Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Circle Jerks - Wild in the Streets

I can't think of another album that represents the strange naiveté of young punk rockers. I remember thinking to myself that they (who, I'm not quite sure) would be sorry when the youth take to the streets and claim their future for themselves. Considering how ambiguous my goals were at them time (and that they may have been better defined than the guys in the Circle Jerks who were only a few years older), a riot might not have been the best way to change the world.

By the way, the title track of the album is a cover from the soundtrack of the 1968 film of the same name in which teenagers take over the country and put adults into LSD camps for "re-education." It's a funny film now. I wonder how many people took it seriously 40 years ago.

Iron Butterfly-In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida


Ewwww look at the swirls and colors. Actually the cover is like in two parts. The circular background that catches your eye and the rather average looking band plugging away down below. See now the Wizard of Oz knew that if you didn't look spectacular then you should hide behind a more impressive image. Maybe Iron Butterfly should have stood behind a curtain when they played. Anyway, this Goodwill store regular doesn't have a lot going for it. Once you get past the dated design and bright colors you realize that it is indeed a seriously dated cover.

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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Best and worst album covers of 2008

Here you go...


My favorite cover was Soilent Green's Inevitable Collapse in the Presence of Conviction. It has sort of a 30's pulp cover look to it only a bit more strange. I love the colors and depth of the picture.


My least favorite is Yngwie Malmsteen's Perpetual Flame. Perpetual foolishness is more like it. Rock star pose, open shirt, pooched mouth and fluffed up hair. And don't forget the flames coming off the guitar, no doubt because he is just playing so fast that the strings start blazing. Oh and look he made sure to show us that his guitar is actually plugged in. That's definitely a sign of a real virtuoso. What a joke. Some musicians grow old gracefully and some goofballs like Yngwie try to live in the past.

Have a great holiday and I hope that you have enjoyed our covers this week!

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

David’s Worst and Best Album Covers of 2008

Reflecting back on 2008’s album covers, I’m struck by how boring most of them are. In fact, I had to go looking through my purchases, as well as online to see other 2008 releases, just to remember most of what came out this year.

In other words, dozens of either horrid or great covers don’t come to mind.

That’s not to say that some covers don’t deserve particular damnation and praise. So …

The worst:

I know next to nothing about Santogold (the stage name of singer/songwriter Santi White) or this self-titled album. I just saw the cover and thought that it’s one of the dumbest I’ve ever seen.

The best:

I love this cover. Metallica hit one out of the park with the simple yet striking design. Even better, the coffin opening carries through in the CD booklet, playing a role in each piece of art inside. Classic.

Happy holidays to all.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Best and Worst Album Covers of 2008

There were a number of fine covers in 2008, but the one that wins hands down has to be The Mars Volta's Bedlam in Goliath. Its mix of the real and surreal is only surpassed by that of the music in the grooves. Plus, it had an excellent vinyl package. (Yeah, the Ouija board piece is a shaped 7" picture disc. You just don't get stuff this cool with CDs, although there were limited numbers of a bonus CD with Bedlam in Goliath that actually had vinyl pressed on one side so they did get pretty close).

Master Slash Slave's Scandal and Tippy Canoe and the Paddlemen's Parasols and Pekingese are close runners up, but can't quite touch TMV.

Worst is usually a tougher call since there seem to be so many ways in which to be bad. I usually have to eliminate amateur photoshop covers from self-released and demo albums right off the bat, because there are simply too many to choose from. This year is different though, because (perhaps as payback for making it so hard on me when I had to listen to the music) Judas Priest made the task easy with Nostradamus. The cover is as over-the-top stupid as the album itself. It really is sad though, because it seems Priest wants us to take this cover as seriously as they'd like us to take their ridiculous, epic concept album about a pop culture subject. Ooooh, scary eyes. Yeah, wait 'til you hear the music. The scariest part is that a band with almost four decades of music (most of it good) under its belt couldn't tell that both the cover and music were rotten.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Best and Worst Album Covers of 2008

For me, it's not so much the best and the worst of 2008 as much as the one that had me literally on the floor deliriously laughing because I'd had such a bad week as has been the theme for much of this year that to see a 7" piece of vinyl from Umoral trickle in with the insanely pornographic cover (of which I regret I'm not going to post here) of a closeup of anal sex with a large inverted cross covering most of the entrance holes. I thought, this is unbelievably blasphemous and illicit it's a freaking joke and down to my knees I went in laughter. Some people will go to such extremes to be remembered...

However, for sake of our exercise at Whole Lotta Album Covers this week, I chose what are not necessarily the best and worst album covers of the year per se, but those that made me cringe the most and appositely took me out of this world and into a fantastical realm only Marvel Comics' Thor could normally have the power to do.

First, the worst cover honor goes to Who Rides the Tiger's Transylvania Baby. Okay, the artist is better than me, but this inisidiously disgusting slate sketch of a she-male or if you want to say a hairy sickie in drag is just plain wrong and obviously done for shock value. More at home in an underground sex art auction, I salute the balls of Who Rides the Tiger, if you'll excuse the pun, but it still rubs me the wrong way, another pun intended. Yuck.

On the flipside, Amon Amarth, who deserves to be counted as one of metal's true giants for their massive sound alone, served up yet another monster album this year with Twilight of the Thunder God and the album's artwork lives up to the music. You can actually see Thor (or if not, a Viking bearing a compelling resemblance) in this cover doing what he'd do best in the comic books, taking on a larger-than-life sea serpent in the midst of a raging storm. I like the flaming planet in the background, which adds to the chaos and the mysticism of this heroic image. Of course, if you're a comic nerd like myself, you'll know Thor is dubbed The Thunder God. All we need in this image is Loki peering from an obtuse corner admiring his handiwork and we're complete. Ba-bam!!!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Best and worst album covers of 2008

For part of this upcoming week we will be posting about out favorite and least favorite album covers of 2008. Here is the schedule of who is posting and when.

David-Wednesday (or late Tuesday)

Hope you enjoy them!

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Saga, Worlds Apart

Saga has always held a place in my mind as the sad little brother to fellow Canadian bands Rush and Triumph.

This sounds harsh, I’ll admit. But like these groups, Saga is a hard rock outfit from Ontario that incorporated progressive rock and even pop elements in the 1980s. So the comparison is fair.

Saga always seemed a pale imitation of its compatriots—its technical skills never equaled Rush; its hardest edge rarely matched the metal riffs of Triumph (and Rush).

But Saga had two killer tracks that grip me to this day,“Wind Him Up” and “On the Loose,” both of which are on Worlds Apart. Although the cover of the original album is cheesy, the simple design still works for me because of the stark contrast between the two lenses.

Too bad Rush’s album covers were usually better.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Uriah Heep-The Magician's Birthday


It looks like that guy is living inside a lava lamp. I like the cover, but it is of course very dated.

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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Mark Arm - The Freewheelin' Mark Arm 7"

Mark Arm steals the art from The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan as well as "Masters of War" and does justice to both.

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Monday, December 1, 2008

Inspired by 70's sci-fi TV

Here are two covers that were inspired by 1970's science fiction television shows. If you don't know what shows these are based on then you really should watch more television.


Truckfighters-Gravity X

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