311 reveals Universal Pulse album cover

American rock band 311 revealed the cover art for their 10th studio album, Universal Pulse, via their official Facebook page last Friday. Because the beginning of Memorial Day weekend is not usually the best time to issue any kind of news release, this very interesting album cover has not yet received much media attention. The album is scheduled for release on July 19, 2011,

The Facebook post included a quote from 311 vocalist Doug “SA” Martinez:

Visual artist Sonny Kay designed the cover and cd package, featuring a 12 page booklet! Album cover attached, feel free to share your thoughts. SA chimes in, “I absolutely LOVE the artwork!!! Dopest cover we’ve ever had.”

Sonny Kay has designed dozens of remarkable album covers, most notably for guitarist Omar Rodríguez-López. His unique Photoshop collage album covers have been featured here in the past. Kay’s official website is definitely work a look. There is quite an extensive Flash gallery of his work.

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New and Notable: Leftover Cuties

Shirli, Austin, Stuart, Ryan and Mike (aka the Leftover Cuties) release their debut album Places to Go today. The title track is available as a free download from their website if you join their mailing list. And if you want to know more about the band, they have put together a nice little video called Meet the Leftover Cuties.

Leftover Cuties – Paces to Go (2011)

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Aequi
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Buy NowTheir single Game Called Life is used for the opening theme of the TV series The Big
C, starring Laura Linney and Oliver Platt. Another track, Through It
All
, was recently featured on Justified, starring Timothy Olyphant. Both of these songs are on the Game Called Life EP.

Leftover Cuties – Game Called Life EP (2009)

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Aequi

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Editor’s Choice: May 30, 2011

Below are 10 noteworthy album covers that were posted to the AAX gallery last week. They were selected simply because I found them to be interesting or a valuable addition to the gallery. They are listed in no particular order.

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Noah’s Ark: Bulls

The long awaited sequel to Noah’s Ark: Cows is here. No bull! Or rather, lots of bull. Below are seven examples of bovine inspired album covers depicting bulls. Not cows and not steers (castrated bulls). We can tell this because they are all big muscular beasts with pointy things on their heads (no, not the ears), some being pitted against matadors, and in the case of Dude Ranch and 0816, we can “see” they’re male, if you know what I mean.

Ry Cooder – Borderline (1980)

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zeefritz
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Ry Cooder was ranked 8th on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of “The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.” A 2010 ranking by Gibson placed him at #32. He is a music legend whose work has spanned five decades, and at age 74, he’s still producing the goods.

Bootsauce – Bull (1992)thumbBuy Now   The White Stripes – Conquest (2007)thumb
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Canadian rock band Bootsauce made their own bull out of all-sorts for the cover of their third studio album and The White Stripes went with their trademark black, white and red color scheme for their single Conquest. It was the third single from the album Icky Thump, and was released as a series of 7″ colored vinyl singles, each with a trading card featuring famous matadors El Sloth, El Bianca Rosa or El Perdador. The song is a cover version, originally written by Corky Robbins and popularized in the 1950s by Patti Page.

Blink-182 – Dude Ranch (1997)

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uberchemist


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Buy NowBlink-182‘s second album, Dude Ranch, depicts a bull with the band’s name branded on it’s rear end. The art was painted by Lou Beach. The packaging is decorated by images of the band as cowboys and the gatefold features a painting stating “Greetings from the Blink-182 Dude Ranch” as a parody of Bruce Springsteen’s Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. The Dude Ranch cover reminds me a lot of Pink Floyd’s Atom Heart Mother, which depicts Lulubelle III’s (that’s the cow’s name) rear to the fore whilst she looks back at the camera.

Bull Angus – Bull Angus (1971)thumb
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Bull Angus, a psychedelic rock band, used a giant bull angus in their self titled album. The cover design is by Dan Clyne. Angus’ brother, Black Angus, ended up as dinner at the Black Angus Steakhouse as punishment for being bad. Marco Bliggensdorfer, known as Bligg, is a rapper from Switzerland. His album covers feature black and white photography of animals and birds. His album 0816, which depicts a magnificent brute of a beast, reached #1 on the Swiss charts.

ABC – Beauty Stab (1983)

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Buy NowUK New Wave band ABC‘s second studio album, Beauty Stab, depicts a painting by Keith Breeden of a bullfight. On a side note; Martin Fry, listed as the only active member on Wikipedia, used to write a fanzine, before his ABC days, for the band Vice Versa called Modern Drugs – those were the days (*sigh*).

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Alice Cooper to release Old School 1964-1974 box set

alicec-school_03.jpgAlice Cooper is releasing what appears to be one of the most elaborate box sets of the year. Old School 1964-1974 is scheduled to be released on June 20, 2011. The set is packaged in a 12″ square box that is designed to look like a school desk.

The package is based on the cover for the 1972 album School’s Out, which opened up like a desk to reveal the contents. The original album cover was designed by Craig Braun. Braun is also responsible for designing the famous Rolling Stones Sticky Fingers album cover with Andy Warhol.

The set is currently available for presale on Amazon.com and Alice Cooper’s official website. It follows the growing trend of combining both CDs and vinyl in one package. The Limited Edition is individually numbered and includes many extras that will appeal to fans.

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Features include:

  • Four CDs that include exclusive demos, rehearsals, rarities, live performances, interviews and more
  • DVD with over two hours of footage, including new and candid conversations with the band and never-before-seen archival clips
  • 12″ LP bootleg of the 1971 Killer tour live in St. Louis
  • Replica of a rare 7″ single by The Nazz
  • A deluxe 60-page book written by Lonn Friend, featuring previously unreleased photos
  • Special extras including reproductions of original ticket stubs, tour program, set list and five art prints of rare poster designs and illustrations
  • Five Golden Tickets have been hidden in Old School box sets worldwide for a very special VIP concert and meet-and-greet with Alice

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Hair Today Gone Tomorrow: Beehives & Bouffants

The Beehive hairstyle is also known as the B-52 (after the bulbous nose of the B-52 Stratofortress bomber), which also happens to be the name of an American rock band. Gee, what are the chances they’ll come up in this topic! The beehive style of lacquered big hair was developed in 1960 by Margaret Vinci Heldt, but really originates from the earlier bouffant. Essentially, its a big pile of hair on top of your head – just think Marge Simpson or Russell Brand if you’re confused.

Amy Winehouse is a big “beehiver”, so much so that it’s almost become her trademark, along with drug addiction. But boy oh boy can she sing. The single Back to Black, released in 2007, from the album of the same name, released in 2006, shows off her hair best. The song was covered by Glee in season two by Naya Rivera’s character Santana Lopez.

Amy Winehouse – Back to Black (Single) (2007)

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The B-52’s (their music company is called “Boo-Fant” Records) formed in 1976 and comprised of Kate Pierson, Keith Strickland, Fred Schnieder, and brother and sister Cindy and Ricky Wilson. Sadly Ricky passed away in 1985. The band released their seventh studio album Funplex in 2008. Cindy and Kate were well known for wearing their iconic bouffant and beehive wigs. On a side note, the apostrophe was dropped from the band’s name in 2008.

The B-52’s – The B-52’s (1979)thumbBuy Now   The B-52’s – Wild Planet (1980)thumbBuy Now


Beyoncé Knowles‘s hit single Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It), from her third studio album I Am… Sasha Fierce, shows “Sasha Fierce” in silhouette and sporting a bouffant or beehive. The song was inspired by Knowles’ and Jay-Z’s secret marriage in April 2008.

Beyoncé Knowles – Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It) (2008)

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The legendary Dusty Springfield (nee Mary O’Brien) was known for her trademark beehive, usually peroxide blonde. Dusty in Memphis was her landmark album and included the hit Son of a Preacher Man. Simply Dusty is a 2000 4-CD box set featuring over 90 digitally remastered tracks and includes specially commissioned tributes from Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, Carole King, Neil Tennant and Paul McCartney.

Dusty Springfield – Dusty in Memphis (2000)
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The Ronettes, a 1960s girl group from New York, consisted of lead singer Veronica Bennett (later known as Ronnie Spector: she was married to Phil Spector from 1968 to 1974), her sister, Estelle Bennett, and their cousin Nedra Talley. Their debut LP includes 5 hit singles, two of which, Be My Baby and Walking in the Rain, are ranked #22 and #26, on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. The girls personify the popularity of the beehive in the ’60s.

The Ronettes – Presenting the Fabulous Ronettes
Featuring Veronica (12″) (1964)

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Da Guy


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And lastly, I just have to mention Chrissie Hynde from The Pretenders. In the band’s music video for the 1979 single hit Brass in Pocket, Hynde portrays a waitress in a “greasy spoon” and she has, you guessed it, a beehive hairdo. The three male customers in the video are members of her band. It was the seventh video played during MTV’s launch on August 1, 1981. (Video Link).

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At the Movies: The Tree of Life

Tree of Life Film.jpgThe Tree of Life is a dramatic film written and directed by Terrence Malick, and starring Brad Pitt, Sean Penn and Jessica Chastain. The film premiered at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival and won the prestigious Palme d’Or (Golden Palm) award for best feature film of the competition. It opened in limited release in U.S. theaters yesterday.

The soundtrack for the film was composed by Alexandre Desplat. It was released by Lakeshore Records this week and is available on CD and as a digital download from iTunes and Amazon.com. Lakeshore Records has posted a preview of the soundtrack on YouTube. After listening to it, I had to buy the album. It is one of the best scores that I have heard this year.

The art direction for the album is credited to John Bergin, art director for Lakeshore Records. It is the perfect album cover for the soundtrack. It is a square version of the teaser poster for the movie (right). I think the cropped image actually has much more impact than the poster.

If you are a collector of notable soundtrack albums, The Tree of Life should definitely be on your list. I have not been able to stop listening to it. I think this one deserves an Oscar nomination.

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Fashion Central: Checkerboard Vans

Rick Nielsen, lead guitarist, backing vocalist and primary songwriter of Cheap Trick, is well known for many things. He likes and has many custom-made guitars from Hamer Guitars. He wears a flipped up old style ball cap. And he uses a black and white checkerboard motif on his clothing.

This checkerboard pattern has permeated pop culture. Take a look at Cheap Trick’s website (link above) and check out (pun intended) the site background as well as images of live performances. Those patterns are everywhere. And they’re on shoes, called Checkerboard Vans, inspiring many artists and covers and especially made famous in the 1982 movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Below are some examples.

Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Music from the Motion Picture (1982)

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Lazlo Nibble


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Weezer – Weezer (The Green Album) (2001)thumb
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Weird Al Yankovic and Wendy Carlos – Peter & the Wolf (1988)

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New and Notable: Reeve Carney featuring Bono and The Edge

variou-musicf_35.jpgThe single Rise Above 1 from the new Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark was released this week. The song showcases Reeve Carney, who plays the role of Spider-Man in the production. It also features performances by its composers Bono and The Edge from U2. The single is available as a digital download from iTunes and Amazon.com.

The entire original cast recording (right), featuring 14 new tracks co-authored by Bono and The Edge and was produced by frequent U2 collaborator Steve Lillywhite. The album will be released on June 14, 2011, the same day the show is scheduled to officially opens on Broadway at the Foxwoods Theatre in New York City.

The cover art for the single (below) features a photograph of Carney, unmasked in his Spider-Man costume. The theater newcomer is a handsome young man. I am certain that we will see his face on an album cover in the near future.

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