World In Stereo: Next Stop…Soweto Vol. 2

Is there anything that apartheid didn’t fuck up? The disgusting policy of extreme segregation seeped through every aspect of South African life, even the music scene.

When white politicians started sensing “trouble” (as in blacks having concerts), they passed a series of laws that kept blacks from playing shows in concert halls in white Johannesburg. This meant that any black musician had to play shows in the Soweto Township, a poor and segregated neighborhood next to the city’s mining district.

For the Love of Vinyl: The Album Art of Hipgnosis

For the Love of Vinyl: The Album Art of Hipgnosis
by Storm Thorgerson & Audrey Powell
Hardcover, $45, PictureBox
[presently available for $20 directly from Picturebox here]

For the Love of Vinyl: The Album Art of Hipgnosis (Picturebox)
For the Love of Vinyl: The Album Art of Hipgnosis (Picturebox)

You have definitely seen the album art of Hipgnosis, the now-revered British design group that created the art for most of your favorite classic records of the 1970s. Houses Of The Holy, Dark Side Of The Moon — both theirs.

Much has been published about the work of Hipgnosis’ co-founders Storm Thorgerson and Aubrey Powell, whose photography backgrounds fueled their work. However, For The Love of Vinyl documents over 60 of their projects in detail — offering insight into the environment in which these works were produced. These histories are often as interesting as the album art.

Q&A: Hum Discusses Chicago Reunion, Lyrical Intentions, and Artistic Integrity

On 12/31/00, dropped-D alt-rockers Hum played their final show in Chicago, appearing with the Flaming Lips at the Metro.  Now, eight years to the date, the group reconvenes in the Windy City for a double dose of reunion performances.

ALARM intercepts transmissions from Hum singer Matt Talbott and bassist Jeff Dimpsey before these impending shows, the first of which is tonight at Chicago’s Double Door.

The Mars Volta: In Control

Pumping out loud, fractured rock, The Mars Volta challenges their audience with every new release and live show. If you’re offered ear plugs, take them. And if you’re asked to describe them, don’t say “prog.”