Stemming from my days of making tunes with David Bubenheim and Brandon Gorelli in the rock n' roll outfit Landline, I've always enjoyed working with bands – especially bands that I regularly get to see perform live. Neighbours is a 4-piece band from here in Pittsburgh. I've worked at Pittsburgh City Paper with drummer Andy Mulkerin for some time, so I pretty much had to agree to do their album artwork, lest he publish mean things about me in a well-circulated news weekly.
Most often, bands and musicians hire me to do illustrations and gig posters for their shows, but man, do I enjoy working with bands on album art. Unfortunately with the state of music publishing, there is so little money to go around its becoming more common for folks to skip out on great packaging. But yet, cover artwork remains a particularly important first impression. Investing in quality packaging is a reassurance that the band believes in the album, and are willing to spend money to make sure the visuals are on par with the high-quality tunes inside. Glad the folks in Neighbours had the foresight to hire the best dang designer in Pittsburgh for their project – and didn't cheap out on printing costs either.
Belting out rockin' power-pop tunes, Neighbours have one of the more unique sounds in the city. And I'm talking real power-pop – like you would have heard in the 60's (or on Gooski's jukebox). They seem to have found a happy home with famed garage-rock label Get Hip. Owned by Cynics guitarist Gregg Kostelich, Get Hip has decades of rock n' roll experience, and is well connected across the globe. Cue the horn section, direct from Spain, that provides accompaniment to perhaps the catchiest tune on the album, No Matter the Season. Furthermore, I doubt Neighbours could have found a better producer for their sound than Derek White. Prime Numbers is the perfect storm of garage-rock masterminds – and it certainly shows. It makes my job a lot easier when I've got great inspiration.
If I have any complaint with the album (and this might just be my selfish inner designer talking) – its that I can't listen to the songs on vinyl. Don't worry Neighs, I saved a version of the art at 12", in case your budget explodes thanks to wildly successful sales. Fingers crossed!
To snag a CD, head over to Get Hip's online store, or better yet, go see Neighbours live. The perfect opportunity comes on Saturday, July 20th at Gooski's in Polish Hill. Details here. Neighbours can be found on the web, on Facebook and on Twitter. I've gotten the go-ahead to stream a song off the new album here on my site, so indulge yourself in Prime Numbers with No Matter the Season.