Not Your Mother’s Vinyl

Having neglected album cover art for a while, it’s high time we revisit the topic. Those lamenting the decline of vinyl, or perhaps more aptly, album cover art itself need not fear. While vinyl and CD’s went the way of the bargain bin in exchange for compact hand-held devices that could hold our ever-growing appetite for convenience and quantity, a community of art lovers clung steadfastly to their collections.


Some allowed theirs to collect dust, but could not or did not part with their favorites. Still others, sent them the way of the garage sale or flea market, and for a while it seemed they might disappear altogether as record store chains Sam Goody and Tower Records clung to the capitalistic vines.

Enter new artists.

For at least the last several years, musicians have experimented with releasing their music in a variety of formats. By creating limited editions, pre-orders, early single releases, and mastering the art of releasing a studio version, a deluxe pack with extra tracks, live versions, digital first, and yes, even vinyl, the new artists have the opportunity for mass appeal.

Vinyl, Insert, and Cover
Vinyl, Insert, and Cover

One such limited vinyl pressing Imaginary Numbers came in the form of a November 2013 acoustic album (accompanied by a YouTube release of a single and a quick bi-coastal tour in the U.S and Toronto) from alternative/punk rock band The Maine. The music on it , while melancholy, is “therapy,” according to lead singer, John O’Callaghan, and kudos are in order for an excellent recording. What makes the plastic unique is what can best be termed as Magic Spin Art vinyl; it is as though someone blew out the candles on the cake that graces the cover, scattering hot wax over all of the icing and placed the whole deal in a centrifuge.



The added insert featuring a black and white photo of the band on one side and lyrics on the other is reminiscent of the expectation of those of us who still consider 50 a figment of our imagination.

Sliding Into Home

Continued from Inching Toward Infinity

5:59 PM: Stick Chick arrives to a virtually empty parking lot, except for a few employee vehicles positioned under the sole light post, their extended wiper blades protruding skyward in defiance.

6:00 PM: Clock in.

6:02 PM: Boredom takes over.

6:30 PM: Single angry customer presents items at counter for purchase with coupons. His choices are all excluded from use with his coupons.

6:35 PM: Angry guy is still bitching about coupon exclusions.

6:40 PM: Angry guy still yammering.

6:50 PM: Stick Chick suggests coupons, like life, are not fair.

6:55 PM: Angry guy gives up his quest to right coupon injustice.


7:00 PM: Angry guy wishes everyone a good night. Exits with a wave. Umm…wow.

7:01 PM: Boredom returns. Stick Chick resumes plastic bag folding.

7:05 PM: Internal broadcast system notifies employees the store will close at 9PM rather than the slated midnight due to inclement weather.

7:06 PM: Stick Chick begins closing registers so that only two remain open as snow bears down on the northeast.

Stick Chick opens a drawer and begins counting cash at which point Creepy Guy appears. He sidles up to the counter as she counts coins. Dressed smartly in a long pea coat and scarf with a folded umbrella tucked under his arm, he stops to chat about:

  • whether its been busy
  • wondering what might need to change to bring back the nostalgia of the former department store that closed in the 80’s but had been a fixture in the region for decades
  • wanting to know what brands Stick Chick might add to the offerings that would improve sales
  • blah, blah, blah

Stick Chick, markedly uncomfortable, wonders whether Creepy Guy is simply lonely, rather strange, or of mal intent. Lack of  anyone within immediate earshot unnerves her. After an uncomfortable chat, Creepy Guy moves on to the men’s wear department browsing. Stick Chick never sees him again, though she imagines he has no intention of making a purchase.

8:06 PM: The last customer of the evening, a man with a Slavic accent returns three outfits that he says do not fit his niece. They are toddler girl dresses.

8:07 PM: Stick Chick straightens displays until 8:45 PM when she receives word to close down the main registers.

9:03 PM: Stick Chick clocks out, preparing to trek to her car . An icy coating of what has changed to freezing rain covers the pathway to the car. 

9:30 PM: Stick Chick, curses the frustratingly thin coating of ice on the windshield. It is the paper-thin ice that the wipers fail to move. She scratches it off one tiny piece at a time.

Happily, she heads home earlier than anticipated. Stick Chick looks forward to waking at 5:30 AM to scrape ice once again.

9:50 PM: Stick Chick slides into home.

The next morning…