This Week in Music, June 18, 2013: Celebrating album cover art Page 3

Approach No. 2: Colorful Illustration

American Playground

Nicola Heindl is the British artist who creates the whimsical illustrations for releases from Putumayo World Music. American Playground, the latest CD in the Putumayo Kids division, rounds up 10 classic sing-alongs, including “She’ll Be Coming ’Round the Mountain” and “This Land Is Your Land.” Among the artists: Guy Davis, Elizabeth Mitchell, Phil Rosenthal, and Dan Zanes.

Kirchen Seeds

The title Seeds and Stems (Proper) should also conjure “roots,” which is what guitarist Bill Kirchen explores here. Mostly, the roots are his own, reaching down to new versions of “Too Much Fun” and “Hot Rod Lincoln” from his days with Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen. There’s also a cover of Bob Dylan’s “It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry.” The vibe is manifested vividly in the cover illustration by Gary Houston.

Frisell Sur

The cover collage by Paul Moore gives a good idea of the wide-ranging music of Big Sur (OKeh/Sony Masterworks), which in turn was stimulated by Bill Frisell’s stay at a ranch in the region. Inspirational titles: “Going to California,” “Highway 1,” “On the Lookout,” “A Beautiful View,” “Hawks,” “Far Away,” and “We All Love Neil Young.” The guitarist is joined by players on viola, cello, violin, and drums — basically, a combination of Frisell’s 858 Quartet and his Beautiful Dreamers trio.

3OH3 Omens

You may see symbols, but the electro duo 3OH!3 sees Omens (Photo Finish/Atlantic). The design is by Nicholas Motte (brother of band member Nathaniel Motte) and Andrew Kimmell.

Empire Ice

Prefer your electro duo to hail from Australia? And to wear outlandish attire? Behold the second album from Empire of the Sun. Dave Homer’s cover art embodies the King-of-the-Worldliness of Ice on the Dune (Astralwerks).

Nektar Time

Still led by guitarist Roye Albrighton, Nektar releases Time Machine (Cleopatra), its first album of new material in 4 years. As the title and the artwork suggest, this is reportedly a return to the progressive-rock complexity of such early works as A Tab in the Ocean and Remember the Future.