Top Album Covers Week

When The Mamas and the Papas had their debut album, they had to cover up the toilet in their album cover because it was deemed indecent. Then Andy Warhol pushed the boundaries with an album cover that had a banana sticker that could be peeled off to reveal a pink banana. While that was seen as extremely provocative at the time, our sense of shock value has certainly diminished. Album covers still get censored (such as the pixelation of Kanye being straddled by a phoenix) but there are still plenty of people trying to see how far they can push the boundaries. While I love albums with backstories, I wanted my top albums to be about the aesthetics. Album art is such a special part of seeing a bands sound rather than just hearing it. The Magritte-esque Mars Volta album, the Soviet propaganda styling of The Space Project, the plein air watercolors of Poolside or the digital feel of the Discover LP all seem to lend themselves to exactly what you’re about to hear. These covers stand alone as art but are even better when combined with the sound of a band you love.


LP - Into the Wild

After being on the music scene for ten years, releasing two commercially unsuccessful independent albums, co-writing/being featured in tracks with artists like Rihanna, Christina Aguilera and Madonna and then releasing an EP in 2012, Laura Pergolizzi (LP) finally released a full length album this past June called Forever For Now and I have to say it has completely captured my attention. The most obvious thing to mention is her incredible voice that sets her apart from any artist I’ve heard in the last decade. Not only can she sing but she can also break into an operatic wail as featured in the title track, “Forever For Now" (it’s also the one that starts off like an audition for the soundtrack to Kill Bill Vol. 3). From start to finish, ukelele to drum beat, the songs crafted by LP and enhanced by Rob Cavallo’s artistic direction have been providing me continuous enjoyment. 

While “Night Like This" was the first song that made me fall in love, "Into The Wild" has quickly become my favorite track. Not only does it have the perfect amount of whistling but it truly captures a sense of freedom that comes from a longing to escape. Whether you’re jumping into the wild, the city, or a new stage of your life, this song perfectly captures that rush you feel as you take the jump when there’s nothing left to hold you back.


Crown - All Hail Now

A couple months ago at work I was “pushed” into pyro design as if I needed to be forced to choreograph explosions. My only gripe so far is making the soundtracks. Whenever someone wants a patriotic show it’s the same damn songs. You got your American Boy, your American Girl, your American Woman, you can be Born in the U.S.A. and grow up to be Young Americans then while you’re Living in America in some Pink Houses you do your best to avoid becoming another American Idiot. Oh and it would be a sin on this most holy of middle finger holidays if there wasn’t a Party in the U.S.A. I was also told clients would not appreciate it if I started the pyro soundtracks with “America, Fuck Yeah”.

Now, I wanted to be a little patriotic but at this point I really don’t want to hear another song with America in it. Enter “All Hail Now”, a great party anthem that samples the presidential march song “Hail to the Chief”. The song just dropped this past Tuesday after being teased in a New Amsterdam commercial last week.

Hope everyone gets their fill of American Pie this weekend, and if you’re not American just have some regular pie, it’ll probably taste better (just make sure it wasn’t made in a bomb factory).


(Source: Spotify)

Vacationer - The Wild Life

Here’s a little summer tune to get stuck in your head. Kenny Vasoli has come rather far from his The Starting Line days. Since 2010, he’s been creating indie beach resort music with Vacationer and it’s just as easy to listen to as you could imagine a genre like “nu-hula” to be. I can see the indie beach resort now: mustache lotion, solar powered record players and all. “The Wild Life” was the first single off the new album, Relief, which released this past Tuesday.

It’s a very aptly named album as the chords from the guitar produce visions of sun through the waves or swaying palm trees while you’re fading out in a beach chair to the therapeutic rhythms. I think it’s called “Relief” and not “Relaxation” because as soon as the album’s over the beach is gone and you realize that wasn’t mustache lotion. I should probably warn you though, constant listening may result in a sock tan.


Phox - Slow Motion

I’m really looking forward to this band’s first LP release which comes out in 4 days. Currently all they have available are two singles (Slow Motion and 1936) and a live recording on their bandcamp from their set at the iTunes Festival this past year. They present themselves humbly as a 6 piece band from Baraboo which is a “circus town” in nowhere Wisconsin with a Walmart… and that’s about it. If they continue with tracks like this then Baraboo might actually have more to their name than just a superstore. 


Lucius - Turn It Around

I only got to see half of their act (Chance won out) but I really love Lucius’ style. The duo not only dresses identically (think sequins, blonde wigs and huge round sunglasses) but also harmonizes in perfect unity. There are whole songs where you’d swear you’re hearing only one voice. Going back to the outfits, I remember an interview where they were talking about how the one always steals the other’s style and based on how well they were rocking it, my guess is the shorter one has the style and the taller one copies.

I found their first album to be delightful and their marketing prowess admirable because as soon as they came on the scene they were already playing main stage at festivals albeit early on in the day. This track and Wildewoman are two of my favorites.


Janelle Monáe - Primetime ft. Miguel

What a performer. I finally got to see Janelle Monáe today at the Governors Ball and the level of entertainment she provides is getting to be on par with that of Michael Jackson (moonwalk and all). I’m so glad she uses her powers for good because the way she controls an entire audience is almost a supernatural feat. You leave her show feeling empowered, elated and still buzzing from the display of showmanship you just watched.

Primetime had to be the most the show slowed down but only in tempo as her voice rang over the crowd on a gorgeous sunny day in New York. I can now confirm that this android is the complete package.


Girls - Hellhole Ratrace

I’m not often one to complain. I don’t like to burden other people with my troubles or thoughts but sometimes you just have to get out those pent up feelings even if you don’t know why they’re there. Music increases your mood when you’re happy, angry, sad or feeling any other way in the wide spectrum of human emotion. Feeling bawdy? There’s a song for that. Feeling let down? Here’s a song for you. Leaky roof? I can fix that. Some listen to punk to be happy while others do it to get angry. While the feelings associated with music are different for everyone, I have to say I think I’ve found the best song for whining.

I don’t even have anything to feel sad about. I don’t know if I can attribute that to singing this out loud in my whiniest voice possible but maybe it helps. Regardless of how I sing it, I just really enjoy this track. Girls may no longer be together but at least Chris Owens continues on his solo path… as an H+M model?