Author Archives: Special to TVD

Delhi 2 Dublin,
The TVD First Date

“My relationship with vinyl started when I was a kid in the early ’80s, and more than the records themselves it was almost like an infatuation with the look of my dad’s player. He had a Dual that he bought in Singapore before emigrating to Vancouver. It was sitting in a really cool looking teak enclosure with a sprung plinth and dark plastic cover—it just looked so badass to me, yet so clean and modern at the same time.”

“My dad didn’t have a huge record collection, probably because of the cost of shipping his belongings over from Singapore, but there was this one Bollywood record of his that I loved—Salma & Sabina Sing The Hits Of Abba In Hindi. I loved the flip open cover and would stare at the two beautiful women sitting in the convertible forever. I am confident that my love for ABBA to this day is due to my introduction to them through the Hindi versions of their hits. In my 20’s I gave that record to a DJ friend of mine, so it’s in good hands, but I sure wish I had it back now.

About five years ago, when I finally had the space, I went and grabbed that same turntable from my dad and had it refurbished and got it working smooth like butter. (I also grabbed his late ’70s pioneer speakers to maximize that full round warm sound.) However, I had to set some clear boundaries as to what type of vinyl I’m allowed to buy so that I don’t go spending all my money looking for rare Bollywood versions of popular songs, and more importantly I wanted my vinyl collection to be something special—full of songs and albums that I don’t listen to on the everyday while streaming, where I mostly listen to new rap and trap stuff.

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TVD Live Shots: Dead
& Company at Wrigley Field, 6/15

WORDS AND IMAGES: TAYLOR NETTNIN | Dead & Company packed Chicago’s Wrigley Field on Saturday, June 15th, closing out their two night run on their 2019 Summer Tour. The day started off with threats of thunderstorms, but dead heads were able to rejoice as the skies cleared up just in time for the crowd to dance and cheer all night long.

Grateful Dead members Mickey Hart (drums), Bill Kreutzmann (drums), and Bob Weir (guitar) were joined by Oteil Burbridge (bass), Jeff Chimenti (keys), and John Mayer (guitar) to perform a slew of jams that the stadium recited word for word. The members of Dead & Company delivered a thrilling performance that did not feel overpowered by any single member; everyone seemed so comfortable playing with each other, at times it felt like the crowd was witnessing magic being created.

The first set started with a dazzling rendition of “Terrapin Station,” followed by “Sugar Magnolia,” “Mr. Charlie,” “High Time,” “Friend of the Devil,” and “Bertha.” They then played a stunning cover of Merle Haggard’s “Mama Tried” before closing out their set with “Turn On Your Lovelight.”

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Diplomats
of Solid Sound,
The TVD First Date

“My first introduction to vinyl records came through the mysterious RCA console in my parents’ living room and the modest stack of records they owned.”

“The console looked like a piece of furniture, but if you slid the top panel back it revealed a record player, a radio tuner, and some dials for EQ. It truly was a work of art. Inside the compartment was an assortment of 45s and LP records. My parents had rock-n-roll 45s including Elvis Presley, Fats Domino, Bill Haley and the Comets. They had pop classics like The Crew Cuts, Harry Belafonte, Trini Lopez. They even had some big band jazz like Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and Glenn Miller

They had fewer LPs: Sinatra, Nat King Cole, the film soundtrack to West Side Story, Henry Mancini, some Christmas albums, and a few kid’s records like The Chipmunks. Their collection was somewhat eclectic and arbitrary.

My brother and I flipped out when we first heard the Elvis Presley 45 “Heartbreak Hotel.” What a menacing tune! It had dark lyrics about loneliness and despair. The spooky sound of the record set a brooding mood, and Scotty Moore’s staccato guitar breaks are the stuff of legend!

Back in the day, we had limited access to the music we wanted to listen to. That’s why vinyl took on such an esteemed position in a music lover’s life. Sure, you had the radio at home and in the car, jukeboxes at a diner or pizza place, and the sounds emanating from your TV or local movie theater screen, but vinyl records were your possession. You’d listen to them over and over, gaze at the artwork, and read the liner notes. Fascinating!

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Holdan,
The TVD First Date

“My first experience with vinyl was when I was about 7 or 8 and I saw that my Mom had a turntable.”

“In movies and on TV I’d seen DJs using turntables to scratch the records, and I asked my Mom if she could pull her record player out, and the minute she put the first record on I started scratching and she completely lost it and was like, “that damages them!”

I was so confused and so she sat me down and taught me how turntables worked and showed me a different way to listen to music with vinyl. We spent the whole day going through so many old gospel records. Then when I was around 13 I bought my first records: Calvin Harris, 18 Months and Mumford and Sons, Babel were among the first few.

My relationship with vinyl has only grown. I’m regularly digging through the $1 bins at record stores and finding the most obscure record they have—it just blows my mind that a song can be lost, and then someone can rediscover it.

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Anna Dellaria,
The TVD First Date

“It’s as though I’m sitting there with the singer right in front of me and the band not far behind every time I put on vinyl. It’s my favorite part about the experience. I’ve always been drawn to the intimacy of holding the audio right there in your hands, waiting for it to start once you put the needle down, and then the feeling of joy that follows those first notes.”

“When I was 12 years old my grandparents gifted me the most beautiful vintage vinyl player. Made of soft wood and a tail of radio cables down the back (for the modern times then), it sat promptly in my bedroom growing up. I always thought there was something cool about the fact that this old, wise vintage player could be loaded up with records from ahead of its time. Nirvana, D’Angelo, Beyonce, and more. Similarly, I always figured it felt like home when I put on my favorite classics of Etta James, Nina Simone, Ottis Redding, Mahalia Jackson, Mozart, and more.

In such a digital age, we’ve come to select music by genre. Do you want upbeat 181 BPM pop today? Or only the latest in rap? That’s the first thing you see when you open Spotify (at least for me). Growing up, I loved such a wide range of music that was influenced by moments growing up. My sixth-grade crush looooved The Beatles and The Ramones, so I found as many records as I could and learned them all. Even went ahead and faux moshed at whatever shows we could get into.

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The Habits,
The TVD First Date

“When I think about vinyl, my dad and grandfather come to mind.”

“When I was younger, artists like Ray Charles or Johnny Cash would echo through my grandparents’ house from my grandfather’s record player. I instantly gravitated to the catchiness and genius ear worm melodies of the classics without really understanding why.

It’s just the perfect mix of music and lyrics that’s been around since the birth of vinyl that triggers something inside of you. My dad always talked about how he would collect records and listen to all of the newest music with his friends. He showed me Led Zeppelin and Fleetwood Mac, just real rock ‘n’ roll.

One of my favorite movies is, Almost Famous. In it, the main character is given a large record collection from his older sister. That in itself is a testament to how big and important of a connection music and vinyl can be.

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Field Division,
The TVD First Date
and Video Premiere, “River in Reverse”

“Vinyl is warmth, real grit, and tangible music come to life.”

“I’ll never tire of the ceremonial movement of putting on a new record. When the wax meets the needle and music casts a spell upon the room… few things make you appreciate the art of an album like listening to vinyl. No ads, no true distractions, just sound waves spinning on a table. Slowly my collection has grown since I got my first (shitty) record player at 19 and ever since I joined a record of the month club that my friends started (Vinyl Me, Please), I’ve been adding vinyl I wouldn’t normally seek out.

Nowadays I mostly search for rare Beatles pressings or in particular, George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass because the copy I bought has Santana as the third disc. (!!!) When we’re on tour we search for three things in every town: good coffee, vegan food, and the best vinyl store, of course. My hope for the future is that vinyl lives on through this crazy age of streaming, for the sake of art and for the sake of all of us who create it.” —Evelyn

“My first memories of vinyl being played in my family’s home were very formative, and a lot was in the collection.”

“Anything from Simon & Garfunkel to Nat King Cole to ZZ Top got play, and I was as much fascinated by the music as I was the physical aspect of a spinning platter with a needle being dragged within the grooves of its surface to produce this glorious sound. It was contagious, what putting on a vinyl record did to a dead room.

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Annika Grace,
The TVD First Date

“My first date was in December of 2015 filled with awkward silences, small talk, lingering eye contact and sweaty palms… with my record player.”

“But after the first flip of the vinyl, and onto the next side of Joni Mitchell, I realized the deep love I already had for the static sound coming out of this box on my floor. I fell in love instantly with the grooves and scratches that made each record unique—they had a life of their own before they graced my bedroom.

The angelic, old sound that came from each record became my relaxation in a world of Beats, UE Booms and Alexas. I’ve had many first dates since that and have fallen for old artists and fairly new artists such as Birdy, 1975, Ben Howard, and the classics like Billy Joel and Fleetwood Mac.

I grew up with half of my childhood in sunny California and the other half in cold, windy Chicago so my music has a flare for the dramatics. The sadder the song the better, I say. I want to feel something, and if you can’t make my heart race or make me question my existence, the universe, and everything in between in our first date, you may not be the one for me. Like I said—flare for the dramatics. I love men the way I love my music, mysterious and downright frustrating at times.

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Luna Shadows,
The TVD First Date

“When I was a little girl, I used to sit in my parents’ basement alone for hours with my mom’s childhood record collection on repeat, spinning on her old yellow travel player. I remember deciding which record to listen to by which sticker I liked the best. With such a method in place, I ended up looping the pink stickered “Put Your Hand In The Hand” by Ocean quite a bit, as my affinity for pink and pop songs knew no bounds.”

“It wasn’t long before the dark blue stickered single “Ben” by a young Michael Jackson made it into heavy rotation. I remember thinking that the vocalist was a girl, but my mom euphemistically relayed to me that it was actually a sonic snapshot of the biggest pop star of all time approaching puberty, singing about a pet rat. I remember picking up the needle and starting this one over and over, singing along until I knew every word, imagining a cartoonishly cute pet rat. I didn’t own any pets, so even a pet rat was really appealing at the time.

These are not only my earliest memories of vinyl but also some of my earliest memories of music. Sharing a vocal range with a young MJ in my quiet basement was one of my first attempts at imitation singing. Maybe it’s a bit surface level to choose a song by its sticker, but I actually still pick vinyl by its artwork to this day. For me personally, the vinyl experience is perhaps even half visual. Watching a record spin is a hypnotic and meditative activity for me.

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Freekbass, The TVD
First Date and Premiere of “R U Ready” and Vinyl Giveaway

“Vinyl, and the whole album experience, has always been an analogue fantasy for me. The warm tones you get from the needle in the grooves was something lost in the digital and CD realm. Then there is the cover art, a tangible connection you can hold in your hands, making the listening experience more fantastical, bringing you into the artists’ world they have created.”

“My parents always had vinyl around the house while I was growing up. My father was a big Joe Cocker fan. I remember the Mad Dogs & Englishmen album cover like it was yesterday. I was always confused, because I would hear Cocker’s version of “She Came In Through The Bathroom Window” and sometimes I would hear The Beatles version. I didn’t understand how there could be two versions of the same song.

Now, this might sound strange, but as much as I remember how the record sounded and looked, I also remember the smell: the combination of the cardboard-cover mixed with vinyl scent of the album. It was an all part of immersive experience for this kid.

When got older, I would go to second-hand/thrift stores a lot. Partially for financial reasons and partially for the cool finds. As much as music was everything to me, I never bought a lot of recorded music growing up. If I ever had the extra money, I was spending it on music gear (bass strings, cables, amp and guitar repairs, etc).

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Black Match,
The TVD First Date

“Listening to a record on vinyl has a different warmth and character.”

“There’s a reason it has stuck around through the ages and continued to be a prominent love for music fans. It’s physical, you have cover art that you can touch, hold in your hand, and adore on your wall.

The vinyl itself holds the physical scrapes of a something greater, you can see the indentations of your favorite song. But most of all, the sounds feel as if they’re sent through a filter of nostalgia and homeliness. It’s something that we think will, or at least should, last forever.

We grew up going to an amazing record store in our town called Boo Boo Records. Its record collection is as iconic as its logo and has been named one of the top record stores in America by Rolling Stone magazine.

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Yes Gabriel,
The TVD First Date

“One of my earliest musical memories is listening to my mom’s copy of Tapestry on the family record player. I would sit near the speakers in our living room, absorbing Carole King’s mellow alto and mid-register piano chords as California sunlight streamed through the window. On the album cover, King sits in the corner of a window seat in her own sunlit room, looking relaxed, her guard down. I would stare at the cover as I listened, feeling a warm, intimate connection with the songs and the person singing them.”

“That intimacy came from King’s powerful songs and performances, for sure, but also from the experience of playing the record itself. Taking the album out of its sleeve, placing it onto the turntable, and lowering the needle into the groove: each action required a physical engagement, a commitment of time, energy and attention that strengthened my connection to the music. The ritual of playing made me more of an accomplice, an active as opposed to a passive listener.

Record playing also adds to a sense of intimacy to music through the way the system is designed, how the sound-making mechanisms are exposed to the listener. The physical patterns of the sounds are visible as grooves. You can watch the needle move as it translates the grooves into vibrations. Seeing how the sound is created brings the listener closer to the music literally and emotionally land deepens a sense of its magic and mystery.

How do the vibrations picked up by the needle transport us into a room with The Beatles or Carole King? How do the grooves we see in front of us translate into so much joy, excitement and nostalgia? We can see and understand what is happening intellectually, but we can’t reconcile it with the magnitude of the emotional changes it creates within us.

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Lucy Spraggan,
The TVD First Date

“I grew up in a house full of music—CDs and vinyl were everywhere. We sang along with household objects for microphones and tennis racquets for guitars.”

“The vinyl was always hallowed, cleaned with soft cloths, blown on to dislodge the last speck of static, reverentially lowered into the turntable. CDs were disposable—the cases snapped, the discs ended up in one of those big black zip-up folders in the car. Before long, tracks 4 and 6 jumped, track 5 got stuck in a hiccuping loop, and track 7 just jammed the whole CD drawer for weeks.

Not so vinyl, the sleek shiny record, the squared-off art of the cover, the neat rows and rows of lyrics printed on the sleeve to stop you making a fool of yourself when you sang along. They were squares of living history, tracing my whole life and even back to before my parents met.

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Cave Clove,
The TVD First Date

“There is something deliciously ceremonial and ritualistic about listening to music on vinyl.”

“The process of picking a record, looking at the album art, maybe displaying it somewhere as you listen, the flip to side B. No matter how big or small a collection is, it feels like a fun creative restriction to pick a record from the collection at hand, since these days with streaming services we can put on a digital version of pretty much anything in the world we want to hear.

I was fortunate to grow up in a home with a pretty sweet vinyl collection. My parents had lots of rock, soul, jazz, and folk records from the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. Some classics that I’ve had on heavy rotation for as long as I can remember that have greatly influenced my taste and the music I make include George Harrison, All Things Must Pass, Joni Mitchell, Blue, Prince, Prince, Steely Dan Aja, and Kate Bush The Kick Inside.

Below is a little more info about why I chose each of these albums. I would say overall, that the biggest aspect of all of these albums that influenced my own music is melody. All 5 of these artists write really beautiful, unique, and emotionally rich melodies in my opinion. A lot of really great music does not have strong melody lines, nor does it intend to.

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Close Talker,
The TVD First Date

“Both as a band and as individuals, we have come to appreciate vinyl and albums as a whole and we all have a pretty substantial vinyl collection. Perhaps in part because we want to push back against the 3 minute, single orientated, soundbite, immediate culture we find ourselves in.”

“I think most of all, because listening to vinyl and settling into an album is more intentional and an investment of both time and effort. We feel that the artist deserves that. If they put in 1,000 hours into it, the least we can do is take 44 minutes and hear them out. We’ve found that this investment of time and effort pays off and allows you to get into the headspace of the artist in a more meaningful way. The themes, the song sequence, the production, it all plays off of one another and great records, front to back, really stand out these days.

Singles are fine, but it is like reading the headline of an article, thinking you understand, and scrolling on by. Vinyl is like reading the article and actually learning something. It is an attractive medium for these reasons alone. Not to mention it is nice to physically own your music and have a tangible keepsake with artwork and liner notes.

It is oddly refreshing to truly take time with anything these days. We always try to be efficient with our time, even with leisure and pleasure. For us, music deserves time, and vinyl offers this and encourages us to just stop, and take it in.

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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