paul cauthen - room 41

Paul Cauthen: Room 41 (2019)

If you had told me a year ago that country would be the predominantly played genre when the family is together, I would have laughed in your face. Yet here we are on Day 25 of the #mayvinylchallenge, and I’m ready to talk about a country album. A recent country album. Today’s theme is around past or future live shows you wish you could see. For this one I’m going with the album that was played in my house more than any other in 2020…and 2021. It’s my wife’s favorite thing, the permanent road trip singalong album, and ever since hearing it I’ve been equally obsessed. So get your cigarettes and cocaine and let’s jump into the new outlaw country of Paul Cauthen and Room 41.

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gary clark jr. - story of sonny boy slim

Gary Clark, Jr.: The Story of Sonny Boy Slim (2015)

Day 24 of the #mayvinylchallenge takes a look at etchings, whether it’s the weird title messages scratched into the dead wax of a record or a full side sketch for those albums that don’t fit a double album format. Thinking about that brought me back to The Story of Sonny Boy Slim, the chameleon rock second record from Gary Clark, Jr. At 53 minutes it more than fits on a CD, but the vinyl version only takes up three sides, allowing for a gorgeous scratch design on Side D. So it fits the category; now let’s talk about the music.

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we lost the sea - triumph and disaster

We Lost The Sea: Triumph & Disaster (2019)

Day 20 of the #mayvinylchallenge focuses on another facet of the vinyl addict: variants and pressings. And though that’s never been my primary focus when collecting (I’m not one for multiple editions of anything), there is something sweet when you can pre-order a beautiful limited edition of an album you love. We Lost the Sea specialize in crafting intricate, cinematic explorations in post-rock, and their latest release Triumph & Disaster is a gorgeous representation of what they do best, and the fact I got in early enough to order their limited (150, sold out) variant featuring a sumptuous half purple/half blue splatter that mirrors the depths the album reaches.

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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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