RECORD STORE DAY
The Sleeves That Shaped Sound
In support of Record Store Day which took place today, we asked our favourite people to pick their favourite album artwork. A day that remains close to us, having been based on Berwick Street for over half a decade. Not just as day to invest in a physical format, but a reminder to support and spend with the Independant music labels, stores and venues. Ever keen to champion the mavericks amongst us through our Underground Culture Club, the curated collection will take over our Berwick Street Window and blog for a few days- a memo to support music all year round.
It features the favourite artwork- some famous and some not – of our favourite artists, musicians and DJ’s.
One of the sadder truths about a decline in vinyl extends beyond the sound that resonates from them. If digital music was to take over, one of the key portrayals of band identity will also be lost: album artwork. As the first signifier to decode before hearing the music itself- it’s importance is not to be judged. Album artwork has narrowly missed being reduced down to a 620px by 620px jpeg stored somewhere on your computer. The Vinyl Revival is helping to put the humble sleeve back in an appreciated view. And in honour of that, we asked our favourite musicians, music lovers, artists and art lovers to tell us what album artwork leaves them mesmerised. Have a look, and let it inspire you to have a listen. Consider investing in your favourite tunes in a physical turn from an independant store… not just today.. anyday.
See what this group of amazing people had to say about album artwork below… and remember: SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL MUSIC SCENES
BASEMENT 5 BY BASEMENT 5
CHOSEN BY DENNIS MORRIS (BASEMENT 5 VOCALIST + LEGENDARY PHOTOGRAPHER)
Though known for his portraits of punks- Dennis is a particular Punk prophet himself. Capturing some of the coolest cult-icons of recent history, Dennis Morris is one of the most celebrated figures in music photography. Though, beyond his incredible ability to document rock’s most prominent, pioneering and punk people with a staggering ease of intimacy, Dennis has long flexed his multifaceted skill-set across in-numerous artistic realms. With an ear as good as his eye- Dennis boasts a curious ability to be several steps ahead- a catalyst or discoverer of whats good, what works and what makes the history books. Bob Marley liked him so much, he took him on tour. Johnny Rotten liked the Bob Marley photos so much, he asked him to be the first to officially photograph the Sex Pistols. Richard Branson trusted him so much that he took him and Johnny talent scouting in Jamaica. Then Chris Blackwell trusted his eye and ear so much he made him Artistic Director of Island Records. An absolute icon in art and culture.
STAY COOL, HANG LOOSE, ADMIT NOTHING
The above is the slogan of the 5. Basement 5 was never meant to be seen as a band. The logo, I designed was a symbol, a symbol of Hope, a key to Safety, a shelter from the Storm.The logo was based on an electronic game called “Simon says”. There was a series of flashing lights, which you had to follow the sequence of. The longer you lasted, the more intense the flashing light sequence was. So the Basement 5 logo was the key to the Bunker, if you were able to follow the sequence, you were into the Bunker of Knowledge…I think they call it “woke” now…I was “woken” then…
GO: Check out Dennis’ work HERE and keep up-to-date with him HERE. The Basement 5 album has just been re-released on vinyl so head to a decent Record Store and get a copy.
SURF’S UP BY THE BEACH BOYS
CHOSEN BY JOEL AMEY (WOLF ALICE)
Joel is the drummer of North London based Grunge Rock outfit Wolf Alice- yes, the one dominating the world right now. The band that you haven’t and won’t stop hearing about. Their sound is one of alluring duality, as heavy at times as it is soft; as loud as it can be quiet; as vintage sounding as they are contemporary. Their appeal lies in their sheer skill in making rich, multifaceted noise. Bringing back a sound reminiscent of the mighty Pixies or Veruca Salt even. Their gift is bringing women centre stage, guitar slung in hands. You can also thank them for encouraging young people into taking notice of current politics.
The perfect visual to their most melancholic record. The 60’s are dead, the surf is well and truly up and the music is reflected in the beautiful blues and the tired slump of the lone rider. A record that looks just as good as it sounds.
GO: Check out Wolf Alice and keep up-to-date with them HERE. Visions of a Life has just come out so head to a decent Record Store and get a copy.
THE ART OF FALLING APART BY SOFT CELL
CHOSEN BY PRINCESS JULIA
ABOUT PRINCESS JULIA
All hail Princess Julia- Culture Queen and world-dominating DJ. She kicked up a storm in the New Romantic scene- hello Blitz Kids! – and has pushed it time and time again as a killer commentator, fashion icon, writer and DJ. Forever evolving yet forever true to herself, she has consistently reigned over all that is underground and subversive. She is a true maverick, a cult muse, a true Punk- the genuine, real deal.
PRINCESS JULIA SAYS
I couldn’t find who did the artwork for Soft Cell’s The Art of Falling Apart, but it was the 2nd album released in 1982. As you can see it’s way ahead of it’s time with so many subtexts. The idea of a mask, how we present ourselves and what is really going on. Like the album itself, revealing statements abound!
SPECIAL MENTION TO:
Megatron Man by Patrick Crowley- Patrick Crowley’s amazing Megatron Man, credited with pioneering the electronic disco sound, still and all time fave! Patrick also producted Sylvester with such songs as Might Real, very seminal.
GO: Check out Princess Julia and keep up-to-date with her numerous ventures HERE.
HEROES (1977) BY DAVID BOWIE
CHOSEN BY DOM (YUNGBLUD)
2018 is the year for Yungblud. Having catapulted onto our radar last summer, Doncaster born Dominic Harrison’s fusion of upbeat Ska, Hiphop and Indie have seen him climb the ladder to stardom. Oozing charisma and positively reverberating energy, only seeing him live will do his talent justice fully. Totally opposing apathy, he uses said charisma and energy for advocacy.
It’s more than refreshing to see a politically charged young person, opening the channels for his peers. With Yungblud you know he’s what the next generation needs, and he’s not going anywhere.
“I know it’s a classic, but I have always been obsessed with the cover of Heroes, David Bowie. That picture just gives me a feeling of exhilaration in my stomach. I could look at it all day man. Bowie was a true fuckin’ artists. Still not ready for him to be gone to be honest.”
GO: Check out Yungblud HERE and keep up-to-date with them HERE. His Self Titled EP has just come out so head to a decent Record Store and get a copy.
BLACK SABBATH BY BLACK SABBATH
CHOSEN BY GAYE BLACK (LEGENDARY ARTIST AND MUSICIAN)
The living embodiment of Punk, Gaye Black- was the bass player of the ‘One Chord Wonders’ The Adverts, and to this day reigns as a Black Metal Empress. A born artists, a vegetarian longer than not, and a lover of music- Gaye may not have picked up a bass since the late 70’s, but she nevertheless encapsulates the rebellious advocacy that constitutes the real spirit of Punk. Since the tumultuous split of The Adverts in 1979, Gaye has since devoted her life to activism and taking a stand in a number of ways- from social work, animal rights campaigning and art curation. With hair dyed a vital magenta to match her warming aura, she is the real deal. She reminds us of the old ‘Brighton Rock’ quote that goes ‘It’s like those sticks of rock: bite it all the way down, you’ll still read …’ Punk.
I have always loved the cover of the first Black Sabbath album, it’s marvellously spooky, and has that hyper-real hand coloured look that makes it look other worldly. I bought it when I was 14 and always kept it at the front of my vinyl collection so it was on display!
GO: Gaye has some exciting shows and work being exhibited across the summer, more to come on that in the next few weeks. She does have three stained glass pieces on display HERE, at W3 Gallery in London.
NIGHTCLUBBING BY GRACE JONES
CHOSEN BY HENRY SPYCHALSKI (HMLTD)
If you haven’t heard of HMLTD, you seriously must have been living under a rock for the last two years. Listed as ‘ones to watch’ by every periodical worth looking to for music news- their sound and theatrical performances have shook both the music and fashion scenes. Tearing up trends and taste, they have created something that is familiar to those who yearn for rebellion, but they never seem reminiscent. HMLTD continually bring something terribly well-needed and contemporary to the table. With their sound- or sounds even- they draw you in, let you construct expectation and then take you on screeching U-turn as they fuse genre and subculture. Live, they dive deeper into maniacallly fabulous spectacles- think fake blood and mutilated dolls.
Now, go google them and wise up.
Fundamental proof if ever you needed it, that you can entirely judge a book by its cover. I had no idea who Grace Jones was until I was 14 and then found this while leafing through my parents’ record collection. I was intimidated, I was impressed, I was aroused. I immediately stole it for my own and found that the music had the precise same effect on me. Powerful, confident, iconic.
GO: Check out HMLTD HERE and keep up-to-date with them HERE. You can watch their short film called Other Conspiracies HERE.
UNKNOWN PLEASURES BY JOY DIVISION
CHOSEN BY JOHN ROBB (THE MEMBRANES)
A well-known name in the Manchester Punk world- John Robb is music commentator and band member of Goldblade and post-punk piece The Membranes. One of our favourite songs is ‘The Universe Explodes into a Billion Photons of Pure White Light’ is by the Membranes. They’ve played with My Bloody Valentine and Sisters of Mercy, recorded with Steve Albini, and even worked with the people at CERN for the the album that boasts the above track- called Dark Matter/Dark Energy.
If push comes to shove it has to be Joy Division – stark powerful striking monochromatic image that matches the music, also like its deep space theme and the fact that its a dying star – still seems to futuristic.
GO: Check out and keep up-to-date with John Robb HERE. The Membranes have an amazing gig lined up in Manchester at the Ritz, which you can find out about HERE.
REBEL MUSIC – AN ANTHOLOGY OF REGGAE MUSIC
CHOSEN BY GAZ MAYALL (GAZ’S ROCKIN BLUES)
Gaz Mayall is a familiar face in the West End, having been the man behind the longest running nightclub in London: Gaz’s Rockin Blues at St Moritz. We met him last year when he put on an phenomenal set for our Jefferson X Underground launch. If there’s one thing you need to know about Gaz, is that this guy knows music. He lives and breathes music- The Independent quoted him as having 10,000 records in his home- and is the frontman of The Trojans. And he is an appreciator of art too in fact- which is why he was one of the first people we approached when we decided to find out what our favourite people’s favoruite artwork is. And he didn’t disappoint! So, make sure if you’re in London on the 26th April- get dolled up and head to Wardour Street for his next Gaz’s Rockin Blues.
Got this great Reggae compilation in the early 80’s
Used to have it on the wall in the club DJ booth. Simple but great! Says it all! Predates Damien Hirst’s spot paintings, Hint of Andy Warhol I reckon. Pop art! Great Graphics!
SPECIAL MENTION TO: Gaz’s Rockin’ Blues!
GO: Check out and keep up-to-date with Gaz HERE. And you can have a wild time at the next Gaz’s Rockin’ Blues which you can find out more about HERE.
HATS (1989) BY THE BLUE NILE
CHOSEN BY HEATHER BARON-GRACE (PALE WAVES)
This is Heather. She fronts the Indie Pop band we want to go to the promo with, Pale Waves. Forming in our hometown of Manchester in 2014, their dreamy indie pop places sugar-coated heartbreak at it’s core- perfect, melancholic, last-scene-in-a-rom-com-music. With five singles in, this four-piece have already toured with label mates The 1975 and have been awarded the NME Under the Radar Award earlier this year. 2018 is their year for global domination.
What I love about this artwork is the simplicity and the use of the iconic silhouette which both together create such a bold image. The artwork itself is so simple however so recognisable. Hats is also one of my favourite albums of all time.
GO: Check out and keep up-to-date with Pale Waves HERE. They have lots of gigs and releases lined up which can read about HERE.
THREE IMAGINARY BOYS BY THE CURE
CHOSEN BY IZZY B. PHILLIPS (BLACK HONEY)
Izzy is the blonde bombshell that slays guitar and vocals in the Brighton based band Black Honey.We’ve described them before as shimmering shoe-gaze, Taratino Pop and the perfect listening for dramatically gazing out of the car window, imagining you’re Nancy Sinatra in a mustang convertible; wind rushing through your hair, the blood of your ex-husband all over your light-wash denim, high- waist 501s. And we stick by it- we’ve slung their tunes on most of our playlists- so make sure you go check them out. This year has already proven to be a busy year for them.
My favourite record sleeve at the moment is Three Imaginary Boys by The Cure this record speaks to me because of the way they glamourise the mundane of household products, what a statement way of reflecting their sound, I also love the twisted goth commentary of baby pink and The Cure are the best because they are from the same horrible home town as me (Crawley).
SPECIAL MENTION TO: The Velvet Underground and Nico
My all time favourite record sleeve is The Velvet underground and Nico self titled, its by Andy Warhol who is my hero and I have a special edition of this record i received on my birthday, when you peel off the yellow banana skin it reveals the inside of the banana to be a charming and exposed bright pink.”
GO: Check out and keep up-to-date with Black Honey HERE. They have lots of gigs across the UK and releases lined up which can read about HERE. Plus, their vinyl are always stunning!
THEY SAY I’M DIFFERENT BY BETTY DAVIS
CHOSEN BY DEREK RIDGERS (LEGENDARY PHOTOGRAPHER)
One of the most crucial names in the study of subculture- we were so very eager to know what Derek Ridger’s favourite album artwork is. He is the guy with an eye for subverted beauty, having captured some of the most stunning photos of Skinheads, New Romantics and Punks the world has ever seen. Thanks to his gorgeous perspective and primal curiosity, some of the most revolutionary youth groups from the seventies onwards have been cleverly documented in a way that turns anarchy into art. His photos move and warm you- and make you consider shaving your head and settling on getting a face tattoo.
Maybe Betty Davis’ They Say I’m Different because I bought that record when it first came into the import shops purely on the basis of that cover. I didn’t have to hear it.
SPECIAL MENTION TO: Miss America by Mary Margaret O’Hara.
If someone else already picked that then Miss America by Mary Margaret O’Hara. Hand lettering by M2OH herself.
GO: Check out and keep up-to-date with Derek HERE. Always working on something, you can find out more about what’s lined up HERE.
HORSES BY PATTI SMITH
CHOSEN BY KIRSTY ALLISON
Kirsty is the fabulously smart and slick poet who set our Punk is Dead party alight last month. As the Arts Editor of DJ Magazine and founder of the ingenious zine Cold Lips, Kirsty oozes cool and vibes luxe Punk. Her credentials in culture and defiant demeanour is what made us hit her up to find out what is her favoruite artwork is. Her answer confirmed that, for music and art in equal parts lovers, it’s a particularly mean question to ask. Apologies to all.
I can’t imagine a display without Horses by Patti Smith. It is the ultimate ICONIC epitome of a youth where the packaging is as consciously cool as the content, which is kind of what it’s all about.
A LOT OF SPECIAL MENTIONS TO: I guess that’s why CICCONE YOUTH – THE WHITEY ALBUM appeals too, as a bit of Madonna in the record box always makes a good party, and it’s as pop as Velvet Underground’s banana. Raw Power by Iggy Pop is pure sex, totally ‘in it’, more rock n roll than anything ever. My friend Kelli Ali, once posed naked in the desert with a live tiger for an album cover. Syd Barrett’s Madcap Laughs inspired the new Cold Lips, and one of the pictures is used on the new Gil De Ray single. Spacemen 3’s Perfect Prescription is one I’ve stared long and hard at. Currently, Alice Coltrane’s Journey in Satchidananda is getting a lot of plays. Velvet Underground’s banana, The Pentangle, Suicide, Gil Scott-Heron – Pieces of a Man, Isaac Hayes’ Hot Buttered Soul. Hendrix – Bold As Love. The Metal Box of PiL, alhtough I prefer Flowers of Romance. All the design of Barney Bubbles, Roxy Music + Anthony Price, Peter Saville, Jamie Reid. JUDY NYLON & CRUCIAL – PAL JUDY, she’s in the next COLD LIPS too…but yes, I know only said one…also, a good white label, is hard to find.
GO: Check out and keep up-to-date with Kirsty HERE. And at the same time, keep your eyes peeled for the next issue of Cold Lips HERE.
The biggest thank you to everyone for your participation, we appreciate your time helping us support Record Store Day.