Author Archives: Special to TVD

Tall Heights,
The TVD First Date

“To me, a vinyl record spinning on the turntable is like a bonfire glowing in your backyard. Once you spark it up, you have to tend to its beginning, middle, and end.”

“It creates a buzz and warmth that draws you and your friends closer, and even as it stays in that one place, it never stops moving, it never stops moving you. In this day and age, I love vinyl for slowing us down a little, for sucking us in, for giving us something that’s real to engage with and to hold onto.

My record collection tells a story of who I am as well. It’s a culmination of an inherited American tradition of music, family, friends, and touring/travel. I have my dad’s old records: Gordon Lightfoot, THE Moody Blues, Dan Fogelberg, Fleetwood Mac. I have albums inherited from friends: Stevie Wonder, Art Garfunkel, Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, Dire Straits.

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Steve Forbert,
The TVD First Date

“Putting an LP on a turntable is, to me, a conscientious act of music appreciation—and a small, personal protest against the omnipresent, instantaneous, and disposable state of popular music around us.”

“And it’s typically a higher quality sonic experience than other mediums. I find that listening to a complete side of an album, maybe even both sides, or even playing a 45-rpm is best done alone. If I try to listen with a friend, we’ll likely start talking about the recording as it plays! This is fine and fun but, of course, not optimum listening.

I go way back with vinyl and have quite a collection (filed alphabetically by artist, side by side on several custom-made shelves). I’m now out of the habit of returning a record immediately to its proper place, so they tend to line up on the floor, back to front, staring at me, waiting to be filed again.

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Brother Hawk,
The TVD First Date
and Video Premiere,
“The Black Dog”

“I’ve made no secret of the fact that Neil Young is my all time favorite artist.”

“I’m an especially big fan of the Ditch Trilogy. Tonight’s The Night and On The Beach are two favorites in my family. My Dad turned us on to those records really early and we’ve always loved listening to them and playing those songs together. “Albuquerque,” “On The Beach,” and “Motion Pictures” were some of my favorites to play and sing with my Dad while he played harmonica. Those records played a huge part in my musical development and still influence the music we make now.

Some years later my brother JoJo bought me Time Fades Away on vinyl for Xmas and it was an instant favorite right up there with the others—I wore it the fuck out! It’s so genuine and raw, and that really comes through even more when you listen on vinyl. HAIL NEIL!”
J.B. Brisendine, guitar,vocals

“My brother and I had been following Radiohead since they came out with their first album Pablo Honey, and we loved The Bends as well. But, once OK Computer came out I was completely obsessed with them.”

“I couldn’t get over the harmonic language and sounds they came up with on that album. We would scrounge around to find any videos of them playing live that we could. I quickly became a huge fan of Jonny Greenwood in particular, his background as a classical musician, and how he fit his unusual solos, synths, and piano playing into their sound.

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Underheaven,
The TVD First Date

“Underheaven was a collective of Washington, DC rock insiders, veterans even when they began in 1982. Three of the four original members are now reactivating this ensemble for select live performances and potentially recording.”

“The roots of the band reach back to the very beginnings of the DC underground, proto-punk scene. Library of Congress AV professional Don Zientara was contacted by a former bandmate, Robert Goldstein, to record his new band, The Look, including bassist/songwriter Howard Wuelfing; this would be the first punk related recording engineered by Zientara or made in the Capitol City period, inaugurating a long, storied career as a studio maven for Don, owner of the storied Inner Ear Studios.

Wuelfing meanwhile would move on to The Slickee Boys, then form the Nurses, recording with Zientara with both outfits. In 1982, he came to Zientara and proposed forming a new band that would meld post-punk innovation with classic guitar pop melodies with Don on guitars and vocals, Underheaven, a name inspired by the Byrds/Pete Seeger tune “Turn Turn Turn.” Joined by drummer Richie Labrie and guitarist Mark Jickling, from the avant-naif group Half Japanese, this combo debuted with a live performance on Bethesda’s storied WHFS, played East Coast venues from Richmond to New York opening for bands like R.E.M. and the Bangles and recorded with Ian MacKaye overseeing.

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John Byrne,
The TVD First Date

“My Uncle David is just a few years older than me. Growing up he was more like a cousin or big brother, and his record collection seemed to go for miles.”

“When I was a kid we’d visit him and my Grandparents every Sunday, and once the usual pleasantries were exchanged it was all about David’s record collection. We didn’t have a record player at our house until I was twelve or thirteen so the hours spent going through David’s eclectic mix of albums was exhilarating. It seemed to have everything, from The Beatles to glam rock to the darkest Irish folk to Thriller.

They were all there, meticulously alphabetized and cleaned, played through crisp speakers or on giant headphones that probably looked ridiculous on my curly pre-teen head. I’d pick the first album quickly, something to listen to while my brother and I were deciding the musical direction of the evening. Sometimes David would be there and sometimes he wouldn’t. When he was there he would often put on something new, something we didn’t know, and by the end of a twenty-two minute album side I’d have a new favorite. When he wasn’t there we handled the collection with the utmost care, this was precious stuff.

When we finally got a record player at our house, David gave me a bunch of old 45s and a few albums he had outgrown. They were mostly ’70s—T. Rex, Sweet, some Status Quo, but they made the perfect starter kit and I soon began adding my own albums even though tapes and CDs were becoming the preferred choice for many music buyers.

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Tiny Hueman,
The TVD First Date
and Premiere,
“Growing On Me”

“I have a decent little vinyl collection. It’s primarily made up of classic rock records like The Beatles’ “White Album,” Sgt. Peppers, Revolver (seeing a trend?), and other vintage staples like Queen’s A Day At The Races and A Night At The Opera. However, the record with the most significance related to my own pursuit of music is Almost Here by The Academy Is…”

“This record came out as I had just entered high school in 2004, and it massively influenced my teenage years. I would listen to Almost Here on the ride into school and back every day, and as soon as I got home I would pop it on my iPod and drum to the entire record from start to finish, literally every day for years. The Academy Is… were such a big part of my life; I’d constantly burn the CD and give it out to classmates to listen (sorry Fueled By Ramen), and I would attend every single one of their shows in Philly throughout high school—totaling more than 15 times—far more than any other band I’ve seen.

I was part of their fan club, would go to meet and greets, and was simply in love with everything the band did, from the TAI TV episodes (just before or at the beginning of YouTube), to their Livejournal communities. No other band or record made me so sure that I wanted to play music for a living. I still know every single lyric, melody, and drum beat to that record, and although I don’t listen to it daily anymore, it always finds its way into my rotation, and more importantly, always has a very special place in my heart.

Thank you William Beckett, Adam T Siska, Mike Carden, Tom Conrad, and The Butcher for being such positive role models in my life at such a vulnerable age.”
Dustin, guitar

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Noël Wells,
The TVD First Date

“When I recorded my first album, I knew that I had one major goal and that was to get it pressed on vinyl. And it’s not because I grew up immersed in the format or even had a lot of history with vinyl, but it is because the times I have listened to vinyl have been my most precious music listening experiences. Because of that, I keep my personal record collection rather slim, but every piece of vinyl is something I have poured over religiously, and I revere the musicians that I have on vinyl, and feel in direct commune with their overarching vision as artists, and that is something I yearned to establish with my own foray into music.”

“Looking back at my first experience with vinyl, it had the feeling of an American archeological discovery. My parents had been hunting for a budget sound system, and after visiting various used furniture stores, they found a great deal on a unit that also had a record player as part of the setup. When the giant faux wood entertainment system was successfully moved into our home, my parents dutifully pulled together the records from their respective collections that had survived various moves over the years, and like any proper ’90s family, the unit was christened with Michael Jackson’s Bad.

The afternoon was one of those rare and joyous moments where the entire family was joined together in the living room dancing, and unlike while watching television, which was a passive entertainment experience, vinyl seemed to demand our active attention and interaction that was only rivaled by the jubilation of unwrapping presents on a Christmas morning.

A few months later, I tried to recreate the  moment on my own when my parents had gone out for the evening. I chose Don McClean’s American Pie, and proudly setup the record player on my own, listening to side A over and over again. I danced, I sang, I felt inside the music and totally in command, and eventually, realizing I could drop the needle to any part of the song I wanted, opening up a whole new interaction.

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Samuel Jack,
The TVD First Date
and Video Premiere:
“In My Head”

“My first memory of vinyl is a vivid one.”

“If I’m honest I was actually going through a somewhat turbulent time back then. Family stuff. My father was spending long periods away from home with his work, without delving into the finer details there was an ‘atmosphere’ in the house put it that way. Me and my sisters were starting to notice the cracks forming between our parents. I remember being in bed one night, I hadn’t seen dad come home but I always knew he was when heard his record player.

I remember the song to this very day, “Sweet Thing’ by Van Morrison from—which subsequently became—one of my favourite albums of all time Astral Weeks. I remember the comfort it brought me hearing that sound, it felt like everyone was were they should be, it was like the floorboards of my bedroom would suddenly relax and the walls took a long sigh of relief. I felt a warmth around me. One that was missing for too long through my childhood.

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Boh Doran,
The TVD First Date

“I fell in love with music in the age of CD listening. Vinyl felt like something my parents were into, it was archaic. I liked making mixes… picking and choosing what I thought was cool and burning it onto a disc.”

“It wasn’t until after college I started getting into vinyl. I remember the first record I sat and listened to start to finish was Daniel Lanois’ Shine. I was cat sitting in Connecticut and had a huge house to myself, an incredible sound system, and glass of whiskey.

I just sat and let the whole thing wash over me—and did nothing else. All of its beautiful ethereal ambiance. That listening experience was the first time I really allowed myself to hear a piece of work like that in its entirety.

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Signe Marie Rustad,
The TVD First Date
and Premiere, “Not Without My Pen”

“My first memory of vinyl is also my very first memory of music.”

“I was 5 years old, sitting in the living room of our farmhouse, in a big red chair that was upholstered with some kind of wool material that made my bare legs itch. I had my red summer shorts on, it was a lazy Saturday afternoon and the TV was on with the sound muted. This was Norway in 1986, which meant there was only one TV channel. As a kid, I learned to appreciate the art of being bored through Saturday soccer matches snailing away across the screen while I waited for the evening cartoons to start.

Anyways, I was looking out of the window across a big field and onto my grandma’s house in the distance, dozing off to the sound of my parents making dinner in the kitchen. Next to me was my dad’s Tandberg vinyl player, brought into our family from his days as a bachelor years earlier. The records spinning on it, however, were always brought to the house by my music-loving mother. And on this particular Saturday, it was Dire Straits’ Brothers in Arms that was playing.

My parents must have put it on before walking off to the kitchen, because I clearly remember being alone in the room when the first bass notes, then Mark Knopfler’s signature guitar and finally the coolness of the whole song “So Far Away” filled me with something I didn’t have the words to describe. If I did, it would probably have been something along the lines of “Oh, so THIS is what life is about!” Everything just felt exactly right.

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Caramel, The TVD First Date and Video Premiere, “Queesh”

“Vinyl provides an entirely different listening experience to any digital audio medium; it captures the spirit of the original studio recording and adds that analog magic. Having something physical with large format artwork brings meaning as well as helping to simulate visual cues, lending a part to play in the wonder of vinyl.”

“I was brought up in the seaside town of Southend-On-Sea, Essex, England. Growing up with musicians around me, strangely, I never really took much of an interest in playing an instrument until I was 15 years old. I was first turned on to records by my Father, who would play a lot of ’70s and ’80s rock/prog on vinyl, but his biggest lust was The Beatles (he is actually a renowned historian of the group and has worked with Paul McCartney on a few occasions).

I have a love for synthesisers and this has inspired my taste in music equally as much as the influential music that my Father would play throughout my formative years. Recently, records such as Piero Umiliani’s Synthi Time, Air – Moon Safari, Broadcast – Work And Non Work and a lot of synth-based library music from KPM have strongly influenced the music I have produced. Anything by Piero Umiliani and Mort Garson is going to be right up my street. I prefer writing music with distant memories of these albums as it makes for a more organic and personal feel to the sounds I create.

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Lady Lazarus,
The TVD First Date

“I think the best way for me to articulate my love and appreciation of vinyl is in moments. Because vinyl is so tangible, analog, “in the room,” it dictates in its essential form how and where you listen to it.”

“It’s not easily portable—unless you’re a DJ and that’s your thing. It’s physical, a “slow” form of music consumption, and best for home listening. And unless you have a fancy, multi-vinyl-flipping record player (which I don’t), you’re forced to actually sit down and listen to a whole side of a record before turning it over or changing albums. The whole mechanics of playing vinyl naturally lends itself to listening to records in their entirety. Vinyl both forces and creates intimacy. And the most memorable moments in my life I’ve experienced listening to vinyl reflect this push to human closeness.

Growing up, my parents had a big old, wooden record console and we’d play Thriller, Fleetwood Mac, Neil Young, and many other records they had in their small but solid catalog. Me and my little brothers were even entrusted to use the thing ourselves, and we’d put the records on, and dance and play around in the living room for hours. Looking back, I don’t think there was a time beyond that in our family where we were as close, and vinyl happened to be one of the things that united us then.

When my ex-boyfriend and I started dating and later moved in together, he didn’t have a record collection, but we immediately spent a lot of time playing the records I had, smoking, and drinking wine. It slowed us down. Made us sit and just be, and it was beautiful. Over time, we inherited a box of some incredible records from our friend and neighbor—All Things Must Pass, The Concert for Bangladesh, Van Morrison’s Beautiful Vision, and others—records that would come to have a great influence on me.

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Jeremy Elliot,
The TVD First Date

“You know, I always get the same instinctive weight in my stomach whenever people bring up vinyl. See, despite the huge role that vinyl has played in my life, I’ve never been the guy who has the 500-deep record collection.”

“That always blows people’s minds. I’m a guy who cares so much about high-fidelity audio that I personally immerse myself in the mixing and mastering of every song that I release. I literally tell folks that I wouldn’t be alive without music. So, how does that guy not have cabinets full of vinyl in his house?

Blame it on my nomadic tendencies and general discomfort with anything more technologically advanced than a pencil. But just because I can’t tell you which album insert of all the Pink Floyd album inserts is my favorite doesn’t mean that I can’t tell you just how vinyl shaped my life, not only in the music that I make, but in the artist that I am today.

Right off the bat, I can tell you that my earliest memory with vinyl was listening to Bruce Springsteen’s Born In The USA with my dad when I was four or five years old. Up until that point, my parents had tried to pique my musical curiosity with classical music and children’s music. No offense to Raffi or Mozart, but it wasn’t until I heard Born In The USA on my dad’s turntable that I ever thought to myself, “oh, so this is what music is supposed to sound like.”

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Monica Rizzio,
The TVD First Date

“There was not a lot happening in East Texas when I was growing up, besides tending to the cattle and horses on my parents Pleasant Valley Ranch in Quitman. Well, that and going to church several times a week.”

“But my dad had a record player and he was always spinning those good old country records. I distinctly remember Red Headed Stranger always making its way to the top of the pile of albums we listened to while getting ready for school.

I guess it was country music in the morning, but my dad is a New Yorker and obviously Italian, so the nighttime was saved for Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Judy Garland. We would listen and sing along to them all night and I could tell my dad was using the songs to escape Texas and get back to New York, if only in his mind.

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Gregory Ackerman,
The TVD First Date

“Growing up, there was music playing constantly throughout my house. My father had an extensive music collection that consisted mostly of CDs—stacks and stacks of them, coming out of drawers, falling out of closets.”

“A record player to me was a sign of ancient times. That was until about high school when I started writing and recording my own music. With that came the evaluation of sound and how you capture it and play it back. You always want it to sound the best, right? Well that’s right around when I started listening to vinyl. Once you start to take sound quality into account, there’s no going back.

Sure, I still stream music on a walk or throw a CD in my car’s CD player when I don’t have anything else, but that’s always a matter of convenience, not quality. Vinyl is something completely different. The raw talent and emotions of the musicians are captured right there in the grooves. You just can’t digitally compete with something like that! If I had a choice between vinyl and streaming, I would choose vinyl hands down every time. But, alas, I can’t bring my record player on a run or a road trip through the woods.

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