Category Archives: Best Australian Album Covers

Favourite Australian Album Covers 2017

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve covered this, but being an area of certain interest to myself I figured the time had come around to give it another shot. The main reason I stopped  doing it a few years back is because i was having such a hard and frustrating time coming up with with a substantial enough list to make it viable. Design for music really seems to be in the doldrums in Australia, even as I noticed a significant uptick in quality the quality of overseas cover design in 2017. Maybe we just need a bit of time to catch up. My choices are based on the sole criteria of ‘I wish I had done that’, so judge the results as you will. There are some fantastic contributions to the form below, mostly coming from the fringes of what you would regard as mainstream releases. I’ve got to say it was a real slog coming up with what I regarded as worthy inclusions, but maybe I’m just not thorough enough or I’m getting too old to know what ‘the kids are down with these day’. I’ve always held that if the musical artist cares enough about their records, then more often than not, they will package it in a design that shows the care they’ve put into it. Maybe in this age of Spotify and Apple music it’s just not a consideration anymore. Most of these albums are also available as vinyl releases, they certainly deserve to be presented in that format. I haven’t tried to credit the designers /artists/photographers behind the covers this year, is was holding me back from actually putting this up, digging for credits for every piece, but please feel free to get in contact if you know of any and i’ll add them accordingly, in fact, If you are one of the creators of these pieces I would love to hear from regardless. As I’ve said above, these are my favourites, if you have any of your own please feel free to leave a comment, I’d certainly love to see any crackers that I might have missed.


A great, beautifully simple design by Traianos Pakioufakis (check out some more great album design on the site), for Jen Cloher’s self-title album. It’s really comes down to the sublime candid photograph by Luke McLean Stephenson (the black edge of the pic poking through is a nice touch). The restraint in the design is what really works for this cover, it helps that it’s a cracking batch of sons to listen to as well!



King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard released 5(!) full album releases in 2017, the above is just one example, they are all great designs, awesomely produced by the great Jason Galea. Nice to see a current band so involved with producing good music and great visuals.



This is an album that has sort of snuck under the radar, I haven’t really heard much about it at all for such a high-profile Australian act. That said, I like the cover, and Cut Copy seldom disappoint with their artwork – sort of a through-back to the 90s, it has that late Not Only Black & White magazine aesthetic happening (design by vocalist Dan Whitford) – plus the imagery forms a kind of visual haiku if you look at it long enough.


The Kite String Tangle-The Kite string tangle

A great image can make all the difference as this cover demonstrates. It’s an engaging graphic used here (not sure if it’s a photo or some photoshop trickery) by The Kite String Tangle – I like the little logo in the bottom corner there too but I’m not sure whether it distracts too much from the overall visual. Great colour range too.



Country music isn’t renowned for it’s engaging album cover imagery, but Fanny Lunsden’s cover here for her album Real Class Act is a definite exception in that regard. Even a seemingly simple photograph can be used to stunning effect when handled right. I love the choice of typeface in the top left corner as well, I only wish the artist’s name had been similarly considered, as it kind of spoils the overall effect tucked there in the bottom right-hand corner.


Methyl Ethel

Methyl  Ethel have been getting plenty of airplay and some love from international music mags like NME. As you would expect from an outfit described as an ‘Art Rock Band’ the cover comes with the requisite ‘first year of art school’ painted nude, aesthetic -(by Holly Fewson) which is actually meant as a compliment, there’s a really nice freshness to it, in contrast to the choice of that black background which gives the cover a bold standout quality. I’m sure this looks stunning on the full 12 inch album, brave choice to leave the band name and title off only their sophomore release.



There’s alway room for a bit of nostalgia when it’s handles just right. The name ‘The Cherry Dolls’ lends itself  to such a treatment – and they’ve certainly gone with it. There’s kind of that early 80s indie record artwork thing going on there too with the hand script at the top and the colour overlay. It’s in ‘full stereo’ too! Which is always good to know.



There’s nothing particularly ground-breaking about Holly Throsby’s After a Time cover, but in a year worth of covers that couldn’t be bothered, I thought it would be nice to finish up on something that shows just a little bit of thought can produce something quite sublime and appropriate – needless to say the typography is well considered also.


Favourite Australian Album Covers of 2014

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!



Kate Miller Heidke: O Vertigo!
Design: Peter Salmon-Lomas, Salmon Design
Campaign Art Direction: Hannah Fox
Photography: Jo Duck

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
Artwork: Unknown

A good cover photograph goes a long way into producing a good cover design and getting your album noticed!



The Beards
Artwork: Unknown

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
Artwork: Unknown

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
Photography: Wilk

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
Artwork: Unknown

Another nod to the new wave 80s, I really like that brush type.


Mia Dyson

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

Sincerely, Grizzly: Halves
Artwork: Unknown

Sometimes the simplest of ideas can work out really well.


The Grates Dream Team1
The Grates Dream Team

The Grates: Dream Team
Artwork: Unknown

Love this whole package and the lime green vinyl is dynamite.


The Yearlings

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.



Favourite Australian Album Covers 2013

It’s that time of the end of year where I return with my totally unbiased (honestly) review of the best of what was covering Australian music releases this year. My choices are purely based on the criteria of ‘I wish I had done that’, so judge it as you will. If the count seems down this year, well, blame it on a plethora of musicians forgetting the number of their local graphic designer – there was some really horrible cover artwork representing what was a pretty decent year as far as music released goes, maybe the kids just don’t care anymore and they’re being ironic. I don’t want to point the finger in any general direction, the state of the art is probably not looking all that healthy when what was probably the ‘break-out’ album of the year, Lorde’s ‘Pure Heroine’ was graced with a cover that looked like it mistakenly got through as a ‘For Placement Only’ cover note. Anyway, this year is redeemed once again by some spectacular covers. If I had to suggest any particular trends for the year, I would say black and white photography (and black and white artwork in general) Covers with no typography (perhaps a trend towards accommodating the small size of image associated with digital downloads), and lots and lots of painterly. paint stroke artwork

0001269032_10-1Jen Cloher: In Blood Memory
Artwork: Celeste Potter

9332727027055Olan Mill: Hiraeth
esign: Mark Gowing

a0075366445_10Swimming: Yes, Tonight
rtwork: Madison Bycroft

a3225547543_10Waywardbreed: Gathering For The Feast
Artwork: Unknown

a3562461834_10Day Ravies: Tussle
rtwork: Nicky Minus

brinkThe Jezabels: The Brink
esign: Christopher Doyle
Artwork: Jarek Paczel

CH108-BushwalkingBushwalking: No Enter
rtwork: Jesse Lucas
Layout: John Vineiguerra

Poor+VirginiaBrooke Russell and the Mean Reds: Poor Virginia
rtwork: Claire Foxton

push-the-sky-awayNick Cave & The Bad Seeds: Push The Sky Away
Design: Tom Hingston
Photography: Dominique Issermann

PVT+-+HOMOSAPIEN+-+Cover+copyPVT: Homosapien
Design: Jack Ladder
Artwork: c/o Winston Chimielinksi

yourashadow-coverHungry Kids of Hungary: You’re a Shadow
Artwork: We Buy Your Kids

a3433174855_10The Darling Downs: In The Days When The World Was Wide
Artwork: Hoof
Photography: James Pipino

7100-CD-stories-of-ghosts-itunes-medDeborah Conway & Willy Zygier: Stories of Ghosts
Design: Sweet Creative

Melody-PoolMelody Pool: The Hurting Scene
Artwork: Andrew Allingham

Kirin_CoverKirin J Callinan: Embracism
Art Direction: Jack Ladder
Photography: McLean Stephenson


artworks-000059632315-air0l4-originalMick Turner: Don’t Tell The Driver
Artwork: Mick Turner


TraicosCatherine Traicos and the Starry Night: Night, The Earth, The Sea, The Moon, The Sky
Artwork: Unknown


Melodie+FrancaiseMelodie Francaise
Artwork: Unknown

Favourite Australian Album Covers 2012

As we are well established into the new year, it’s time for another of my annual rundowns of my favourite Australian album covers of the previous 12 months. 2012 didn’t feel as vibrant cover design wise as perhaps 2011 did, there were fortunately a select few gems covering some very interesting music and as to be expected, a lot of it was for  independent and under-the -radar releases rather than the more chart friendly fodder. I’ve tried where possible to credit the creators of the artwork, feel free to leave a comment if you can fill in any of the gaps.


Lake Air: Dappled Cities

That’s a very unusual photo – this cover is saved by a beautiful colour combination between the light blue and magenta red and some nice typography.


Provenance – Collected Works: The Lovetones

Artwork: WBYK

Love, love the very 70’s-ish illustration employed, complimented by some very beautifully complimenting typography – unfortunately, the rest of the package doesn’t quite live up to the promise  presented by that wonderful cover.



Having a Beard is the New Not Having a Beard: The Beards

Artwork: Chris Edser

I featured this cover earlier this year on my blog, extensively and lovingly rendered, the cover folds out to this fantastic poster. There is also a film clip that comes to life straight off of this poster.


Sights and Sounds: Made In Japan

Artwork: Patrick Meehan

Nice handrawn type which I am a sucker for – not much more to add.


Coveleski: Coveleski

Artwork: Simon Christou

Stick a fox on it, works everytime!


The Late Blue: Gypsy & The Cat

Artwork: Mark Alsweiler

This almost ‘Dylan-esque’ rendering (refer to his painting on the cover of his album ‘Self Portrait’ to see what I mean) seems perfectly appropriate for the music of Gypsy & The Cat. Quite spectacular on a 12 inch format I would imagine.




Pacifica: The Presets

Art Direction, Design: Jonathan Zawada

While I’m not a big fan of the 3D rendering employed to portray the artists on the cover, I can certainly appreciate the thought and direction that has been put behind this cohesive package for the Presets.
The two covers below are for singles from the album which I actually prefer.


A is for Alpine: A is for Alpine

Artwork: Tim Royall

I’m not sure what it all means, but it was certainly a cover that stood out on the racks, and a beautifully designed package as a whole.



Broken Brights: Angus Stone

There seems to be at least two separate cover designs for this album, this being my favourite of the two. The deluxe package that came in the (above) bag was spectacular and very thoughtfully put together. No idea who designed the package as a whole, maybe he did it himself?


The Touch Of You: Barry Morgan

Lovely Kitsch-ey cover, perfectly appropriate for Mr Morgan, who a little of goes a long way!


Black Rabbits: Grinspoon

Artwork: WBYK

Another beautiful cover by the wonderful WBYK – not looking quite as WBYK-ish as that piece for The Lovetones, but carried very effectively over the whole package and marketing material I have seen.


Anastasis: Dead Can Dance

Sleeve Design: Berendan Perry
Photography: Zsolt Sigmond

Lovely and approriate cover photo by the awesomely named photographer Zsolt Sigmond


Slay Me In My Sleep: Grand Salvo

Design: Mark Gowing


Night Sky: Sophie Hutchings

Design: Mark Gowing

Where would I be in these end of year reviews without the wonderful work that Mark Gowing produces for Preservation? If only more music labels took such a considered approach to the design of their releases. Two more beautiful examples this year, Night Sky being one of my favourite releases of the year. I do miss those big poster cover foldouts they did though!


The Moment: Mia Dyson

Great photo – overall, nicely handled.

The Maple Trail_Cable Mount Warning

Cable Mount Warning: The Maple Trail

This one was a real surprise to me, perhaps the most underrated release of the year, you’ve got to listen to this if you have the means an absolutely beautiful collection of understated tunes. That said, what a gorgeous and unusual cover! Absolutely like nothing else I’ve seen this year, no idea who was responsible, but well done to everyone involved.


Thinking In Textures: Chet Faker

Art Direction & Design: Christopher Doyle
Photography: Jefton Sungkar

Once again, designer Christopher Doyle doesn’t disappoint, he’s getting rather good at these things.


The Drifter’s Dawn: The Tiger & Me

Artwork: Tim Allan @ Made Visual

When I first saw this online I excitedly thought that maybe that little booklet thing on the front, was actually attached to the cover – unfortunately that’s not the case, still an effective piece of artwork though.


Toward The Low Sun: The Dirty Three

Artwork: Mick Turner

Mick Turner, may you never put down your paintbrush. Another beautiful selection of tunes from The Dirty Three once again complimented by the artists deft touch for their cover graphics.


Bless This Mess: Lisa Mitchell

Graphic Design & Cover Artwork: Grace West
Drawings + Scribblings: Lisa Mitchell

Oh Lisa! You never let me down with you cover designs! Another very beautiful cohesive package design from the lovely songstress together with another batch of wonderful music.


So there you have it, feel free to suggest any covers that you may have seen that you think deserve to be on the list. Also, any updates on missing design credits would also be greatly appreciated!

The Beards by Chris Edser

The Beards are an Adelaide band that have beards and sing songs about beards, their profile has been rising in recent times due to some airplay on national ‘alternative’ station Triple J and the fact that they are pretty good and have Beards. Some of that rise in recognition no doubt should be attributed to the fantastic graphic representation they have received over the years from uber illustrator and designer Chris Edser. It’s a great playful and consistent system that has played out over the years which has culminated in the latest Beards album release Having a beard is the new not having a beard beautifully detailed and majestic in it’s illustrative representation of all things ‘beard’. Check out Chris’ site for the full scope of work he has done for the band over the years, there’s also some nice stuff, non beard related there as well.

Favourite Australian Album Covers 2011

It’s the end of the year again and another opportunity for me to look at my favourite Australian album covers from the past 12 months. All in all it was a fairly good year cover design wise – maybe the art of the album cover isn’t dead after all. While the rest of the world produced some pretty lacklustre results, Australia seemed to up it’s game with some fantastic imagery for some very interesting music produced during the year. It took some searching and as usual. most of the really inspiring stuff came from independent and under-the -radar releases rather than the more chart friendly releases, with some notable exceptions. I’ve tried where possible to credit the creators of the artwork, feel free to leave a comment if you can fill in any of the gaps.

Deeper Into Dream: Ben Lee

Artwork Photography: Lizzy Waronker
Design, Layout: Rory Wilson

My thoughts on Ben Lee are pretty well documented on this blog, and this was a particularly awful release music wise, even by his recent standards. That said, I’ve got to admit he does commission some pretty cool covers for his albums, this being no exception. Maybe he should consider a change of career?

Singularity: Sounds of Sirus

Artwork: Glenn Thomas

Quite a beautiful, sedate cover for a band with such a guitar heavy sound, you can’t always tell an album by it’s cover.

Night Owls: Ryan Meeking And The Few

Design & Artwork: Motherbird

A beautiful illustration on an album cover is always going to catch my eye, but those birds aren’t really owls are they?

RRakala: Gurrumul

Artwork: Carlo Santone

Musically, just a beautiful album. Visually, it avoids all the usual clichés to produce a sublime and effortless cover image perfectly matched to the music.

The Cat: Ben Salter

I know it’s just an illustration of a cat, and maybe not a very good one, but it somehow seems to work in the context of this release.

Carried In Mind: Jeff Lang

Cover Illustration: Amanda Upton
Album Design: Myf Walker

This album cover really jumped out at me visually when I first happened upon it at the local JB hi-fi. Beautifully and playfully illustrated with sympathetic hand drawn type, this is a winner all around. Why can’t more album covers be this much fun?

The Great Impression: Sparkadia

Artwork: Kareena Zerefos

The cover feels like I’ve walked into some kind of art installation and does an amazing job of bring both imagery and typography to the forefront rather than leaving either as an after thought.

Matchsticks: City Riots

Loving the half-tone dots, colour and glam of this release from Adelaide’s City Riots, would love to know who did the artwork.

Odds Or Evens: The Bowers

Design: Mick Stylianou
Photography: Steve Harris
Hand Lettering: Rhys Lee

While I’m not particularly blown away by the photography on the cover, I’m a sucker for big chunky hand painted type and it works effectively with the image on this bright red cover. I imagine this looks amazing on the extra size afforded on their vinyl 12″ release, loving that Coke Bottle Green Transparent Vinyl for the disk as well. Thanks to Phil Gionfriddo from The Bowers for updating me on who produced the artwork, I’m assuming the hand-lettering was produced by the Rhys Lee who is a quite well known visual artist in his own right, impressive!

Zonoscope: Cut Copy

Design & Artwork: Alter

Winner of this years Aria Award for best album cover artwork, the tasteful yet powerful imagery of this release propels the album art into the realms of ‘iconic’. Well played Alter.

Great Barrier Grief: Oh Mercy

Artwork: Ken Done

If there is one thing you can be certain of from the band Oh Mercy, it’s that they have never met a pun they didn’t like, as album title ‘Great Barrier Grief’ attests to. It’s still quite a coup to get renowned Australian artist Ken Done to paint their cover image though, striking and colourful, it goes some way to forgive all those koala and Sydney Harbour Bridge tea towels he did during the 80s. Effective as the cover is, it’s a pity they were so timid with the type, maybe they should have left it off altogether.

Dunks: Ghoul

Design & Artwork: Mitchell Cumming

There’s something intrinsically beautiful about the mixture of pattern and texture on this cover, like a loud whisper it beautifully compliments this dark and alluring album.

Routine and War: Singing Skies

Design: Mark Gowing

It wouldn’t be one of my end of year best album covers lists without featuring a design by Mark Gowing and The Preservation label. Everything they released this year had a fantastic cover of course, this being a particular standout.

Making Mirrors: Gotye

Artwork: Frank De Becker

Design: Wally De Becker

Gotye certainly stepped up his game this year with the release of ‘Making Mirrors’, and while his album covers have always been good, he took it to another level with this fantastic piece of artwork taken from a painting by his father. Even better was the artwork used for the single ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’.

Hurtsville: Jack Ladder & The Dreamlanders

Tip of the hat to fellow designer Heath Killen for suggesting this one, there’s something about the bw photo with the unusual combination of mint green type that really works for this.

In The Company Of Wolves: The Ivys

A striking cover image can sometimes say it all for an album without the need of type to accompany it.

Six Petits Hilboux: Inuette

Design & Artwork by Spencer Harrison

Beautifully imagined and photographed album cover by ex-Adelaidian Spencer Harrison, one of the best cover designs of the year in my humble opinion. I can’t say I have heard the music, but if the cover is any indication it must be fantastic.

Only Sparrows: Josh Pyke

Illustration: James Gulliver Hancock

Design: Ben Shackleton

The beautiful illustrative stylings of James Gulliver Hancock once again grace a Josh Pyke album cover, how can you go wrong?

Prisoner: The Jezabels

Design: Christopher Doyle

Designer Christopher Doyle has realised the identity of the Jezabels across all their visual media with beautifully conceptual photography and a restrained typographic approach, this album cover being no exception.

Single Twin: Marcus Teague

Dancing skeletons make this cool, who doesn’t like dancing skeletons?

Secret Rituals: The Grates

Design & Artwork: The Grates

Lovely illustration done by the band themselves, but it’s a cover that you really need to hold in your hand to appreciate it’s use of paper stock and transparency effect. I like the use of typography in the left hand circle as well.

Tambourine: Teeth & Tongue

If you’re going to stick your portraits on the cover of your album, this is the way to do it. Beautiful and arresting photography and technique with a refined use of typography.

A Trophy: Tobias Cummings

Sometimes the most obvious ideas can work a treat if done properly.

I Want That You Are Always Happy: The Middle East

Artwork: The Middle East

Hands down, my favourite Australian album cover of the year An already exquisite record complimented by this beautifully weird, funny and still somehow haunting cover picture with some nice handwritten type to sweeten it even further. I advise you purchase it in the larger 12″ vinyl format to truly appreciate it!

So there you have it, another year wrapped up – Agree? Disagree? Any glaring omissions? Leave a comment and let me know.