As 2015 rolls around, I once again select my review of what I regard as the best of what was covering Australian music releases in 2014. My choices are based on the perhaps flimsy criteria of ‘I wish I had done that’, so judge my results as you will as someone who spends perhaps an inordinate amount of time looking at what to many is a disappearing art. As usual there are some stellar contributions to the form, mostly coming from the fringes of what you would regard as mainstream releases, I’ve always held that if the musical artist cares enough about their musical release, then more than often than not, they will package it in a design that shows they care. This is the way I have been discovering new music for decades and I am seldom disappointed. General trends again this year find a lot of covers using black and white photography (a perennial favourite), iconographic fine art sensibilities, 80s ‘new wave’ through-backs and colourful illustration. The painterly ‘brushstrokes’ seem to have had their day and typographic interpretations were also thin on the ground, this year seems to have provided a lush mix of beautiful covers and perhaps suggests a turnaround in the fortunes of what ‘face’ the musical artists put forward for their music. Most of these albums are also available as vinyl releases, they certainly deserve to be presented in that format. As in previous years I have tried to credit the designers/artists/photographers behind the covers but it’s not always possible to find full credits for every pieces, please feel free to get in contact if you know of any I have missed. If you are one of the creators of these pieces I would love to hear from you as well. As I said above, these are my favourites, if you have any of your own please feel free to comment and I may even add them to the list!
I Killed the Prom Queen: Beloved
Artwork: Jakob Printzlau
Not normally the sort of music I listen to, but this is a beautifully executed cover for an album I was pleasantly surprised by.
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard: Oddments
Artwork: Jason Galea
Awesome doesn’t even begin to encapsulate how beautiful this cover is. Like a mashup between the doodles on your high school folder and and a psychedelic 24hr marathon of watching ‘Adventure Time’ (and check out that artwork on the vinyl disk!) – this was the album I wanted on vinyl the most – unfortunately sold out! I’m not surprised – the music is cool as well.
Guerre: Ex Nihilo
Artwork: Jacob Ring
Not exactly sure what the image is but I like it.
The Ocean Party: Soft Focus
Artwork: Lachlan Denton
Layout: Mitch Clemens
Clever band member Llachlan produced the artwork for the cover himself, it works well.
Karl S. Williams: Heartwood
Artwork: Karl S. Williams
Photography: Yanina Benavidez
Ditto with artwork duties here performed by Karl – lots of groovy little illustration treatments in the booklet.
Architecture in Helsinki: Now + 4EVA
Cover Art: Santtu Mustonen
Architecture in Helsinki always have great cover art, so no surprise to their inclusion here!
This album really stood out on the shelves at JB Hi-Fi when I first saw it, so mission accomplished.
Chet Faker: Built On Glass
Art Direction & Photography: Tin & Ed
Winner of the 2014 ARIA award for best cover design – Chet Faker seems to take a very considered view to everything he place his name upon – his film clips are even better – this cover effectively carries across the title in a subtle and even slightly uncomfortable manner.
Caitln Park: The Sleeper
A good cover photograph goes a long way into producing a good cover design and getting your album noticed!
Not immediately apparent with the above pic, but the cd is actually covered in faux ‘beard hair’. I wonder if they did a vinyl sized version as well?
Jep & Dep: Word Got Out
One of my favourite albums of the year with a great cover to match.
Jack Ladder And The Dreamlanders : Playmates
Artwork: Jack ladder
Photography: Jacob Ring
Jack Ladder has made my list in previous years, this may be the best yet with a nod to new wave covers of yesteryear.
Jane Tyrrell: Echoes in the Aviary
Artwork: Jane Tyrell
There’s nothing wrong with putting yourself on the cover of your album as long as you do it in an interesting way…
Laura Targett: Fragile
Artwork: Anita Kwong Barnatan
Photography: Donatella Parisini
…..and with a photograph this beautiful, it has to be the cover.
Megan Washington: There There
Another nod to the new wave 80s, I really like that brush type.
Mia Dyson: Idyllwild
Artwork: Aaron Taylor-Waldman
Mia Dyson is another repeat offender to this list, would have loved this even more if it was printed on an actual uncoated textured stock.
Sally Seltmann: Hey Daydreamer
Artwork & Photography: Darren Seltmann
Like the artwork, like the album – not much more to say.
Sincerely, Grizzly: Halves
Sometimes the simplest of ideas can work out really well.
The Grates: Dream Team
Love this whole package and the lime green vinyl is dynamite.
The Yearlings: All The Wandering
Artwork: Stobietown Press
Letterpress printed by the band themselves at Stobietown press, you can even see a video of them doing it at the link.