Thursday, August 30, 2007

Overlord - Ticker Symbols

If you pay any attention to what's happening on this cover, you'll also get a good idea of the music inside. At first glance, it just a sappy, happy shot of a wedding cake. Doesn't it look tasty. Mmmm, I love butter cream icing. But something is amiss... I can't quite put my finger on it.... Hey, where's the bride? Hold on, that's not very happy at all. Just like the cover, the music leaves you with the suspicion that life isn't quite a bowl of cherries (or cake with butter cream icing).

Check out my review of the music.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Cure - Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me

Most covers from The Cure follow a similar pattern: a blurry image (or collage) is framed against a dark and obscure background. Often, there's some sort of hazy movement that was almost -- but not quite -- stilled by the camera. None of the covers are bad, but few of them are particularly noteworthy.

Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me is the exception. It was still abstract, but it was a visual departure from anything the band had done before (or did afterwards). It was a fitting departure, too, given that the album was somewhat of a musical departure for the band. It is a sensual cover that hints at pleasure, but the vivid colors suggest a tension that is confirmed by the lyrics of the title song. There are also some gender issues at play, since non-Cure fans will presume they are the pouty lips of a woman, while Robert Smith fans see only the lipstick-clad mouth of a man who they long to kiss.


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Ministry - Filth Pig

Though the album itself is mediocre, the cover of Ministry's Filth Pig is one of the more creative moments at political stabbery, which is interesting considering this album came during the Clinton administration and not the 1st Bush regime, since the latter is more the band's customary target (and now the progeny takes an appropriate beating on more recent Ministry albums). What's to say about a boiler suit holding a U.S. flag interestingly in mid-wave, with a slab of dripping meat down the suit's cranium? Disgusting for sure, but is this a statement for vegetarians or is it a figurative representation of "the man" grinding up ordinary Americans in the machine? You be the judge.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Motorhead-No remorse

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Motorhead's logo has appeared in all sorts of situations on their covers over the years. It normally looks pretty cool on all of them. I think it's rough appearance certainly fits in with the band's sound and image very well.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

White Lion - Big Game

Thanks to the Greenpeace-inspired "Little Fighter" and the image of the White House on the cover, this is what passed for political music in the hair metal scene. I was living in L.A. just after this came out, and the conversations went something like this:

Hair Metal Bonehead #1: That White Lion album is totally political, dude.
Hair Metal Bonehead #2: It's awesome that they're, you know, like, taking a stand and singing about the way that one Greenpeace ship, Little Fighter, got sunk by a Russian submarine.
HMB #1: My band toured Greenpeace last summer. Right after we played Japan. Japanese girls are hot.
HMB #2: Our song "Wet Pussy Kat" was number 1 in Greenpeace. That song was a huge hit. It's cool, because it's, like, totally political. It's about how chicks should be equal to guys.
HMB #1: At least the hot ones should be.
HMB #2: Whoa, check out that babe over there, I totally banged her in the bathroom of Gazzarri's at the Byte The Bullet show last weekend.

It's really sad to think that, in mainstream America circa 1989, some cheesy cover art and a song about the Rainbow Warrior is all it took to label a band as activists.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Bad Brains - s/t

Only an album cover this incendiary could come close to preparing you for the energy the Bad Brains released upon the world with their debut album.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

KMFDM - Angst

I've always loved KMFDM's album covers that remind me of a Frank Miller dystopia where something hellish is likely going to happen as on other covers like Naive, Hau Ruck and WWIII. There's a post industrialism (the art movement, not necessarily the music movement) to KMFDM's covers and they do look like mature-themed comic books brought to life, in particular their latest album Tohuvabohu, where it's like Frank Miller's universe collides with Grendel. This one is one of my favorites, as it hints a "Big Brother is Watching You" right in the middle of a designated offensive act; the couple is obviously sneaking around to copulate.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Priestess-Hello, Master

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This cover is from just last year. Although it's obviously done to look more like a 1970's style. It makes me think of not only album covers from that time, but also of science fiction and fantasy book covers from that decade. The artwork was done by Arik Roper who has done album covers, shirts and poster art for Sleep, High on fire and other artists. The giant hand concept also reminds me of Rainbow's Rising and the position of the hand reminds me a little of Judas Priest's British Steel.

Arik Roper's site is here

Friday, August 17, 2007

Hammer Head-Rock Forever

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Bob scanned some covers for me so I will give you some bonus badness this week. Here is the cover of Rock Forever which was done by Hammer Head in 1987. Somehow I can imagine the whole band crowded around the artist and all of them were shouting out ideas.

"Make a skull, a big one!"
"Yeah, but give it a pig nose!"
"Oh, oh and it has to have pointed teeth!"
"A hammer, make a hammer smashing through the top of the skull!"
"Hey, that looks more like a gavel than a hammer" (This guy obviously didn't yell loud enough because he wasn't heard)
Last someone said
"We don't want it to look like too much like we are just a bunch of generic barbarians so make the logo kind of fancy."

Unfortunately during this creative brainstorming no one in the band mentioned the background color. So somewhere along the lines someone outside the band probably decided bright pink would work nicely and that's what the band got. It just ruins the whole effect of their otherwise brilliant and innovative ideas.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Massive Attack v. Mad Professor - No Protection

There is some crazy, crazy shit happening here. We've got nunchucks, guns, freaky baby aliens, spaceships, death rays shooting out of the hands of the three Massive Attack guys, and a towering Mad Professor with more slobber than a rabid St. Bernard.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Megadeth - Countdown to Extinction


The Black Crowes - Amorica

I was a late bloomer to The Black Crowes, but I've since fallen under their spell, and I'm very happy to be able to find an uncensored image of this classic cover. I remember the infuriation of the conservative side, and yeah, the pubes sticking out is certainly pushing the boundaries, but I also love the side commentary that sex makes America go 'round. Then there's the pervert in me, which I'll just keep the wanton thoughts to myself, since chances are, many of you have something similar lurking or swelling inside of you.

Monday, August 13, 2007

M-16- Locked and loaded

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This is the cover of Locked and loaded a 1988 release by fairly obscure New York based metal band M-16. So where we have a hooded, skeletal figure who is likely death. Yet death must not be as powerful as we once thought. He can no longer just make you fall over with a tap on the shoulder so he has obviously resorted to carrying an automatic weapon around as well. Just in case he has to take someone out that way. Now just so you don't think he is a cold stiff, death also carries a guitar around as well. You never know when an impromptu jam session will break out and someone will want death to jump in and rock out.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Warrant - Cherry Pie

Whew. If they hadn't strategically placed that falling piece of cherry pie, the subtlety of this double entendre might have been lost on me.

(For those of you who don't get it, "Cherry Pie" isn't just referring to a dessert; it's a play on words that refers to the waitress' private girl parts. Because Jani and the gang are always on the right side of that fine line between clever and stupid, "cherry" not only refers to the waitress' hair color, but also to the fact that her "cherry" -- or her virginity -- is about to be "popped." Do you see how a bit of red cherry juice is squirting out of the pie? That's called symbolism. It represents the blood that will be released when the Down Boys break that pretty lady's hymen. Those guys in Warrant are some big thinkers. We should be thankful that they contributed such a fine piece of art to the world. It's like the Mona Lisa, but sexier. And we all know that there's nothing wrong with being sexy.)


Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Orange 9mm - Driver Not Included

If you only look at the front cover, Driver Not Included seems like one of many very plain 90s album covers with a rather mundane object on a white background. The 90s were full of that crap. However, a look at the back shows that they were really quite clever. I like this one, because it looks so common, but a closer look shows that it's actually anything but.


Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Lita Ford - Out For Blood

There's nothing overtly special about this cover from an artistic standpoint, unless you want to give points for the fog machine spewage at the bottom. In many ways this just screams cheese, but hey, Lita Ford in leather and fishnets with her guitar in a confident position...and that eighties big hair...oh yeah...

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Van Halen-s/t

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A number of albums have good covers. However it's perhaps a tougher task to not only make a cover pleasing to the eye, but to also give a good idea of what the band and or the music will be like. I think the cover of Van Halen's 1978 debut does both. You have Diamond Dave looking like he's charged up, Eddie Van Halen showing confidence and that cool guitar, Alex Van Halen playing drums like a madman and Michael Anthony looking he's going to run someone through with his bass. Then throw one of the best logos of all time in the center and you have a strong cover.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Rush - Moving Pictures

I used to sit and stare at this cover, trying to decipher its secrets while half expecting it to suddenly come to life. It's disturbing and creepy, but in an extremely subtle way. It's arguably the greatest album cover from a band who had more than their fair share of great covers.


Wednesday, August 1, 2007

The Exploited - Live at the Whitehouse

Everything about the Exploited has always been extreme from their political positions to their live shows (which have erupted in violence on more than one occasion). The cover of Live at the Whitehouse is no exception. I spent a fair amount of time in high school trying to recreate this cover on notebook covers and folders and, as I'd hoped, it irritated a few people. The Exploited aren't the smartest band on the planet, but at least they're still stirring the pot today just as they did with this 1985 album.