The Bright Smoke,
The TVD First Date

“For me, formative vinyl was not necessarily artist specific. Heavy rotation in our home consisted of The Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, Joni Mitchell, Roxy Music, and Led Zeppelin—all excellent choices by my parents, but it wasn’t any specific group or artist that made listening to music on vinyl impactful. Rather, it was the manner in which the records were regarded by my parents that made the impression.”

“CDs and cassettes could be played with, pawed at, and strewn about without inciting the ire of my mother and father—vinyl could not. All records were stored strategically out of reach and our turntable was located one million feet in the air, as perceived from my child-sized vantage point. Listening to a record was an event.

Vinyl was fragile, valuable, artwork that required the express permission of an adult, who served as an arbiter of taste and dexterity in allowing your choice to be played. To this day when I walk into someones apartment and their collection is a mess, I think, “this person needs an adult.”

I didn’t start obsessing over collecting until I moved out at 17. Once I had my own space, I wanted my own collection. My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless, Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon, Radiohead’s Kid A, Cat Power’s Moon Pix—those albums were years 17 through 22 for me.

I was living in London when I was gifted Brian Eno and David Byrne’s My Life in the Bush of Ghosts. Against my better judgement, I dropped acid at a pub in Bethnal Green and ended up at a party in Camden on a bad, bad trip. Someone put this album on and I remember thinking the world was definitely ending, but in a good way. It made sense at the time. The owner of the house we were at told me I could keep the record as a parting gift. I think my first assessment of that album is true. Listening to it now still makes me think the world is definitely ending, but in a good way.

After that, I started giving vinyl as gifts to those that I love dearly. I send people music all the time, but vinyl I can’t give away lightly. So, it’s an infrequent gift, but one full of a lot of anxious hand wringing.

Some of the ones that were the most memorable to give: Joy Division’s Closer, Brian Wilson’s Smile, Moonface’s Julia With Blue Jeans On, and Talking Timbuktu by Ali Farka Toure and Ry Cooder. That last one I found in a little dusty spot in Virginia and couldn’t believe what I was holding. I think it’s poor form to wish back a gift, but man I wish I’d kept that album. It’s one of my all time favorites and I absolutely cannot find it anywhere now. A few hours ago, I bought Son Lux’s Alternate Worlds. I think I’m going to hang on to that one, though.

Quincy Ledbetter and I are currently writing our third album and my dream for this one is that it finds its home on vinyl. I want this album to be something beautiful enough that it’s worth pressing.”
Mia Wilson

The Bright Smoke’s Virginia Et Al. is available now.
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