As we cautiously watch the door creak open to a new decade, it’s time to look back in wonder at the amazing year that was 2019. Paired with some stellar albums were some equally stellar album covers and I can’t help but lean back and sip on a tall glass of rose-tinted nostalgia.
Here are the 10 best Australian album covers of 2019.
2019 was a magnificent year in music and the perfect finale to a decade of spectacular sound. These are the 10 best Australian album covers of 2019.
10. Pseudo Mind Hive – Of Seers And Sirens
The sophomore album from Melbourne’s resident heavy psych overlords, Pseudo Mind Hive, sported some of the most impressive album art we’ve seen in ages. German illustrator and designer Max Leoffler was the perfect man for the job, and encapsulated the psychedelic insanity of the album beautifully.
Leoffler has also done the artwork for a secret Tame Impala 7″ for The Less I Know The Better.
9. Sarah Mary Chadwick – The Queen Who Stole The Sky
The entire 11 song composition was written by Sarah Mary Chadwick for the grand romantic organ installed at the Melbourne Town Hall – the largest in the southern hemisphere with almost 10,000 pipes and 552 keys.
To add to the majesty of the record is an absolutely mind-blowing album cover that looks like musings of some schizophrenic calligrapher. Majestic yet frightening.
8. Amyl & The Sniffers – Amyl & The Sniffers
Everybody’s favourite Gucci wearing, punk rockers just took home an ARIA Awards for Best Rock Album. Their unabashed fetishisation of ’70s punk staples, glam, and head-splitting tempos led to a suitably psycho album artwork.
Amy is showing off her trademark freak face surrounded by sharpie doodles and the rest of the cutout outfit. High on the crest of the current punk renaissance, Amyl & The Sniffers debut album is as manic as the artwork itself.
7. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Infest The Rats Nest
The album art for King Gizzard’s fifteenth studio album is as beguiling as the bands decision to embrace thrash metal. While many fans were not capable of engaging with the albums sonic onslaught there is no defying the mystifying nature of the art.
The gold trophy of a rats jaw provoked many apocalyptic elements to match the concerns of the album and our abundant indifference to suffering.
6. Boy And Bear – Suck On Light
The fourth studio album from Australia’s folk-rock forerunners saw the band deliver their finest work yet. Meticulous, tender and hand-crafted like the most elegant of Swiss clocks, Boy and Bear proved they were not done yet despite Dave Hosking’s battling serious illness.
To match the albums grandeur is a mesmerising artwork that reflects elements of Radiohead’s 2007 masterpiece In Rainbows and is a pure treat to behold.
5. Stella Donnelly – Beware Of The Dogs
Stella Donnelly’s debut album is incredible. That’s right, simply incredible. Donnelly’s voice is eternally pitch perfect and her knack for melody and lyrical poignancy is world-class.
Ingeniously reflecting the concerns of the album is a powerful photo of Stella attempting to turn her head away from a man shoving something towards her face. The more you look at it the more intense it gets and is the perfect accompaniment to the magnificent album, Beware of the Dogs.
4. DZ Deathrays – Positive Rising Pt. 1
Dance-punk outfit DZ Deathrays set a high bar after 2018s Bloody Lovely peaked at #4 on the ARIA Charts. Yet Positive Rising Pt. 1, as the name suggests, marks the bands divergence into new territory.
The sci-fi artwork reflects this concept of the band traversing some alien planet and is a clear throwback to Cold Chisel’s Circus Animals.
Perhaps Shane Parsons summed it up best when he told Richard Kingsmill, “over the years, we’ve gone from being a bedroom punk band and screaming into a mic to trying to actually create melodies that people will capture and sing back to you at a show.”
3. Stonefield – Bent
The sibling psych outfit Stonefield upped the anti on their fourth studio album. The sludge is thicker, the grooves are heavier and it sports one of the coolest album covers ever conceived.
A nice little throwback to Led Zeppelin‘s Houses Of The Holy, the cover features neon vomit cascading down volcanic columnar joints to pool in a volcano at the base. Like all great album art its a great depiction of the record’s sonic aesthetic and is an absolute pleasure to behold.
2. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Ghosteen
Ghosteen is the first album Nick Cave has written and recorded entirely by himself since the death of his son Arthur in 2015. Thus it is filled with powerful, almost overwhelming notions of grief, our collective failure, and religion.
The artwork is undoubtedly inspired by genius painter Tom duBois’s Breath Of Life if not flirting with copyright. Nonetheless it’s a far cry from the bleak minimalism of 2016’s Skeleton Tree, one of the most truly mesmerising album covers we’ve ever seen.
1. Tropical Fuck Storm – Braindrops
The psychotic collage that litters the cover of Tropical Fuck Storm’s second album is a feast for the eyes. Featuring a reptilian Trump, a screaming baby vampire, and a dick pick its the perfect representation of their sonic assault.
Braindrops is an incredibly well put together album and the hypnotic, upsetting, bastardised sounds are the perfect accompaniment to the artwork.