Author Archives: Douglas Wolk

The Voyeurs: Diary of a Charming Neurotic

Gabrielle Bell is an introvert in a world of extroverts, an overthinker navigating a landscape of overstimulation. Fortunately, she’s discovered the forgotten secret of autobiographical comics: not only is it OK to make stuff up, but it’s often a very good idea. The short pieces collected in The Voyeurs (Uncivilized Books)—many of which first...

Mighty Mississippi

The Grit and Gospel of a Portland Record Label      Mississippi Records, tucked away on Mississippi Avenue in the North part of Portland, Oregon, isn’t a typical record store. It opened its doors about a decade ago, as stores dedicated to selling music in physical form were facing mass extinction, and it’s still doing...

The New Album Cover from The National

  The striking cover design for The National’s highly anticipated album High Violet was created by Distant Station Ltd.—the Brooklyn-based design firm headed by Scott Devendorf, The National’s bassist. Like the band’s music, the image is arty, cryptic, dense with occluded meaning, and built on the contrast between monochromatic austerity and explosions of full-spectrum...

Shelf Life: Teenbeat Originals

— The small but long-running indie-pop record label Teenbeat recently launched its Teenbeat Originals line, limited CD-R editions of rare archival material by affiliated artists such as Unrest and Scaley Andrew. Label head (and frequent band member) Mark Robinson has designed a modernist-inspired Digipak for the series: a six-panel foldout customized for each individual...

Boyd Elder’s album cover for Yacht

The cover of Yacht’s See Mystery Lights (DFA) is the first album cover in many years from Boyd Elder, who’s best known for his sleeve art for the Eagles (they played their first show at one of his art openings). “We made the record in the West Texas desert,” says Yacht’s Jona Bechtolt, “and...

Drawing Fire

  A rocket explodes in a neighborhood in the middle of a war zone, and a U.S. Army division arrives to survey the scene. The commander turns to the embedded photojournalist who’s been traveling with them and suggests a way to characterize the photographs he’s taking: “Insurgent cell defeated en route to engage American...