Check out this remastered and expanded CD edition of A Charlie Brown Christmas.
A new TV commercial for iTunes and The Beatles features an animation of 12 of the band’s album covers. It is drawing some minor criticism from fans of vinyl LPs who believe that digital music has put an end to the kind of cover art that is being used to promote it in this case. The video was uploaded to YouTube a few days ago and has received 3/4 of a million views with about 10 to 1 liking it. The animation is accompanied by The Beatles classic Magical Mystery Tour.
The AAX gallery includes over 800 scans and edited versions of the classic album covers and singles sleeves of The Beatles, including Magical Mystery Tour (right) and many rarities.
Made in Germany, the forthcoming greatest hits album by German rock band Rammstein, features six different album covers, each with a photograph of a plaster life mask of a band member. Many online reviews and articles about the album are calling the artwork “death masks” rather than “life masks” without understanding the obvious difference between the two.
Death masks are, of course, plaster masks that are created shortly after a person dies. Life masks are made while the person is still alive. Plaster masks were once the best way to memorialize a person. They were created in order to have a record of what the person looked like, both in life and in death. Painters and sculptures often made them in order to have a model to use and avoid having to make the subject pose for many hours. The most common use for them today is the creation of special effects make up.
Although death masks are quite rare in modern times, many famous people have had life masks created. This includes pop stars such as David Bowie (above left) and Michael Jackson (above right). Fans can purchase life masks from businesses such as The Haunted Studios.
This is not the first time that a life mask has been used as album cover art. The 1973 album Lifemask by English folk singer-songwriter and guitarist Roy Harper features a life mask of Harper.
Made in Germany is scheduled to be released on December 13, 2011. It includes one new track, Mein Land.
The Rolling Stones will issue the previously unreleased track No Spare Parts on exclusive limited edition 7″ vinyl to mark Record Store Day’s Black Friday, Friday, November 25, 2011. A digital download version of the single will be available on November 14.
No Spare Parts is one of twelve bonus tracks that have been incuded on the forthcoming deluxe and super deluxe reissue of The Rolling Stones’ Some Girls, which will be released on November 21. The limited edition 7″ version of the single will also include the Some Girls album track Before They Make Me Run as the B-side.
R.E.M. is promoting their forthcoming compilation album Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage: 1982-2011 with an animated version of the album cover. The album is scheduled to be released on November 15, 2011.
Last month, the band announced on their official website that they have split up after 31 years of performing together. The forthcoming album features three new songs that they finished prior to going their separate ways.
The album cover is very simple. It seems to be yet another cover inspired by the Grammy-winning design for The Black Keys 2010 album Brother. The animation has been generating a surprising amount of attention on blogs and websites.
Including a board game in the packaging of an album is not a new idea. However, the forthcoming album by Kentucky music collective Big Fresh features what is perhaps the best application of the concept that I have come across. The album is scheduled to be released on October 11, 2011.
In 1979, the Canadian rock band Triumph included a board game with their album Just a Game. The game was really more of a joke and designed so that it could not be completed. Another notable example is the 2009 album Peace Boat by Snake & Jet’s Amazing Bullit Band. The CD included a folded poster than resembled a board game.
The Big Fresh album is perhaps the first album to include a fully playable board game (above right) with rules included. The art director for the project was Chad Stockfleth and the graphic design was done by Wes Keeton. Not only did they capture the look of a vintage Milton Bradly board game, they have also created a work of biting satire.
This album cover reminds me of some of the 1970s era designs by the British design group Hipgnosis, such as 10cc’s How Dare You! It presents a nostalgic image and provides social commentary about materialism and greed.
Everything about this album cover design is perfect. The photograph is priceless. The fonts looks like the ones used for the typical classic 1970s board game. You can actually imagine this being a dusty box on a closet shelf.
I have to admit that when I first saw the cover art for Shangri-La, the fifth studio album by Portland, Oregon electronic band YACHT, it was a serious WTF?! moment. The cover is more than just simple. It appears to have been created using word processing software and a black and white printer.
Watching the unboxing video for the deluxe vinyl version of the album, it is clear that one shouldn’t judge an LP by the CD cover. The band claims that the video is the first unpacking video to be shot in the woods. Ignoring that incidental bit of trivia, the artwork and design for the LP package is amazing. The two color photographs are stunning. I don’t understand why they weren’t used for the album cover. They could have easily been used as two alternating covers.
I can understand trying to be minimalist with an album cover design. It worked for huge groups like The Beatles. The Black Keys won awards for the cover of Brother. However, I hate seeing really cool artwork hiding under a plain white wrapper.
The Rolling Stones have announced the release of re-mastered, expanded, Super Deluxe, Deluxe and Digital editions of their 1978 album Some Girls. The various packages are scheduled to be released November 21 through 29, 2011 and are currently available for pre-order from Amazon.com.
The Super Deluxe version is a box set (below) that includes two CDs, a DVD, a 7″ vinyl single, a hardback book, a set of postcards, Helmut Newton prints, and a poster. It is priced at around $170.