Shoulda, woulda, coulda + 2011 = Cover art I wish I’d uncovered, but didn’t
IN LOVE AND life and (evidently) self-imposed free labour, there will always be the ones that got away. So in lieu of a half-assed year-end content rehash, here are 10 record covers that grabbed me by the eyeballs in 2011, but not with so much force that I just had to stalk their makers for the scoop on how, why, where, when, by whom and with-what-in-mind they were created.
Please don’t hesitate to send me potty-mouthed notes about any great Canadian cover art that I’ve overlooked, or simply to share why you think LPWTF is the cat’s pyjamas. I hope you enjoyed this year’s stories — keep your eyes peeled for a bigger, better, broader tales in 2012.
The Rural Alberta Advantage: Departing [Mar/2011] — Embedded in an uncertain journey, we lean into the blown-out-of-proportion void. Hopeful and harrowing, desolate and rich, light and dark. This is the most gorgeous place I don’t wanna be.
The Burning Hell: Flux Capacitor [May/2011] — Teasing out the motivations behind madness like this is the reason I started LPWTF. I can’t tell if Santa is being inhaled or hurled.
Dirty Beaches: Badlands [Mar/2011] — I did sneak in one very short e-mail exchange with Alex Zhang Hungtai about the cover of his eerie, smoldering, simple-yet-irresistibly stylish full-length record. But then it exploded, and he got preoccupied with the likes of GQ.
The image was captured in his friend Mike Lau’s basement in NYC, and intended to ape old-school mug shots with “something that was iconic and minimal, impressionist even.” Hungtai also says the ghostly atmosphere “plays into the blues mythologies Badlands was based on,” and that the image was essentially made the same way he made the music for the LP, by cramming compelling ideas together.
“I wanted people to have that cover burned into their minds when they saw it. Even though it does not have any titles or names on the cover, I wanted the image to be a standalone symbol that summarized the gist of the material: Spirits, possession, the devil, exorcism, exile, lingering ghosts from a lost time you can’t pinpoint.”
Hooded Fang: Tosta Mista [Jul/2011] — Imagine an every-luchadore-for-him-or-herself throwdown between these masked marauders. Now, imagine it as the main event at a Hooded Fang show. Has the band considered this? Could they, please? Would they need to concoct full costumes to match the masks, or have those already been made? How do you fit space for an amazing moustache onto the front of your luchadore mask? The questions and fantasies I could tap from this record might actually be impossible to exhaust.
Timber Timbre: Creep On Creepin’ On [Apr/2011] — An indelible film noir pilgrimage of a record cover, appropriately from the band I’d want playing dark folk fables around the campfire while I worked up the nerve to go see what the hell that building is.
Sandro Perri: Impossible Spaces [Oct/2011] — Between making sand angels or climbing those chocolate mountains, I’m not sure what I want to do more. Either way, I totally need to stop peeking through the grass and wander around in this cover art.
Feist: Metals [Oct/2011] — As if the scenery wasn’t lovely and enchanting enough, you can’t help but grin with tickled envy when you realize she’s secretly laid out on the giant F’s middle branch, soaking up that epic landscape. Better still, she dropped the first hint of all this with a paint-by-numbers gimmick. What happens if Leslie Feist lets too much awesome out of the bag too early in her career?
Evangelista: In Animal Tongue [Sep/2011] — Another enigmatic and beautiful otherworld on the cover of a Constellation Records release. Man, do I want a hit of whatever she’s smoking.
Bry Webb: Provider [Nov/2011] — Primordial, murky, deceptively simple, oozing with raw textures and curves, bloody with metallic fissures, and imbued with the twinned illusion of soft and hard. Just like Webb’s songs about gripping into manhood.
Six Heads: Carboard Oracle [Nov/2011] — A small run record of disarmingly weird songs with creepy silk-screening on recycled cardboard for cover art? If I were going to try and fuck an LP from 2011 (and I guess technically I could, if it were a 7”), I’d almost definitely go after this one, and I’d almost certainly PE.