Author Archives: Special to TVD

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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Ivy Mairi,
The TVD First Date

“I’ve been casually collecting records since moving out on my own when I was 18.”

“Not long after I got my first apartment, I found an old Dual turntable from the ’70s on the street. A friend (who already had a massive vinyl collection) helped me get it fixed, and set up a full audio system with a vintage receiver and speakers from Ring Audio, in Toronto’s east end. I think my parents paid for it for my 19th birthday, or something like that. It felt like a big growing-up moment! I still use that setup 10 years later, and it still sounds great.

I do buy new vinyl, but my collection mostly consists of ’70s and ’80s stuff. I love ’70s British folk revival albums from groups like Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span. I have a great copy of Control by Janet Jackson that I’ve played over and over. Recently I’ve been loving Breakout by the Pointer Sisters—that one belongs to my roommate. Of my new vinyl, one of my favourites is Free Will by Bry Webb. I like to put that one on and just be quiet.

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Mad Crush,
The TVD First Date

Mad Crush lead guitarist Mark Whelan worked at New World Records, a small independent shop in Charlotte, NC, in the late ’80s and early ’90s. He reflects on his time behind the counter.Ed.

“Being surrounded by vinyl, listening to records all day expanded my taste, which is what I wanted.”

“Opportunities to explore music were scarce then, when you could only hear what was on the radio or what friends owned, or what you could afford to buy. Maybe it was a bit more exciting to listen to something the first time because of the ceremony it required—taking a record home, pulling off the shrink-wrap, and laying around on the floor or couch listening while studying the album cover. Record stores are part of that treasure hunt, the feeling that something fascinating was probably lurking in a bin somewhere.

I’m still processing all the music I heard from back then, its impact has lasted, and I still keep trying to understand its basic elements. Music all seemed so complicated at first, as if no two genres had anything in common. Now I see things much more in terms of colors and rhythms and phrasing and sonic atmospheres, across genres—and the basic ingredients are shared across the different types.

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Charlene Soraia,
The TVD First Date

“When I was a child I used to flip through my parents record collection and stare at the covers. I don’t think I could even read, let alone understand that they somehow played music, but I do remember always getting to Rumours by Fleetwood Mac and flipping it over to stare at Stevie Nicks, whom I believed to be Lindsay Buckingham, the most beautiful woman in the world! You can imagine how confused I was many years later when I found out that Stevie and Lindsay were the other way round! But alas, this piece isn’t about Fleetwood Mac, it’s about vinyl and my strange little journey with it!”

“I was fascinated with my parents record collection when I was little, I’m not sure if it was the colours on these giant squares, or the smell, but both still satisfy me greatly. There was a lot of David Bowie, The Police, Kraftwerk, Bob Dylan, Prince, and Bob Marley in my parents’ record collection and every now and again new records would pop into the pile and others would go, sometimes they came back, but I eventually learnt how they worked and it was definitely some kind of witchcraft!

I vividly remember one LP turning up in the pile and thinking, “This is the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen, I bet the music is just as ugly,” so I never gave it a chance. It had the scariest picture of a man screaming and it frightened the crap outta me! The inside of the gatefold was just as disturbing with vivid colours that were kinda freaky, so I never played that LP, I never knew the name of the band or the record. I claimed a bunch of my Dad’s records when he and my Mum broke up, one being an extremely old Disney LP, which was actually my Dad’s first record! I was given some Beatles records as a teenager and lots of gifts from people twice my age to listen to, but the first LPs I bought with my own money were actually a couple of 13th Floor Elevators picture discs.

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Novo Amor,
The TVD First Date

“Growing up in the age of CDs—which quickly turned into the age of mp3s and illegal downloads—my interest in owning vinyl only arrived once I hit around twenty years old.”

“I think my first vinyl purchase was the album Early In The Morning by James Vincent McMorrow. It soundtracked my 2011 and 2012 and was a turning point in my musical tastes. I was never much into traditional Irish or Celtic folk, so to hear banjo, mandolin, and acoustic guitar arranged around melancholy pop songs was just incredibly refreshing at the time. Songs like ‘We Don’t Eat’ and ‘Hear The Noise That Moves So Soft And Low’ really inspired my writing style back when I first started recording. This record ushered me into the worlds of Keaton Henson, William Fitzsimmons, Fleet Foxes, Bon Iver etc.

I would occasionally visit old record stores around Cardiff and pick up cheap vinyl of artists I knew but hadn’t given much of a chance to. I’d essentially be judging a book by it’s cover, which was fine when I was going home with Fleetwood Mac, Art Garfunkel, and Carpenters records for 50 pence a pop.

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Cooper & Gatlin,
The TVD First Date

“One of my favorite things in the world is putting on an album where I love every song, top to bottom. That’s the criteria for my vinyl collection, actually. There’s no skipping songs, so I better love the whole thing.”

“The first album I ever felt this way about was Parachutes by Coldplay. I had just started playing guitar, and I felt like I was actually paying attention to music for the first time. I think something about starting to learn how music worked helped me recognize and articulate what I liked. Parachutes was the first time I ever realized how much I could be impacted by music. It wasn’t just a song or two, it was an album as one piece of work.

Flashing forward a bit, Parachutes is a great connecting point with my sister/band mate, Gatlin. We both love/resonate with the album for different reasons, and it was one of the first times our musical tastes overlapped. Really, I think we both just want to be more like Chris Martin. Or, maybe that’s just me. Either way, Parachutes was the first of many albums that would impact me this way, but you can never forget the first one.”
Cooper Green

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Stop Light Observations, The TVD First Date

“Like many others, I believe there is a richness of tone found within vinyl that can not be replicated by any other musical medium. I am apart of the CD generation, which was followed by the iPod. A revolutionary way for us to listen to any and every song we could think of. For better or worse my childhood was absent of any vinyl records.”

“Or so I thought. Somewhere in the corner closet of a garage cluttered with old boxes and file cabinets was a wooden crate filled with the melodies and grooves that defined my father’s childhood and much of my own by extension.

I had just graduated high school when my father decided one spring day to clean out his garage and part with anything that wasn’t essential to him any longer. The crate of records didn’t make the cut. When he presented me with this crate he said something likem “Son, do you want some of my old vinyl? There’s some great stuff in here man. The Commodores, Earth Wind and Fire, The Allman Brothers, Rumors by Fleetwood Mac. Classic stuff man.”

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Big Spirit,
The TVD First Date

“The first vinyl LP I sat down with and really listened to was Lou Reed’s Berlin. I was around 16 years old.”

“Like most kids who grew up in the ’80s cassettes and then CDs were what we devoured, records were something our parents had. I had found two Lou Reed albums amongst my father’s record collection and just couldn’t believe he owned Lou Reed records.

Had he listened to The Velvet Underground when he was younger? “No” he said. “Death cult shit. Heroin shit.” I immediately took what rightfully belonged to me. (I still have them, sorry Dad.)

“Oh Jim.” I loved how the song changed shape and then came out the other side. It sounded like Buddy Holly but was so dark. How could a man sing about loving another man? And making love to only one of us? When you’re looking through the eyes of hate? It was so dark and so complex…and catchy!

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Granville Automatic,
The TVD First Date

“My first vinyl was The Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of Disney’s Haunted House. I was obsessed almost more with the cover art—it was blue and black and creepy and absolutely fascinating.”

“It may explain my early years as a goth devotee—I heard bits of that very first vinyl in Danzig and The Damned and The Church, and even in Morrissey, Depeche Mode, Erasure, Curve, and Concrete Blonde. I got into those bands a bit backwards, as a radio DJ for Jacksonville State University’s WLJS just as Nirvana exploded into the mainstream.

Those sounds still shape everything I do as a songwriter. Though I grew up surrounded by my dad’s folk records (Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, Judy Collins were commonly spinning), once I found rock and roll I moved quickly in that direction, playing all kinds of obscure college bands from a tiny Alabama DJ booth.

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Lauren Morrow,
The TVD First Date

“My very first vinyl records came from my mother.”

“I was in high school, and I flat out asked her if I could have her old records. They were in boxes in the garage, and I loved looking through them all—it felt like I was finding treasure. Not long after this, my grandma gave me her old record player (which I still have), and I started listening to Mom’s old vinyl in my bedroom.

She had close to 100 albums—anything from Lynyrd Skynyrd to Steely Dan to The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. I remember hearing the crack and pop on “Imagine” by John Lennon and wondering why I’d ever listened to CDs.

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Deanna Devore,
The TVD First Date

“My fondest record store memory was at a place called Sam The Record Man.”

“It was a Canadian record store that, at one time, was Canada’s largest music recording retailer. They would have a Boxing Day Sale every year which became somewhat of a Toronto tradition. Probably around 500 people would stand outside the door in the morning to save 20% off all inventory.

I remember as a kid, looking forward to it every year. My dad and I would go and we would spend hours there. He would come home with so many different CDs and albums. Vinyl made everything feel cozy. He exposed me to a variety of music genres when I was young. From The Beatles, to Pat Metheny, to Brazilian music like bossanova. It was the Brazilian music that influenced my guitar playing as a kid. I started playing very rhythmically.

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Kramies,
The TVD First Date

“During adolescence, I was a bit self-isolated (a loner but happy) and I’ll be honest, musical talent / appreciation was non-existent in my family, thus, I was never exposed to music at a formative age. My earliest and only escape was retreating into my own imagination.”

“Around the age of 9, I unearthed my parents’ old record player. My father had a dearth of vinyl records, stored in a vintage-style cabinet. I recall the first time, back in the ‘70s, when I pulled a random album and placed those oversized-headphones on my undersized-head. I listened, really listened, to that record player. The first vinyl record I absorbed was European; an old relic called The Christmas Choir. My inaugural vinyl experience: a joyous assault of warmly expansive tones, which I credit to headphones and the analogue medium.

Deep listening became obsession. I devoted the lion’s share of my youth listening to vinyl (especially on headphones). I would lay supine on any floor as seconds became hours. Inhaling Christmas albums went autopilot after I discovered the lone Halloween record; the only Halloween vinyl I have heard to this very day.

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