Author Archives: Special to TVD

Skye Wallace,
The TVD First Date

“Vinyl, to me, represents a ritual of home. It’s a tactile act of being stationary and being in a space you can call your own.”

“I grew up without much in the way of vinyl. We moved around a lot when I was young after my parents’ business fell apart for reasons beyond their control. The resulting transience in trying to move where the work was meant we had to keep our possessions limited and sparse. The frequent moves were an excellent practice in detachment from “things” and put a huge value in family for me and my siblings—when we moved out West when I was 15, we only brought enough to fill a half U-Haul between us and our parents. But certain little comforts and interests, like record players, became extraneous and impractical.

When I settled into my own place as an adult, I had a record player in my little Vancouver apartment. I started buying records—old records, new records, and (as I started to pursue a career in music) my friends’ records.

The ritual of putting a record on in a space I could call my own instilled in me a sense of warmth and staying put. However, in pursuing the aforementioned career in music came a period where touring became more and more frequent, a trend that continues to this day. In having to be mobile and transient, the record player had to go, and the record collection that I had started was relinquished to the hands of friends who could babysit them for the months while I was on the road.

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Steff and the Articles,
The TVD First Date

“I worked at a record store for a few years. Did a number of things there, but kinda ended up being the de-facto “Trade” guy for a while which basically meant that I spent my days digging through old Tracy Chapman CDs, stolen DVDs, and box upon box of dusty old vinyl. There are worse ways to make a living, I guess.”

“Anyway, a common question while alternately sneezing and passing up on that “super-rare” copy of Sticky Fingers was, “So, you a collector…?” Now, in the moment I typically deflected the question or used some line like, “Ah, I’ve got a small collection at home…nothing serious,” but while thinking about what to write for this piece, I came to realize just how big a part of my life vinyl, and music in general, is to my life.

As a kid, music was always around—my mother seemed to date nothing BUT musicians. She was always playing some hair metal or early alt-rock record or TAPE (?!) through the apartment, and we spent a lot of time at various venues and practice spaces throughout town. But, it was always peripheral; it hadn’t yet taken ahold of me. I was busy running around, going to the beach with my buddy Chad, or watching Transformers: Beast Wars…y’know, the good life.

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Thunder Body,
The TVD First Date and Premiere, “What’s Sweet About Lemons”

“Atop our piano in the living room can be found anything from The World Is Shaking, Cubanismo From The Congo 1954-55, to D’Angelo’s Black Messiah. Fresh by Sly and The Family Stone sits in regular rotation next to Leonard Cohen Live at Isle of Wight (mostly because it’s a favorite of Matt’s).”

Eastern Sounds by Yusef Lateef sounds even more wonderful than we’d realized once the vinyl was attained, and hasn’t left its perch. We aren’t exactly record collectors, but we do collect vinyl editions of our favorite recordings. MIA’s KALA got so much air time. Hearing it on vinyl was like hearing it for the first time. King Tubby, Scientist, Augustus Pablo. Very nice on vinyl. If we’re listening to music at home, it’s almost always records. Our hi-fi is our shrine.

If you wanna take several days and move heavy things around for access, ask Dennis Mariano to see his records. Like all of his pursuits, no style is left untouched. Collected by he and his wonderful wife Jenny, the catalogue is as deep as the story of their years and reflects their enthusiasm for both music and collecting. If any of this music should be lost to time, Dennis and Jenny won’t be to blame.

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Canon Blue,
The TVD First Date

“I’m always skeptical whenever anyone talks about their earliest memories. The mind is a funny thing and it likes to fill in mental gaps with experiences that may or may not have actually happened. You think you have vivid memories of your third birthday at the community pool, but then one day you’re looking through an old photo album and you realize all of your memories are just static photos that your brain animated.”

“The only reason I’m inclined to think my earliest memory actually did happen is for the very fact that there is no photo documentation and because it feels entirely too random to be made up. I must have been 4 years old. My parents spent a lot of time at church in those days and I would always be posted up in a child care room in the corner of the building.

My mom says that I was always drawn to music, wanting to obsessively watch the weather channel because I liked the music on the local update, or needing to listen to a very specific cassette tape every night in order to fall asleep. There was a Fischer Price record player in the child care room (I had a matching model with different records at home) and most days you could find me sitting next to it on the floor surrounded by all these vibrantly colorful plastic discs listening to the songs over and over again.

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Lara Hope & the Ark-Tones, The TVD First Date & Video Premiere, “Love You To Life”

“My name is Matt and I’m a record junkie.”

“Always a thrift shopper, always into finding the used things—the bargains, the finds you didn’t know you needed—like that “they’re coming to take me away” record that plays backwards. Sometimes you don’t know you need it until you see it looking at up you from under a 25 cent sign.

For those of us who grew up on hard copies and who own records that have become family heirlooms surviving even our own destructive childhoods, wearing scars of our crayons on their jackets, LPs just lend themselves to being a library item, the permanent collection—a “record”—if you will. The large artwork still tempts those who need a tangible physical object to love and bind the music to. More primal, ever so slightly more permanent, historic…and so the format lives on.

I have collected music all my life. Tapes. Records. CDs. Mp3s. Now streaming service subscriptions. Some of my best friendships were all centered around collecting music, going and seeing other people’s collections, trading, borrowing, and watching the bands that still played. I was always friends with musicians, music lovers, and audiophiles. I started buying records in my late teens to early 20s. I was always on a smaller budget than some of my real record collecting friends who I looked up to. If money was never an issue, I would own a lot more. Would it mean as much?

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Katie Costello,
The TVD First Date

“I grew up in a suburb of LA where, at the time, there were used bookstores and record shops sprinkled around town within walking distance from my house. Anytime I had any amount of money, I’d walk to one after school and spend everything I had.”

“When I got my driver’s license at 16 I drove immediately to Amoeba Records in Hollywood and spent all my money on vinyl and cassettes (they had really good cassette deals!) In high school, anytime I’d invite someone to my room, either friend or romantic interest, I’d put on vinyl according to the mood. My vinyl collection was a major source of pride for me during my teenage years. I used to put on The Velvet Underground & Nico as make out music and felt like the coolest person. The first track on that album is called “Sunday Morning” and I recall putting that on many Sundays.

When I moved to New York City at 18 I started getting into thrifting and buying old records from popularly unknown artists and obscure piano records–basically really random stuff. The more random, the better. I liked the idea that I was uncovering lost musical treasures throughout various record shops around lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. I used to have vinyl of someone reading the U.S. Constitution aloud. That one provided a funny mood for sure!

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Jordan Klassen,
The TVD First Date

“High school for me was a cliché of rupture, angst, and moving far from home to a new town. I was a creative kid who, like many, reveled in existential crisis. During that time in Calgary, Alberta, Canada’s Texas, I was happy to be a lone ranger. Everything was dark and angry, and so I found refuge in the past. The ’70s were very cool at the time and I engaged with the trend with all of my heart. Bell-bottoms, hemp jewelry, shaggy hair. The only thing that kept me from going full-blown pothead was my strict evangelical upbringing.”

“The centerpiece of my nostalgic hiding place was the little lounge I assembled in my family’s unfinished basement. An old thrift store couch, bead curtains, lava lamps. This was where I spent most of my time at home. It was where I hid my cigarettes. It was where I wrote my angsty songs. And most importantly, it was where I listened to my records.

My parents had given me their 1980s Samsung turntable when we moved and I loved how seamlessly it fit with my new identity. I only had one obstacle: the fact that I didn’t have any records to listen to. The obvious decision was to buy vinyl from the’ 60s and ’70s—embarrassingly because it fit the aesthetic of the lounge most consistently. What a happy coincidence!

And so began the great thrift store vinyl hunts of my youth. While Calgary didn’t have much to appeal to me during the early 2000s, it did have some really excellent thrift stores and I took full advantage. Many of my afternoons were spent sifting through boxes of musty vinyl in the furniture sections of Goodwill, Value Village, and Salvation Army thrift stores. At the time I didn’t connect the dots that records that were popular in the past would logically be the easiest to find, and so I was constantly jumping for joy at my amazing and rare discoveries. One of the first of these was The Beatles’ Abbey Road.

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Cardiknox,
The TVD First Date

“From birth, I was surrounded by vinyl. My father was/is a huge audiophile, with thousands of records. He is utterly obsessed with sound quality. What was for most families a TV room was our listening room. He always had high-end stereo systems, with state-of-the-art speakers and vintage tube amps. They knew him by name at Hawthorne Stereo, the local audiophile shop in Seattle, where I grew up. Nearly every week he was swapping out speakers and amplifiers to A/B the sound. His record collection was constantly growing; our shelves always running out of space.”

“From my earliest age, whenever I would cry, Dad would sit me on his lap and play a record to get me to stop. And as I got older, he would have me sit in the “special seat” (the central cushion on our living room sofa, perfectly aligned with the speakers for optimal listening) and play a song he was excited about at the moment. He got so much pleasure out of watching me listen to the songs. Jazz, blues, classic rock, that’s the music I grew up on. I didn’t have to create my own record collection because he already had one. He’d put on a jazz record and say things like: “Hear the stand-up bass? You can tell it’s in the back right corner of the studio where they recorded. And the keys? You can hear he’s sitting front left.”

I quickly learned about the power of music. With my dad, I didn’t just listen to music, I visualized it, felt it. When I moved to LA a few years ago, he bought me a turntable and lent me a bunch of albums from his collection. Every few months, I trade them back in for a new batch. My own little vinyl library, it’s amazing. Most recently I’ve been spinning Burnin’ by The Wailers, The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Moondance by Van Morrison, and Music From Big Pink by The Band.

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Becca Richardson,
The TVD First Date

“The first vinyl record I can ever remember holding was Phoebe Snow’s self-titled debut. It was part of my father’s vast collection of records that sat in haphazard stacks around the living room.”

“I fell in love with that record, both with her songs and with the majestic cover art. The cover is an illustration of her profile, in light purples and blues, large curls, round glasses. I was drawn to how determined she looked, chin to the sky, the portrait of a strong female front and center. My brain makes connections between colors and sounds and to this day I can’t listen to “Poetry Man” without picturing the swirling hues of her album cover.

I wouldn’t start my own record collection until many years later when I moved to San Francisco and got my first big girl job. I would go down to Amoeba Records on the weekends and pick through the used vinyl as I didn’t quite have the budget for new records yet. I had never learned how to look for good used vinyl so I had no idea to examine the records for scratches or bends. I was mostly looking for good album art. From the multicolored illustration on So Far by CSNY (interestingly painted by Joni Mitchell) to the unironic photo of Billy Joel standing in an alley holding a trumpet on 52nd Street, I was drawn to the beauty and absurdity of vinyl album art. It lent such a bigger canvas than the CDs I was accustomed to and the images would transport me to another decade in an instant.

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Fruit Juice, The TVD First Date and Video Premiere, “Flesh”

“The last record I bought was Les Rita Mitsouko’s first album, a Japanese version, that I found when I was in Beijing! And, yes I may be trying to show off a little there, but I feel like that’s just a perfect example of the joy and magic that comes along with the physicality of vinyl, something to keep and treasure. I may have only listened to the actual record once, but I’ve gotten so much more into that album because of the association with it. It has a life in memory, and whenever I listen to it online, I’m right back there in that hip record store in China with my brother.”

“I first started digging into vinyl around 13, through my dad’s little collection that he still had after having ditched most of them for the epic and now sadly irrelevant evolution of the Compact Disc. I was moving out of a brief, angsty Neo-Metal phase and deeply into ‘Classic Rock,’ and his collection gave me JJ Cale, Mills Brothers, and Fleetwood Mac. Then the 50 cent bins at Rainy Day Records in Olympia become a fantastic friend for getting all those old ubiquitous staples, and the beautiful fold out Yes records that I would try so hard to appreciate while doing homework in my room (since then I’ve learned I don’t think I need the 20 minute version of ‘Long Distance Runaround,’ sorry to those hard core prog rock appreciators out there).

I think I’ve been in possession of 6 record players throughout my life, 5 of which never seemed to work! And now whenever I visit a friend’s home I see these cute little fake cherry wood boxes with built in little speakers, that have a turntable, a CD player, and a cassette player. And 93% of the time they have an aux cable coming out of them that they plug their phones or computers into. It’s funny yet not surprising that we long for that vintage element without actually using the vintage sources that they were designed to utilize. Hard not to fall victim too, as most likely, all those 5 non-functional turntables I had just needed a new needle!

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