The biggest loss to music in the CD and MP3 era? The demise of the album cover. Back in the '60s and '70s, the cover was 144 square inches of canvas for artists to project their image and advertise the tunes -- think of Isaac Hayes's gold chains and shaved head on "Hot Buttered Soul," the Beatles' eclecticism on "Sgt. Pepper's" or the Ramones's ripped jeans and T-shirts on their eponymous debut. The covers were, in a sense, works of art themselves. The folks at U Street's Lounge of Three hosted a very cool exhibition of their favorite hip-hop album covers a few months back, and they're at it again tonight with "The Classics -- Series 2: Soul," co-sponsored with the Source Magazine. This time, they've teamed with local DJ YZO, whose roots run deep in the modern soul scene. (He's worked with Fertile Ground, Julie Dexter and Amel Larrieux, among others, and he hosts a show on WPFW.) YZO drew from his own extensive collection to pick 40 covers to display at this event. Arrive between 7 and 9 for free Smirnoff cocktails (named after soul greats) and listen to YZO, Nick tha 1da and 2-Tone Jones spin music. There's no cover charge, but arrive early to beat crowds.
-- Fritz Hahn (Dec. 1, 2009)