Indie Rock Publications Still Mostly Scared to Death of Vagina: Reactions to the Handsome Furs Album Cover

05/23/2011 2:00 PM |


Last Friday, the Handsome Furs released the cover of their new album Sound Kapital and made its first single, “Repatriated,” available to the internet. The cover features a naked woman standing underneath an overpass—her torso, lit from the side, contrasts with the shadows from the highways arching above her. It’s a shot with power and presence—the drama of linear perspective highlights the figure’s curves and throws them unabashedly into the foreground. If anything, the photograph resembles an illustration by Ayn Rand artist Nick Gaetano—the angle, the contrast, the sharp lines, the industrial background, the humanist bent. And, like much great art, the shot celebrates the female form. But, of course, the internet likes its naked ladies for porn. And music bloggers aren’t helping.

Pitchfork merely referred to the album art as “NSFW” and implied it was untame. Under the Radar led with, “If there’s kids around, cover their eyes: That’s the official album art for Handsome Furs’ forthcoming LP, and it leaves very, very little to be desired.” Other media descriptors were “scandalous,” “racy,” “outrageous” and CHARTAttack ran the headline, “Handsome Furs Album Cover is a Pervert’s Dream,” along with this oh-so-clever intro:

“The artwork for Handsome Furs’ third full-length LP, Sound Kapital, out June 28 via Sub Pop gives a whole new meaning to the term “handsome furs” as the NSFW cover boasts a completely naked woman showing off her nether region’s landing strip.”

Wow. I guess the naked female form, in all its inherent perviness, is really threatening to modesty and self-control. Looking at it should only be undertaken in shame and privacy, and definitely kept off album covers. I reflect on my own trouble getting up each day and getting dressed. After all, if I accidentally forget to cover my mirror and see my “nether region’s landing strip,” I shriek and cover my eyes. My day, inevitably, is ruined.

Ugh. It’s easy to forget how many people’s notions about sex are formed by the gaudiest of porn, the cheapest commodification of bodies. C’mon tastemakers, you can do better.

Now here’s some naked John and Yoko. Yup, NEKKID.

5 Comment

  • Are you kidding me? What a bunch of herbs,

  • Thank you so much. You are lovely and wonderful and have expressed my thoughts precisely about the artwork we created. So much of the material on this record was in homage to artists and musicians trying to create their work under governments who censor their ideas. And now we find our own art being discussed under such prudish and outdated mentalities – yet by our very own peers. How bizarre. And yet, fitting. Thank you for being a cut above.
    Much love,

  • Thanks for your intelligent, evolved article. I see it as a piece of fine art I’m proud to be involved in. Apparently looking at a 30 year old consenting woman is too much for some people to handle.

    it’s sad to see how patriarchal these responses are coming from ‘indy sites’. I miss the days when music culture was supposed to buck the system, It was what we ( all my friends at least ) were all looking for, to rally against conservatism and it’s oppressive rules and I like that I get to be a little part of that again.

  • lol i love how people care less about violent and bloody album covers than a naked human.

  • Great article!