You may not recognize the name, but you do recognize the work of John Berg, the art director who helped design the album covers of some of the most iconic records of all time. After battling pneumonia, he passed away at age 83 this week. Meanwhile, Miley Cyrus and the Flaming Lips have plans to perform in the nude, Lizzo brought Bon Iver‘s Justin Vernon onto a gorgeous new track, Common is standing up to gun violence, Beck and Fiona Apple brought a bunch of guests onstage to perform ’60s covers in California, Deerhunter dropped a new song and video, and Chance the Rapper finally released a studio version of that Kanye West cover.
Art director John Berg passed away this week at age 83. The name may not ring a bell, but his work certainly does. The Grammy-winning artist worked for Columbia Records where, as the art director, he assembled some of the most iconic covers of the late 20th century. From Bob Dylan’s backlit hair to Bruce Springsteen chuckling over a joke with his longtime pal and saxophonist Clarence Clemons, Berg caught magic and illustrated it on the covers of albums we still spin today. Though his death weighs heavy on many hearts, we can celebrate him by listening to the Byrds, Simon and Garfunkel, Barbra Streisand, and others’ albums he helped canonize. Rest in peace, John. [New York Times]
Miley Cyrus and The Flaming Lips will tour all over the US in support of their recent collaborative LP, Miley Cyrus and Her Dead Petz, starting in November. One lucky crowd will get an experience they will never forget, even if they close their eyes. Wayne Coyne wrote on Instagram that one of the concerts will be filmed for an upcoming video. The surprise? Everyone is naked: Cyrus, the band, and–wait for it–the audience. Apparently they will spray some white liquid that “looks like milk” everywhere, too. Stay weird, y’all. [Consequence of Sound] [Photo by John Shearer]
Bon Iver‘s Justin Vernon is back, but this time he’s singing for someone else. On Lizzo‘s excellent new track “Humanize”, Vernon is joined by Doomtree’s Lazerbeak, N.A.S.A.’s Sam Spiegel, Bionik, and Alex Nutter, the group collectively accenting the Houston-raised musician’s bold sound. Give it a listen and prepare for her LP to drop on December 11. [Pitchfork]
Until we stop hearing about gun violence and death every week in the US, protesters will continue to protest. New to their ranks is none other than rapper Common. He, joined by other Chicago rappers like Lil Herb and King Louie, stepped up to promote the “Music vs. Gun Violence” campaign in a new interactive video. Given their city alone has already had over 2,300 gun-related crimes this year, the message they’re trying to prove is pretty clear. Watch the video up above and hear what they have to say about it all. [Rolling Stone]
California gets all the good stuff in life (like Nerdist *wink*). Beck, Fiona Apple, Cat Power, and more took over Los Angeles’ Orpheum Theater on October 12 for an all-star tribute to classic California bands of the ’60s. The musicians tore through hits by the Beach Boys, the Byrds, and more. Above, watch one of their renditions yourself: a skilled take on the Byrds by Beck and Jakob Dylan that zips you back half a century to the sun-soaked times of yesterday. [Rolling Stone]
Let’s get back to modern day, shall we? One of the best indie rock acts to come out of the 2000s is Deerhunter. In a matter of days, Bradford Cox and his crew will release their highly anticipated LP, Fading Frontier. In anticipation, the band have shared album cut “Living My Life” and it’s laid back video. Soak up the good vibes and the cutest eyes of one adorable puppy before you can buy a copy of the album yourself this Friday. [Consequence of Sound]
Last month, Chance the Rapper did a live rendition of Kanye West‘s heartfelt number “Family Business”. Now that he’s had time to swing home after several festival dates, Chance the Rapper is releasing a proper studio version of the cover. He named his version “Family Matters” –an appropriate change given the clip comes with a touching assortment of home video clips and swelling strings. Give your family a call after you hear it, promise? [Consequence of Sound]
That’s it for today! We’ll see you back here on Friday for another Music Dispatch!