2011: Favorite 25 Album Covers of 2011
Sci-fi sheen and the L.A. airbrush thing

Predictably, short-run and DIY imprints continued to expand in 2011. Bigger labels took note, splashing a neo-psychedelic aesthetic over album sleeves left and right. The vintage collage look was still a big deal, and so was sci-fi sheen and the L.A. airbrush thing, mostly transplanted to Photoshop imitation. If you didn’t hear the name Robert Beatty in 2011, you probably at least came across some of his work; his exploration of surrealist, sci-fi retro futurism caught a small section of the cultural imagination, resulting in a body of album covers often as exciting as the music they adorned. Generally, album art in 2011 evolved along with the sounds, so appropriation was inevitable, making something beautiful and new out of previous decades’ cultural trash.

Part of the fun in sifting through these covers was figuring out what was collage and what was painted, drawn, or Photoshop ‘d, and realizing that it didn’t really matter. For most, ‘computer art’ finally became another tool to enhance a vision rather than dominate it. For others, not so much. Some were left asking if tacky 90s CG was back again, while a lot of shit just got old.

Needless to say, the art collected here represents rapidly shifting trends in cultural taste along with what I consider some absolute classics. I’m just as interested to see which pieces will become outdated as I am to find those that endure.

 

 

 

25
Alessandro Bosetti
Royals
[Monotype]

 

 

 

 

24
Steve Moore
Demo 2004
[Moon Glyph]

 

 

 

 

23
Widowspeak
Widowspeak
[Captured Tracks]

 

 

 

 

22
Julia Holter
Tragedy
[Leaving]

 

 

 

 

21
Viva Voce
The Future Will Destroy You
[Vanguard]

 

 

 

 

20
We Creeling
The Curious Mystery
[K]

 

 

 

 

19
Raleigh Moncrief
Watered Lawn
[anticon.]

 

 

 

 

18
Laurel Halo
Hour Logic
[Hippos In Tanks]

 

 

 

 

17
KWJAZ
KWJAZ
[Not Not Fun]

 

 

 

 

16
Kuedo
Severant
[Planet Mu]

 

 

 

 

15
Wiz Khalifa
Rolling Papers
[Atlantic]

 

 

 

 

14
Barn Owl
Lost in the Glare
[Thrill Jockey]

 

 

 

 

13
Cat’s Eyes
Cat’s Eyes
[Polydor]

 

 

 

 

12
Jon Wesseltoft
Gravity’s Ghost
[Ginjoha]

 

 

 

 

11
Lana Del Ray
Video Games [7-inch]
[Interscope]

 

 

 

 

10
Nate Young
Stay Asleep
[NNA]

 

 

 

 

09
Soothsayer
Inflow Illusion
[Moon Glyph]

 

 

 

 

08
Win Win
Win Win
[Vice]

 

 

 

 

07
Wolf Gang
Suego Faults
[Atlantic]

 

 

 

 

06
The Skull Defekts
2013-3012
[Thrill Jockey]

 

 

 

 

05
Nightlands
All The Way [7-inch]
[Secretly Canadian]

 

 

 

 

04
Zombi
Escape Velocity
[Relapse]

 

 

 

 

03
Oneohtrix Point Never
Replica
[Software]

 

 

 

 

02
Thee Oh Sees
Castlemania
[In The Red]

 

 

 

 

01
AIDS Wolf
Ma vie banale avant-garde
[Lovepump United]

 

 

 

[Artwork: Keith Kawaii]

  

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