darkthrone - a blaze in the northern sky

Darkthrone: A Blaze in the Northern Sky (1992)

I am so far behind in cataloging my recent vinyl acquisitions (not to mention all the CD box sets I’ve been picking up) that I’m going to try and buckle down and get some short entries up, and at the very least explain WHY I have not one but TWO copies of A Blaze in the Northern Sky, the seminal black metal classic by Norwegian institution Darkthrone. They were the band that paved the way the way for my own music in Necrolytic Goat Converter, showing me that my musical expression could best be achieved via tremolo riffing and strained, raspy vocals that can’t quite hide the influence of old school melody. By any standard this is a classic of the metal genre, so let’s give it some thought.

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de la soul - 3 feet high and rising

De La Soul: 3 Feet High and Rising (1989)

Day 5 of the #mayvinylchallenge asks for your “black gold” – your most valuable record. You can cut this a number of ways using the selling numbers on Discogs, and truth be told this is my third highest average album in my collection. And as you know, three is the magic number. We’ll get to the first and second highest later during the month in other categories; in the meantime there’s no better cure for a dreary and humid Sunday morning that to break out one of the greatest hip-hop records of all time, the smooth and ridiculous groove of 3 Feet High and Rising, the debut from De La Soul.

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john coltrane - a love supreme

John Coltrane: A Love Supreme (1965)

Day 9 of the #mayvinylchallenge asks for multiple formats of an album. I’m only too happy to oblige with one of my favorite records of all time, A Love Supreme by John Coltrane. I went from a taped cassette to an original cassette to a CD to the complete masters on CD to vinyl, and that’s not including the multiple version I have of the album performed live in Paris, not to mention the recently unearth expanded performance in Seattle. or the t-shirts, hoodies, and books. And it’s not even my favorite John Coltrane! But I do love it unequivocally, so while I have a few minutes before my flight leaves, let’s talk about it.

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zappa - hot rats

Frank Zappa: Hot Rats (1969)

We’re back with the #mayvinylchallenge, and Day 1 is all about introducing yourself. And while there were plenty of artists and albums that made me love music, the first artist whose music made me obsessive about it was definitely Frank Zappa. A deep dive on his music has been a long time coming, and I still plan on it (between vinyl, CDs and box sets I’m over 70 albums) but if I were to introduce myself by way of a record, there’s no better artist. And even though Hot Rats wasn’t my first exposure to Zappa (that was Apostrophe (‘)) over time it’s become one of my favorite and most listened to records, regardless of artists or genre. So let get to it.

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george harrison - all things must pass

George Harrison: All Things Must Pass (1970)

I don’t know if there is a more familiar, comforting sound in music than the guitar tone of George Harrison. Instantly recognizable, there’a a warmth and measured approach to each and every one of his licks and solos that get to the heart of what I think of when I think of musical nostalgia. The sound of his guitar brings strong, vibrant memories of my childhood – every Harrison song could be the closing song to the movie Time Bandits (although in reality it’s “Dream Away” from 1982’s Gone Troppo). And since it’s a cold, snowy Wednesday morning it felt like the perfect time to put on the classic All Things Must Past and think about the past, and the way this album brings it alive for me.

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scorpions - virgin killer

Scorpions: Virgin Killer (1976)

Coming back to the Scorpions after the fun of discovering their weird psychedelic side with Fly to the Rainbow I skipped ahead a bit to see what fourth album Virgin Killer had in store. By this time they had already started to hone their songwriting into the tighter, more streamlined commercial approach that would rocket them to stardom in a few short years. Having started their path with with third album In Trance (sadly one I don’t own…yet) I was eager to check out if Roth’s guitar was still as frenetic and alight as my first exposure. So let’s dive into Round 2 of Chris reacts to a virgin listen of Virgin Killer and see what hits, what misses, and where I’m left standing with the Scorpions’ 70s output.

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