The Story Behind The Sleeve #8: Sufjan Stevens – Illinois

It may have been his h studio album, but 2005’s Illinois was the breakthrough release for instrumental polymath and genre polymorph Sufjan Stevens. It remains his best-known work and musically surpassed its precursor, 2003’s Michigan (he’d planned to base an album on each of the 50 States, an ambition he’s since admitted was “a joke”). Illustrator Divya Srinivasan’s cover art, featuring Al Capone and the … Continue reading The Story Behind The Sleeve #8: Sufjan Stevens – Illinois

Arzachel – Arzachel

This intoxicating psych rarity has an eye-watering price tag and was rumoured to have been recorded in a cave in Ukraine. Its rich history and mysterious origins will make it a talking point of any collection… One of the best things about obscure, long-forgotten psychedelic records is the history that goes with them. Even if the recordings aren’t as clear or concise as you would … Continue reading Arzachel – Arzachel

The Story Behind The Sleeve #13: The Durutti Column – The Return Of The Durutti Column

A situationist statement designed to destroy the other records around it, The Durutti Column’s 1980 debut album was released in four initial runs totalling 3,600 copies. Its sleeve had two sheets of sandpaper adhered to it, with some copies sprayed with ‘FACT 14’. Under Tony Wilson’s command, Joy Division and A Certain Ratio assembled at Alan Erasmus’ flat in Manchester. They were reportedly paid £15 … Continue reading The Story Behind The Sleeve #13: The Durutti Column – The Return Of The Durutti Column

Bluedot 2018

The third Bluedot festival is blessed with soaring temperatures, blue skies and an expertly curated line-up from the worlds of music, comedy and science that has seen it quickly establish itself alongside End Of The Road and Green Man as one of the UK’s best medium-sized festivals With stellar performances from Gary Numan, Chemical Brothers and The Flaming Lips that reflect the Jodrell Bank festival’s … Continue reading Bluedot 2018

The Story Behind The Sleeve #14: Neutral Milk Hotel – In The Aeroplane Over The Sea

Having conceived the artwork for debut album On Avery Island himself, Neutral Milk Hotel’s Jeff Mangum called in a previous offer of help from R.E.M. and Green Day sleeve designer Chris Bilheimer for this 1998 follow-up. Remaining heavily involved, Mangum wanted “turn-of-the-century, penny arcade kind of imagery”, had a postcard he wanted to use, and had already commissioned some illustrations, which ended up inside the … Continue reading The Story Behind The Sleeve #14: Neutral Milk Hotel – In The Aeroplane Over The Sea

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Murder Ballads

For their ninth album, Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds took a creative left-turn by delivering a collection of songs that was as gruesome as it was enthralling. Neil Crossley assesses the sonic delights amidst the slaughter… Anyone tuning in to the 19 October 1995 edition of Top Of The Pops would have been greeted by an assured and exuberant Kylie Minogue, welcoming viewers to … Continue reading Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Murder Ballads

The Story Behind The Sleeve #12: Parliament – Motor Booty Affair

Parliament’s 1978 concept album about raising Atlantis through the power of funk deserved a cover to match the inspired lunacy of its content; and it was up to Detroit’s Overton Loyd to duly oblige. This was the artist’s first album cover for the band, although he had illustrated a comic book included with its 1977 predecessor, Funkentelechy Vs. The Placebo Syndrome, which introduced the funky … Continue reading The Story Behind The Sleeve #12: Parliament – Motor Booty Affair

Review: Manic Street Preachers at the Southbank Centre

Manic Street Preachers are known for the strong imagery that forms part of who they are and this had an instant impact as they made their way into the Southbank Centre stage to a red-lit smoke filled backdrop of the unforgettable image from the cover of their latest album Resistance is Futile; one of the final photographic images of the last samurai, defeated yet defiant. … Continue reading Review: Manic Street Preachers at the Southbank Centre

Kraftwerk – Autobahn

On their 1974 album Autobahn, Kraftwerk created an electronic epic, with man and machine in perfect harmony. As Neil Crossley explains, the album was a pivotal step forward for contemporary music – a timeless and profound work whose legacy resounds today… The Autobahn Line-Up Ralf Hütter: Co-founder Hütter is now the only member of the Autobahn-era Kraftwerk left in the band. In 2009, Hütter said of … Continue reading Kraftwerk – Autobahn

The Story Behind The Sleeve #5: The Who – The Who Sell Out

The cover of this 1967 concept album was designed by David King and Roger Law and shot by New York photographer David Montgomery. Divided into panels, its front features Pete Townshend applying a giant stick of imaginary deodorant brand Odorono and Roger Daltrey sitting back to enjoy a bath filled with baked beans, referencing the track Heinz Baked Beans. The reverse of the sleeve depicts Keith Moon … Continue reading The Story Behind The Sleeve #5: The Who – The Who Sell Out

Classic Covers: Craig Braun

He created The Velvet Underground’s iconic banana sleeve and co-created The Rolling Stones’ infamous logo, but that’s just the start of Craig Braun’s catalogue of iconic album sleeve designs. Here are seven of his most famous designs Sticky Fingers The Rolling Stones (1971) “I realised the vinyl needed an additional panel to fold under the front, to protect the vinyl from the back of the … Continue reading Classic Covers: Craig Braun

The Braun Legacy: Craig Braun

He worked with Andy Warhol, Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin, created the famous Velvet Underground banana sleeve and co-designed The Rolling Stones’ tongue and lips logo. Long Live Vinyl meets Craig Braun in New York to discuss a seismic career… Craig Braun is a singular artist, who helped transform the album sleeve from humble vinyl vessel to an interactive experience. Neither purely a graphic designer … Continue reading The Braun Legacy: Craig Braun

Dance Gavin Dance – Artificial Selection

Rise Records Hot on the heels of 2016’s much-loved Mothership, Dance Gavin Dance’s eighth album wastes no time in stating its intent: to surpass. Though still imbued with insane technical flourishes, guttural vocals and infectious hooks, this record displays a maturity we’ve not heard before. Where Mothership was unadulterated, Artificial Selection is considered; still drenched in bombastic aplomb, but eager to break convention – Count … Continue reading Dance Gavin Dance – Artificial Selection

Rolo Tomassi – Time Will Die And Love Will Bury It review

Holy Roar Since their inception, Rolo Tomassi’s twitchy mix of jazz, math and prog has transformed with each record. Yet with the departure of Joe Nicholson – the band’s guitarist and primary songwriter – the band have never quite topped sophomore effort Cosmology: until now. Reflective, erratic and unflinchingly heavy,
 Time Will Die And Love Will Bury It is a relentless sonic foray, seemingly intent … Continue reading Rolo Tomassi – Time Will Die And Love Will Bury It review

The Top 40 Essential Live Albums

While it’s not possible to fully capture the rush and excitement of a live gig on record, there are a fair few albums that make a pretty good fist of it, as Gary Tipp discovers. Read on for Long Live Vinyl’s 40 Essential live albums… But first, haven’t live LPs always been a curious breed? For many vinyl collectors they’re not an option, regarded simply … Continue reading The Top 40 Essential Live Albums

Review: Father John Misty – God's Favorite Customer

Father John Misty God’s Favorite Customer Bella Union It’s a third full-length album in four years from Josh Tillman’s ever beguiling alter-ego – and while last year’s Pure Comedy was a challenging, at times impenetrable, listen – spanning 74 minutes and reflecting on the darkness engulfing politics, climate change and humanity at large – this time, the tone is often more summery. At least on … Continue reading Review: Father John Misty – God's Favorite Customer

Vinyl in space: Voyager's Golden Record

 2017 marked the 40th anniversary of the Voyager mission, when NASA sent two Golden Records – each holding an audiovisual snapshot of human culture – into space. Owen Bailey finds out how Ozma Records recreated these timeless artefacts for a beautiful boxset tribute, which has earned its creators a Grammy Award… Somewhere out there – NASA only knows where – two vintage space probes patiently … Continue reading Vinyl in space: Voyager's Golden Record