Musicians and recording studios are reaching out to artists, many of them well known names, commissioning jackets that once were a staple of the music world, in the days before music videos and digital recording. This year, British 'bad boy' Damian Hirst, he of the diamond-studded skull and dead animals in formaldehyde, is one of them. His album cover for Peter Doherty's Babyshambles Sequel To The Prequel has a sixties feel, all bright colours and flash, combined with a picture of the band by legendary rock photographer Pennie Smith (who also photographed The Clash for the album London Calling). The cover for Queens of the Stone Age's...Like Clockwork was designed by British illustrator, an underground artist from Liverpool, Boneface, while that of Van Dyke Parks' Songs Cycled is the work of LA artist Kenton Nelson. Other musicians opt to showcase their own artistic prowess with DIY album covers: the Handsome Family's Rennie Sparks used her own design for Wilderness, while Paul McCartney's neon-lighted cover for New was created by music video director Ben Ib and inspired by the work of sculptural artist Dan Flavin. Each year a shortlist of 50 record covers are nominated for the Best Art Vinyl award (now in its 9th year) by a panel of industry experts. Andrew Heeps, the founder of the awards and inventor of the first ever picture frame for vinyl record jackets calls it "back to the roots of great classic sleeve design."

You can see the designs on this year's shortlist, and vote for your favourite, online until January 31, 2014, at www.bestartvinyl.com(lien externe)

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