Next week, local design and display company Plywerk is hosting a party for their new line of Vinny products, which are handcrafted juniper displays for vinyl record albums. The Vinny line includes a record display stand, a storage/travel crate, and a mountable frame to easily display your favorite album covers. "You can't hang an MP3 on the wall," the folks at Plywerk state, and they're currently raising funds for the project at Crowdsupply—check out the details there.
The Mercury was asked to put together the top 10 Portland album covers for the event, which takes place on First Thursday (March 5) at MadeHere PDX (40 NW 10th). Visitors to the show will be able to vote for their favorite Portland album cover—we had to select 10, a difficult task considering how many great ones there have been over the years. The Vinny Party (Facebook event here) will also include cocktails from New Deal and music by Kevin Lee Florence, so it should be a fantastic time.
You can see the Mercury's 10 picks for best Portland album covers up top, but be sure to click the jump below to take a closer look at all 10. After crowd-sourcing to get a big pool of nominees, I selected these 10 based on a few factors, the most important of which was how well they represented and augmented the music inside. Aesthetic appeal was important, of course, but so was design, simplicity, elegance, immediacy, the ability to capture a moment in time... you know, all those things that our favorite records do for us. I'd like to think that just by looking at each of these album covers, you have a sense of what the music inside could sound like. Rest assured, some of your favorites won't be on there, but hopefully at least one or two of them will, and maybe this will introduce you to some new favorites.
So! In alphabetical order:
2000, Schizophrenic Records; reissued 2013 on Capitol Records
photo by Brent DeBoer, production art by Alan Narmore, design and layout by Courtney Taylor-Taylor and Steven Birch
1991, Music Maniac
1974, Rose City Sound; reissued 2009 on Discourage and 2011 on Arena Rock
graphics by Jason David Emerick
artwork by Julianna Bright
2003, Quannum Projects
photography by Marissa Kaiser
artwork by Craig Thompson
1963, Sande Records
design by Del Reed
1999, Kill Rock Stars; reissued 2014 on Sub Pop
photo by Marina Chavez
2006, Sub Pop
artwork by Jon Daly, design by Dusty Summers and the Thermals
1983, Brain Eater; reissued 2009 on Jackpot
photo by Lucy Capeheart, art direction by Greg Geffner
Honorable mentions: Nu Shooz, Poolside; Quasi, Featuring "Birds"; Crazy 8s, Big Live Nut Pack; Stephen Malkmus, Stephen Malkmus; Blouse, Blouse; Unknown Mortal Orchestra, II; Glass Candy, Beatbox; Agalloch, Marrow of the Spirit, Poison Idea, Kings of Punk, Blue Cranes, Swim; the Exploding Hearts, Guitar Romantic... the list goes on and on. Tell us what we left out in the comments!