Album Covers of the Year 2013

Every year, we interview a number of musicians and artists for the intimate details and philosophical underpinnings of their album cover artwork. It’s an ever-massive undertaking, but we make sure to include ever genre, from doom metal to disco, minimal electronic to mainstream pop, with the intention of highlighting the best visual art, regardless of why or who created it.

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Up-And-Coming Portland Musicians: Holocene’s 2013 Year-End Bands To Watch

To pay proper homage to the musical grandness of 2013 and to usher in the new year 2014, we’ve once again decided to call upon our tastemaker friends to compile their favorite up-and-comers throughout the Pacific Northwest. Here, Gina Altamura and Van Pham of the innovative, multimedia-minded nightclub Holocene give us the scoop on Portland bands to watch.

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Up-And-Coming Seattle Musicians: Cairo’s 2013 Year-End Bands To Watch

To pay proper homage to the musical grandness of 2013 and to usher in the new year 2014, we’ve once again decided to call upon our tastemaker friends to compile their favorite up-and-comers throughout the Pacific Northwest. Here, James Scheall, Cameron McCreery, and Katherine Humphreys of Seattle’s stylish boutique shop and venue Cairo throw out their wide-ranging picks for Seattle bands to watch.

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Psychoactive Soundscapes: The Trippiest Psychedelic Albums of 2013

A lot of the problem with viewing the universe as being comprised of matter comes with the idea that it’s devoid of conscious experience somehow. More and more, little by little, we’re starting to wake up to the insane limitations of this philosophy. Renders people humorless if you ask me. Nothing adds up, which creates profound existential desperation resonating throughout the collective psi-grid of humanity. There is no explanation for why anything happens, so we instead focus on how things go down in obsessive detail. Not to knock this approach, as it creates order by combining with the mystical chaos of internal infinity. Too much mystic psychic sizzle and you’ll get torn to shreds, but when you look at only

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South African Music: Feel-Good Mixtape (#29) – Curated by Umlilo

As the Northern Hemisphere goes full blast into the wintry days, those in the Southern Hemisphere are in for hotter and sweatier times, perfect for feel-good sounds that scream of sunshine and socialization more than darkness and hermitude. After our experimental foray into South African house music proved to delight audiences domestically and abroad, we’ve invited the androgynous genre-hopping musician Umlilo to offer up a hand-picked selection of noteworthy South African musicians, as marked with the seal of approval by a local. So before we launch into the mixtape, complete with Umlilo’s thoughtfully written track descriptions, please enjoy his latest music video for “The Elements”, which shows off his interest in fashion, gender-bending, and explorations of vocal styles galore. Umlilo

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Tape Recorder And Synthesizer Ensemble (T.R.A.S.E.) Musician Interview: Uncovering a 30-Year-Old Project

“When I left school, there were three things I wanted to do before I die. Work for the BBC, work for myself doing the job I love, and record and release an album. Until December last year, I’d settled for two out of three. Now, it is with a deep sense of irony, I have achieved all three, and the third was recorded before I’d made those choices over 30 years ago. A humbling experience.” - Andy Poppelwell, T.R.A.S.E.

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Lumerians Band Interview: Exploring The High Frontier’s Internal and External Territories

“For us, music is about exploration. We may start down a traveled path, but our real objective is to discover what is beyond. We’re no retro-fetishists, but it seems like the future used to be more boundless and inspired.” - Marc Melzer, Bassist & Vocalist of Lumerians

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Top Albums of the Year 2013: Staff Picks

Out with the old, no matter how good it is! Here’s our comprehensive list of Top Albums of the Year 2013, schizophrenic as always to reflect the diverse tastes of our staff, though there is some overlap. It’s highly recommended you check out every release here, as each has its own creative strengths.

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Jimmy Edgar Artist Interview: Building Rainbow-Colored Bridges Between Music, Aesthetics & Metaphysical Ideas

“We read a lot of books on meditation – a lot of books on magic, numerology, astropsychology; quantum physics… and one thing that we always find is that the visuals are always really cheesy… so we feel that we have this duty to create this space or domain of knowing that has a really interesting and modern visual side to these philosophies we find really interesting…” - Jimmy Edgar, on his record label, Ultramajic

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The Belle Game – River Music Video (w/ Band & Director Interviews in 日本語 & English)

After their collaboration on The Belle Game’s first music video proved natural and compelling in narrative, director Kheaven Levandowski and the band decided to once again work together on the music video for “River”, from their debut album, Ritual Tradition Habit. Much less upbeat than the previous track, “River”‘s finds its setting moving from Western countrysides into Japanese cityscapes, as it follows a male sex worker – also known as a rent-boy – through neon-lit streets and into a realistically-documented underbelly of the city. The result is both sensual and raw, leaving viewers curious to know more about the subculture. Levandowski and The Belle Game’s Adam Nanji discuss the formulation and execution of the music video, as well as the social ideas it stirs up, in this bi-lingual English-Japanese Q&A interview.

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Iceland Airwaves 2013 Festival Preview: Managing an Overwhelming Schedule of Icelandic & International Musicians

Iceland Airwaves started back in 1999 in an airport hangar outside of Reykjavik. Since then, it has grown into one of Europe’s premiere music festivals, showcasing the insane amounts of musical talent coming from the land of few people and many sheep. Each year, the festival curates some of the best up-and-coming international talent to supplement the Icelandic artists, and introduces a ton of off-venue shows. The total schedule is 10 pages long, and the whole festival turns Reykjavik into a musical paradise for five nights. It is all incredibly overwhelming, so let’s break it down for you.

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The Body – To Attempt Openness Music Video (w/ Band & Alexander Barton Artist Interview)

This audio-visual collaboration between Portland-based avant-garde metal outfit, The Body, and NYC mixed media artist Alexander Barton has been a long time coming, a homage to an enduring friendship. Combining their mutual shared interest in intensity, abstraction, and religious themes, the music video for “To Attempt Oneness” pits The Body’s guttural, distorted screams and noisy, rumbling guitars against Barton’s bleeding ink painting — an extension of his earlier performance which used real pig’s blood. The final product holds a viewer’s fascination with its impressively slow and minimal unfolding, the most entertaining way possible to watch paint dry.

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