Author Archives: Special to TVD

Dan Lyons,
The TVD First Date

“Records… where to start? My Dad’s collection was on a shelf which ran the length of the living room in the house I grew up in. I have very early memories of flicking through them having absolutely no idea what they were. On the covers were all these incredible looking people, bright colours and weird drawings. They seemed to belong to a different world…”

“On my 16th birthday he left Marquee Moon and Psycho Killer in my room. I went downstairs, put them on the stereo, sat there in front of the speakers and it changed my life.

I’m hyper sensitive, I get goosebumps quite easily, and there’s something about the actual sound of the music that comes from a vinyl record that is closer, clearer, and more personal than any other format. Hearing the intro to “Elevation” on Marquee Moon and then Tom Verlaine’s voice piercing through that warm fuzz of the needle on plastic had my hairs standing on end.

I remember holding the first album I played on. A box of them had been delivered to a gig in London, and we were each given a copy by the label. In the physical pressing of a record onto plastic you transform performances and emotions, words and feelings, into a tangible object that can be held, touched and seen. I think this process is magical, there’s such permanence to it. Once it’s on there, it’s not coming off.

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DJ DalePlay,
The TVD First Date

“My first encounter with vinyl was through my mother who showed me some vinyl of this artist Oscar De Leon’s “Lloraras” back in Venezuela. It had a funny shape like a pizza and it had to be handled with care like a jewel or like a woman. It completely grabbed my attention and I will never forget that moment. But when you’re poor as F, some more joyful things in life have to be experienced by bits, but that also makes it more exciting if I am honest.”

“The most annoying part was that I couldn’t really experience it fully because we didn’t have the most important part, the “gramophone” or as they call it, “record player” or “turntable” (I am a bit lost for names as it has evolved through the years) which died (it took a break) and then came back to life and so on and on.

But vinyl is still here quite strong and it fascinates me to watch its comeback to the world of streaming and fast “fingertip” choices. My encounters with vinyl happened casually and without pressure through the years. As a DJ in this new era it can be quite easy downloading the latest tracks available to keep the crowd dancing and happy. However, truth lies on those particular treasures, tracks that nobody has and that uniqueness you find only by going into a record store and by spending a few good hours in there digging it, literally like treasure hunting.

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R E L,
The TVD First Date

“I own a small collection of records…”

“David Bowie – Young Americans, Otis Redding – The Soul Album, Live Aid Concert Record, Jamie xx – In Colour, Beach Boys – Endless Summer, Chaka Khan – I Feel For You, James Taylor – Gorilla, Carole King – Fantasy, Donna Summer – Bad Girls to name a few.

I grew up listening to great music—most of it my dad’s favorite records (some of my mom’s too). I heard The Rolling Stones, Queen, Beach Boys, Carole King, James Taylor, Crosby Stills Nash & Young, Phish, Simon & Garfunkel, The Beatles, Don Henley, Earth Wind & Fire, Billy Joel and more in the car or at home.

My parents tell me that before I spoke, I sang—The Rolling Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” to be specific. We had driven to a family dinner and my parents must have played it on the way there, because on the way back I started singing the song, melody, and some of the lyrics. I was 2.

I’m 23. I grew up in the age of CDs, and then iTunes, not vinyl. In the Chicago suburb where I grew up until age 13, I used to visit a local store called CD City and look at/ pick out my generation’s vinyl. My dad tells me he had a large collection of vinyl, which my mom gave away after several years of them sitting in the basement. Needless to say, he was not happy!

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Morgan Geer,
The TVD First Date

“I’m lucky to come from a family of multi-generational music lovers and musicians. From my grandfather’s jazz and classical 78s to my uncle’s Elvis Costello records, vinyl was always there growing up. My earliest memories are the sound of Willie Nelson’s voice spinning out of a massive sound system and the smell of marijuana smoke filling up our old New Orleans home. Everyone seemed happy and the world was a mystery.”

“Barely old enough to walk, I had a yellow plastic portable record player and would listen to a lot of Carol King’s Really Rosie and Sgt. Pepper. (Later I realized that I had the stereo mix of Pepper and the record player only played mono—blew my little mind when I finally heard the full thing.)

The first vinyl record I remember asking for was Tattoo You by The Rolling Stones. I would take it to school and stare at it. Of course I was ostracized. I didn’t care, I was proud and felt grown up to own it.

I’ve never not had vinyl records but I’m not much of an audiophile. I still don’t own a very nice hi-fi set up. It’s a tactile experience. Big art. The way they look while they spin—like the most elemental of dances. The potential of the waiting disc on a still plate. On your mark, get set and go cat go. Plus it’s just really cool and elegant technology.

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Abigail Dowd,
The TVD First Date

“The first album I ever bought was Janis Ian’s Between the Lines.”

“I had just moved to Maine and we bought a record player for our tiny apartment in Portland. I was so excited to start my collection with that album. Later, I learned that it was also my late father’s favorite album in college and that made it even sweeter. It’s still one that I return to every year.

One of my earliest memories of my Dad is being a toddler running around the living room, galloping with my wooden horse while he played Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture,” and teaching me to gallop lightly so that the album didn’t skip. He was always putting on records and teaching me the words to his favorite songs. Thus began my musical education.

When I moved to Maine in my late twenties, I spent almost every weekend at a farm house in Vassalboro. There was no TV or internet, no smart phones. Just a record player and an amazing collection of records. We’d spend all day outside and then come in and listen to records for hours on end. Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell, Led Zeppelin, Sly and the Family Stone, Jim Croce.

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TVD Live Shots: Better Oblivion Community Center at Lincoln Hall, 3/23

WORDS AND IMAGES: KATE SCOTT | As I stood in a completely packed Lincoln Hall, the guy next to me made a great point: “If you’re over 30, you grew up with Conor Oberst as your lyrical king. And, if you know anything about indie music, then Phoebe Bridgers is your current queen.” Those words really rang true as I watched Better Oblivion Community Center turn the crowd into a big bowl of emotional jelly.

The indie folk supergroup, composed of Oberst and Bridgers, is a bit more aggressive than Bright Eyes and a bit more whimsical than Bridgers’ solo work. The creative chemistry between the two artists makes for completely unique and beautiful music. Case in point, their single “Dylan Thomas” is a harmonious blend of both artists’ voices. Their self-titled debut album puts both Oberst’s and Bridgers’ strengths at the heart of each track, while allowing for a little vulnerability and humility as well.

Their first sold out night at Lincoln Hall was an intimate and powerful performance. With each artist on opposite ends of the modest stage, surrounded by old-fashioned lights and a backdrop of their fictional community center, it felt like we were watching a performance in a garage on a warm summer night.

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Charles Wesley Godwin,
The TVD First Date

“I wish I could say that I discovered great songwriters like Townes Van Zandt, John Prine, or Kris Kristofferson at the age of four and from that day forth became a lifelong fan of the craft.”

“While growing up, I wish that I had frequented my local record store discovering new music on a weekly basis. I wish I could say that I begged my parents for a Sears and Roebuck catalog guitar before I could stand on my own two wee legs, but I can’t. In fact, I grew up not singing in church, assuming that I couldn’t sing at all, listening to Cher in the family van during road trips across the west, sitting in silence in my mother’s car on our way to school, and occasionally listening to the oldies station while riding along in my father’s old Ford Ranger. To defend my mom for a second, she spent her entire career teaching young children. I think she found those silent moments in the car incredibly peaceful. I get that now.

I had a tune stuck in my head many times in my early life. I specifically remember having songs like “Eleanor Rigby,” “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” and “Fortunate Son” stuck in my head for weeks at a time. However, I actually had a hard time thinking of when exactly was the first time that I sought out a piece of music. I know that I never fell in love with music until I was nineteen or twenty. For days, I’ve been thinking about when was the first time I actually wanted to purchase music. I know that seems hard to believe considering what I do now for a living, but it’s the truth.

I ended up coming to the conclusion that Linkin Park’s Meteora was it. While growing up, the Godwin side of my family had a Christmas get together sometime in December every year. We had so many children in the family that it was impractical to get everyone a gift, so we did the secret Santa thing. All the aunts, uncles, older cousins, parents and grandparents would each have one kid to buy one present for. I remember asking for that Meteora CD for my secret Santa gift.

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Izzy Thomas,
The TVD First Date

“The first record I ever listened to was the Michael Jackson Bad record. I couldn’t get enough!”

“I loved his earlier one, Off The Wall, too. I wouldn’t even consider myself as a massive funk fan, but what MJ did with it was amazing. My father introduced me to vinyl when he’d listen to Free and Paul Rogers, from then on I would love going in record shops and digging for the rock records like my dad’s.

It’s amazing how records can still sound so good after so many years. Vinyl is basically equivalent to photographers having a raw file of a picture, compared to a JPG.

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A Fragile Tomorrow,
The TVD First Date

“As long as I can remember, vinyl has played a big role in my life. As a toddler, our dad would put on Zeppelin and The Who records while the family hung around the living room, which continued through much of our childhood.”

“As I got a little bit older and started exploring my own interest in music, I would pull out my dad’s record player in the basement and spend hours studying records from his collection, like Quadrophenia, or Cheap Trick At Budokan. This early exploration led to my lifelong fascination with vinyl and my love of the album as a physical medium.

At 15, my family moved to Charleston, SC, and for a couple of years we lived down the street from my favorite record store, Monster Music, which became like a second home to me. I’d ride my bike over to Monster and spend hours digging through the bins, spending the little money I had on as much music as I could possibly afford. It was no coincidence that the records I made an effort to get into my hands are the ones that still stick with me today.

My love of records has taken me to parts of the world I wouldn’t have seen otherwise. In just about every city we pass through on tour, I make it my mission to find a local record store and pick something out. The music I’ve found in various record stores around the world, from Can to Slowdive, and Devo to Funkadelic, has quite literally changed my life, serving as direct inspiration for the music we make today.

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Hawksley Workman,
The TVD First Date

“I grew up in the deep sticks in rural Canada, and our closest record shop was also a Radio Shack electronics store.”

“My dad was a big record buyer and would get paid on Fridays and come home with a load of records under his arm. What he couldn’t find in stock at our small-town shop, he’d order, often coming from the UK, R&B rarities and such. His arrival home from on Fridays became quite anticipated. I had started to dig into his collection at a young age and started to sniff around the new offerings when I was 9 or 10. He liked pop music and disco, so there were offerings from the Bee Gees and early Elton John.

I remember a red vinyl dance compilation with a tri-fold album cover that I’d prop up like a voting booth and stick my face in to pretend I was in the studio or at the concert. I learned of the deeper satanic elements while listening to The Beatles 45s that I’d play on 33 and lay out album covers on the carpet in the living room in mathematical orders of favourites.

One Friday in particular my dad arrived home late with only one album, John Lennon’s Double Fantasy. My brother and I were already having dinner, frozen fish sticks and peas. Without words my parents embraced and wept in the doorway my dad still holding the plastic wrapped vinyl. It would be years later that I’d put together that it must have only been a short time after Lennon’s murder and the feelings were still raw.

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The Faint,
The TVD First Date

“As a kid I used to walk across the alfalfa field behind our house to shop for records at the grocery store.”

“It was a pretty special day when I actually had enough money to buy one (usually I just bought candy). It was the early 1980s so of course I carried a Walkman around listening to tapes from my penny tape club membership. Those clubs must’ve been a scam of some sort but they definitely lost money on my membership.

Anyways, vinyl was what I really wanted. I inherited about twenty old 45s and a Raggedy Ann and Andy suitcase record player. At age two I incurred a pretty bad injury while playing records. My feet slipped on record sleeves while I was dancing around, sending my legs in a violent version of the splits. I ended up in a full length cast for a year. My favorite 45s were audiobooks at first but that was just until I found The Beatles “Revolution.” That’s got to be the first record I fell in love with and probably the one playing when I broke my legs.

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Gabe Lee,
The TVD First Date and Video Premiere, “Eveline”

“Vinyl and record players have always been a revered thing for me, a distant but fantastic listening medium made especially so because my family never owned vinyl.”

“In my childhood our household subsisted on a peculiar amalgam of church and gospel, classical music, and NPR radio. However it was at my friends’ homes after school where I first experienced vinyl; sparking memories of humid Tennessee summers, hanging on the screen porch listening to “Tuesday’s Gone” from Lynyrd Skynyrd’s album (Pronounced ‘Lĕh-‘nérd ‘Skin-‘nérd) on repeat. Often as well, the hum of Indigo Girls or Fleetwood Mac drifting from the Crosley in the den to the kitchen if I was invited to stay for dinner.

Despite not having much access to vinyl as a youth, I considered my infrequent experiences with records and record stores a rare treat. Among my first ever live shows, were JEFF (now known as JEFF the Brotherhood) and Spinto, two local bands breaking into the early 2000s Nashville indie rock scene. They appeared at Nashville’s Grimey’s record store, which hosts free in-store shows, featuring acts of all genres; not only an introductory venue for up-and-coming groups but also as a stop for touring bands looking to promote their Nashville gigs.

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Kara Connolly,
The TVD First Date

“The first record I remember listening to on vinyl was Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours. Stevie looked like such a magical gypsy on the cover and I have to admit I felt cool even touching it.”

“‘Dreams’ is a mystical masterpiece; timeless, textured, spooky, but soothing, and giving crystal visions life. I was in a play in college that used Rumours as much of its soundtrack and it instantly brought me back to that first time hearing the album in that record store years prior. The crazy thing is that I recently got the opportunity to meet and perform for Ken Caillat (co-producer of Rumours) at his studio and write and record with his artist development team. I’m grateful for all of their talents and kindness. It was definitely a pinch yourself moment for me.

There’s something about wandering around a record store, picking up whatever cover catches your eye and reading the liner notes, that is just irreplaceable in this day and age. In a record store, music discovery is tangible. That physical connection with both the music and also with strangers or employees who would take you around and show you what they were currently listening to, was something special.

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Andrew Leahey,
The TVD First Date

“I can still picture my parents’ old stereo. It was this massive, silver-colored piece of machinery with a weighted radio dial. They probably purchased it as the ’70s gave way to the ’80s, so it was already a bit dated by the time I began pushing its buttons. Even so, the thing fascinated me. You’d flip the switch to “on” and everything would light up.”

“We were mostly a cassette tape family. Our favorite albums would rotate between my dad’s car stereo, my brother’s Walkman and my bedroom boombox. Somewhere around middle school, though, I simultaneously made the jump to CDs and inherited a turntable that had been collecting dust in a corner of my foster brother’s room.

The record player confused me at first, but I remember appreciating the challenge it presented. I’d never dealt with speaker wire before. I’d never had to buy a new record player needle. It turned the listening experience into a physical one, and I think it made me care about the whole thing a bit more. I had to earn the right to play music on that thing.

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JD Simo,
The TVD First Date

“I’m JD Simo and I’m a vinyl junkie.”

“I mostly scour bins for old blues, R & B, and funk records, but I also have a fondness for mono garage rock and psychedelia from the 1960s. Because I travel constantly, one of my favorite pastimes is hitting my favorite spots while on tour to see what I can score. For several years I didn’t travel with a record player and that led to constant frustration. I’d score a mint Excello Records Slim Harpo King Bee and not be able to enjoy it till I was home. Needless to say, it didn’t take long for me to find a funky old unit. My cherished mid 60s GE is my constant companion.

There are several favorite spots I have around the world, most notably Grimey’s in my hometown of Nashville, Amoeba in San Francisco, Reckless Records in Chicago, and my favorite, Antone’s Record Shop in Austin, TX.

Antone’s was opened in the 1980’s by the grandaddy of the Austin music scene, Clifford Antone. His history as a blues fanatic and champion of the underdog is widely known and luckily a decade after his death, his legendary nightclub and cherished record store are still going strong thanks to a dedicated staff and supportive local community.

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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