Big and unsung heroes of alternative music are honoured in stylish stamps and prints

A series of prints honours influential bands in stamp form, defining their music with great and minimal designs.

Tired of the usual band posters? Wanting to pay tribute to as many heroes of music as possible but feeling stymied by wall space? Liverpool-based print makers Dorothy have found just the solution.

Their Stamp Albums series has been celebrating the heroes of alternative music since 2017, with two new prints released this month exclusively on their website. Consisting of litho prints devoted to big indie genres like psychedelia and post-punk, each sheet is made up of over 40 envelope stamp designs adorned with band names and their one big classic - plus new artwork by Dorothy that encapsulates the act through patterns and shapes.

Featured bands on the prints so far have included the likes of The Prodigy, Radiohead, Burial and Tame Impala, along with unsung greats such as The Olivia Tremor Control, Global Communication and Moonshake.

"The idea originally came from a bit of wordplay," says Dorothy designer Jim Quail. "I was thinking of re-imagining classic music albums in stamp form to create a new collection of prints called 'Stamp Albums’. At the time I was listening to a lot of post-punk which seemed to fit the concept (post + stamp *insert drum sting*).

Note that these are cinderella stamps - not actual stamps you can peel and lick, despite how convincing they look

Each stamp is arranged by year of release

"It was a case of taking something that I enjoyed and was interested in, and then responding to them visually," Jim continues. "The project I’d been working on prior to the stamps was a really research-heavy, detail-driven blueprint mapping out relationships across alternative music, so I wanted to make something pattern-orientated, illustrative and responsive to musical input.

"After releasing the Post-Rock and Post-Punk collections we discovered that not many people really cared about the wordplay. It was the visual look of the print that was really capturing their imagination.

"This was great because it meant we could roll the concept out to other genres and didn’t have to rely on the word ‘post’, and as such we’ve recently added Electronic and Psychedelic albums to the collection."

Jim's designs were inspired by graphic vintage European stamps, and particular lyrics or the names of bands and their featured album. Other ideas for graphics meanwhile came from the music itself, trying to describe how the albums sound visually (example below). 

The Goldie design from the Electronic print features a drum and speedometer design, in a nice allusion to the Timeless album's classic jungle beats

"All of them go through loads and loads of re-designs and different approaches," Jim reveals. "Some come together quite quickly, some I feel like I might never finish."

I ask Jim whether the designs have taken on added poignance in this era of untimely rockstar deaths, especially in recent days with the passing of Prodigy's Keith Flint and Talk Talk frontman Mark Hollis, the man who convinced his new wave group to do a 360 and singlehandedly invent the post-rock sound.

"Most of our prints are our attempt to celebrate the music that we love, and ways to think about the impact it’s had on us and our lives," he replies. "Talk Talk had such a huge and profound impact on me, both the music itself and the story around it."

Jim's tribute to classic Talk Talk LP Spirit of Eden

Expect another genre-celebrating print this summer - and watch out on the radar for the chance to buy these designs as sheets of bona fide stamps for the first time ever.

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