Archive for April, 2011

Ezra Furman and the Harpoons ‘Mysterious Power’

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Art direction: Ezra Furman / Cover photo by Christopher Benbow

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In acknowledgment of the fact of there being no lazier means to describe a newer band’s sound than by comparing that sound to other bands who have come before, I’ll say that if you find merit in the music of the Violent Femmes, the Pixies, Neutral Milk Hotel, Tim Buckley, They Might Be Giants, The Posies and/or The Moldy Peaches, then you will assuredly find something to like about Mysterious Power by Ezra Furman and the Harpoons.

I’m up to my armpits in new music most days at the day job, so as a personal rule, I have to be fairly taken with the band and their music if I’m going to design something music related outside of work. Such was the case with this band. A great band made up of great guys, I’m surprised they’re not bigger. Listen up.

The November Criminals by Sam Munson

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Art direction: John Gall

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The November Criminals by Sam Munson is a first-person account of resident smart-ass Addison Schacht: a self-loathing, pot peddling, hyper-articulate high school senior who enlists his best friend Digger (who he emphatically swears is not his girlfriend) to help investigate the mysterious death of a fellow student who was neither their friend nor their enemy. The story is told in the form of a lengthy protracted confessional college essay addressed to the admissions board at the University of Chicago.

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Between the overall mythos of high school, Addison’s verbal cadences as well as the story’s essay structure, this cover was a gift to design for. I handed my comps off to John one day, time passed and a few months later I was informed that we had an approval for the above cover with nary an art amendment requested. A sampling of other ideas I submitted in that round went like this:

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I kept waiting for a sudden, critical about-face from the publisher sending me back to the drawing board to grind out new ideas, but the moment never arrived. The good fortune in this instance all but assured that I will never have it so easy again in my life. To further cement this certainty, neither marketing, nor the editor nor the publisher seemed to mind when Addison hijacked their back cover copy with his leaky red marker either.

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