MUSIC

Remembering Vaughan Oliver: The Graphic Designer's 7 Most Iconic Album Covers

The British visual artist, who worked closely with seminal record label 4AD, died December 29.

For enthusiasts of goth-rock and dream-pop from the '80s and '90s, the art of Vaughan Oliver is practically unavoidable.

The British graphic designer died December 29, 2019 at the age of 62, leaving behind a legacy of instantly-recognizable album covers from bands like Pixies, the Cocteau Twins, and plenty more. In 1982, he became the first employee of record label 4AD. Nowadays, the label's roster includes big-name alternative acts like the National, Grimes, Big Thief, and Deerhunter, but during their earlier years, 4AD played a crucial role in shaping the fabric of the indie offerings to come. As their in-house graphic designer, Oliver had a major hand in forming the label's visual aesthetic.

"Without Vaughan, 4AD would not be 4AD and it's no understatement to say that his style also helped to shape graphic design in the late-20th century," the label wrote on their website. Below, we remember Oliver with a list of the best and most significant album covers he designed.

Modern English: After the Snow (1982)

One of Oliver's first sleeve designs was for British new-wave band Modern English. Their sophomore record features the single "I Melt With You," their most popular song to date.

Satire

To Donald Trump: 5 Ways You're Actually a Flawless Being Doing a Beautiful, Unbelievable Job Right Now

You could resign if you want to, but then who will keep America so GD great?

With Donald Trump making a visit to Bangor, Maine today, the editorial board of the Portland Press Herald issued an op-ed calling for President Trump to resign.

The harshly critical piece entitled "To President Trump: You Should Resign Now" was framed as an open letter to the president and got straight to the point with this opening plea, "We're sorry that you decided to come to Maine, but since you are here, could you do us a favor? Resign."

In recent days even George W. Bush has been critical of President Trump's response to protests, so this new piece quickly became a trending topic on Twitter. Obviously this is another baseless attack from the lying news media—AKA lügenpresse. Considering how delicate our president's ego is—he's our special little guy—we can only hope that Donald Trump didn't see the letter; but just in case he did, it's worth writing another one to lift his spirits. So here's our best attempt—with lots of pictures and flattery to keep him reading:

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"How would you guys like a tasty little B-side from 1995?" Rivers Cuomo, frontman of Weezer, asked screaming fans, before unleashing "You Gave Your Love To Me Softly."

The 11-year old in front of me was probably hoping for something more familiar, (which, out of extraordinary irony, would probably be Weezer's 2019 cover of Toto's "Africa")

SNL's "Weezer" sketch, December 2018

– But his mom was hype. This track embodied the unearthly beauty of Weezer's March 2019 Madison Square Garden performance, with The Pixies and TV On The Radio in tow. For decades, Weezer has marched forward in their unique parade of contradictions. Having looked like aging nerds since their break in '94, they still melt faces like Slayer on steroids (sporadically, when they feel like it). Most consider them a relic of the past – a chapter in American rock history when grunge buckled under the weight of pop punk's disposable angst-joy. Still, in 2019, teens and children cheered to each song, absent of any knowledge of, or opinion regarding Pinkerton.

Cuomo, fittingly adorned in full-on Marty McFly garb, commanded every eye in the arena with his signature mashup of rock-godliness and awkward babysitter vibes. Perhaps in honor of The Black Album, their latest studio release, Rivers stayed strapped with a matte black Gibson SG throughout the show, instead of his iconic, sticker-caked Strat. I have no idea how a 25-year-old band managed to play the hits and keep it fresh. While it was my third time seeing these childhood idols perform live, it somehow felt new again. I suppose that's how they continue to attract a new generation of fans, or how a 14-year old girl on Twitter inspired them to cover "Africa," catalyzing The Teal Album, or how I hear The Black Album like a foreign language but still consider the band my home, ride or die.

Rivers Cuomo is a rock gawd

Scott Shrine on the bass

Brian Bell on rhythm guitar

"Back To The Shack"

"I don't care what they say about us anyway"


Brent Butler is a NYC-based rapper, producer, and guitarist. He is a regular contributor to Popdust and host of Popdust Presents. Follow Brent on Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Soundcloud | and check out his debut solo EP, | L I L A C |