Author Archives: Special to TVD

Analog Players Society,
The TVD First Date

“I didn’t know it was vinyl when it was ‘vinyl.’ It was just how the dance party would get started with my sister in the basement on a little portable 45 record player. Or, in the living room on my parents’ old system. It was easier to use than the A-track. “

“The first records that I remember playing over and over again was the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. My sister had some Madonna 45 singles…and my parents loved Simon and Garfunkel. I have to say that I got into Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass because of the cover. A naked woman covered in whipped cream seemed like a good invitation.

Later in college is when it really came back. I started hanging out with DJs and producers. I fell in love with the Golden Era of Hip Hop’s production techniques, and I started digging. And honestly, that’s when I started falling in love with jazz. Cannonball Adderley, Herbie Hancock obviously… Bitches Brew changed my life. Honestly, after Bitches Brew, my mind exploded.

Also, side note, while I was in high school listening to The Beatles’ “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds,” I finally made the connection that they were talking about LSD. I guess everybody has to figure it out at some point.

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Burning Pools,
The TVD First Date

“When I was 12 years old and listening to the last bands on the long tail of hair metal on cassette, my brother and I had a nanny whose boyfriend played in a hardcore band. I did not know what that was, but he correctly saw a potential convert in me and brought over a crate of LPs and seven-inches of bands I’d never heard of — Gorilla Biscuits, Cro-Mags, Quicksand, Minor Threat. Immediately I didn’t want to listen to Use Your Illusion II anymore and wanted more of this.”

“We went to ReConstruction Records on East 6th St. and I’m pretty sure I bought Bad Religion’s “Atomic Garden” 7” ‘cause I liked their name it had the artwork etched into the B-side of the record. After that I took the subway downtown to ReCon every Saturday, desperately not wanting any of the people who hung out there to find out that I was a private school kid from the Upper West Side. Years later came the slow reveal that they were all private school kids from New Jersey and Long Island.

The shop was volunteer-run and I started working there on weekends. Every Saturday I would buy a few seven inches and maybe an LP based on whatever people were listening to at the shop. The era of punk just before Green Day hit was in retrospect a very strange time for indie music in that we were very elitist (major label records were verboten, but not The Clash or XRaySpex—anything that was old and/or British was exempt) but also very accepting and big-tent musically; the punk community was too small an ecosystem to not include everything independent under its banner.

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Tali, The TVD First Date
and Video Premiere,
“Back To You”

“I’m a sucker for the era my parents talk about from their youth in the ’60s–’80s.”

“I adore technology and all the accessibility that comes with it, though I imagine how incredibly riveting and exciting it must have been to live in the Woodstock era, in the disco era, the synthpop era, the ’90s hip hop and r&b eras—where you had to head to the store with prior anticipation and line up to buy a vinyl and an album in its entirety. I love that people listened to full albums. Vinyl is a key to the past. I feel deeply nostalgic imagining my parents going to the discotheque in their younger years and dancing to songs they reminisce about today.

One of my favourite pastimes in my adolescence was going to vinyl stores on Queen Street in the heart of downtown Toronto. I love the smell of records; it echoes of celebrations from the past; vibrant generations in their golden prime; unique experiences of love, romance, wine, summer sweat, tears, joys, heartbreaks, sealed into one single beautifully packaged entity. There’s something so special to me about having an old record that someone’s grandparents danced to; that may have been passed down generations; that has one or more stories. I revel in imagination as I create my own memories.

My music tastes are eclectic. I’m a big lover of jazz, blues, folk, rock ‘n’ roll, pop and everything in between. Before I even purchased a record player, I’d bought tens of Nina Simone’s records. My friend’s grandparents were moving houses and looking to get rid of some records they owned and graciously gifted me an original, rare Frank Sinatra vinyl from the ’50s.

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Wood & Wire,
The TVD First Date

“If you were born in the ’80s like I was, there are a lot of reasons to consider yourself lucky.”

“We’ve had a unique seat over the course of one of the biggest cultural shifts in history, and have had formative years on both sides of it. Obviously, the way we consume music was a big part of that shift. If you had cool parents like I did, the odds are that at some point, you found a dusty old box of kickass records stored away in a closet somewhere. When I found my Mom’s, it was like striking oil. Luckily for me, the stash included her old turntable as well (you couldn’t order one on Amazon or find one in any Target in 1995).

All of the sudden I was given a snapshot of my 14–22 year old Mother circa 1968–1977 or so, and what a snap shot it was. Black Sabbath Master of Reality (complete with what I found out a few years back is a very a sought after poster inside), Fleetwood Mac, Jefferson Airplane, Little Feat, Carly Simon, Dan Fogelberg, Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, Leon Russell, Janis Joplin, Jerry Jeff Walker, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors… I could go on and on but it wouldn’t be anything unexpected from a girl growing up in Houston in the ’60s and ’70s. With her help, I put them on cold, not knowing what I was getting into. And I enjoyed the hell out of it. Some of it I wasn’t really into, but that was part of the discovery.

Things really shifted when I pulled out a record with a picture of some mustachioed fella with dark features on the cover named Frank Zappa called Apostrophe (‘)”. I couldn’t take my eyes off the ‘stache. Then it was on. I wore that record out. Zappa was the first artist and this was the first recording that taught me I could to whatever the fuck I wanted to do—both musically and otherwise (John Hartford hits me the same way).

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The Love-In,
The TVD First Date

“Vinyl is the best part of Love-In parties.”

“The only good speakers in our house are hooked up to the record player, so we exclusively listen to vinyl when we throw house parties. At the end of the night, you can always see how the mood changed based on what records are left out on the table. I think our last party before COVID started with Beyonce’s Lemonade and ended with Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here. I guess whoever put on that last record must’ve known something the rest of us didn’t.

Our collection is pretty eclectic because we all buy records for different reasons. My part of the collection consists of records I like to cook to, be alone to, dance to, and old jazz records featuring recordings I’ve never been able to find anywhere else. We stop at record stores in most cities we tour in, so it’s cool to be able to find little gems all over the country. The problem is keeping them safe for the rest of the tour. Our van’s AC is not the most reliable so I always worry they’ll melt in there.

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Belly, The Best of
the TVD First Date

Quite a number of years back, the TVD First Date feature was inaugurated to introduce new talent to the site and to follow an artist’s development while getting to know their own music via their record collections. ’twas a nifty idea earlier on, however over the course of a decade some more than well-established artists have lent their time to the feature to shed a light on what brought them to their first stages and into our own consciousness—and we’re resharing a number of our favorites this week.Ed.

“The first vinyl I ever bought with my own hard-earned babysitting money was The Go Go’s Beauty and the Beat.”

“I know the phrase ‘it changed my life’ is thrown around pretty freely, but I sat in my basement bedroom listening to this album for hours and hours that day, alternately cross-legged on the floor studying the cover and then dancing like crazy. It changed my life.”
Tanya Donnelly, 2018

“The first record I bought with my own money was the debut album by Boston. At that age it was probably birthday money.”

“I chose it over Kiss Destroyer. I’m not sure if it was the art that tipped the scales or because I already loved the track “More than a Feeling.” I can remember playing it over and over at my friend Nick’s house (his family had a serious stereo) and we beat the stuffing out of his couch with his brothers marching-band drum sticks.”
Chris Gorman, 2018

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Jason Falkner, The Best of the TVD First Date

Quite a number of years back, the TVD First Date feature was inaugurated to introduce new talent to the site and to follow an artist’s development while getting to know their own music via their record collections. ’twas a nifty idea earlier on, however over the course of a decade some more than well-established artists have lent their time to the feature to shed a light on what brought them to their first stages and into our own consciousness—and we’re resharing a number of our favorites this week.Ed.

“I’ve been obsessed with vinyl records my whole life.”

“Literally my earliest memories are of playing my dad’s small but cool collection of records on a portable phonograph in my suburban bedroom in LA. Pretty choice records too. Everything from Da Capo by Love, Deja Vu by CSNY, to the bizarre experimental synth meditation of Terry Riley’s A Rainbow in Curved Air and Taj Mahal.

I used to inspect every millimeter of the artwork looking for hidden details—meaning and or clues as to how this music was created. The art, band photos, fonts, and music were all part of the same experience for me at that very young age. I clearly remember the cover of that Love record scaring the shit out of me. Of course it had to do with the violence of some of the music but they (some more than others) also looked like they would fuck you up pretty bad if you disrupted their photo shoot at those ruins they are posing in.

The first record I bought with my “own money” (pretty sure my parents gave me the money as I was in elementary school) was the double LP Beach Boys compilation entitled Endless Summer. I was obsessed with the early Beach Boys ballads like “Warmth of the Sun” and “In My Room,” but the stand out track for me was “Don’t Worry Baby.” I credit that song’s teenage longing and palpable sweetness for ushering in my feelings for the opposite sex long before they would’ve naturally arrived!

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Steve Forbert, The Best of the TVD First Date

Quite a number of years back, the TVD First Date feature was inaugurated to introduce new talent to the site and to follow an artist’s development while getting to know their own music via their record collections. ’twas a nifty idea earlier on, however over the course of a decade some more than well-established artists have lent their time to the feature to shed a light on what brought them to their first stages and into our own consciousness—and we’re resharing a number of our favorites this week.Ed.

“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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Michelle Branch, The Best of TVD First Date

Quite a number of years back, the TVD First Date feature was inaugurated to introduce new talent to the site and to follow an artist’s development while getting to know their own music via their record collections. ’twas a nifty idea earlier on, however over the course of a decade some more than well-established artists have lent their time to the feature to shed a light on what brought them to their first stages and into our own consciousness—and we’re resharing a number of our favorites this week.Ed.

“My earliest memory with vinyl is somewhat foggy and not as ‘cool’ as stories others might have.”

“It was 1988. I was 5 years old. I don’t know why I had money to spend but I did. Maybe a distant relative sent me birthday money in a card or something? Anyway, I knew what I wanted, it was only one thing: “Mercedes Boy” by Pebbles on vinyl. I grew up in a small town in Arizona, but Flagstaff had a record store downtown called Bookmans that always smelled like a mix of fresh popcorn and the new and used books they sold.

There was also a chain record store, The Warehouse in the mall. At the ripe old age of 5, I preferred the mall because they also had a pet store where I could go look at the animals. Who knows why my mom thought it was appropriate for her young daughter to listen to a song with the lyrics:

“Do you want to ride in my Mercedes boy? / Tell me what you’re gonna do with me. / ‘Cause if you want to ride in my Mercedes boy. / There are so many things that I’m gonna do to you.”

What do girls do with boys in cars anyway mom? The only thing I did in cars was sit in the backseat and stare out the window while singing along to whatever my mom and dad had on the radio. I remember getting home and being so excited to put my very own record on the turntable.

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Viv Albertine: The Best of the TVD First Date

Quite a number of years back, the TVD First Date feature was inaugurated to introduce new talent to the site and to follow an artist’s development while getting to know their own music via their record collections. ’twas a nifty idea earlier on, however over the course of a decade some more than well-established artists have lent their time to the feature to shed a light on what brought them to their first stages and into our own consciousness—and we’re resharing a number of our favorites this week.Ed.

“Hey, did you ever go to the Record and Tape Exchange in Notting Hill Gate? I can still picture it, long and narrow, stacks and stacks of old records and really nice people behind the counter right at the back of the shop. They were older, a bit hippyish.”

“I always seemed to be in there at a crucial junction in my life. There was the time I took about twenty of my records, (Steely Dan, Fleetwood Mac, Donovan that kind of thing) to sell before Sid Vicious came round to my place for our first band meeting when we were forming The Flowers of Romance —that was so funny, we rehearsed the whole summer of 1976, the hottest summer on record—in Joe Strummer’s basement and emerged in September with white faces and no songs. We’re still famous thirty years later for that band, never played a gig either. That’s true punk.

The next time I can remember being in the Tape Exchange was a couple of days after the Slits split up, I was living in a basement flat and was burgled. They took my guitar and all my records. I went straight to Record and Tape exchange to see if the thief had brought them in and he had. You always got your records back for free when that happened, they were very good about that.

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Michael Flynn,
The TVD First Date
and Video Premiere, “Easy To Love”

“Full disclosure: whatever that trait is that compels people to say that vinyl records are sonically superior to all other forms of music listening, I don’t have it.”

“I don’t doubt that it’s true, I just don’t have an ear for such things. I can tell the difference between a high-bitrate MP3 and a crap Napster-era MP3, but that’s about it. For me, vinyl is a pure, unapologetic nostalgia accelerator. It breathes that specific brand of warmth into music both old and new, whatever I’m listening to, like an old cardigan I make all my friends put on when they hug me. The crackling dust and imperfections, the little variations in pitch as the speed of the turntable wavers or the warped record undulates, these are the sounds of a time machine being torn open inside me. I’m taken back, both to the time when life was small and safe, and the time that music first deconstructed itself in a way that dared me to spend a life figuring out how to build it back.

I grew up at first just listening to my parents’ record collection: Motown, The Mamas and Papas, Don McLean. My dad had a Garrard turntable and two heavy speakers his buddy brought back from Vietnam. The first record I remember buying with my own money was Thriller. My brothers and I pooled our allowance to bring it home and triumphantly took turns looking at the inside picture of MJ with the baby tiger, turning away only when the record had to be flipped over again.

Thriller is a masterpiece, however complicated it is to enjoy knowing what we know now. But it’s not the record that changed my life. That would be New Edition’s eponymous debut, specifically the last song on Side A, “Delicious.” Specifically the last minute and 54 seconds of it. Specifically the last 33 seconds of that.

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Stephen,
The TVD First Date

“My first experiences in record stores would be Tower Records when I was in elementary school. To be honest, my taste in music at this point was as bland as it gets, I think mostly boy bands like NSYNC. And when I started finally developing a taste in music, I was in middle school, contributing to the death of the music industry by torrenting songs with my friends and burning CDs.”

“It wasn’t until I was in college that I got bit by the vinyl bug. I hadn’t dug much into older music until my dad put his foot down. Unlike my mom, he was never much of a musician, but he was one of the most passionate fans. I remember him telling me, “You can take it or leave it, but this is the stuff I grew up with, man.”

He started sending me CDs. The first four were, Led Zeppelin I, Pink Floyd Wish You Were Here, Bob Dylan Highway 61 Revisited, and The Beatles Abbey Road. I was hooked almost instantly. I went from driving around Miami, listening to the very formulaic music of 2010 Electronic Dance Music, to the soulful, raw and unbound gems of the ’60s and ’70s. I couldn’t believe I had spent my whole life without it. He sent me a CD every month. Jimi Hendrix, Van Morrison, Crosby Stills and Nash (Young came later), Simon and Garfunkel, Donovan, The Doors, Deep Purple, Cream, Fleetwood Mac, Rolling Stone,s and his personal favorite, Traffic.

It’s funny, I still remember the day I told my dad I wanted to drop out of university and move to LA. I was making some money from a song I had released independently. I was terrified of asking him, but it’s funny in hindsight. I wonder how much of my desire to be free and take a chance was inspired by the music he showed me. He gave me his blessing to drop out, and when I got to LA, that’s when the vinyl collection began.

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Killer Whale,
The TVD First Date

“When I was a kid, vinyl records were so cool to me, not even as something to listen to but more of something to hold and revere.”

“I loved opening my parents’ records and looking at the rock ‘n’ roll photos and the different designs and artwork. I wanted to be those artists, so the vinyl record art and photos were this gateway for me to immerse my imagination into that rock ‘n’ roll fantasy.

My room was covered in liner notes and the fold-out artwork from various records. I had all the Pink Floyd vinyl fold-out art on my bedroom walls. Vinyl albums always had extensive liner notes where I could learn who the musicians were, discover producers, and see who played what on my favorite track. I still love reading them.

I don’t think I actually got into the sound of vinyl and its raw beauty until my later teens. I was playing in bands and we were getting more versed in old sounds. I started to really dive into sound and production and began to collect more old vinyl.

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LPT,
The TVD First Date

“I had this roommate in college, and we were both crazy about music. I’m from Miami and this dude was from the cornfields of Illinois, so we had a lot to talk about and learn in terms of genres, albums, ect. Mind you, this was before streaming music so the only way to learn about music was either Napster, word of mouth, or lots of research and time spent at record stores.”

“He drove home one summer and when he came back, he brought back his small collection. He also happened to bring his dad’s MASSIVE collection of records. The first thing we did was go to the thrift store and picked up an old record player. We were hooked. There may have been about 100-200 records in there and we literally listened to every single one of them. (Remember having that much time in your hands?!)

I fell in love with the process, the sounds, the cracklings, and mostly in love with the fact that a lot of albums never made it to CD so there were so many gems that you could only listen to on vinyl. The whole time we lived together we basically just had his collection and I took full advantage of that.

Fast forward a year or so later and we moved to Jax Beach, FL and one morning while checking the surf there was this little pop up garage sale of sorts in the parking lot and we got there at the end of the event. There was this older gentleman who was disappointed with the fact that he didn’t get rid of any of his records and he didn’t want to take that box back home. I started looking through it and to my surprise there was gold in there: Gregory Isaacs, Allman Bros, Neil Young, Taj Mahal, to name a few. He ended up selling me the entire box of 50 or so records for $20! I immediately was hooked, and the search for records has continued ever since.

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Westberg,
The TVD First Date

“From the height of a small child gazing up at the bureau, some of my earliest memories were born.”

“There in the dining room, my grandfather’s beloved record player would sit, and Sergei Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf would emanate from the room. The bustle of my grandmother cooking in the adjacent kitchen, the TV softly murmuring in the living room, and the Southern California suburbs of the early ’80s would dissipate as I was whisked into another world, a world that at times felt more tangible in my mind than that which existed in my reality. Music profoundly shaped my imagination and symbolized a kind of freedom for which I was relentless in my pursuits.

My grandfather was a lover of classical music and had an extensive collection of vinyl records, with the likes of Mahler, Beethoven, Choin, Stravinsky, and many more. At the age of four, I would improvise short cantatas which my grandmother would score in her well worn and tattered music book. Imagining myself the composer of an opera one day, I’d sit in a little nook I created in the dining room, eating string cheese, and one by one peel the layers as I dreamt. I absorbed the organic quality to the audio, the scratches and earthiness as the music’s timbres would rise and fall. I loved the physicality of placing the record on the turntable, carefully setting the needle, and letting the crackling sound of the speakers fill my ears.

My mom also shared a feverish love of music and vinyl records with my grandfather. She and her sisters all loved to sing together. One would take the melody and the other two each took a harmony line. Their voices would fill the room at holiday parties and family gatherings. My grandmother was a talented pianist who taught lessons for a time. Ours was a musical family and I always felt so grateful to have had the early experience of the record layer.

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