8 Dec
In search of the most exciting sleeves of 2009


I’ve bought plenty of albums and singles for no other reason than the cover art caught my eye. It doesn’t always pay off sonically, but I do love the medium. If you too appreciate it, actually are a freak about it, Art Vinyl is probably already on your radar. They’re the folks behind those Play & Display frames (available in black and white)…basically the grown up version of those crappy college dorm room style 12” metal frames for vinyl. That’s not the only way they’re championing the art of the record sleeve. Since 2005 they’ve been hosting this contest for the most exciting sleeve art designs for vinyl records. Previous winners of the award include Hard-Fi’s stark “Stars of CCTV” in 2005, Thom Yorke’s “The Eraser” in 2006, The Cribs’ “Man’s Needs, Woman’s Needs, Whatever” in 2007 and last year the winner was Fleet Foxes’ eponymous first album, which won with more than 3,000 public votes.  Art Vinyl founder and managing director Andrew Heeps puts it this way, “The Best Art Vinyl poll, now in its 5th year, has provided a unique snap shot of popular art and design and this year will be no exception. The Art Vinyl award is about celebrating the emotional resonance of the best sleeve designs from 2009 and honoring some of those unsung hero’s of art and design who provide the visual identity for so many bands and artists.” Sounds great to us over here at LIAS. The Best Art Vinyl 2009 shortlist will be featured in exhibitions at the Art Vinyl Gallery at Selfridges on Oxford St, London, the Snap Galleries in Birmingham, and the Georges House Gallery in Folkestone. The nominating panel for the shortlist of 50 sleeves are: Mark Sinclair (Creative Review), Spencer Hicks (Rough Trade East), John Doran (editor, The Quietus) and Andrew Heeps (Director, Art Vinyl). All of the designs will be displayed in the unique Art Vinyl Play & Display Flip Frame. The winning designs will be displayed from January 2010.

Not really a fan of the music, but Jay Z’s album The Blueprint 3 is my pick for standout cover art this year.

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