fates warning - awaken the guardian

Fates Warning: Awaken the Guardian (1986)

Day 19 of the #mayvinylchallenge asks for the album it took the longest to find. This is for those treasure seekers, and I admit I haven’t reached that level of addict yet. It may also be that the stuff I’m looking for is readily available for the most part, and I’m not that picky when it comes to original or first pressings. So instead let’s talk about the album it took the longest to get to me: Awaken the Guardian, the progressive heavy metal masterpiece from Fates Warning. As one of the earliest vinyl records I ever bought as a 13 year old kid, it was one of the first I wanted to replace when I started collecting again.

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jack white - lazaretto

Jack White: Lazaretto (2014)

Day 18 of the #mayvinylchallenge asks for a “strange play” – what album has a unique feature about it when you play it? Maybe it’s a locked track, a hidden song, a continuous loop? It’s well established that Jack White is a fan of what vinyl can do, but he might have overdid it with his second solo album Lazaretto, which throws a ton of weird features onto wx with mixed results. The actual music, though? Sweet.

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chapel of disease - and as we have seen the storm...

Chapel of Disease: …And As We Have Seen the Storm, We Have Embraced the Eye (2018)

Day 17 of the #mayvinylchallenge asks us to imagine if the Pandemic was a record, what record would it be? The best response I saw was this one, so I’ll take the more common road and use the opportunity to talk about a record whose name has at least a passing connection to Our Year(s) of COVID. I wasn’t familiar with Chapel of Disease before the release of their 2018 record ...And As We Have Seen the Storm, We Have Embraced the Eye, but their unique take on progressive death metal immediately hooked me and helped to further clarify what it is I really look for when it comes to my “favorite” metal albums.

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fiona apple - fetch the bolt cutters

Fiona Apple: Fetch the Bolt Cutters (2020)

We’re in the second half of the #mayvinylchallenge and today is Best Quarantine Album. You can interpret that in a myriad of ways: is it the album that got me through quarantine? Is it the best album released during quarantine? Are the two mutually exclusive? A lot of music helped me to survive 2020, but only a handful of albums served that purpose for my entire family. I don’t know if you’re tired about hearing how “Shameika said I had potential,” but that refrain from Fiona Apple off her long awaited fifth album Fetch the Bolt Cutters gave so much life and energy to my family I really couldn’t pick anything else.

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ozzy - diary of a madman

Ozzy Osbourne: Diary of a Madman (1981)

It’s Dealer’s Choice for Day 15 of the #mayvinylchallenge, so I clicked “Random” on my Discogs collection and lo and behold: the second solo album from Ozzy Osbourne. It’s easy to understand how Diary of a Madman gets lost in the shuffle of early Ozzy when just a few months earlier Blizzard of Ozz hit us with massive classics like “Crazy Train,” “I Don’t Know,” “Goodbye to Romance” and the stellar “Suicide Solution.” What I find fascinating about Dairy though is how in a few short months to tone already began to change: the songs are darker, heavier, and less commerce minded. Overall it makes for a sinister and great listen.

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howling giant - the space between worlds

Howling Giant: The Space Between Worlds (2019)

Rock is dead. There, I said it. Of course there are plenty of caveats, but the days where rock ruled the radio and modern pop world are gone. So when Day 14 of the #mayvinylchallenge asks to highlight a hidden gem or a band you can’t believe is not huge, well…I can believe it. But that won’t stop me from talking about the stoner rock goodness Howling Giant have been bringing to the table for a while now, and how their first full length The Space Between Worlds shows a band primed for whenever the tables may turn on what is deemed “popular” in music…

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