my list and I let that be known by always leaving a comment whenever someone I know posts their own “top albums so far” list and neglects to mention SOHN’s debut, Tremors.

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Mastodon: Once More ‘Round the Sun

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Artist: Mastodon

Album: Once More ‘Round the Sun

Label: Reprise Records

Cover Art: Skinner

Producer: Nick Raskulinecz

Release Date: June 24, 2014

I’ve been experiencing one of those tedious weeks that has the potential to drain the will to live from one’s being. Without getting into the personal aspect of it too much, I was rushing against a deadline to deliver personal records for a case that shouldn’t exist in the first place.

As I was delivering these documents late last night, Mastodon’s seventh album came on through Rdio (I forgot I had it in my queue from Tuesday) and I instantly felt revitalized. Blasting through my car’s speakers, I felt stronger, more self-assured, and determined to continue my fight. Forget the power of music for a minute: the effect that the hard-hitting aggression of quality metal has delivers the feeling of invincibility in the most dire moments of one’s life.

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Ashra: Correlations

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Artist: Ashra

Album: Correlations (sometimes referred to as Correlation)

Label: Virgin Records

Cover Art/Photography: Hipgnosis/Detlev Maugsch

Producer: Ashra

Release Date: 1979

I think it’s safe to assume that my friend Dakin lives and breathes music to a point where he might be capable of giving the insufferable record store clerks in High Fidelity pause. Luckily for his immediate circle of friends and colleagues, though, he does this without an inkling of pretense.

Who else could make a direct correlation (no pun intended, seriously) between the cover art from Ashra’s third release, in 1979, and I Am Spoonbender’s 2002 effort Shown Actual Size? Both are experimental electronic acts that could easily be compared to Brian Eno and his ilk, but only one group of people could invent such a deliciously phallic symbol for an album cover.

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New Order: Power, Corruption & Lies

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Artist: New Order

Album: Power, Corruption & Lies

Label: Factory

Cover Art: Peter Saville

Producer: New Order

Release Date: May 2, 1983

This past Sunday marked the 35th anniversary of Unknown Pleasures, the debut from Joy Division. Peter Saville was the cover art designer who executed their vision which remains an iconic symbol to this day.

He played a significant role in running the London-based label, Factory, and contributed to the imagery that would define other post-punk and glam rock greats including Pulp, Suede, Wham!, OMD, and New Order.

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tUnE-yArDs: Nikki Nack

Artist: tUnE-yArDs

Album: Nikki Nack

Label: 4AD

Cover Art: Alex Chitty

Producer: Malay

Release Date: May 5, 2014

Who would’ve ever imagined that a fruit roll-up, this particular one processed to the point where it should have been brandished with a warning from the Food and Drug Administration, if said agency or the government behind it even cared about consumers’ health, could be the centerpiece of one of this year’s most riveting album covers?

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Joy Division: Unknown Pleasures

Artist: Joy Division

Album: Unknown Pleasures

Label: Factory

Cover Art: Peter Saville

Producer: Martin Hannett

Release Date: June 15, 1979

Thirty five years ago, today, Joy Division released their debut album Unknown Pleasures. Less than a year after its release frontman Ian Curtis, plagued with epilepsy, a faltering marriage, and depression, committed suicide. In spite of only releasing two full-length albums (Closer was a post-humous effort), their legacy lives on through every medium imaginable. This is thanks, in part, to the cover art of their debut:

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Teebs: E S T A R A

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Artist: Teebs

Album: E S T A R A

Label: Brainfeeder

Cover Art: Mtendere Mandowa (Teebs)

Producer: Teebs

Release Date: April 15, 2014

It’s New Music Tuesday and it reminded me that, oh, exactly two weeks ago, I stumbled upon some particularly poignant album artwork from an artist that, up until now, I hadn’t heard of. 

That’s a shame, too, because Mtendere Mandowa, who goes by “Teebs,” is doing something extraordinarily unique with not only the art for his latest release, E S T A R A, but with album covers in general.

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