FT5: Album Covers of 2009 (So Far)

1120top5coverAt a time when we are all witnessing the CD’s imminent demise and the convenience of digital files running rampant, thankfully from an art perspective, a vinyl re-emergence is upon us. While sound quality is obviously seen as the most important reason why we are seeing audiophiles jumping back on the vinyl bandwagon, album artwork is also getting a much deserved close-up. With the vinyl album requiring more elaborate artwork packages, bands are re-thinking the overall aesthetic and producing some great work, which only enhances the overall music experience. 2009 has been a great year not only for the ears, but for the eyes as well and below are my picks for the Top 5 album covers from 2009 (so far). Honorable mentions go to Animal Collective’s cover for making me dizzy from staring at it too long and Neko Case for badass picture of the year. Obviously art is about as subjective as subjectivity can get, so give us some feedback. Who’s your number 1?
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Art Brut – Art Brut vs. Satan

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Rating: ★★★½ ·

Art Brut burst onto the music scene a few years back wtih their stellar Bang Bang Rock N Roll.  The band was energized, and Eddie Argos self-deprecating wit came out swinging.  Now, three years down the road, Art Brut are preparing to take on the devil himiself for their third full length, Art Brut vs. Satan.

Round three has the band coming out with a barrage of tightly wound rock fury; the flare is back again, and you can feel the power in the chords.  Interestingly, the driving force does not appear to be the music, however, as singer Eddie Argos is pushed way up front in the final mix.  For some artists, this might not be a bad decision, but I don’t think Argos dead-pan delivery warrants such a focus, despite the cleverness of his lyrics. Often, the band brings a tour de force like Les Savy Fav pummeling our ears with a frenetic pace.  Angular guitars cut through thin air with sharp turns of melodious guitar chugging around each corner. Still, the focus has been, and always will be, on Eddie Argos.

Opening the album, Eddie tries to rehash his evening of drinking in “Alcoholics Unanimous” by sending out a group text, as he is sure he was up “all night making mistakes.”  Clearly he has no problem with calling himself out, as he continues to do so on “The Replacements” where he admits he hasn’t heard of The Replacements at this point in his life; this is a bit sad, or at least it seems like some egregious error. Even so, you’re left to question whether or not he trying to good you into buying into everything he has to say.  Perhaps this is his point.  Argos wants us to question the way we listen, or why we listen, or even who we listen to these days.

Altogether, the album comes together quite nicely; it’s as consistent as their debut album.  One will always wonder what would come of the band if they ever had a full-fledged singer at the mic stand, but even now, without such a person, they band sound as brash and enjoyable as ever.  This is an album that will hold your attention through to the end.

New Tunes from Art Brut

artArt Brut is one of those unassuming bands who you aren’t quite sure whether to trust, as they seem to be toying with you the entire time.  Just listening to the delivery of singer Eddie Argos makes you question his genuineness in the face of the music world. Regardless, the band has loads to offer, especially in the fierceness of the rest of the music.  RCRDLBL has the preview of a new track off their album Art Brut vs. Satan, so go there now.