I hate what the “loudness war” has done not only to mainstream pop music but to an increasing number of records by acts who aren’t even on B96’s playlist–it’s perpetuating a downward spiral of addiction to overcompression and ear-punishing mastering techniques.

So far most of the fighting has been between label people looking for ways to snag the attention of an increasingly distracted audience and, on the other side, writers and audiophiles saddened by the fact that listening to the radio is becoming a physically painful experience. But that started to change when Metallica got dragged into the tussle after releasing the nigh-unlistenable Death Magnetic. Now Rick Froberg, formerly of Hot Snakes and Drive Like Jehu, has weighed in with the artwork for I Blame You, the forthcoming debut from his new band, Obits.

The cover:


I Blame You is, of course, not a fatiguing listen in the least. It’s a complete pleasure, and it comes out next Tuesday on Sub Pop.