As CD sales continue to plummet, more bands are reconsidering the LP as a viable format. This year was a banner year for vinyl, and for album art that was exactly that—art. Many local releases caught my eye (and ear), but I particularly liked The Violet Hour design. Released by Friends Records, the record's screen-printed cover and fetching insert were created by Beth Varden, who plays in the band with Andriana Pateris. Varden's design complimented the duo's dreamy and organic psychedelia and enhanced the project's inherent lushness—and it could get popped into a frame and hung on the wall as a stand-alone piece of art. I'm hearing more and more local musicians say they're releasing albums, with download cards inserted, in 2012 and foregoing a CD release altogether, so we can expect more LPs as art objects in the coming year.