Nice Package! (Praising The Outer Beauty: June 13, 2008)

These days, when so many of us get much of our music digitally, it’s easy to overlook interesting album artwork and innovative packaging. To commend musicians, artists and record labels that create a good reason to buy a hard copy, we’re spotlighting their work in this randomly recurring feature.

(Jason Janik)

Record Hop Record Hop (TXMF) The great guitar rock and Ashley Cromeen’s powerful vocals are incentive enough to buy Record Hop’s self-titled album, but the packaging included certainly doesn’t hurt. Opening the cardboard case reveals the CD nestled in a glassine envelope, along with a collection of Tony Wann (the band’s drummer) photographs reprinted on square cards, with subjects ranging from fresh roadkill to a POV shot down the business-end of a double-barreled shotgun. On the back of each card is the lyric to a song. The package is also bolstered by Nevada Hill’s distinctive artwork and lettering.

When the Music Starts Mount Righteous (self-released) Grapevine’s favorite punk-rock acoustic marching band didn’t do anything too outrageous with its CD package. But the reprinted lyric sheets inside do include each song's guitar chords so fans can sing along and join in on guitar--which shouldn’t be too difficult, as the only tricky chord is a B-flat maj7.

novadreamer Austin Brown Sounds (self-released) Austin Brown seems to have accepted that most of his fans are going to upload his tunes to their computers. So, rather than pushing CDs or vinyl, he’s making it easier for the iPod generation by selling novadreamer on a reusable 1GB flash drive—with his logo printed on it, of course. The drive contains his songs, plus PDFs and a JPG of cover art. Also included are PDFs for posters--and an offer to send 25 cents apiece via PayPal to fans who post them in public places. --Jesse Hughey

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Pete Freedman
Contact: Pete Freedman