Every January, ArtVinyl reveals the winners of its best album art poll – which this year has been won by covers for Klone, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and Efterklang.
40 years ago, the album was vinyl. Since then we've been through the takeovers of tapes, CDs and now streaming – with vinyl making resurgence and now the happy coexistence of digital and vinyl for different audiences. But through the format wars the 12-inch vinyl album cover has remained the artistic canvas of choice – challenged perhaps by T-shirts and gig posters, but those don't asked to contemplated while you listen intently to a series of songs in order.
Vinyl albums also make perfect artworks, which is why Art Vinyl sells frames to display your favourites – and celebrating the best new covers every year is good marketing for their products too.
The winners have been voted for by the public from a shortlist of 50. You can see the whole shortlist here, which includes some personal favourites such as Stu Cranfield's powerful painted covers for Giant Swan's eponymous record.
This years winners share a fantasy art vibe that contrast perhaps – rather than illustrate – with their contents. The overall winner – announced at an awards ceremony tonight – is Francesco Dell'Orto's cloudscape for French prog rock band Klone.
Following this is a mythic pastoral scene, adapted by Hingston Studio from a painting by Christian artist Tom Dubois for the haunting memoir of personal grief that's Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds' Ghosteen.
Third place was awarded to Denmark-based Hvass and Hannibal, who provided both the design and art direction for the latest album for Danish band Efterklang, Altid Sammen.
The awards follow a week-long exhibition of the shortlist at The Koppel Project in Soho, London. You can see a VR version of the exhibition here.