First off how do you even pick one album? I mean this is like having to pick your favourite child, or grand-kid - you probably have one but your never going to tell them that! So with that in mind and in case any of my other favourite albums read this, (I love you all the same) I'm going to go with Duran Duran Rio. Why, because it was the year I was a really cool 13 year old girl going to America, ok it might of being to visit family but come on I was travelling by myself. I remember buying myself a Sony walkman and this album on cassette and listening to it all the way home. As with a lot of cassettes it didn't last, so I upgraded to vinyl. Everytime I listen to this album it brings back memories of that first memorable trip to America. Favourite tracks for me would be Rio and Save a prayer.
Artist: Celtic Frost
Record: Emperor's Return
In the early 1980's, I discovered heavy-metal. I was very intrigued by bands such as Ozzy Osbourne, W.A.S.P., Motley Crue. Then in the summer of 1986, a friend came over to my parents' home and introduced me to the album' Ride The Lightning', from the very well known band Metallica. That album absolutely blew me away. After that I went on a search for bands, faster, heavier, more aggressive. I discovered bands such as Anthrax, Exodus, OverKill, and Slayer. Then in the summer of 1987 another friend introduced me to a band by the name of Kreator. Discovering Kreator opened my eyes to the German thrash metal scene, the record label Combat records and numerous bands on Combat records roster. I would read the albums' thank you lists and discover new bands. Keep in mind this was years before the internet. On more than one thank you list, I kept seeing the name Celtic Frost. I was able to track down a cassette copy of Celtic Frost's 'Morbid Tales/ Emperor's Return'. These two EPs made the biggest impression on me; probably more than any other album or band outside of Slayer's 'Show No Mercy' and 'Reign In Blood'. Celtic Frost and Slayer lead me to the early death metal scene. With bands such as Morbid Angel, Death, Obituary, Suffocation, Autopsy. Still today, these bands are very important to me. However, if I had never been introduced to Celtic Frost, I probably wouldn't have discovered the first wave of death metal, and black metal.
Artist: Pink Floyd
Record: The Wall
This was the first album that my father gave me when I was 8 years old, and just like that, I fell deeply in love with music. It changed my life forever. I love all of Pink Floyd’s work but this is my favourite record.
Artist: Alexander O'Neil
This is one record that seems to have been with me all my life, and probably influenced my tastes far more than I ever initially realised. The cassette (and later CD) was constantly played in the car and round the house by my parents as a child (it was released when I was 3) and years later it would often be my go-to 'walking home at 3am full of soppy teen angst’ album on my iPod. (I had issues! ) Back then I didn't really know WHY I liked it, or who was even involved, but something about this set of songs never got old to me. Today Ive come to hold this up as a near-perfect album, and was one of the first records I simply needed in my collection when I started building up my 'essentials’. I mean even the most recognised rnb albums of all time have at least one duff ballad on there - hello MJ - but this is wall to wall killer. As a massive Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis fanboy, this set contains so many of their best songs. (Save for a few Cherrelle and Janet tracks, their songs for Alex almost seemed to be their most soulful) Every track is incredibly written and immaculately produced, with O’Neal’s vocals a genuine colossal force. It's the perfect match of both producer and vocalist at the peak of their powers. (And for all their work with Janet gets most of their acclaim, I still think these tracks, along with their work on Alex’s debut, put most of those in the shade.) Uptempo - we've got you covered from the jump - 'What Can I Say To Make You Love Me' is quintessential Minneapolis Sound goodness with a synth riff so infectious you'll be humming it for days. Not to mention bonafied classic 'Criticize’, one of the finest pop songs ever written. Mid tempos are sewn up with soulful bangers like the title track and goosebump inducing 'The Lovers’ and then the back half takes care of the slow jams with the beautiful 'Sunshine’ and 'When The Party's Over’. What other single album can boast such an embarrassment of brilliant soul songs? Its like a Greatest Hits album. Jam, Lewis (and Jellybean Johnson) deliver a true crystallisation of all that makes them legends across these tracks. And what about the man himself, Alex O’Neal? Well he's certainly a curious character in the footnotes of rnb history! He doesn't particularly fit the bill of the smooth 80s heartthrob (a broad, sweaty dude who never looked remotely comfortable in any of his videos) but his image of this big, sensitive soul man certainly must have struck a chord with the masses at the time. And those vocals, man are those vocals PHENOMENAL. I don't think any other vocalist can compare to the sheer muscle and range shown here. Make no mistake Alex’s vocals are manly as hell, with a grit and conviction that suits tracks like 'Fake’ perfectly, but he also hits that upper register so smoothly too, with some passionate vocal runs that still blow my mind. The fact that his vocals haven't exactly 'held up’ over the years make this brief period even more special. I'd actually compare him to K-Ci and JoJo from Jodeci in that regard. (And another sad example of drugs and the 'excess of fame’ taking their toll on a spectacular talent) Just listening to the album again now in order to write this. I'm amazed at how much this album holds up to repeated listens, I don't think I'll ever get tired of any of these songs which is a huge testament to the songwriting. I think this album also served as the blueprint for everything I look for in music these days too. Strong hooks, huge passionate vocals, rich chunky production and ridiculously funky grooves. I love a lot of 80s funk and 90s New Jack swing and rnb for the same reasons and that glossy Jam and Lewis synth and drum machine sound will never date. The dance tracks still tear up dancefloors (Imagine my joy hearing 'Fake’ in Black Mirror’s San Junipero episode) and the ballads just have indefinable quality to them that set them apart from other 80s slow jams of the time. Rnb, pop, funk, soul - it's all here and has never sounded better!
Artist: The Devils Blood
Record: The Thousandfold Epicentre
Since the first time I heard TDB I felt completely in love with their special sound of occult rock. The dark side was always very interesting for me and their lyrics were so deep and full of black magical words. It has blown my mind again and again. Farida Lemouchi's (vocalist) nickname is not without a reason "the voice". She sings directly out of her heart and you hear that. You feel that. Goosebumps are pre-programmed. And then the sad story about Selim Lemouchi's death, the legendary guitarist and also the Brother from Farida. He died in March 2014. For me one of the saddest days in the music history. His death hit me much more than Lemmy Kilmister's death. He was such a talented songwriter and guitarist. Unbelievable. This band inspired me so much that I had to get a tattoo of their sigil (the triangle on the picture). Bonded with my blood. I also plan to start a band with my beloved boyfriend, who is also a huge fan of TDB and a very talented guitarist. I can sing and I'm also not bad at songwriting. We want to start next year and who knows, maybe you'll here from us as 'the tribute band of The Devil's Blood'!
Record: Kill Bill Vol.1 Original Soundtrack
I bought this record on International Woman’s Day 2014. I had a very bad year in 2013 and I felt powerless. This record with the yellow cover was like a sunlight on that gloomy day and I knew that it would start something good. The song 'Battle Without Honor Or Humanity' from Tomoyasu Hotei gives me power every time I hear it. On that day I started to collect vinyl records and my collection grows month by month and I can meet amazing people with similar or same music taste as mine. I’m very grateful for the opportunity to be the part of the vinyl community.