2010: Top 25 Album Covers of 2010
“I’ve seen more collages, vintage film stock art, and collages on top of vintage film stock art than anyone ever should.”

What better way to spot trends in album art than sifting through thousands of modern examples? This year, I’ve seen more collages, vintage film stock art, and collages on top of vintage film stock art than anyone ever should. But after hours of searching (and with a little help from fellow TMTers), I’ve finally come up with my favorite 25 eye-popping covers. At the very least, these pieces stirred some internal barometer of beauty and awesomeness within me — the most I can hope for is that our barometers aren’t too dissimilar. You might notice the prevalence of EPs and 7-inch singles on the list, as if artists are reserving their most exuberant covers for releases no one will see. Then there are the expanding DIY labels, happy to go ballistic on J-card cassette sleeves and CD-R inserts. I’d like to give special mention to Stunned Records, whose busy, beautifully homogenized covers could have filled an entire list on their own. These covers feel vital, especially in an industry where original art printed on tangible sleeves might be the only incentive left to throw in a few dollars for the cause. After compiling this list, I realized I had suddenly been turned on to a handful of artists based entirely on how much I loved their cover art. Not a bad marketing scheme.

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25
Pains of Being Pure At Heart
Heart In Your Heartbreak
[Slumberland]

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24
oOoOO
oOoOO
[Tri Angle]

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23
Rene Hell
Rogue Camera
[Type]

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22
Kings Go Forth
The Outsiders Are Back
[Luaka Bop]

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21
Blackbird Blackbird
Pure/So Sorry, Girl
[Double Denim]

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20
Future Islands
In Evening Air
[Thrill Jockey]

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19
Dylan Ettinger
New Age Outlaws: The Director’s Cut
[Not Not Fun]

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18
Eric Copeland
Doo Doo Run
[PPM]

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17
Teams
We Have A Room With Everything
[AMDISCS]

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16
Thee Oh Sees
Warm Slime
[In The Red]

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15
Tokimonsta
Midnight Menu
[Art Union, Listen Up]

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14
Small Black/Washed Out

“You’ll See It”/”Despicable Dogs” 7-inch
[Lovepump United]

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13
Burnt Ones
Black Teeth & Golden Tongues
[Roaring Colonel]

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12
Gold Panda
You/Before We Talked
[Notown]

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11
Cfcf
The River
[RVNG Intl.]

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10
Jóhann Jóhannsson
And In The Endless Pause There Came The Sound Of Bees
[Type]

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09
The Psychic Stewardess
Spiritual Foundation
[Strange Life]

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08
Gatekeeper
Giza
[Merok]

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07
How To Destroy Angels
How To Destroy Angels
[Null Corporation]

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06
Quest For Fire
Lights From Paradise
[Tee Pee]

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05
Sleigh Bells
Treats
[Mom + Pop]

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04
Chrome Wings
Time Patterns
[Stunned]

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03
Ducktails

“Hamilton Road” 7-inch
[Olde English Spelling Bee]

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02
Glenn Branca
The Ascension: The Sequel
[Systems Neutralizers]

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01
Black Mountain
Wilderness Heart
[Jagjaguwar]

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(Return to the 2010 year-end map)

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