Album artwork can have a large impact on the way we view the albums we loves, so we thought it’d be a great idea to do a new PropertyOfZack Friday Discussion on Our Favorite Album Artwork brought to you by POZ team members. Check out our Discussion below and feel free to reblog with some of your favorite album artwork!
Descendents - I Don’t Want to Grow Up
This may not be the most “artsy” or “deep” album artwork, but that’s exactly why I like it. Milo is more or less the face of the band — he’s recognizable, renowned, and arguably one of the most favored and widely used band “logos” (for a lack of better term) in the alternative/punk music scene. The band created a simple way to distinguish themselves, and I really dig that. The I Don’t Want To Grow Up cover featuring little Milo is my favorite, simply because it is not only my favorite release from the band, but also how I feel about life in general about 98 percent of the time. He appears to look more adolescent on this cover in obvious harmony with the album title. It’s a really simple cover picture, but is still highly recognizable and straight to the point.- Brittany Oblak
blink-182 - Enema of the State
Truth be told, the only reason I ever gave this album a chance to begin with was the scantily-clad nurse on its cover. I remember skimming through my best friend’s older brother’s CD collection one afternoon, only to have my eyes fall upon Enema of the State. True, nowadays, a little cleavage is hardly enough to raise an eyebrow, let alone enough to leave your jaw on the floor, but when you’re an 11-year-old boy whose hormones are just starting to run rampant, Enema’s artwork was a sight to be seen.
That very same artwork would end up plastered across teenage boys’ bedrooms worldwide (mine included) when the blink-182 takeover began. It was crude, colorful, and it depicted the trio’s vulgarity down to a T. It also featured the band’s iconic pill logo, an instantly recognizable trademark prior to the birth of the band’s signature smiley face.
Disclaimer: If you’re at all curious what the well-endowed cover model looks like today in the year 2013, on behalf of all of us here at POZ, I’d recommend you steer clear.- Brandon Allin
Circa Survive - Blue Sky Noise
In selecting Blue Sky Noise, what I’m really doing here is giving Esao Andrews, the unofficial concept artist for almost anything Circa Survive has ever done, a lifetime achievement award. Andrews’ artwork is always so spot-on with the sounds of each album Circa has released, it’s almost as if he’s a member of the band himself. So why Blue Sky Noise, you ask? Because, personally, I think it’s his most intricate piece, and the one that is the most open for interpretation.
What do you make of the boy in the foreground? Is the look in his eyes one of concern, or disinterest? What happened to the skin on his right arm? Is the monster a literal monster, or the boy’s inner demons hovering over him? There’s so much going on in this piece, and just like Blue Sky Noise, it’s as beautiful as it is striking. Esao Andrews’ artwork has always helped to separate Circa Survive from the pack in terms of artistic vision, and it’s never been more apparent than on Blue Sky Noise.- Donald Wagenblast
Bruce Springsteen - Born To Run
By any measurable means, the cover of Born To Run (1975 // Columbia Records) has become as iconic as the album itself. Certainly one of the most important rock and roll albums of all time and certainly the album that broke Bruce Springsteen into mainstream success, Born To Run has often been imitated but never duplicated. The same can be said in a more lighthearted sense about the album cover, which has been mimicked many times – on covers as wide-ranging as Sesame Street’s Born To Add to Cheap Trick’s Next Position Please.
The album’s front cover depicts a moppy-haired Springsteen wearing a weathered deep white V-neck and black leather jacket, a staple look for him from his 1973 debut Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. throughout the late ’70s and early ’80s before culminating with his transformation into the more clean-cut, lean-mean-rock-and-roll-machine image that helped usher in the Born In the U.S.A. album cycle its global successes. Springsteen’s “look” in the Born To Run era can’t be considered complete without including his Fender Esquire, a classic guitar that has all but served as the embodiment of rock and roll in JPG format for the past 30 years.
Springsteen is leaning on the shoulder of saxophonist Clarence Clemons, who isn’t fully visible on the front cover but can be seen in full view once the album jacket is folded out. Clemons’ muscular build, black leather pants and hat are indicative of the man’s knack for dressing well throughout the lifetime of the E Street Band, and the full image of Springsteen leaning on Clemons has only become more adored by longtime fans after Clemons’ passing in 2011. The image is perhaps a perfect representation of the two men and their well-documented friendship, captured in a single frame by photographer Eric Meola – who took over 900 shots in three hours before settling on this one. - Thomas Nassiff
Mastodon - Crack the Skye
I may be a punk kid at heart, but when it comes to album art, I can’t help but acknowledge that metal (particularly progressive-metal) takes the cake. Whether it’s Kvelertak’s self-titled, Tool’s Lateralus, or anything that Baroness’ John Baizley has come up with, metal albums are always visually mesmerizing. At the top of my list is Mastodon’s 2009 magnum opus Crack The Skye.
As with their previous three albums, the prog-metal giants from Atlanta worked with artist Paul Romano to capture the themes present in the album’s intricate narrative of a quadriplegic boy who masters astral projection and is transported back to tsarist Russia. With such an artfully crafted album, it only makes sense that the cover art would follow suit and Romano does a perfect job accentuating the complex cosmic and spiritual tropes present in the album’s music and lyrics; the artwork for this album is nothing short of stunning.- Zac Lomas
Less Than Jake - Hello Rockview
With bold strokes, film noir sentiment, and paying brilliant homage to classic Dick Tracy comics (does anyone actually remember Dick Tracy?), Steve Vance’s work on Less Than Jake’s Hello Rockview cover and liner notes is a tip-of-the-hat send-off to comic book culture. The cover, featuring a well-dressed businessman barreling headfirst into a pool, is striking and sharp, but the real magic in the art comes from Vance’s reimagining of Hello Rockview’s lyrics.
Each track gets its own series of panels, and Vance transformed the lyrics into bursts of dialogue and thought bubbles. The cartoony elements fit perfectly with the lighthearted feel of the album, but it’s almost daring how far Vance went to make the liner notes feel like a genuine comic book. - Erik van Rheenen
Dashboard Confessional - So Impossible EP
There’s something beautiful about the simplicity of two white figures behind a washed out, baby blue background. I think this is a reflection of the EP, as the songs convey the simplest feelings as their inner complexity is broken down with an acoustic guitar. - Sydney Gore
Weezer - Hurley
I never appreciated the cover art for Weezer’s Hurley until I watched Lost for the first time last year. Yeah I know, I was super late to that party, but better late than never, right? For those who have never seen the show, Hurley is the lovable yet often self-deprecating provider of comic relief and heart-wrenching moments alike. Not a bad cover art selection for everyone’s favorite nerdy rock band. - Becky Kovach
Nick Diener of The Swellers stopped by the Acoustic Basement during the band’s run on Warped Tour, and PropertyOfZack was lucky enough to film his set for a new Live. Check out Diener performing a cover of The Lawrence Arms's “Brickwall Views,” “Hands,” and a cover of Weezer's “No One Else” as well below!
RX Bandits will be releasing a new EP to add a little juice to their Resignation ten year tour. Check out the track listing and covers below after the jump.
RX Bandits Announce ‘Resignation’ Ten Year Reunion Tour
It’s the weekend again, so PropertyOfZack is back with a brand new Team Recommendation Playlist! Each weekend, different members of our team will be recommending both old and new songs for our viewers to listen to and enjoy. Check out the Team Playlist and listen to the songs on Spotify while reading everyone’s thoughts!
Lily Allen - Not Fair
Lily Allen has never been one to mince words. So it is no surprise that when a boyfriend of hers lacked skills in bed, the British songstress called him out. Not only does “Not Fair” highlight Allen’s patented wordplay, but the incorporation of a banjo over electronic elements gives “Not Fair” a unique alt-country feel. Plus, the song is so. damn. catchy. - Michael Meeze (@mikemeeze)
Bruno Mars – Locked Out Of Heaven
It’s probably because I’m abroad in Chile right now that I’m just hearing about this song. I saw him play it on SNL a few weeks ago, and I’ve got to give props both to Bruno Mars, and to SNL who’s live performances as of late have really stepped it up. This song is super catchy and just get’s me in a good mood. And I’m sorry if it’s one of those songs that’s overplayed and annoying (“Call Me Maybe”?) in the states right now, but I’m digging it. Also thought I’d pick a pop song which I never do on here. Not saying I’m a huge Bruno Mars fan, but I’m really digging this song right now! - Mike Sheffey (@SheffeyzTweetz)
Jeff Buckley - The Sky Is A Landfill
Jeff Buckley is an artist that I have slept on for a long time, but this year I have finally dived deep into Buckley’s short library and I am ecstatic that I did. “The Sky Is A Landfill” is a great example of a well put together mid-tempo rock song. Buckley’s signature wispy vocals and guitar skills are ever present which will always and forever be a treat to anyone willing to listen. - Dylan Powell (@DylanPowell5493)
Stick To Your Guns - Against Them All *Song is not on Spotify
This song is fast, nasty, and aggressive, but it’s got a huge, soaring chorus. You won’t see a lot of that in hardcore, but this band does it really well. This song delivers that sort of slap in the face you need to get yourself going in the morning. Trust me, I just woke up a whole five minutes before writing this. - Brandon Allin (@brandon_allin)
Weezer - Buddy Holly
Everyone liked Weezer at some point in their lives (but some of us never stopped). I feel like this song in particular is making a comeback this year because I swear I’ve been hearing it everywhere. It’s got so much angst even though it’s the kind of song you’d want tucked into your locker in the form of a note from your secret forbidden crush on Valentine’s Day. Ooooh eeeeee oooooh. - Sydney Gore (@sydegee)
Bayside - Sick, Sick, Sick
"Sick, Sick, Sick," is a scathing track with a driving tempo. The repetition of the title, haunting harmonies and lines like "Your sexcapades deliver checks/But can’t afford you self respect" make it catchy and fun to scream along to. It is also a fantastic reflection on a relationship gone horribly wrong. Bayside has been one of my favorite bands for awhile now but I was blown away the first time I heard this song. - Becky Kovach (@beckystrz)
Mansions - Dig Up The Dead
This is one of my favorite Mansions songs, and it comes off of one of my favorite records ever at this point. There’s an energy and builds and collapses and builds and explodes. “I’ll start again // I’ll start again.” I love that line, and I love that line as an opening lyric on this record. - Zack Zarrillo (@zzarrillo)
Mondays mean BandsOnBands, and we’re excited to be posting the PropertyOfZack feature today with Matt Carter of Matt & Toby (and also Emery). The band is releasing their great debut record tomorrow, so make sure to pre-order it here.
In this week’s feature, Matt dives into one of his favorite bands, Weezer, and one of his favorite albums by the band, Pinkerton. Matt describes what Pinkerton did in terms of shaping his music career, which ultimately led to the music he has been able to make in Emery, among many other things. Listen to Pinkerton by Weezer here and check out what Mike had to say about one of his biggest influences below!
From Matt Carter of Matt & Toby:
I became a big fan of music when I first heard Nirvana, when I was in 7th grade and Nevermind came out. I loved the distortion aggressiveness and rawness. I was a heavy music fan. A year or 2 later I heard 3 “alternative” chicks walking down the hallway of my school singing the Sweater Song. I hadn’t heard the track but I thought it was hilarious that a song had lyrics like that. When I heard what the track sounded like I was floored that it was heavy song. I loved that it could be silly and heavy, more than that specific combination; I liked the apparent mismatching that seemed to work. I got into Weezer big at that point. The Blue Album was my first experience with the combinations of heavy, pretty, melodic, funny expressive music mixed together.
Needless to say when Weezer announced that they had a follow up record coming out, my friend Ronnie and I were pumped. When it first came out we listened to the whole thing 3 times in a row. My favorite song by far was “El Scorcho,” followed by “Why Bother.” It’s easy to see looking back that they are the 2 poppiest songs on the record. They became my least favorite songs over time. That is the mark of a truly great record, that it has gateway songs to hook you and then take you places and stretch your tastes so that you end up loving songs that you never would have given a chance to.
Pinkerton is basically an Emo record as far as I am concerned. It was not what anyone was expecting. The production is insane, there is so much room soundieness and feedback and weird throw in vocals all over the place. Weezer was breaking so many rules on these songs. I was used to just radio rock music at the time. I had just started playing guitar and I began to notice things like 2 noodley guitars and no real rhythm or lead guitars. (see No Other One) There a bunch of weird key center changes mixed up with feel changes. (The Good Life, Across the Sea, Pink Triangle solo) But the greatest ting about the record is that it is sad. They lyrics are really sad and somehow that can be used in conjunction with some weird and silly music. This is much more powerful than sad music strictly with sad lyrics, or heavy music with straight aggressive lyrics. I think one of the hardest things to do is have a sense of humor and STILL have powerful music that is not a joke.