Author Archives: Special to TVD

KOU,
The TVD First Date

“I will never forget the wave of sensations I felt when I heard Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue on vinyl for the first time.”

“The year is 2002 and I am studying jazz drumming at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts in Jacksonville, Florida, my hometown. I started playing the drums at the age of 7 years old and ended up winning the audition that year to become a student. I was beyond excited! Everyone at the time was listening to iPods and the radio. I personally had never heard vinyl in my entire life till one day a fellow student invited me to come jam with him.

It was on that faithful day that my life was forever changed. We were studying the art of swinging and I was obsessed with a certain album—Miles Davis’ Kind Of Blue. It was on repeat on my iPod! Well my friend and I started discussing my love for the album.

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Holy Hive,
The TVD First Date

“Freshman year of high school my friend was given a mixtape by a senior named Josh. Josh had a Renaissance-esque bob haircut and was extremely good at the drums. Handwritten on the spine of the cassette was “The Boogie Back.” “The Boogie Back” was a master class in ’70s funk and became the soundtrack to our summer. I think the context is important—this was the late ’90s and soundtracks and mixtape exchanges were defining parts of adolescence.”

“By sophomore year we were funk obsessed, our teen brains were consumed with hunting for more—more obscure, more authentic, more original. This desire led us to stalk New York City record shops, specifically in the West Village. I dreamt that I, too, could maybe work in a record shop one day, and even more of a maybe, maybe be cool enough to silently judge each customer’s selection at check out. I would dare to hope for approval when I picked up a Kool & the Gang LP. They were never impressed, never amused. Each time I handed over an LP, I thought, “This is it.”

My friends and I uncovered old turntables from our parents’ basements. After school and on weekends, we’d go to each other’s homes and listen to whatever we found. An unheard of funk 45, a song with a funk beat on an otherwise straight-ahead jazz LP became a win in a game we didn’t really have a name for, but I guess it’s the rush of any collector’s habit. I was never very good at this competition but I was keen to discover new music.

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William Wild,
The TVD First Date

“I will never forget the first time I heard music on vinyl. It forever changed the way I hear music which in turn changed my life.”

“It was 2007 and I had just turned 16 and gotten a car. I had also just gotten my first home recording setup for Christmas (a Digidesign 002 for the nerds) and was starting to hear records differently… less as a listener and more as a piece of art that somebody made. At some point I decided to get Bright Eyes’ I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning on vinyl. I think I mostly decided to do this because I wanted to drive across town to the record store (The Disc Exchange) in my new car and tell my friends!

When the record came in I drove to get it and also bought a crappy record player because I didn’t even have one at this point. I remember the few days before this because I had to get some speakers and a receiver as well, so I drove around collecting everything I would need from friends.

One of the big moments came when I returned home from the record store. My dad saw me carrying everything into the house and was blown away by the fact I thought vinyl was cool. He was kind of making fun of me, but also said he had a few records in the attic that I could have so I went and grabbed the ones I recognized. It was Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, The Beatles’ “White Album,” and I think a Styx record.

Okay, so I finally got down to the basement where I had my little recording setup. I laid everything out on the floor and eventually figured out how to wire the speakers. This was the moment. For some reason I decided to put an old record on first, I guess to save the moment of listening to Bright Eyes in case something was wrong. I chose Fleetwood Mac… good decision!

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Liv Greene,
The TVD First Date

“My earliest memory of vinyl is a peculiar one, in that it is not associated with a singular moment, but rather tied to a once-a-year family tradition.”

“As a child of the late, late ’90s, vinyl was not a common occurrence in my childhood—the market having been overtaken by tapes, and then CDs. However, there was an annual occasion where my dad would pull out some records, and I remember it well. Growing up in a Catholic household with family ancestry from New Orleans and a father who had lived there for a handful of years, Mardi Gras was a big holiday for us. Every year as a kid I would get excited for king cake, and just as important to the tradition as the food, I would get ready to dance to one song in particular, on vinyl.

It was “Mardi Gras Mambo” by the Hawketts (1954), and this recording became a huge part of my very young childhood, as I remember being 5, 6, and 7 years old and asking my dad to play it over and over again. Being my earliest memory of vinyl, I remember watching him turn on the turntable, pull out the record, and drop the needle, only to pick it up and drop it again and again and again to please my young sisters and I begging to hear it again. Something about it being on vinyl made it even more special: it was ceremonious, dancing, and listening to that song was its own event.

It’s not usual that music is its own event in our lives: it usually exists in the background. Throughout my childhood, I am grateful to remember tons of incredible music—by songwriters that to this day I count as influences like Patty Griffin, Shawn Colvin, Teddy Thompson, etc. However, most of it exists in my memory in the background: as the soundtrack to a lazy Sunday afternoon. As the entertainment for a long car ride to Florida. The music blasting out of the speakers on the patio as my parents pulled weeds in the backyard.

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Neon Dreams,
The TVD First Date

“In Halifax, NS where we grew up, there was a small all ages venue called The Pavilion where touring bands would come play every weekend and smaller local bands, usually high school aged bands, would get the opportunity to open.”

“It was really cool for a small city like ours to get all these touring bands from across North America to come play every weekend and even cooler that we’d have the opportunity to open up for these established bands when we were that young.

I worked a part-time job I hated but I’d save up my money so I could get merch from the touring bands coming to town. I was in high school and didn’t have a credit card so it was my only opportunity to get merch from these bands and a lot of them would come with vinyl records.

I didn’t know a whole lot about vinyl but I became addicted. I thought it was really cool to have the artwork as big as it was and most bands packaged something on the inside that you wouldn’t normally find online like an artwork/photo booklet.

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ZIMINY,
The TVD First Date

“There’s almost a smell involved, when it comes to listening to vinyl. It awakens all the senses, versus listening to a squashed MP3 over a streaming platform. It also takes effort. You have to pull the record out of the sleeve with respect, place it on the altar, and let it rip.”

“The record I will choose to worship at this time is an album called Chicago Transit Authority. Originally issued in 1969, I believe on Columbia, this record embodied all the things I only wish I could achieve today. This was back when a band of 3 or 4 members would have to REALLY know their craft, vocal parts, and NAIL it in the recording studio for the album to really groove. And Chicago achieved that with double the amount of members.

Today’s musicians, me included, are lazier due in part to technology. We can lay down a lazier vocal take because we know we can fine tune it later in editing. Back in the ’60s and ’70s, these tricks didn’t exist. And these recorded treasures exist to tell the tale of a time when authenticity was king.

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Emily Keener,
The TVD First Date

“My parents gave me a turntable for my 16th birthday, which was right around the time I had started to hear my friends exalting vinyl as the superior way to consume music. I didn’t fully understand the appeal, but at the time I was really into ’70s music and I liked the vintage aesthetic of a bulky physical medium. After digging through boxes of junky records at every thrift shop within 20 miles, I ended up with an impressive amount of terrible and just-ok albums, all in bad shape and most of them nearly unplayable. All in a day’s work.”

“I got an email from a guy who said he was a fan of the EP I had just released, and that he had seen me post about getting a turntable for my birthday. He had a big record collection he was looking to pare down and offered to send me some albums he had duplicates of. I took him up on it, and within a week or two he had sent me a box full of vinyl with a note that said something like: “Hope you get something out of these! Enjoy.”

Up until that point, I’d never listened to albums start to finish. I grew up on playlists and best-ofs, my parents’ musical tastes accompanying car rides and cookouts. When my Dad picked up the guitar to sing for the family, he played his favorite tunes; a live sampling of rock hits and country classics. Through listening to him I developed an appreciation for songcraft but had yet to experience the artform of full records. I opened that cardboard box and started rifling through albums I had never heard of and would soon love.

I remember beginning with Paul Simon’s self-titled, Joni Mitchell’s Hissing of Summer Lawns, and Stevie Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life. I didn’t really care about how the vinyl sounded. I was more fixated on the experience of listening. I loved the ritual of flipping through my new collection, picking out whatever spoke to me and taking in the visuals of artwork, photography, credits, lyrics. I liked how the music stopped abruptly at the end of a side, prompting me to recommit my ear and attention as I turned to the next one. I started to experience albums as universes and entities of their own, and I tuned into the feelings that each one evoked.

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Ali Holder,
The TVD First Date

“My first experiences with vinyl were as a kid. My mom had a bunch of old rock and psychedelic records like Jimi Hendrix, Van Morrison, Ravi Shankar, Janis Joplin, Beach Boys. She also had some Kris Kristofferson, Jerry Jeff Walker, and Rita Coolidge. My grandparents passed down records from Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Bobby Bare Jr., Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash—basically all the outlaw country folks—that I got into in late high school and early college.”

“Some of my most cherished vinyl are these super old Bob Wills 45s that were my grandparents’. They’re falling apart and sound so lovely. They’re probably from the ‘50s, and smell like old vinyl and old paper from decades of use. They sound like field recordings to me. For some reason, it just encompasses the idea of music being timeless and intergenerational. It makes me think of my grandparents as young adults.

It’s like the first time I heard old blues record by Robert Johnson or Blind Lemon Jefferson. Or the Lomax recordings. It just feels so spooky and beautiful. Haunting. I also grew up going to a lot of square dances and jamborees that were heavily based around western swing—which didn’t really influence my writing or music per se, but the arrangements and themes that leaned towards country music for sure had an impact. In terms of influencing me today, I feel as if it’s in the amalgam for sure.

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Trope,
The TVD First Date

“I grew up with a turntable in my house… but funny enough, my parents never played music on it nor did they own any vinyl records. It just sat there, taunting me for many years, while we reverted to the popularly used CD player, at the time. ”

“It wasn’t until years later, as a teenager, that I went over to a good friend of mine’s house and finally, for the first time, heard music on vinyl. It was a number of records actually—Led Zeppelin, Johnny Cash, and Fleetwood Mac.

The sonics really blew my mind. The music felt physical. Tactile. Like it was there in the room with you, guiding you through this experience. It was really incredible and just brought out so much warmth and lushness in the music. Almost like it rounded the edges of the sound to this perfect shape that entered your ears.

What I also love about vinyl is that in the digital world we’re living in, it’s really refreshing to hear that there’s an audience that still opts for the physical, hard copy of music. The tactile experience still exists, and vinyl becoming cool really helped that survive.

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Matt Lovell,
The TVD First Date

“The first vinyl record I ever owned was given to me by my brother, a double vinyl edition of Sufjan Stevens’ Illinois.

“At the time, my brother was living in Los Angeles and I was about to leave Nashville to spend a brief season in North Carolina. This copy of Sufjan’s masterful record was something I treasured for years—but especially in the year after my brother gave it to me. To this day, it’s one of my favorites—one of the more popular editions in his Fifty States Project. My love of these songs was only heightened by the fact that my brother had sought out and procured this beautiful album for me.

In the two years following that gift, I spun Illinois almost every day. It was the only record I owned at the time, but I soon collected others—mostly found at Goodwill and other cheap thrift spots—to add to my small collection. Art Garfunkel’s Watermark, which housed a song titled “Saturday Suit” that became a bit of an anthem for me in those days, was a favorite.

I think the thing that I love most about vinyl is the fact that it is so inherently fragile and impermanent. A song itself is simultaneously permanent and passing. That moment when a writer or group of writers pulls a fresh, breathing melody and lyric out of thin air is like nothing else I’ve ever experienced. It’s like you’ve made something out of nothing, though one could say, you’ve made something out of everything.

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Cady Groves,
The TVD First Date

Today we remember Cady Groves who passed away on May 3 with a look back from our feature from 2015.Ed.

“Some of my earliest memories involve hearing my mom play her old vinyl records.”

“Everything from Amy Grant to Lynryd Skynyrd—she had all the classics. We had a record player in our living room- and I loved when my mom would dust off an old Styx album on a slow Sunday and it would play quietly in the background.

One of my favorite memories is the time my mom and I both made straight As (she was in college getting her degree) and she put on Bette Milder and we danced in the kitchen in our bare feet laughing and celebrating.

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Francesca Louise,
The TVD First Date

“I don’t have many records, as I don’t own a vinyl player yet…emphasis on the ‘yet.’ Of the small collection I do have, every single LP is one that I have listened to countless times on CD / streaming platforms and I know that when I eventually play them on my very own record player it will be a very special moment.”

“Don’t get me wrong, I have listened to many records on my parents’ record player, but I didn’t grow up with the nostalgic sound of the needle touching the vinyl and the record whispering as it played. We were always playing cassettes and CDs, whether that on the hi-fi, in the car, or through my very first Walkman!

I was only introduced to that famous vinyl sound when my dad started up his old sound system back in my childhood home and put on a few albums (one of which was Carole King’s Tapestry—mum’s copy) of which I have an original copy of my own, framed on my wall, waiting to be released onto that deck! I knew from that moment that one day I would be sieving through my parents old records (tucked away in the hi-fi cupboard) and giving them some fresh air on my very own hi-fi system. That day hasn’t yet come but the collection continues to grow.

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Brother Moses,
The TVD First Date

“My dad thinks listening to music on vinyl in the 21st century is hilarious. It’s a conversation we’ve had every Christmas since I was a teenager and my sister and I started getting records in flat Amazon-mailer packages under the tree.”

“He laughs at the absurdity of packing up a box of records that would take up less than 1% of the available space on his iPod. And sure, the fact that my dad still listens to music on an iPod in 2020 is much funnier than anything he could ever say about record collecting, but he does have a point. Vinyl is heavy. It breaks and warps. It’s peddled and collected by an often obnoxious and snobby corner of the music-loving world. It also must be enjoyed at home, which to be honest isn’t really where I most enjoy listening to music. A record, while it might look and sound great, can’t be enjoyed on a walk through the park or on a long drive through the middle of nowhere. So what is so great about it?

The first turntable I ever bought was some Sony USB-powered thing that I got at Best Buy in ninth or tenth grade, and my only impetus for buying it was that my girlfriend gave me The Beatles’ blue album on vinyl and I had no way to listen to it. I brought home the record player and looked for a headphone jack. Couldn’t find one. I tried Googling “how to use turntable” and was immediately overwhelmed with talk of preamps, speakers, cables, needles, and no one even once mentioned just plugging in your headphones. I’d just spent like a hundred bucks on this complicated looking machine that was going to play this record, and now everyone on the internet was telling me I needed to spend more money? No thank you. The turntable, and the record, sat on the back burner up until the summer before I left for college.

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Bandits on the Run,
The TVD First Date

“The whole idea for our newest release, “Love in the Underground,” was actually inspired by vinyl.”

“The gist of it was that we wanted to put out a 45 of this track in the style of a throwback single, with an accompanying B-Side that would contrast the mood and tone of the A-Side. Only in our version, the B-Side would be the same song, just played totally differently; where our A-Side of “Love in the Underground” is rhythmic, energetic, and conveyed by a sense of poppy, happy-go-luckiness, the B-Side is moody, melancholy, and meditative, ultimately telling a totally different side of the story with the same words and melody… at least that’s the aim. We’ll find out if it works on May 15th when our “Love in the Underground” 45 hits the shelves and people get to experience the tracks in tactile form.

In a way, that reverence for that old school way of putting out a single ties into our whole ethos: for our whole career as bandits, we’ve been considered a band with a strong throwback vibe (although no one can ever quite say exactly what we’re throwing back to, besides a time where music was more immediate and live and happening right in front of you).

We started out playing in the subways and quickly gained a reputation of serendipity and surprise—a strange little pop up act you would stumble upon on your way to Manhattan that might enliven your night and maybe make you fall back in love with New York again. We seemed to be bringing people back to an older mode of music, one steeped in a feeling of nostalgia that directly contrasted with the digital music playing in the earbuds our commuters would remove to listen to us.

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Jacob Asher,
The TVD First Date

“My first memory of vinyl is digging through the records my neighbors put out for garbage day. Milk crates upon milk crates of things I had never seen or heard of. Most of the fascination came from the covers. I admired the artwork more than the music at the time, but I have my neighbor to thank for my teenage Van Halen obsession and learning to play the guitar.”

“In my late teens nearing 2010, the resurgence of vinyl was in full swing. Receiving all the classic records as gifts from my siblings grew into a curiosity about what else was out there. How obscure can these get? VERY. And you don’t need to look too hard or too far.

In my early 20s being fresh out of music school, I began writing and producing music. Wanting to create a unique left of center sound palette, I began what I call my “$2 vinyl bin” phase. Every record store in my hometown had a corner with cheap vinyl they figured no one would want—but to me it was a goldmine for sampling and inspiration. Sounds of local percussion and vocal ensembles from churches in my hometown from the ’80s, to haunted house sound effects. In my current work I treat my vocals and instruments as if they were samples; pitching, stretching, reversing, all of the above.

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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