Author Archives: Special to TVD

Freekbass, The TVD
First Date and Premiere of “R U Ready” and Vinyl Giveaway

“Vinyl, and the whole album experience, has always been an analogue fantasy for me. The warm tones you get from the needle in the grooves was something lost in the digital and CD realm. Then there is the cover art, a tangible connection you can hold in your hands, making the listening experience more fantastical, bringing you into the artists’ world they have created.”

“My parents always had vinyl around the house while I was growing up. My father was a big Joe Cocker fan. I remember the Mad Dogs & Englishmen album cover like it was yesterday. I was always confused, because I would hear Cocker’s version of “She Came In Through The Bathroom Window” and sometimes I would hear The Beatles version. I didn’t understand how there could be two versions of the same song.

Now, this might sound strange, but as much as I remember how the record sounded and looked, I also remember the smell: the combination of the cardboard-cover mixed with vinyl scent of the album. It was an all part of immersive experience for this kid.

When got older, I would go to second-hand/thrift stores a lot. Partially for financial reasons and partially for the cool finds. As much as music was everything to me, I never bought a lot of recorded music growing up. If I ever had the extra money, I was spending it on music gear (bass strings, cables, amp and guitar repairs, etc).

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Black Match,
The TVD First Date

“Listening to a record on vinyl has a different warmth and character.”

“There’s a reason it has stuck around through the ages and continued to be a prominent love for music fans. It’s physical, you have cover art that you can touch, hold in your hand, and adore on your wall.

The vinyl itself holds the physical scrapes of a something greater, you can see the indentations of your favorite song. But most of all, the sounds feel as if they’re sent through a filter of nostalgia and homeliness. It’s something that we think will, or at least should, last forever.

We grew up going to an amazing record store in our town called Boo Boo Records. Its record collection is as iconic as its logo and has been named one of the top record stores in America by Rolling Stone magazine.

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Yes Gabriel,
The TVD First Date

“One of my earliest musical memories is listening to my mom’s copy of Tapestry on the family record player. I would sit near the speakers in our living room, absorbing Carole King’s mellow alto and mid-register piano chords as California sunlight streamed through the window. On the album cover, King sits in the corner of a window seat in her own sunlit room, looking relaxed, her guard down. I would stare at the cover as I listened, feeling a warm, intimate connection with the songs and the person singing them.”

“That intimacy came from King’s powerful songs and performances, for sure, but also from the experience of playing the record itself. Taking the album out of its sleeve, placing it onto the turntable, and lowering the needle into the groove: each action required a physical engagement, a commitment of time, energy and attention that strengthened my connection to the music. The ritual of playing made me more of an accomplice, an active as opposed to a passive listener.

Record playing also adds to a sense of intimacy to music through the way the system is designed, how the sound-making mechanisms are exposed to the listener. The physical patterns of the sounds are visible as grooves. You can watch the needle move as it translates the grooves into vibrations. Seeing how the sound is created brings the listener closer to the music literally and emotionally land deepens a sense of its magic and mystery.

How do the vibrations picked up by the needle transport us into a room with The Beatles or Carole King? How do the grooves we see in front of us translate into so much joy, excitement and nostalgia? We can see and understand what is happening intellectually, but we can’t reconcile it with the magnitude of the emotional changes it creates within us.

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Lucy Spraggan,
The TVD First Date

“I grew up in a house full of music—CDs and vinyl were everywhere. We sang along with household objects for microphones and tennis racquets for guitars.”

“The vinyl was always hallowed, cleaned with soft cloths, blown on to dislodge the last speck of static, reverentially lowered into the turntable. CDs were disposable—the cases snapped, the discs ended up in one of those big black zip-up folders in the car. Before long, tracks 4 and 6 jumped, track 5 got stuck in a hiccuping loop, and track 7 just jammed the whole CD drawer for weeks.

Not so vinyl, the sleek shiny record, the squared-off art of the cover, the neat rows and rows of lyrics printed on the sleeve to stop you making a fool of yourself when you sang along. They were squares of living history, tracing my whole life and even back to before my parents met.

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Cave Clove,
The TVD First Date

“There is something deliciously ceremonial and ritualistic about listening to music on vinyl.”

“The process of picking a record, looking at the album art, maybe displaying it somewhere as you listen, the flip to side B. No matter how big or small a collection is, it feels like a fun creative restriction to pick a record from the collection at hand, since these days with streaming services we can put on a digital version of pretty much anything in the world we want to hear.

I was fortunate to grow up in a home with a pretty sweet vinyl collection. My parents had lots of rock, soul, jazz, and folk records from the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. Some classics that I’ve had on heavy rotation for as long as I can remember that have greatly influenced my taste and the music I make include George Harrison, All Things Must Pass, Joni Mitchell, Blue, Prince, Prince, Steely Dan Aja, and Kate Bush The Kick Inside.

Below is a little more info about why I chose each of these albums. I would say overall, that the biggest aspect of all of these albums that influenced my own music is melody. All 5 of these artists write really beautiful, unique, and emotionally rich melodies in my opinion. A lot of really great music does not have strong melody lines, nor does it intend to.

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Close Talker,
The TVD First Date

“Both as a band and as individuals, we have come to appreciate vinyl and albums as a whole and we all have a pretty substantial vinyl collection. Perhaps in part because we want to push back against the 3 minute, single orientated, soundbite, immediate culture we find ourselves in.”

“I think most of all, because listening to vinyl and settling into an album is more intentional and an investment of both time and effort. We feel that the artist deserves that. If they put in 1,000 hours into it, the least we can do is take 44 minutes and hear them out. We’ve found that this investment of time and effort pays off and allows you to get into the headspace of the artist in a more meaningful way. The themes, the song sequence, the production, it all plays off of one another and great records, front to back, really stand out these days.

Singles are fine, but it is like reading the headline of an article, thinking you understand, and scrolling on by. Vinyl is like reading the article and actually learning something. It is an attractive medium for these reasons alone. Not to mention it is nice to physically own your music and have a tangible keepsake with artwork and liner notes.

It is oddly refreshing to truly take time with anything these days. We always try to be efficient with our time, even with leisure and pleasure. For us, music deserves time, and vinyl offers this and encourages us to just stop, and take it in.

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Dan Lyons,
The TVD First Date

“Records… where to start? My Dad’s collection was on a shelf which ran the length of the living room in the house I grew up in. I have very early memories of flicking through them having absolutely no idea what they were. On the covers were all these incredible looking people, bright colours and weird drawings. They seemed to belong to a different world…”

“On my 16th birthday he left Marquee Moon and Psycho Killer in my room. I went downstairs, put them on the stereo, sat there in front of the speakers and it changed my life.

I’m hyper sensitive, I get goosebumps quite easily, and there’s something about the actual sound of the music that comes from a vinyl record that is closer, clearer, and more personal than any other format. Hearing the intro to “Elevation” on Marquee Moon and then Tom Verlaine’s voice piercing through that warm fuzz of the needle on plastic had my hairs standing on end.

I remember holding the first album I played on. A box of them had been delivered to a gig in London, and we were each given a copy by the label. In the physical pressing of a record onto plastic you transform performances and emotions, words and feelings, into a tangible object that can be held, touched and seen. I think this process is magical, there’s such permanence to it. Once it’s on there, it’s not coming off.

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DJ DalePlay,
The TVD First Date

“My first encounter with vinyl was through my mother who showed me some vinyl of this artist Oscar De Leon’s “Lloraras” back in Venezuela. It had a funny shape like a pizza and it had to be handled with care like a jewel or like a woman. It completely grabbed my attention and I will never forget that moment. But when you’re poor as F, some more joyful things in life have to be experienced by bits, but that also makes it more exciting if I am honest.”

“The most annoying part was that I couldn’t really experience it fully because we didn’t have the most important part, the “gramophone” or as they call it, “record player” or “turntable” (I am a bit lost for names as it has evolved through the years) which died (it took a break) and then came back to life and so on and on.

But vinyl is still here quite strong and it fascinates me to watch its comeback to the world of streaming and fast “fingertip” choices. My encounters with vinyl happened casually and without pressure through the years. As a DJ in this new era it can be quite easy downloading the latest tracks available to keep the crowd dancing and happy. However, truth lies on those particular treasures, tracks that nobody has and that uniqueness you find only by going into a record store and by spending a few good hours in there digging it, literally like treasure hunting.

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R E L,
The TVD First Date

“I own a small collection of records…”

“David Bowie – Young Americans, Otis Redding – The Soul Album, Live Aid Concert Record, Jamie xx – In Colour, Beach Boys – Endless Summer, Chaka Khan – I Feel For You, James Taylor – Gorilla, Carole King – Fantasy, Donna Summer – Bad Girls to name a few.

I grew up listening to great music—most of it my dad’s favorite records (some of my mom’s too). I heard The Rolling Stones, Queen, Beach Boys, Carole King, James Taylor, Crosby Stills Nash & Young, Phish, Simon & Garfunkel, The Beatles, Don Henley, Earth Wind & Fire, Billy Joel and more in the car or at home.

My parents tell me that before I spoke, I sang—The Rolling Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” to be specific. We had driven to a family dinner and my parents must have played it on the way there, because on the way back I started singing the song, melody, and some of the lyrics. I was 2.

I’m 23. I grew up in the age of CDs, and then iTunes, not vinyl. In the Chicago suburb where I grew up until age 13, I used to visit a local store called CD City and look at/ pick out my generation’s vinyl. My dad tells me he had a large collection of vinyl, which my mom gave away after several years of them sitting in the basement. Needless to say, he was not happy!

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Morgan Geer,
The TVD First Date

“I’m lucky to come from a family of multi-generational music lovers and musicians. From my grandfather’s jazz and classical 78s to my uncle’s Elvis Costello records, vinyl was always there growing up. My earliest memories are the sound of Willie Nelson’s voice spinning out of a massive sound system and the smell of marijuana smoke filling up our old New Orleans home. Everyone seemed happy and the world was a mystery.”

“Barely old enough to walk, I had a yellow plastic portable record player and would listen to a lot of Carol King’s Really Rosie and Sgt. Pepper. (Later I realized that I had the stereo mix of Pepper and the record player only played mono—blew my little mind when I finally heard the full thing.)

The first vinyl record I remember asking for was Tattoo You by The Rolling Stones. I would take it to school and stare at it. Of course I was ostracized. I didn’t care, I was proud and felt grown up to own it.

I’ve never not had vinyl records but I’m not much of an audiophile. I still don’t own a very nice hi-fi set up. It’s a tactile experience. Big art. The way they look while they spin—like the most elemental of dances. The potential of the waiting disc on a still plate. On your mark, get set and go cat go. Plus it’s just really cool and elegant technology.

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Abigail Dowd,
The TVD First Date

“The first album I ever bought was Janis Ian’s Between the Lines.”

“I had just moved to Maine and we bought a record player for our tiny apartment in Portland. I was so excited to start my collection with that album. Later, I learned that it was also my late father’s favorite album in college and that made it even sweeter. It’s still one that I return to every year.

One of my earliest memories of my Dad is being a toddler running around the living room, galloping with my wooden horse while he played Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture,” and teaching me to gallop lightly so that the album didn’t skip. He was always putting on records and teaching me the words to his favorite songs. Thus began my musical education.

When I moved to Maine in my late twenties, I spent almost every weekend at a farm house in Vassalboro. There was no TV or internet, no smart phones. Just a record player and an amazing collection of records. We’d spend all day outside and then come in and listen to records for hours on end. Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell, Led Zeppelin, Sly and the Family Stone, Jim Croce.

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TVD Live Shots: Better Oblivion Community Center at Lincoln Hall, 3/23

WORDS AND IMAGES: KATE SCOTT | As I stood in a completely packed Lincoln Hall, the guy next to me made a great point: “If you’re over 30, you grew up with Conor Oberst as your lyrical king. And, if you know anything about indie music, then Phoebe Bridgers is your current queen.” Those words really rang true as I watched Better Oblivion Community Center turn the crowd into a big bowl of emotional jelly.

The indie folk supergroup, composed of Oberst and Bridgers, is a bit more aggressive than Bright Eyes and a bit more whimsical than Bridgers’ solo work. The creative chemistry between the two artists makes for completely unique and beautiful music. Case in point, their single “Dylan Thomas” is a harmonious blend of both artists’ voices. Their self-titled debut album puts both Oberst’s and Bridgers’ strengths at the heart of each track, while allowing for a little vulnerability and humility as well.

Their first sold out night at Lincoln Hall was an intimate and powerful performance. With each artist on opposite ends of the modest stage, surrounded by old-fashioned lights and a backdrop of their fictional community center, it felt like we were watching a performance in a garage on a warm summer night.

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Charles Wesley Godwin,
The TVD First Date

“I wish I could say that I discovered great songwriters like Townes Van Zandt, John Prine, or Kris Kristofferson at the age of four and from that day forth became a lifelong fan of the craft.”

“While growing up, I wish that I had frequented my local record store discovering new music on a weekly basis. I wish I could say that I begged my parents for a Sears and Roebuck catalog guitar before I could stand on my own two wee legs, but I can’t. In fact, I grew up not singing in church, assuming that I couldn’t sing at all, listening to Cher in the family van during road trips across the west, sitting in silence in my mother’s car on our way to school, and occasionally listening to the oldies station while riding along in my father’s old Ford Ranger. To defend my mom for a second, she spent her entire career teaching young children. I think she found those silent moments in the car incredibly peaceful. I get that now.

I had a tune stuck in my head many times in my early life. I specifically remember having songs like “Eleanor Rigby,” “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” and “Fortunate Son” stuck in my head for weeks at a time. However, I actually had a hard time thinking of when exactly was the first time that I sought out a piece of music. I know that I never fell in love with music until I was nineteen or twenty. For days, I’ve been thinking about when was the first time I actually wanted to purchase music. I know that seems hard to believe considering what I do now for a living, but it’s the truth.

I ended up coming to the conclusion that Linkin Park’s Meteora was it. While growing up, the Godwin side of my family had a Christmas get together sometime in December every year. We had so many children in the family that it was impractical to get everyone a gift, so we did the secret Santa thing. All the aunts, uncles, older cousins, parents and grandparents would each have one kid to buy one present for. I remember asking for that Meteora CD for my secret Santa gift.

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Izzy Thomas,
The TVD First Date

“The first record I ever listened to was the Michael Jackson Bad record. I couldn’t get enough!”

“I loved his earlier one, Off The Wall, too. I wouldn’t even consider myself as a massive funk fan, but what MJ did with it was amazing. My father introduced me to vinyl when he’d listen to Free and Paul Rogers, from then on I would love going in record shops and digging for the rock records like my dad’s.

It’s amazing how records can still sound so good after so many years. Vinyl is basically equivalent to photographers having a raw file of a picture, compared to a JPG.

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A Fragile Tomorrow,
The TVD First Date

“As long as I can remember, vinyl has played a big role in my life. As a toddler, our dad would put on Zeppelin and The Who records while the family hung around the living room, which continued through much of our childhood.”

“As I got a little bit older and started exploring my own interest in music, I would pull out my dad’s record player in the basement and spend hours studying records from his collection, like Quadrophenia, or Cheap Trick At Budokan. This early exploration led to my lifelong fascination with vinyl and my love of the album as a physical medium.

At 15, my family moved to Charleston, SC, and for a couple of years we lived down the street from my favorite record store, Monster Music, which became like a second home to me. I’d ride my bike over to Monster and spend hours digging through the bins, spending the little money I had on as much music as I could possibly afford. It was no coincidence that the records I made an effort to get into my hands are the ones that still stick with me today.

My love of records has taken me to parts of the world I wouldn’t have seen otherwise. In just about every city we pass through on tour, I make it my mission to find a local record store and pick something out. The music I’ve found in various record stores around the world, from Can to Slowdive, and Devo to Funkadelic, has quite literally changed my life, serving as direct inspiration for the music we make today.

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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