Tag Archives: Grammy Award

Album Cover Hall of Fame Special Preview Edition News Release – Jan. 20, 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

ACHOF Quickie News Update for January 20/21st, 2020

By Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

Greetings to you all – hope that the early days of 2020 have been good ones for you. While I know that I’m not due for a major news summary for a few days now, I did want to give you some updated news on two important album art-related competitions and, quite sadly, a brief note about the death of a noted album cover designer that’s more than a bit overdue.

Award Announcement #1 – This past November, the Recording Academy announced its list of nominees for 2019 Grammy Awards in the two album cover art-related categories we pay close attention to here at the ACHOF. Since the Grammy Awards are scheduled for this weekend – with the production-related awards handed out at a special ceremony before the big-time TV broadcast – I just thought it important to remind you of who was nominated in the packaging categories:

– In the “Best Recording Package” category, the nominees are:

Anónimas & Resilientes by Voces Del Bullerengue – Luisa María Arango, Carlos Dussan, Manuel García-Orozco & Juliana Jaramillo-Buenaventura, art directors;

Chris Cornell by Chris Cornell – Barry Ament, Jeff Ament, Jeff Fura & Joe Spix, art directors;

Hold That Tiger by The Muddy Basin Ramblers – Andrew Wong & Fongming Yang, art directors;

I,I by Bon Iver – Aaron Anderson & Eric Timothy Carlson, art directors; and

Intellexual by Intellexual – Irwan Awalludin, art director

– In the “Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package” category, the nominees are:

Anima by Thom Yorke – Stanley Donwood & Tchocky, art directors;

Gold In Brass Age by David Gray – Amanda Chiu, Mark Farrow & David Gray, art directors;

1963: New Directions by John Coltrane – Josh Cheuse, art director;

The Radio Recordings 1939–1945 by Wilhelm Furtwängler & Berliner Philharmoniker – Marek Polewski, art director; and

Woodstock: Back To The Garden – The Definitive 50th Anniversary Archive (featuring performances by Various Artists) – Masaki Koike, art director

The complete list of Grammy nominees in all of the categories announced today can be found at   https://www.grammy.com/grammys/awards/62nd-annual-grammy-awards-2019 , with winners announced in ceremonies in Los Angeles on January 26th – a well-chosen date in between the two biggest pro football weekends of the year. As you know I will be working hard to bring you the stories behind the winning works (and the people who created them) after they’re announced but, in the meantime, let’s congratulate all of the nominees for jobs well done and wish them luck next Sunday.

Award Announcement #2 – This past Friday, at an event at the Koppel Project Gallery in Soho, London, U.K., the Best Art Vinyl 2019 Award Winners were announced. Now in its 15th year, this independent competition – sponsored as always by the team at Art Vinyl (a maker/marketer of a very nice record album cover display frame/system) – has become a must-see-and-do activity for fans of album art from all over the world. With thousands of votes cast by those fans via the Best Art Vinyl Awards web site, the Top 3 winning packages represent the best in album cover design from designers and musical acts from countries including France, the U.K. and Denmark:

  1. Francesco Dell’Orto’s design and photography for the French prog/metal band Klone’s album Le Grand Voyage on Kscope Records;
  2. Artwork and Design Tom Dubois/Hingston Studio for veteran rocker Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ album Ghosteen on the Ghosteen Ltd label
  3. Design and Art Direction by Hvass & Hannibal for Danish indie rockers Efterklang’s album on Britain’s 4AD label titled Altid Sammen (“Always Together”)

A full list of the top 50 vote-getters is currently available on the ArtVinyl site at https://artvinyl.com/award-year/2019/ and, once again, congratulations to all of the nominees and winners for bringing fans some of the most-memorable designs and images we’ve seen in quite a while.

And now, the bad/sad news – Vaughan Oliver, co-founder of the design firms 23 Envelope and V23 and, after building a relationship with the independent UK record label 4AD, created a host of notable album covers including those for the Pixies (inc. Come on Pilgrim, Surfer Rosa, Doolittle, Monkey Gone To Heaven and 2019’s Beneath the Eyrie); David Sylvian – Secrets of the Beehive; The Breeders – Pod and Safari; Psychedelic Furs – Until She Comes and World Outside; Lush – Spooky, For Love and Hypocrite and Throwing Muses – House Tornado and Counting Backwards, died at the age of 62 in late December, 2019. In a statement released just after Oliver’s death, Pixies front man Black Francis called their collaboration “the beginning marker for our own artistic journey,” noting that “we saw the first mock-up of the first ‘Come On Pilgrim’ sleeve, quit our jobs and never looked back,” adding that “he loved the look and smell and feel of things and, more than most are able to articulate, which he did most eloquently from deep within his soul’s atelier.”

Frequent collaborator Simon Larbalestier, who shot the wonderful photos that Oliver used on many of his Pixies designs (including his last project for them, Beneath the Eyrie), told me via email that “Vaughan’s death is a great loss to everyone – he was a close friend of 35 years,” while noted record art collector/fellow blogger Richard Forrest shared that he’d “met him and (designer) Chris Bigg in 2001, just when they were re-negotiating their contract with 4AD. Vaughn let me rifle through the company’s archives and take about 20 posters and he willingly autographed several books and records for me.” Richard told me that Oliver, “along with Neville Brody, Barney Bubbles and Peter Saville, were the leading designers of record covers in the UK in the eighties and nineties. Vaughan was a great inspiration for me.“

Born in London in September, 1957 and raised in Sedgefield, England, Vaughan Oliver knew, as a teenager, that he wanted to design album covers. He liked how these images combined art and music (i.e., image and sound) and most-appreciated the ones that showed some imagination in their design.

With a partner, photographer Nigel Grierson, Oliver founded his own design firm called 23 Envelope and found a client in the popular independent UK record label 4AD, a spin-off label run by two Beggar’s Banquet employees named Peter Kent and Ivo Watts-Russell and home of acts including Bauhaus, Cocteau Twins, Dead Can Dance and Modern English from the UK and American indie bands including The Breeders, Pixies and Throwing Muses. After Grierson left in 1988, Oliver re-named the company v23 and continued to produce memorable 4AD sleeve designs through the late 1990s, working with a small slate of talented photographers including Marc Atkins, Chris Bigg, Simon Larbalestier, Timothy O’Donnel and others. Other clients who sought out Oliver’s work included guitarist Robert Fripp and singer/songwriter David Sylvian, who hired him to design both record sleeves and covers for his illustrated poem/lyric books (titled Trophies I and II). Recent clients include film-maker David Lynch (2011’s Crazy Clown Time) and musical acts including TV On The Radio, Nyam, Nyam, A.R. Kane and I Break Horses.

In 1994, a comprehensive portfolio of Oliver’s work was organized into an exhibition held at the Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles titled This Rimy River. The catalog for the exhibition, featuring essays by photographer Chriss Bigg and writers Ian McKay and Rick Poynor, has become a sought-after collectible (also published in book form in 1997). In 2001, Oliver and Poynor collaborated again on an updated career retrospective book called Visceral Pleasures and, in 2010, Oliver presented a lecture (also titled Visceral Pleasures) in New York City hosted by AIGA/NY where he discussed his 30+ year career as a graphic designer and provided some of the stories behind some of his best-known album covers.

Gone way too young.

To see more of this artist’s work, please visit his web site at www.vaughanoliver.co.uk and to read more about Oliver and his work, I’d like to direct you to the following articles online: https://variety.com/2019/music/news/vaughan-oliver-dead-dies-album-cover-designer-pixies-breeders-1203453655/

https://www.clashmusic.com/features/remembering-vaughan-oliver-4ads-iconic-design-maverick

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/03/arts/vaughan-oliver-dead.html

https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/vaughan-oliver-pixies-artist-4ad-dead-931865/

Back to you soon with more. Mike G.

Album Cover Hall of Fame Art and Artist News Update for February 1, 2019

 

Album Cover Art and Artist News Update for February 1, 2019

By Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

We made it! It was rather exciting to step out into a -54 F wind chill (-21 F actual temp) yesterday morning here on Chicago’s North Shore – it’s amazing how fast your eyeglasses freeze to your nose.

Continue reading

Interview with SMOG Design about the I’ll Be Your Girl box set for The Decemberists

The Decemberists’ I’ll Be Your Girl Box Set

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interview with Smog Design, Inc. about the making of their award-winning package for The Decemberists’ I’ll Be Your Girl

 

By Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

 As we’ve seen take place a number of times since the introduction of the modern album cover 70 years ago, certain market-savvy musical acts have teamed up with specific visual artists to collaborate on their overall “visual branding” (sorry for the buzzwords) for significant portions of their careers. Examples of these pairings include artist Phillip Travers working with the Moody Blues, Roger Dean’s visual stylings for YES, team Hipgnosis’ catalog of covers for Pink Floyd and Cal Schenkel’s mind-bending images for Frank Zappa and his chums (among others).

Continue reading

Album Cover Art & Artist News Update for January 4th, 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

Album Cover Hall of Fame News Update

posted January 4th, 2019, by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

Hope that you all had happy new year celebrations (some of you may still be in the midst of one!) and, while I said that I wasn’t going to be posting monthly news summaries for a while (in order to be able to devote more time to organizing the materials for my book and some other projects I’m involved with), I am still going to share a headline or two when I think that there’s something timely you should know about…

Continue reading

ACHOF’s Annual Summary of the Best & Worst Album Covers of 2018

AlbumCoverHallofFame.com News Logo

 

 

 

 

New Year’s Eve, 2018

by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

While I can’t speak for all of you, I’m fairly certain that there are a great number of you who are tired of hearing other peoples’ opinions. Nearly every conversation you’re exposed to these days – on your Twitter or Facebook feeds, your favorite TV news channel or penetrating your personal space from that group of guys that sit behind you on the train or next to you in your health club’s locker room – it’s nearly impossible to not overdose on other peoples’ takes on what’s “good” or “appropriate” or “the best/worst” these days. And so, rather than talk about “what’s best” this year, after both participating (as a judge) in several album cover art competitions and having had the chance to review the articles by others in which the “best covers of 2018” are discussed/rated, I thought that I’d simply make note of several of the trends I’ve seen in record package design lately, leaving the pontificating to those who are perhaps better qualified (or, at least, prepared to convince you that they are) while I remain simply a teller (or re-teller) of tales and one that will continue to monitor the field for my readers so that you’re aware of who is behind the projects that produce the most-notable packages for your favorite LPs, CDs, DVDs and box sets/compilations.

Continue reading

Album Cover Artist And Art News Summary And Preview For November/December, 2018

ALBUM COVER HALL OF FAME’S ALBUM COVER NEWS RECAP FOR THE MONTH OF NOVEMBER, 2018, WITH PREVIEWS FOR DECEMBER.

AlbumCoverHallofFame.com News Logo

 

 

 

 

BY MIKE GOLDSTEIN, ALBUMCOVERHALLOFFAME.COM

With the holiday season fully upon us, I know that you don’t have much time for reading (other than ads and reviews for the electronic gadgets you must buy this season), so I’ll get straight to the point – I was happy to announce the names of the talented individuals and design teams that were selected for inclusion in this year’s Class of Inductees to the Album Cover Hall of Fame a short while back, and with the Best Art Vinyl and Grammy Award noms and voting straight ahead of us, there’s been a fair amount of album cover artist/art-related news this past month. With my book project back on track, I really have only had the chance to gather a small selection of album cover artist/art-related news tidbits for you (and I’m even late doing that) so, without any further delay, here are those highlights, for your reading pleasure (as always, I ask that you please share this info with everyone you know who are fans of great album cover-related talent and, of course, your comments and feedback are quite welcome):

Inductees announced for the Class of 2018 of the Album Cover Hall of Fame – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/achof-class-of-2018-inductee-intro-page/

Best Art Vinyl voting has begun – https://www.artvinyl.com/award-year/2018/

Grammy Award nominations are to be announced on December 7th (originally was to have been 12/5, but delayed in deference to the funeral for former U.S. President George H.W. Bush), so I’ll post those in the album cover-related categories in a special announcement later this week.

Continue reading

Album Cover Artist And Art News Summary And Preview For May/June, 2018

ALBUM COVER HALL OF FAME’S ALBUM COVER NEWS RECAP FOR THE MONTH OF MAY, 2018, WITH PREVIEWS FOR JUNE.

AlbumCoverHallofFame.com News Logo

 

 

 

 

 

BY MIKE GOLDSTEIN, ALBUMCOVERHALLOFFAME.COM

The past month of May was an emotional one for me in that two things happened – one, a bit depressing and another that gave me some hope for the future – that showed me that the life of a researcher and writer will often be one that can be both rewarding for the work itself (e.g., the pleasure felt for completing a task as best as it could have been done) and one that will serve as a reminder that not all the rewards will be easily or rightfully measurable. Of course, I’m speaking about the campaign I ran to raise start-up funds to produce a collector-oriented, special-edition version of the book I’ve written (tentatively titled Unsung Heroes of the Music Business) that ended in early may after raising less than 10% of the money required to produce the book. The project ran on the popular Kickstarter site for 33 days and, if it had been successful, would have provided me with everything needed to get the new book designed, printed and shipped (along with any special rewards that were available to sponsors at higher dollar levels). And while I do greatly appreciate the support I did receive, both in terms of the words of encouragement from fans/readers all over the world and the pledges I did receive, I do wish that I’d somehow been able to better-convince you to back me in this effort.

Well, all is not lost, as I do have encouraging news as a follow-up – I have been talking with a boutique publisher in the UK to produce a retail version of the book sometime soon and, with any luck, I’ll be able to get those who are interested in the book and all its wonders a copy (or two) sometime soon. More news to come as it’s made available and, of course, will be posted on the ACHOF site.

May was another month in which a goodly number of news releases and articles were made available on the exhibitions, interviews, artist profiles, book/print publications and other album cover art/artist-related topics and, in the summaries I’ve written and via the links provided, you’ll get the details from sources from around the world, including a) information on album art shows in the U.S. (Los Angeles, Brooklyn and NYC) and the U.K. (Liverpool and London); b) profiles (including two obituaries) on album art-makers including photographers working in the hip-hop and punk music areas; c) a new U.S. postage stamp featuring John Lennon and a limited-edition poster series showcasing Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour; and, as always, d) a nice selection of articles on a wide range of topics including news about several different artists fighting for just and fair compensation for the use of their works, an opportunity to meet one of the world’s most-respected commercial photographers (and have your own portfolio reviewed by him), Kanye West’s most-recent attempt to shock and confuse most everyone and much, much more. So much, in fact, that I might be forced to post some today and the balance ASAP…

Continue reading

Album Cover Artist And Art News Summary And Preview For January/February, 2018

AlbumCoverHallofFame.com News Logo

 

 

 

 

ALBUM COVER HALL OF FAME’S ALBUM COVER NEWS RECAP FOR THE MONTH OF JANUARY, 2018, WITH PREVIEWS FOR FEBRUARY.

BY MIKE GOLDSTEIN, ALBUMCOVERHALLOFFAME.COM

The first month of 2018 really delivered for fans of album cover artistry, with kudos for Best Record Packaging and Box Sets/Limited Edition packages handed out at the Grammy Awards on January 28th along with the top picks for the annual Best Art Vinyl awards – chosen by voters around the world – announced earlier in the month on January 9th. As you’ll see in my recaps way down in Section 5, there were plenty of surprises – including a TIE (!!) – and praise handed out to the very talented producers of this year’s top vote-getters, so to all those who complain that “album art is dead”, I think that you should take a look at all of the nominated works before backing that horse from this point forward…

Some good news also about my book – I’ve just had the proposed details for my project approved by the folks at Kickstarter so, with any luck, I should be able to share a link to my project page for your review (and, if you like what you see, your support) sometime in the next month or so. With any luck, I should be able to get the books designed, printed and shipped to you sometime this Summer – and let us all say, “it’s about damn time”.

As we begin the second month of 2018, I’d like my early Valentine’s Day presents to you all to be a) my just-published interview article in the March issue of GOLDMINE Magazine (page 50) about designer/photographer/pilot Bob Minkin’s work on the packaging for some of the fan favorite Dick’s Picks records released in the early 2000s by The Grateful Dead (my second article in this magazine this year, I’m proud to say), along with the following album cover artist news summary and preview. It will hopefully be just as nourishing and satisfying as a box of chocolates and one I think you’ll want to spend a few minutes reviewing and sharing with your friends. Besides the aforementioned award details, the past month was another one chock-full of news on this topic, delivering a trove of articles I know you’ll want to read, unearthing many new details about those folks who are actively producing impressive album cover art and packaging. In the summaries I’ve written and via the links provided, you’ll learn more about the latest exhibitions, new books, prints and products and several interesting interviews and artist profiles, along with other related reporting from sources providing these details around the world. With so much to read and see, you should be pleased that I’m not one of those Americans who promotes the notion that nobody else in the world is as talented and praise-worthy as we are – just take a look at the portfolios of record packages produced by some of the people featured in this month’s summary and I think you’ll agree that their works speak for themselves…

Continue reading

Best & Worst Album Cover Artwork of 2017 – Updated Summary

Best & Worst Album Cover Artwork of 2017 – Updated Summary

By Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

January 3, 2018 update – As I noted in my recent monthly news summary, for the past five years I’ve worked to present you with a recap of the many articles published by art/music/design writers on the Best and Worst examples of album cover design used to package music products here and abroad. Taking the many “Top 10” lists that were proffered and then breaking them down to look for patterns and consistencies, I’d been able to present a fairly-scientific summary of those covers which had earned the most kudos or raspberries from this group of industry experts and observers.

Unfortunately, this year I’m unable to do this for you as the number of people writing on the topic has dropped precipitously, leaving me without the basis of a statistically-significant study. I suppose that I only have myself to blame as each year I have gone on record saying that it was a fool’s errand to create “best” and “worst” lists – “best” or “worst” in what way, following what criteria? It’s something I never would have the courage/expertise to do on my own, but I always felt that it was OK to summarize others’ attempts to do so (I mean, why not let them look like fools, as long as I could benefit from it – just joking, of course).

Continue reading

Album Cover Artist And Art News Summary And Preview For December, 2017/January, 2018

ALBUM COVER HALL OF FAME’S ALBUM COVER NEWS RECAP FOR THE MONTH OF DECEMBER, 2017, WITH PREVIEWS FOR JANUARY, 2018.

AlbumCoverHallofFame.com News Logo

 

 

 

 

 

BY MIKE GOLDSTEIN, ALBUMCOVERHALLOFFAME.COM

Wow – what a year. Who’d have thought that a guy my age could be so distracted by so many things on a day-to-day basis (world events, U.S. politics, the care and feeding of an elderly relative, etc.) and that those distractions would have postponed my ACHOF book project to the degree they have. I’m not trying to make excuses – I’ve also been guilty of a bit of laziness on nice days here in Chicagoland, where taking a nice long walk, stopping for a coffee or sitting in the gardens at the Baha’i Temple in Wilmette (just beautiful) proved to have a much stronger pull on me than staring at a computer screen all day – but I am resolving to get my Kickstarter project launching in the next month or so, and so I appreciate all of the patience that both my readers and those who’ve contributed to the book have shown while I work to put this together. In the meantime, I eagerly hope that we can all return someday to a time and place where compassion, kindness and respect for both the truth and our fellow human beings means more that counting “wins” and “losses” and seeing who has amassed more stuff, and so here’s wishing you all a happy, peaceful and prosperous New Year 2018.

As we now enter the final weekend of 2017, I’d like to present to you (“and I thought that it wasn’t supposed to be about the presents…”) this month’s album cover artist news summary, one I think you’ll want to spend a few minutes perusing during your long Holiday weekend. The month of December was another busy one for news on this topic, delivering stockings full of articles I know you’ll want to read, unboxing new details about those actively producing impressive album cover art and packaging. In the summaries I’ve written and via the links provided, you’ll learn more about the latest efforts – as found in exhibitions, via new books and products and featured in interviews in profiles and other related reporting – of some of the most-talented album cover art creators and promoters that I’ve found in my reviews of stories from sources (including me!) around the globe.

Continue reading