Author Archives: Special to TVD

Kelly Finnigan,
The TVD First Date
and Video Premiere, “Catch Me I’m Falling”

“Happy Vinyltine’s Day!”

“It’s safe to say my journey into music started with vinyl. It’s definitely one of the main reasons I fell in love with music and why listening to records is an important part of who I am as a creator. By the time I was 15, I was happy to spend hours in a record shop looking through bins, stacks and crates. Maybe that’s why I’ve never stopped listening to vinyl all these years? Of course I was into tapes and loved making mix tapes. Yes, I bought CDs… lots of them… of course I listen to music on streaming services… but I’ve never stopped listening to vinyl. I never will.

I grew up in a house with a father who had a great vinyl collection: jazz, blues, soul, gospel, R&B, rock & roll and country. It was a very eclectic mix with the backbone being jazz and R&B. I definitely remember being young and looking through them all and being attracted to certain covers and artwork as a child.

Like Marvin Gaye’s Super Hits on Tamla Records from 1970. It’s Marvin flying through the sky in a Superman costume but he has an M on his chest and is rescuing an attractive woman from danger. It makes me smile when I see it in a store to this day, and I still have the copy that was my dad’s. The first record I became obsessed with on my own and played everyday non-stop was Michael Jackson’s classic Thriller. I wore that record out and must have played it a few 1000 times. From there like most kids I got hip to cassette tapes and loved making mixtapes for friends and female friends…but never strayed from vinyl.

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Alex Lilly,
The TVD First Date

“I take chances when I buy records. I recently bought Zither Goes Hollywood! It’s totally adequate and includes the The Third Man theme but I’ve listened to it just once.”

“There seemed to be a time when people had more vinyl material than actual worthwhile ideas and so the whole world was taking chances on records. There’s almost always a large section at any record store marked either ‘Miscellaneous’ or if they’re smart, it’s divided up by country or appealing categories like ‘Soundtrack.’ The quirky, mysterious, or obscure—this is my weakness.

For some reason I felt I needed Ancient Sounds of Japan as well as a compilation record of instrumental music for TV & Film called Stylissimo. This wasn’t music that actually made it onto any film. I suppose it was intended for supervisors and there are tantalizing titles like “Mixed Grill” and “Le Texas a l’heure de l’electronique”—Texas at the Electronic Hour?? I paid $10 for this absurd record at a vinyl shop last year in Melbourne. Something had gripped me—like big hopes about who I might be. I imagined sampling a clip for a song but the music was too cheerful, maniacal, and totally uninteresting.

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Sister Sparrow,
The TVD First Date

“I grew up in quite a musical home. My parents met one another while playing in bands in San Francisco in the early ’80s, so it’s not a shock that their vinyl collection was pretty sweet.”

“My siblings and I would spend hours listening to records with our parents. Not only were we excited and entranced by the music, but I can also remember studying the album covers—the pictures, the words I couldn’t read yet, thinking ‘how could anyone get THIS cool?’ Of course, they switched over to CDs once they had saved enough to buy a CD player, and then I taught myself to read by singing and reading along to the liner notes of Bonnie Raitt’s Nick of Time and Emmylou’s Brand New Dance, among others.

And like any vinyl loving kid could tell you, I almost died (of joy) on my first trip to Amoeba records in SF. I was shocked and, frankly, appalled that I could buy a nearly perfect copy of Joni Mitchell’s Blue for $3.50. But something happened recently that really reminded me of just how big an impact those early years of vinyl listening had on me and my siblings.

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Wyland,
The TVD First Date

“As a kid, I was fortunate to have a place to escape to. My family and I lived in a small apartment in Kearny, NJ, but on weekends we would visit my uncle at his house in South Jersey, which we all called ‘the shore house.'”

“I looked forward to visiting the shore house because it always led to some adventure, whether I was chasing the dog around the house, creating fantasies outside in the woods, or directing epic battles with my toys.

Eventually, I outgrew a lot of that stuff but the shore house still remained a place of adventure to me. I spent a lot of time rummaging through old pictures and items in the attic. One fateful evening, my curiosity led me into the basement, where I noticed a set of shelves filled with records.

I had no idea what a record was at this point, but we’ll get there.

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TVD Radar: Pharoah Sanders & Idris Muhammad, Africa
2LP vinyl reissue in stores 3/29

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Pharoah ‘Farrell’ Sanders (born 1940) is a leading figure in the world of jazz and one of the last living legends with connections to players like Sun Ra and John Coltrane. His tenor saxophone playing has earned him royal status amongst free jazz players, critics and collectors.

Originally Sanders was interested in urban blues music, but his high school teacher exposed him to jazz and this took Farrell in an entirely new direction. Once completing high school Sanders quickly packed his belongings and headed to Oakland, where he got a chance to work with musicians of high caliber such as saxophone players Sonny Simmons and Dewey Redman (who were both later to be major forces in new jazz and free jazz). Soon the young Pharoah would meet John Coltrane and would feel being attracted to the life as a professional musician. By the early sixties Sanders moved to New York where the major jazz scene was happening. Here he’d spent most his time honing his skills at rehearsals with Sun Ra… sadly he was not making much money with the Arkestra and soon found himself living on the streets, trying to stay up all night playing and then scrounging for money during the day, often selling blood to eat.

Sanders recorded his debut album for ESP soon after, but it wasn’t until he started playing with his old friend John Coltrane that he would fully unleash the fury of his saxophone on the world of free jazz. The records Pharoah Sanders played on for Coltrane laid the foundation of what was to come for both the world of free jazz and for Sanders as a musician. After Coltrane’s tragic death Sanders would record further with Alice Coltrane, John’s widow, on the album Karma (1969 – Impulse!), which is universally accepted as Sanders’ masterpiece. Along with musicians Alice Coltrane and singer Leon Thomas, Sanders helped to create the genre of spiritual jazz.

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Charles Newman,
The TVD First Date

“I grew up in the late ’70s, which was the heart of vinyl culture.”

“As I turned 10 years old the disco era was in full swing, and so were my parents disco lessons where they would spin Gloria Gaynor and Earth Wind & Fire around the house. Around that time my uncle gave me The Beatles’ red and blue albums and an original pressing of The White Album and my collection began to grow. In the early 80’s I worked all kinds of teenager type jobs so I could make regular trips to The Music Machine, a local Baltimore record shop where I would mostly buy 7-inches and the occasional velvet glow-in-the-dark poster.

Around that time I started piano lessons and joined my first band. As a keyboard player in the early ’80s I was embracing the synthesizer movement, but during an infamous all-night hang with some friends in 10th grade, I saw Pink Floyd’s The Wall on a big screen TV and that changed everything.

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KOPPS,
The TVD First Date

“Growing up in a mid-sized, rust-belt city produced an experience we can only imagine was matched by any other middle-class American city: angsty teenagers listening to punk and hardcore, going to shows and buying obscure 7” records from the band passing through on whatever night the local promoters decided to book a show.”

“Our story is no different; it’s how my collection started. Round up any and all of the records you could at every show. Every subsequent trip to the record store was unique and exciting. ‘What will I find today?’ As high school progressed so did my tastes, moving from hardcore and punk to more ‘refined’ things like indie rock. The smaller the label, the weirder the cover art (surely coming stock with sound to match,) the more it felt like I was in on some big secret, or in an exclusive club, but one I couldn’t wait to talk about or share with my friends. Or anyone else who would listen.

Fast forward to college when musical tastes begin to expand and blossom—the sounds became more experimental, more underground, harder to find, or maybe they were just the deeper cuts from favorite pop, R&B, hip hop, or rock artists. The internet could now lead you down a rabbit hole you would follow from your computer screen to the record store where you would dig into every crate until you found those bizarre and left of center records—the ones you know aren’t a dime a dozen or found in the dollar bin of your local thrift store. Your membership to the club you joined in high school was just renewed for life.

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Talker,
The TVD First Date

“My mom had a pretty sizable record collection growing up, and I always loved the look of them, and the stories she had for each record—how she found it, when she bought it, who gifted it to her, when she listened to it.”

“I think the special thing about vinyl records is that, while all music no matter the format will carry with it some sort of emotional association and connection, there’s nothing like thumbing through a box of used vinyl at a flea market—the sounds, the smells, the angle of the sun—you don’t get any of that digitally. It sounds super nostalgic and like I’m romanticizing the past, but those experiences really add a tangible extension of emotion.

Plus, as a teenager I became obsessed with putting the album covers on my wall. That’s the best part for me—vinyl records come with built-in visual art! You can’t put a Spotify playlist on your wall. In high school, I had a whole installation on my wall that included Who’s Next, Led Zeppelin II, The Doors, The Joshua Tree, and a bunch of others. I loved it. There’s just a heightened level of self-expression that vinyl gives you.

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Roman Lewis,
The TVD First Date

“My first memory of records was opening up this big cupboard my grandma has and finding a hundred of them packed on top of one another. I looked through it and didn’t recognise much so discarded them and forgot about it pretty quickly.”

“A couple of years later I got a record player for my 14th birthday. To make the most out of it I bought a record I had been listening to on repeat on Spotify called I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning by Bright Eyes. When the postman brought it to the door in its Amazon packaging, I couldn’t imagine the importance of the moment.

I went upstairs and placed the needle on the outer edge of side A and 45 minutes later I honestly felt like a different person. To that point I had never listened to an album in order. My listening ways were governed by that blasphemous shuffle button, but after finally listening to the songs I knew so well in the order they were meant to be heard, music for me was given a whole new meaning.

A song is a great medium for storytelling, but there’s only so much you can say in 5 minutes, whereas if you look at the song as the chapter and the album as the story, you can do a whole lot more.

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Katey Brooks,
The TVD First Date

“The first record I ever bought was when I was 5 years old. My mum used to take my sisters and I to a lot of car boot sales as kids where we’d find all kinds of gems to take home for next to nothing.”

“That day I found a record player. I’m not even sure I even quite knew what it was, but I liked the way it looked and smelled. The lady sold it to me along with two records (to this day I’ve no idea what they were) for £2. I was so excited to get the record player home so I could listen to the music.

That evening I put it in the middle of my bedroom and blasted the records out of the open window over and over again (my poor neighbours). I just remember feeling really good. I was enthralled by the sound. I wish I knew who was playing! I feel like it was most probably someone like Roy Orbison or Elvis because I can still vividly remember the rich texture of the vocal, but I can’t be sure.

After many house moves, somewhere along the way I lost that record player and moved on to tapes for a while, which were equally exciting to me. I loved the sleeves and being able to read the lyrics inside. Specially people like Tracy Chapman and Michael Jackson whose lyrics I always found fascinating.

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Dirty Heads,
The TVD First Date

“In my personal opinion vinyl should be considered the fifth element. Earth, wind, fire, water, vinyl.”

“Playing music on vinyl seems to change the particles in the room. When you walk into a home and vinyl is playing, you can feel it in the air. It’s warm; it has a weight to it. It’s like using your AC unit compared to opening all your windows—a natural breeze feels better than your AC unit. Music on vinyl feels better than any other format. You always hear people say music “feels “ better played on vinyl, and I think that’s completely true.

Reggae music is what made me start collecting vinyl because you couldn’t find certain artists on any other musical format. Bob Marley’s Legend was the gateway album that took me down a deep rabbit hole of reggae. From dancehall Djs like Big Youth, Michigan & Smiley, and Yellowman to rocksteady groups like The Gaylads, The Wailers, and The Melodians.

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Daniel Steinbock,
The TVD First Date

“When I was 7 years-old, I was the only one in my family who listened to vinyl. My mom had held onto about 50 of her favorite records from the ’60s and ’70s and they’d sat on a bookshelf, unplayed, for the duration of my short life thus far. I didn’t even know what the things were, mentally lumping them in with my parents’ outsized collection of cookbooks and Time Life volumes on arcane subjects outside of my childhood universe.”

“That is, until the day my Mom brought home a second-hand record player. She’d bought it on a whim, thinking it’d be fun to give her old records a spin. I watched in rapt attention as she taught me how to pull the vinyl out of its sleeve without scratching it and how to place the needle gently at the edge of the spinning black disc. A scratchy silence burst from her old Pioneer speakers and a new world opened up to me.

Over the following days and weeks, I worked my way through my Mom’s collection, one record at a time: J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations, Guantanamera by The Sandpipers, albums by The Kingston Trio, Peter, Paul and Mary, the Limeliters, Glenn Yarbrough, (so much Glenn Yarbrough…). My Mom’s tastes leaned heavily toward the early ’60s folk ensembles. I’d put each record on and then explore the album jacket inside and out, reading every word of the liner notes, transported by the beat poet language and tales from recording studios decades earlier. Sitting cross-legged on the living room carpet, eyes lost in the cover art on my lap, voices from other times sang from the Pioneer speakers and pulled me into imaginary realms of my own making.

After dipping into all of the albums in my Mom’s collection, I found a handful of favorites that I would return to in the months and years to come. Among these, one record stood above all others in my esteem; one record I played over and over with loving obsession: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles.

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Ciaran Lavery,
The TVD First Date

“The first time I held a record in my hands I was younger than 8 years old, but no less than that.”

“I had travelled with my dad to see my uncle Paul and his old shaggy dog Shane, who I believed to be part dog, part human, as was his nature to seem so wise and all-knowing. I was standing in the middle of what was the living room on a carpet that looked as old and world-weary as Shane, but had a surprisingly springy feeling underfoot. I remember vibrant colours of red and egg yolk yellow and a truly unique pattern that ran consistently from the centre of the room, sprawling to each corner in designs that I could make no sense of, but figured such understanding of tastes were outside of my lesser learned child brain. Perhaps I would choose a carpet exactly like this one if I were a fully formed adult; I could only assume.

My uncle Paul reached over and handed me this square, card like material as I stood shipwrecked in the middle of the room, and unknowingly I was holding my very first vinyl. It was white with an elaborate design and I treated it as you would some ancient antique, my mind exploding with the visual feast in front of me. I kept turning the record in my hands, from front to back and repeating the process, keen to take in every detail.

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Rachel Ana Dobken,
The TVD First Date

“With CDs on the O-U-T, it pains me to think people don’t appreciate the art of listening to a record anymore. But, I have hope that the resurgence of vinyl means otherwise. I’m hoping people still give a shit about a record in its entirety as a work of art. This is something I think about a lot. So much time and energy goes into putting together a record knowing its meant to exist as a whole body of work. When It Happens To You, my newest LP is an extension of that entire sentiment.”

“For me, I don’t enjoy listening to NEW records on vinyl as much as I do the OLD. I appreciate the process of acquiring used vinyl, romanticizing the history and sentimental value behind it, especially your parents’ old ones! Just imagining (and longing for) the simpler times in the world and music industry. I can’t even imagine what it was like to put on Music From Big Pink for the first time or Dark Side Of The Moon. Music was consumed in such simpler ways in the ’60s, gather round with your friends and listen to the entire record. “Hey Donna got the new Neil Young record! We’re meeting at her place after school to listen!” It became a whole event, a means of savoring and taking your time with the music. IT was special and the artist was appreciated for the art itself.

I love popping on jazz (especially bebop) records for the similar reasons. Monk (At Town Hall), Mingus, Bill Evans (Conversations With Myself—this one I’ve been searching for)… even some weird Jazz Fusion one offs. There is something to be said about listening/consuming music in the way it was meant to be heard at that time. It affected the way somebody played, the caliber of expectation, and seriousness (or perhaps lack of but that as part of the beauty) in doing a take and getting it right.

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Elise Hayes,
The TVD First Date

“My love for records and record stores began as a small child in my living room.”

“My dad had this cabinet full of old records that as a pastime, I would sift through and pick out the ones with the prettiest covers. I remember the day that he showed me what an actual record was. How to carefully handle it, place it on the turntable, and delicately lift the needle to start the music. As I became more and more involved with music, I really came to appreciate his collection. The Beatles, Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor—it was responsible for my personal discovery of all of these iconic artists.

As I grew older, there was a record store down the street from my house called Turn it Up in Keene, NH. I would go there, and sift through everything they had. You could play them before purchasing, so I would sit there for hours, listening. I slowly developed a total obsession with R&B and soul music. Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight, anything from that era—I was completely hooked. I had never felt such a fire listening to music as I did when I was listening to those artists. The passion and energy behind what they were singing about was contagious. You could feel it on such a visceral level.

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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