Luna Shadows,
The TVD First Date

“When I was a little girl, I used to sit in my parents’ basement alone for hours with my mom’s childhood record collection on repeat, spinning on her old yellow travel player. I remember deciding which record to listen to by which sticker I liked the best. With such a method in place, I ended up looping the pink stickered “Put Your Hand In The Hand” by Ocean quite a bit, as my affinity for pink and pop songs knew no bounds.”

“It wasn’t long before the dark blue stickered single “Ben” by a young Michael Jackson made it into heavy rotation. I remember thinking that the vocalist was a girl, but my mom euphemistically relayed to me that it was actually a sonic snapshot of the biggest pop star of all time approaching puberty, singing about a pet rat. I remember picking up the needle and starting this one over and over, singing along until I knew every word, imagining a cartoonishly cute pet rat. I didn’t own any pets, so even a pet rat was really appealing at the time.

These are not only my earliest memories of vinyl but also some of my earliest memories of music. Sharing a vocal range with a young MJ in my quiet basement was one of my first attempts at imitation singing. Maybe it’s a bit surface level to choose a song by its sticker, but I actually still pick vinyl by its artwork to this day. For me personally, the vinyl experience is perhaps even half visual. Watching a record spin is a hypnotic and meditative activity for me.

Vinyl wasn’t really a part of my life for a while after that. After I’d worn out all my mom’s records, vinyl wasn’t really an attainable medium for me. It took until I was much older before I made my first vinyl purchase, Bon Iver’s For Emma, Forever Ago, which remains my favorite record even today. I purchased my first player, a tan Crosley Keepsake portable suitcase, when I moved to Los Angeles a decade ago.

I’m sure the vinyl community would have a lot to say about the quality of these players, but I absolutely LOVE them. I love the toy quality, the imperfections, the dust, and the slight bends. It reminds me of the tiny yellow travel player that belonged to my mother. It brings me right back to the basement, the place where I first began my love affair with music. In a world of pristine .WAV files and .mp3s, the wobbles and dust particles bring me a deep sense of peace, nostalgia, and connection to humanity.

When I finally had the opportunity to make my own vinyl (which I have done twice now – “Summertime” and “Youth”), my designer and I spent many hours creating visuals that measured up to the listening experience. I treated this like an art project, and the process did not end when I finished the music. I wanted the most recent design to be swimming pool blue—I took the photo myself at my parents’ pool, and I wanted the actual vinyl to splash around as it spun. My love for music started here, and I wanted to pass it forward. Painting it blue was the least I could do.”
Luna Shadows

Luna Shadows’ “Youth” 10″ EP—on limited edition swimming pool blue vinyl—is in stores now.

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PHOTO: LARSEN SOTELO

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