Author Archives: Special to TVD

Little Dume,
The TVD First Date

“Vinyl has always been so enchanting and mysterious to us in our musical journey.”

“My earliest memory with vinyl started with my brother David (singer) and our uncle Bruce. Bruce lives in Palo Alto, CA and grew up in the heart of the ’60s. Palo Alto was the birthplace of a lot of bands but most notably The Grateful Dead.

I went up there to visit one weekend when I was 15 (David must have been 10) and he sat me down from 2:00pm to 3:00am every day and showed me everything from early Miles Davis, Jaco Pastorius, Chambers Brothers, Marvin Gaye, to Harry Nilsson, Cream, King Crimson, and much more. Every genre. Honestly it was overwhelming but incredible.

As we got older David and I started collecting our own vinyl. We’d pick up our own and share it whenever able. Some of our early records were Parachutes by Coldplay, Led Zeppelin IV, U2’s The Joshua Tree, and many more.

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Wildlife,
The TVD First Date

“I think one of the funniest things about obtaining vinyl is the sheer number of albums in my not-that-big collection that I have NEVER actually listened to!”

“You can wear out the B-side to Abbey Road or only ever play “More Than a Feeling” (the first song and lead single off Boston’s self-titled debut). You can own The Collected Broadcasts of Ugandan Dictator Idi Amin and not drop the needle on it for TEN YEARS only to find out that it is a parody album by a British comedian and pretty (totally) racist by 21st Century standards.

You get attached to things that come by at certain times in your life when you need them, sometimes when you didn’t even know it. The National’s Boxer is probably one of the most frequently played records in my collection, but it’s the one-two punch of “Pink Rabbits” and “Hard to Find” that close out 2013’s Trouble Will Find Me that brings me immediately back to a period of crying relentlessly in the shower at the mystifying and devastating beauty of those two songs.

Maybe it was the break up. I don’t think so, though, because songs also constantly take on new meaning as time moves on, for me anyway. We grow from younger to older and things that were once so simple gather complexity in our heads. That’s just the way it is, things will never be the same / Some things will never change.

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Fruition,
The TVD First Date

“Vinyl is life. But I don’t mean that in an obsessed, looking-down-my-nose, ‘vinyl is life’ bumper-sticker type of way. I mean that vinyl has life. It’s a living embodiment of recorded sounds. It breathes. It’s got a body with physical weight and it relies on gravity like you and me. It’s got a language of its own that must be meticulously translated on the fly by a skilled interpreter. It’s literally got music cut into it’s skin like an elaborate sleeve tattoo. My vinyl records are more human than some humans I know. They’re some of my closest friends.”

“I was infatuated with records as a kid. But not because we always had them playing around the house or anything—we didn’t even have a working turntable. I saw DJs on the TV and in movies spinning records, scratching samples, and making these otherworldly incredible sounds. I heard turntablists on hip hop records do their thing and thought it was pure magic. I still do.

I remember going to my friend Omar’s house in grade school, his parents had a turntable in the living room and they used it from time to time. I remember just absolutely DYING to scratch a record; even to just lay my hand on the vinyl while it spun around on the platter. I didn’t ask, I just went for it, unable to control my desire, consumed by this idea that I would immediately sound like the next DJ Qbert.

Nope. I put my hand on it and immediately the needle skipped off of the record, the tonearm swung wildly to and fro, the lights flickered on and off, the sky darkened and the earth split open. I may not be remembering that all perfectly, but it was definitely dramatic. I was immediately scolded for putting my paws on that wax. I was told that was how you RUIN records, and that ‘DJ’s’ who scratch their records obviously have no respect for them and no problem ruining them.

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K.C. Clifford,
The TVD First Date

“My father is a bluegrass musician. He founded a band in the early ’70s called Mountain Smoke. They are notable for several reasons, but the most widely known is Mountain Smoke was Vince Gill’s first band. They opened for Kiss and have had wild things happen, like playing on the White House lawn for several presidents, being written about by Billboard, and most recently, they were featured and had a song licensed in Ken Burns’ 8-part documentary series, Country Music. By the late ’70s, my Dad had left the band behind for the world of business. But music was in his blood, and in so much of how he raised me. Decades later, he would reunite with the band and his love of playing. They still perform today.”

“My dad set music aside and went on to be a very successful businessman. He took deep pride in providing for his family, and he worked and travelled a whole lot of the time. Although we have since repaired the wound of his absence, the truth is he missed many of the little moments in my childhood. One of the most crystallized memories I have as a young girl follows here.

My dad has a huge vintage vinyl record collection. He isn’t just a musician, he is a true music lover. Among his collection, he owns a 45 record for every hit single from the years 1955 t0 1965, and many, many more. He once ran into our burning house to rescue the records and his vintage guitars from certain destruction.

On the rare nights I remember him being home at my bedtime, if I played my cards right I’d get to go down to his study in my pajamas, hair still wet from my requisite bath. Dad would play records for me, I would dance and we’d sing along. It was the freest I ever saw him—no stress, no weight of the world, no anger—just his love of music.

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Stefan Alexander,
The TVD First Date

“My love of record collecting actually started back when I was 16 when my brother gave me a hard drive of MP3s to put on my iPod.”

“On that drive I found Bessie Smith and Billie Holiday, among many other legendary musicians. Somehow I learned about 78 RPM shellac records, the fragile, pre-1950s records that these artists originally released their music on. I began a quest to find more blues and jazz, going to the original source. I bought a multispeed record player off eBay and asked my grandparents and a few elderly neighbors if they had any 78s lying around. None of them were the rare ‘20s or ‘30s records I was looking for, but my small collection led to an article in our local paper.

Soon, dozens of people were calling me, offering me the boxes they’d been storing for decades in their attics or basements. Over the course of a couple of years, I accumulated over a thousand records. I did ultimately find a few by Billie Holiday, but I was also introduced to countless other musicians, many of them long forgotten. Folk, country, blues, vaudeville, big band, and all kinds of music from around the world.

The oldest records dated back to 1905. I’ve always been interested in history, especially the first half of the 20th century, but now I could actually hear it, in the same way the music was originally listened to. Some of the records I found held songs that may not exist anywhere else, so preservation was yet another motivation for my collection.

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TVD Live: FKA twigs at the Riviera Theatre, 11/15

WORDS AND IMAGES: JULIA SIMONE PAUL | The line for FKA twigs’ MAGDALENE tour at the Riviera Theatre wrapped around the building before doors even opened on Friday night. Her devout fans wanted to ensure they didn’t miss a moment of the magical experience that is a FKA twigs show. Don’t make the newbie mistake of thinking she puts on your typical singer-dancer concert. Yes, she does both sing and dance during the show—but they’re really just a few of the tools she has at her disposal to guide the audience emotionally.

This emotional shepherding began before the show even started. Ambient, pulsing music was playing as fans filled the theatre. It slowly swelled in volume as showtime came nearer, building up the anticipation. A large black curtain hid the stage from view, and as the music seemed to be reaching its apex and the house lights went dark, I expected the fabric to sweep away to dramatically reveal twigs.

Instead, she simply stepped through the middle of the curtain onto the few feet of visible stage. Clothed in a black and white outfit that looked inspired by Elizabethan era fashion (and a pair of tiny sunglasses), she had only a few white lights shining at her from either side of the stage. Twigs began a tap dance, accented with a simple music track that embellished the complex rhythms she was playing with her feet.

While this was much less elaborate entrance than I had predicted, it soon became clear that it was intentional. Just as with the music preceding the show, she was gradually building the excitement in the room. When finished with her tap dance, the white side lights began pulsing, and the music became richer. Finally, she began to sing. Her ethereal slow-jam, “Hide,” was the perfect bridge to the more upbeat numbers that followed.

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Rebecca Pidgeon,
The TVD First Date

“In late 1964 my dad was building his Beatles collection literally as the albums came out, so his latest purchase was Beatles For Sale which I believe came out in December of that year. At that time my mother was pregnant with me and suffering from morning sickness. So as my dad played the record over and over again, it was the soundtrack for my poor mother’s, well, vomiting. My mother tells me that as soon as I was able, around four years old, I put Beatles For Sale on the turntable and played it incessantly, dancing around in bliss while she, in a flashback, relived her nausea.”

“She thinks the song I particularly loved was “I’m a Loser” but she’s not sure. She helpfully offered to do some research by listening to the record to see which song makes her most nauseated. Not a typical response to that record I’m sure. I told her not to bother.

And so, I am, like many people, an avid Beatles fan. My dad collected all the records. I grew up with them. A friend once said “It’s like the Beatles are in my DNA.” That’s exactly how I feel.

However I’m trying to think back to my first date. I think I must have been around 15 or 16, (1980 or ’81) and the fellow I had a crush on was a punk rocker. My friends and I loved punk. We were totally into it, particularly Siousxie and the Banshees. (I would back comb my hair, spray about a can of hairspray into it, and copy her makeup to try to look like her. I thought I looked cool. Looking back I think I looked scary.)

So on my first date I’m sure I did not talk about The Beatles, or anything much at all actually. I think I just kind of tried to smoke without becoming ill, and snogged. If we had talked about records it may have been something by the Sex Pistols. This boy looked like Sid Vicious on purpose. But as I say, we didn’t talk much. He wasn’t a big talker. I think our affair lasted for one day at least.

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Olivier Libaux,
The TVD First Date

“Vinyl is the main thing.”

“I am 55 now, I discovered music when I was six-years-old (in 1970), on my parents’ turntable, thanks to my older brother who was crazy about music.

The first record that amazed me was Tommy by The Who. I was really young, I didn’t know about the movie directed by Ken Russel, but I was fascinated by this record. I was playing it all the time, holding the cover in my hands. This music was telling me stories, my imagination was transported each time. I couldn’t understand the lyrics (I am French), but these songs were talking to me. “See me, Feel me, Touch me, Heal me.” I was asking my brother what it was about, he was saying, “That’s the story of a boy who becomes deaf, dumb and blind.” I was asking, “Who is Uncle Ernie ?,” etc etc.

Tommy was my friend.

At this time, my brother’s vinyl collection was going from The Rolling Stones to Yes (Tales of Topographic Oceans). I was stuck between rock music and progressive rock.

From the age of 6 to 12, I was spending my free time in the family living room, sitting in front of the turntable, playing vinyl, side A, side B, side A again, side B again.

These vinyl were my friends, I loved them.

Then came the time to go on my own to a record store (in a small town located in the North of France) and buy my first vinyl album. This one happened to be Made In Japan by Deep Purple. This record was on fire (it still is)!

This record became my best friend.

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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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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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