Thoughts Detecting Machines, The TVD
First Date

“The college radio station in the college town I went to college in wasn’t really a college radio station at all—it was a commercial classic rock station run by students who were getting “real world experience.” Instead of college radio, we had The Quaker.”

“The Quaker sat behind the register of a windowless record shop on the second floor of a building in Campustown. He looked suspiciously like a hippie but had impeccable taste in music and brought the best of the American and British underground to the cornfields.

It was all vinyl then, maybe a few cassettes, and The Quaker would handwrite reviews on tiny circular stickers pasted onto the shrink-wrap. Key phrases to look for were “Dark, driving, post-punk,” “Reminiscent of Mission of Burma,” and “Highly Recommended.” If you saw a record with 6 stickers down the front, you knew you had to buy it. And the variety! Sonic Youth’s Bad Moon Rising in “Best New Music” next to Cocteau Twins’ Treasure.

This is where I went from being a just another kid who bought records to an obsessive who needed to hear and own every great album. Every Tuesday was spent trying to find the perfect album for that week—negotiating with friends, “I’ll buy this and if you buy that, we can tape and trade.”

And the covers! I loved the music coming out on Homestead and SST but when you saw a sleeve designed by Peter Saville or Vaughan Oliver, it was obvious that the vision could be as important as the sound. I realized then that I wanted to be a designer as much as a musician and the LP was the perfect palette to pursue both.

At some point the racks of albums were replaced by compact discs, The Quaker moved away to run a store in The City and things just weren’t the same—the constant clack, clack, clack of jewel cases shattered the silent meditation one found while flipping through cardboard sleeves. And then even the CDs disappeared and it felt like the record store had become an archive rather than a living space.

I spent half my life in that college town and then I moved away, to another college town, one that appeared to be even more isolated and flat. But as I got my bearings, I found one record shop, then another and then another—all filled with the new alongside the old. One night I turned on the college radio station (a real college radio station) and there was The Quaker, back in the cornfields, spinning records, new records. This place began to feel like home.

You can take an MP3 anywhere but vinyl is what you keep at home, what you share with others, what you take with you when you move.”
Rick Valentin

Thoughts Detecting Machines is the latest project from Rick Valentin, the man behind the pioneering late ’80s alternative band, Poster Children. Thoughts Detecting Machines’ debut album, Work The Circuits arrived in stores on March 16th via Twelve Inch Records. On vinyl.

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