I talked with Mike Treff from Soundscreen design about the amazing book he co-curated with Brian Roettinger, and Diego Hadis about US 7" record design. It goes further than just a coffee table book of reproductions of 7" sleeves, they approached the book with the idea that the modes of production should be just as important as the graphic "art" itself.
Of course I completely agree...the thing that truly makes the 7" great a lot of times has to do with the handmade nature of the object as much as the artwork on the sleeve....or the music inside for that matter. I think they are tackling a whole new angle in history of the 7", a history that's just getting started.
But they didn't just stop with the information about singles, the press runs, the designers, they made the book itself a similar handmade artifact. All of the 7"'s were sent in by collectors around the US, photographed and reproduced in full color, which let's face it you'd be crazy not to do, but there's different paper stocks and page sizes. It's like McSweeneys and 7inches came together...they created a piece of art as amazing as the singles inside they celebrate, except that they will press this for whoever wants it...which is not the case with anything pictured in this book.
If you have ever thought about starting a label and pressing a 7", or just bought your first 7" from your favorite band on tour, this book is an essential resource.
If you think you know everything about 7"'s, and your collection is complete...this book will prove you wrong...and educate you about something you can actually use in the real world.
7"'s are freaking awesome.
Download the interview here.
Now available for pre-order is Soundscreen’s latest book, Touchable Sound: A Collection of 7-inch Records from the USA.
In an era that advocates streamlined product, and music at the click of a mouse, Touchable Sound celebrates those independent-minded bands and labels that make their own records and relish the opportunity to produce labor-intensive one-off artifacts. As Henry H. Owings puts it in his introduction, the book honors “those who invest countless hours of themselves to further their art. It’s about having an attention to detail and a disinterest in the bottom line.”
Organized by region, Touchable Sound focuses on unique, exquisite examples of American 7-inch-record packaging. Spanning nearly 25 years, it lovingly documents the obscure and the hard-to-find with help from musicians, artists, and label owners. Many of these records-by bands as diverse as the Locust, Olivia Tremor Control, Angel Hair, Stereolab, Los Crudos, the Melvins, and more—have never before been seen by a wide audience, and were originally pressed in extremely limited editions.
Curated by Brian Roettinger, Mike Treff, and Diego Hadis, the book features over 300 records and 600 bands that have set the bar for record packaging and design. The official release is set for October 5th, but make sure you reserve your copy by pre-ordering.