The Soft White Sixties,
The TVD First Date

“The physical nature of vinyl has always had a transportive effect on me. Maybe it’s the extra steps in the listening process—flipping a few switches, unsheathing the record, lifting the needle—that seem to always place vinyl records in a specific time and place in my mind, but the effect is unmatched by any other listening format.”

“I can’t help but picture certain records existing only on vinyl in a particular environment. The torn and frayed edges of my parents’ copy of American Beauty propped up against a bookcase in my childhood living room, the cardboard box of All Things Must Pass that encases three of my all time favorite platters, even the shrink-wrap melted to the outside of my copy of De Stijl that got left in a car too long in the Sacramento heat; this is how these records exist in my mind.

Audio-quality debates aside, the inherent physicality of a vinyl record permanently imprints an image in my mind of the space where I’m hearing it. Years could go by before the same record is listened to again, but once the sounds crackle and hiss their way through the speakers, it teleports me like some kind of lysergic residue. The dark wood grain finish on my parents’ vintage Sansui speakers blasting Electric Warrior is just as relative as the opening slapback groove of “Mambo Sun.” The first chords of “Lost In The Light” off Bahamas’ Barchords come with the smell of saltwater after my fiancé dropped the needle on that daily at a friend’s house in Hawaii for a week straight.

Speaking In Tongues is one album in particular that conjures up one of my favorite memories. It was summertime, mid to late 1990s. School’s out, I’m hanging around the house with my mom and casually make mention of the stacks of vinyl parked along the back of the couch. I imagine that my mom, a former commercial radio DJ in the ’70s and ’80s and all around kickass woman, figured she had just been presented with a very special teachable moment. The oddly-spaced lettering and mildly African color palette on the cover of the album she slid from the shelf was intriguing. I’m not sure if this was the album she had always planned to use for this vinyl ritual or just the one that happened to be within reach.

Flash to 2013 and The Soft White Sixties are making our first LP at a studio in Berkeley, CA. During a break, I find Speaking In Tongues in a stack of vinyl in the studio’s lounge. It was probably the first time I’d really listened to that record again since I first heard it, but couldn’t help but picture the scene surrounding that event—the midday Northern California sun reflecting off the glass of the patio table where my mom and I sat with the family dog, bobbing along to “Girlfriend Is Better.”

Since then, it’s an album (and band for that matter) that seems to be an ever-present reference on every record we’ve made thus far, including the one we just finished that will be coming out next year. It’s smart music that makes you dance; dance music you can think to. As soon as David’s quasi-metal acoustic guitar intro creeps out of the speakers and Chris Frantz’s thunderous drum fills announce “Burning Down The House,” I’m immediately transported to the sunny back deck where it all began. “Watch out!” is right.”
Aaron Eisenberg

The Soft White Sixties’ double A-side single “Brick By Brick” b/w “Piedra A Piedra”—in both English and Spanish—is in stores now.

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PHOTO: MAT DUNLAP

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