Author Archives: Special to TVD

The Deathray Davies,
The TVD First Date

“My first records were metal: Judas Priest, AC/DC, Ozzy. It was the music that my friend’s big brothers listened to and therefore, so did we. It was the entire universe, as far as I was concerned. “

“I spent hours listening and wondering what it would be like to go to a concert. Ozzy and AC/DC frightened me at first.. but the more I listened the more I wanted get closer to all of it. I was obsessed.

The first time I heard the Ramones, I was all in. It was the coolest thing I could imagine. It sounded like the ’60s (another obsession that came later) but LOUD and FAST. It was catchy, weird, and simple enough for me to think I could try playing my own music someday.

I gave away all of my metal records the next day. It felt like a line in the sand. I started collecting Ramones records, then the Clash. That led to the Cure and the Smiths—it went on from there and branched out.

I love how vinyl creates its own time and space—it feels like an event. As a kid, I’d study the artwork while listening. It was all so other-worldly, so completely different from anything I knew about in my neighborhood in San Antonio, Texas.

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Eddy Lee Ryder,
The TVD First Date

“I love listening to vinyl and knowing this was the format that it was supposed to be heard; fully encompassing.”

“Vinyl was more than an auditory experience, it was tactile and visual. The image on the album jacket presented artwork giving the first hint of the poetry, the cacophony, the harmony, and the rhythmic musical secrets that lay within. While a book should never be judged by its cover, a vinyl record could often be judged by the form, color, and visual statement of the album jacket.

Then, when you’ve brought your new album home and stripped off the cellophane coating covering the album jacket and after sliding the thin vinyl disc from within the walls of its sides, when the record is exposed to the light of day for the first time, the anticipation rises as you place the record on the turntable and watch it spin.

Growing up, the weekend was for playing vinyl loud. All the songs that we usually listened to on CD in the car were supercharged and richer playing them at full volume… that is the way to experience classic rock and become obsessed with it.

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Alright Alright,
The TVD First Date

“Seth and I met at a gig up in the mountains in Colorado when he helped me carry my old Roland keyboard from my 1992 Toyota Corolla station wagon to the stage.”

CHINA: Music and mutual friends brought us together, and I remember thinking that Seth was the most intelligent person at the table later that night when we all went out for drinks. It was the early oughts, before streaming and YouTube, before the internet would take over music listening. I was working 5 different gigs to make ends meet at the time, driving myself all across Denver in that green station wagon, listening to my CDs and the radio.

I mentioned to Seth that first night, that I was obsessed with a song I’d heard on the radio, but didn’t know who had sung it or how to find it. I sang the snippet that I remembered, “In the cathedrals of New York and Rome…” to him, unbeknownst that he was the world’s best finder of random things; that he would research until he found the song, “Cathedrals” by Jump Little Children; that he would purchase the CD it appeared on, and bring it to my doorstep. Thusly, our mutual adoration of each other and of music grew to this full-on collaboration we now nurture, grow and manage together called Alright Alright.

SETH: Yeah, I mean I was a bit smitten when I saw China, then I heard her sing and I was starting to get it bad. Later, in the middle of this dive bar we all ended up at that night, we were drinking martinis to feel fancy, and China asked us about that song. It was so amazing to have this beautiful girl with this big voice just belt a song in the middle of the bar.

Finding that album for her was sorta my foot in the door, and ever since, we’ve ended up discovering a lot of music together over the years. That magic still happens. We were at Americana Fest last year at Jeremy Ivey’s album release in the new Grimey’s, and while we were listening to the music, we kept finding records we wanted. They made some money on us that night!

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Oginalii,
The TVD First Date

“For me, my choice in vinyl comes in two ways, it’s either a must-buy for something I’ve been looking for for awhile and finally came upon, or it comes in taking a risk and buying a random set of 20 records from the bargain bin and hoping to strike gold.”

“My collection ranges from selections of old records passed down to me—like Hendrix’s Electric Ladyland or Deja Vu by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young—and then I have many self-purchased that I’ve learned now have accumulated a lot from merch stands at local shows.

One of my current most prized finds is an LP of a favorite Nashville black metal outfit that no longer exists—Alraune’s The Process of Self-Immolation. I had luckily gotten to see them towards the end of their existence and had regretted not buying a hard copy of this record at the time. But on one of Oginalii’s last tours, we had stopped by a record store in Columbus, OH called Used Kids Records and I just happened to run across this exact LP in the metal bin.

I hadn’t even looked at the price and just immediately picked it up and bought it. Of course it had not been a high demand album, but to me I felt like I had hit the lottery. Sometimes you run into what you have been looking for in the most random of places.”
Ryan

“I was born in 1994, but am lucky enough to have had some time to experience discovering and listening to music before streaming.”

“Both my parents had their respective CD and cassette collections that I couldn’t keep my hands off of. I scoured through both shelves and brought certain ones around with me with my portable players. I started playing piano at a young age and didn’t understand the ‘why’ of it. It felt more like a sport or after school program than anything until going into a record store for the first time. I was 9 or 10 and that trip completely changed my interests for good.

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Mall Daze,
The TVD First Date

“You’ve always been such a beautiful way to express and convey the art of music throughout the years and throughout my life, I just can’t imagine any artist (known or unknown) not having been moved to some degree by a great and ever expanding comprehension of value regarding this soft black spherical capture of note and tone.”

“As time drags on and we find the sound growing in accessibility when paired with the wide lens of the cover art to place us amidst the full thought of a complete LP, instead of the broken (yet necessary) compressive claw of downloads and online shares.

Through the turning over of decades and the weight of years, there is a weight to physical things as well that begin to wear on us and bring us to our knees over time, and yet there is no comparison to the perfect cap to a long recording bender by way of morning’s coffee heavy with robe and forest green corduroyed armchair surrounding with the soft sounds of the amazing Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” (of course) pouring through the den speakers as the sun rises…

Then after a short nap and I suppose I’m feeling a bit more indulgent (showered and dressed to kill) when I drop into Power, Corruption & Lies with the possibility of inspiration for “1979” by none other than the Smashing Pumpkins, but of course not until after “Age of Consent” and approximately two minutes and eight seconds of “We All Stand.”

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Spencer Cullum,
The TVD First Date

“My introduction to vinyl came, like most, from my parents.”

“They bought me both Sgt. Pepper’s and the “White Album” on CD as a birthday gift, but when I realized that they had their own copies on vinyl, I gravitated to those instead. They came with the cardboard cutouts and all the extra trimmings and that felt a lot more magical to me than a tiny CD!

Growing up in Romford Essex, the music scene consisted of mostly dance nightclubs and techno music, but I managed to find a local record store called BeatRoot records (RIP) which opened my mind and gave me an insatiable thirst for vinyl at the age of 13. They also showed me that my birthplace did consist of great music legends such as Procol Harum, Graham Bond, and Billy Bragg (technically from Barking, Essex, but close enough).

This was the ‘other music’ record store of Essex, with more of a car boot sale vibe, that consisted of older fellas reminiscing about Steve Marriott’s pub years and a collage under the glass counter—consisting mostly of ’60s mod pop stars. My best mate David Woolf (who still has BeatRoot records taking up most of his house to this day) worked there for a time and the day they put a local newspaper clipping of me on the collage was a big moment.

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Annie Dressner,
The TVD First Date

“I moved to England in 2011 and brought only one vinyl with me; Phoebe Snow’s Against The Grain. My mother had bought it for me a few years prior when I was still living in NYC, and I cherished it. One night, I was at a local bar in Astoria, LIC BAR, where I would perform a lot. The bar had and still has wonderful curated nights, booked by Gustavo Rodriguez. While enjoying a drink, who walked in? Phoebe Snow! I had to tell her that the only vinyl I owned at the time was hers. She was very nice, and it made the vinyl feel even more special to me.”

“My first memory of vinyl was my parents copy of John Denver’s Windsong as it leaned on the corner of our wooden side table in my living room in downtown NYC. My parents were always playing records, ranging from folk to classical, to rock to musical theatre. I actually once wrote a song called “Paper Moon” where I mention a vinyl that I “played so much that I broke it.” I’m not exactly sure what the record was called, but it definitely had the song “Pop Goes the Weasel” on it. (It only occurred to me lately that perhaps I didn’t break it, but maybe my parents couldn’t stand it anymore so that’s what they told me… hmmmm.) I used to run circles around living room and it was very fun!

My parents record player was one that flipped the record from side A to side B without our having to flip it. I was quite young, but I’m almost certain this is true, because I have a memory of watching it in awe and thinking it was cool. I also knew that I was not allowed to touch it, which I did not—but I wanted to. My brother, did however, teach me how to get an electric shock from the volume knobs of our hifi and also make our hair get staticky.

Another early memory I have of vinyl—if you can even call it that—was my Fisher Price record player. I don’t remember what songs it had, but I believe the ‘vinyl’ were primary colors. This was a great toy!

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The Messenger Birds,
The TVD First Date

“There has always been something special about hearing a record on vinyl. When I was really young, my dad would blast Tower of Power and all sorts of other jazz, blues, and funk records on his turntable, but I didn’t have a true understanding or appreciation for vinyl as a medium until much later.”

“CD was king through my formative years. I used to save money so I could go to Barnes and Noble or FYE to buy CDs when I was in middle school, which was at the height of the emo wave in the early 2000s. So you can probably imagine my collection—Brand New, The Used, Taking Back Sunday, My Chemical Romance, Coheed and Cambria, you name it. I got really heavy into Bright Eyes around the time Wide Awake and Digital Ash came out, and it was kind of the first time I started paying any attention to lyrics. Nuance was suddenly really important in every aspect of the music I listened to, and when I got back into listening to albums on vinyl, that stuck with me.

When I finally got my own turntable, the first records I bought were Wide Awake and Cassadaga. Then it was Room on Fire (The Strokes), Nevermind and In Utero (Nirvana), and the collection kept growing, but each one felt like it hit different on vinyl, like I was hearing it again for the first time. It felt so raw and real. These records were meant to be listened to that way. And I think that’s how Chris and I both feel about Everything Has to Fall Apart Eventually, especially after hearing the test presses from Third Man. Hopefully other people will feel the same way.”
Parker Bengry (guitar/vocals)

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Adam Wright,
The TVD First Date

“I grew up in the ’80s, so I was very much a cassette kid for a lot of years, but my earliest memories of hearing music were of digging LPs out of my Dad’s closet and playing them on our record player. It was how I first discovered music. My first record store, I guess.”

“The first time I put on “Louie, Louie” by the Kingsmen, I was absolutely hooked. I used to hold my breath for the few seconds of hiss and pop before the intro lick. Another pivotal moment was hearing The Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction” for the first time. I had never heard anything like that electric guitar, or anybody sing with that kind of swagger. I remember being slightly terrified and fascinated by “Play With Fire.”

There was also Simon and Garfunkel, The Righteous Brothers, The Beach Boys and The Oak Ridge Boys. And while I didn’t listen to the Herb Alpert Whipped Cream And Other Delights album much, I certainly spent a good deal of time looking at that cover. Add to all of this, the sheer mystery of the physics of a record player, and it’s safe to say my little mind was blown.

I remember going on family trips to the mall and getting to go to the Record Bar. I played guitar by then and I’d load up on as many Chuck Berry, AC/DC, and Led Zeppelin tapes as I could afford. Sometimes I’d hear a song on the radio and not know who it was, and I’d go to the clerk and sing a little of it for them and they could always find it for you. That level of mystery and engagement in music discovery seems to plant it a little deeper in your soil.

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Simon Lunche,
The TVD First Date

“There’s a Harry Potter closet under the stairs in the house I grew up in. When I was little the whole thing was crammed full of stuff to the point you could barely move in there. Jackets, baseball gloves, and stereo equipment filled most of it.”

“However buried far in the back there were two boxes of old vinyl records. It took me quite a bit of digging, but I remember how excited I was as a 6 year old kid to see Abbey Road and Revolver amongst so many other cool album covers peeking out at me from behind the barricade of junk. I had found my dads old record collection.

Shuffling violently through the boxes, I picked out all of the Beatles and Beach Boys albums I could find and set them aside on the floor. At this point in time I was in elementary school, probably in first grade, and I’d ask my parents to put on “California Girls” and “I Want To Hold Your Hand” every day on the way to school. So those records were extra special to me when I found them in the old vinyl box.

At this point in my life my family didn’t have a record player, so much to my dismay I couldn’t actually listen to the records I found. I remember asking my parents over and over if we could get a player but all the good ones were always too pricey and my dad didn’t want to play such old records on a bad table that would mess them up. Funny enough, to this day I’ve never actually listened to those particular records.

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Analog Players Society,
The TVD First Date

“I didn’t know it was vinyl when it was ‘vinyl.’ It was just how the dance party would get started with my sister in the basement on a little portable 45 record player. Or, in the living room on my parents’ old system. It was easier to use than the 8-track. “

“The first records that I remember playing over and over again was the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. My sister had some Madonna 45 singles…and my parents loved Simon and Garfunkel. I have to say that I got into Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass because of the cover. A naked woman covered in whipped cream seemed like a good invitation.

Later in college is when it really came back. I started hanging out with DJs and producers. I fell in love with the Golden Era of Hip Hop’s production techniques, and I started digging. And honestly, that’s when I started falling in love with jazz. Cannonball Adderley, Herbie Hancock obviously… Bitches Brew changed my life. Honestly, after Bitches Brew, my mind exploded.

Also, side note, while I was in high school listening to The Beatles’ “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds,” I finally made the connection that they were talking about LSD. I guess everybody has to figure it out at some point.

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Burning Pools,
The TVD First Date

“When I was 12 years old and listening to the last bands on the long tail of hair metal on cassette, my brother and I had a nanny whose boyfriend played in a hardcore band. I did not know what that was, but he correctly saw a potential convert in me and brought over a crate of LPs and seven-inches of bands I’d never heard of — Gorilla Biscuits, Cro-Mags, Quicksand, Minor Threat. Immediately I didn’t want to listen to Use Your Illusion II anymore and wanted more of this.”

“We went to ReConstruction Records on East 6th St. and I’m pretty sure I bought Bad Religion’s “Atomic Garden” 7” ‘cause I liked their name it had the artwork etched into the B-side of the record. After that I took the subway downtown to ReCon every Saturday, desperately not wanting any of the people who hung out there to find out that I was a private school kid from the Upper West Side. Years later came the slow reveal that they were all private school kids from New Jersey and Long Island.

The shop was volunteer-run and I started working there on weekends. Every Saturday I would buy a few seven inches and maybe an LP based on whatever people were listening to at the shop. The era of punk just before Green Day hit was in retrospect a very strange time for indie music in that we were very elitist (major label records were verboten, but not The Clash or XRaySpex—anything that was old and/or British was exempt) but also very accepting and big-tent musically; the punk community was too small an ecosystem to not include everything independent under its banner.

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Tali, The TVD First Date
and Video Premiere,
“Back To You”

“I’m a sucker for the era my parents talk about from their youth in the ’60s–’80s.”

“I adore technology and all the accessibility that comes with it, though I imagine how incredibly riveting and exciting it must have been to live in the Woodstock era, in the disco era, the synthpop era, the ’90s hip hop and r&b eras—where you had to head to the store with prior anticipation and line up to buy a vinyl and an album in its entirety. I love that people listened to full albums. Vinyl is a key to the past. I feel deeply nostalgic imagining my parents going to the discotheque in their younger years and dancing to songs they reminisce about today.

One of my favourite pastimes in my adolescence was going to vinyl stores on Queen Street in the heart of downtown Toronto. I love the smell of records; it echoes of celebrations from the past; vibrant generations in their golden prime; unique experiences of love, romance, wine, summer sweat, tears, joys, heartbreaks, sealed into one single beautifully packaged entity. There’s something so special to me about having an old record that someone’s grandparents danced to; that may have been passed down generations; that has one or more stories. I revel in imagination as I create my own memories.

My music tastes are eclectic. I’m a big lover of jazz, blues, folk, rock ‘n’ roll, pop and everything in between. Before I even purchased a record player, I’d bought tens of Nina Simone’s records. My friend’s grandparents were moving houses and looking to get rid of some records they owned and graciously gifted me an original, rare Frank Sinatra vinyl from the ’50s.

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Wood & Wire,
The TVD First Date

“If you were born in the ’80s like I was, there are a lot of reasons to consider yourself lucky.”

“We’ve had a unique seat over the course of one of the biggest cultural shifts in history, and have had formative years on both sides of it. Obviously, the way we consume music was a big part of that shift. If you had cool parents like I did, the odds are that at some point, you found a dusty old box of kickass records stored away in a closet somewhere. When I found my Mom’s, it was like striking oil. Luckily for me, the stash included her old turntable as well (you couldn’t order one on Amazon or find one in any Target in 1995).

All of the sudden I was given a snapshot of my 14–22 year old Mother circa 1968–1977 or so, and what a snap shot it was. Black Sabbath Master of Reality (complete with what I found out a few years back is a very a sought after poster inside), Fleetwood Mac, Jefferson Airplane, Little Feat, Carly Simon, Dan Fogelberg, Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, Leon Russell, Janis Joplin, Jerry Jeff Walker, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors… I could go on and on but it wouldn’t be anything unexpected from a girl growing up in Houston in the ’60s and ’70s. With her help, I put them on cold, not knowing what I was getting into. And I enjoyed the hell out of it. Some of it I wasn’t really into, but that was part of the discovery.

Things really shifted when I pulled out a record with a picture of some mustachioed fella with dark features on the cover named Frank Zappa called Apostrophe (‘)”. I couldn’t take my eyes off the ‘stache. Then it was on. I wore that record out. Zappa was the first artist and this was the first recording that taught me I could to whatever the fuck I wanted to do—both musically and otherwise (John Hartford hits me the same way).

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The Love-In,
The TVD First Date

“Vinyl is the best part of Love-In parties.”

“The only good speakers in our house are hooked up to the record player, so we exclusively listen to vinyl when we throw house parties. At the end of the night, you can always see how the mood changed based on what records are left out on the table. I think our last party before COVID started with Beyonce’s Lemonade and ended with Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here. I guess whoever put on that last record must’ve known something the rest of us didn’t.

Our collection is pretty eclectic because we all buy records for different reasons. My part of the collection consists of records I like to cook to, be alone to, dance to, and old jazz records featuring recordings I’ve never been able to find anywhere else. We stop at record stores in most cities we tour in, so it’s cool to be able to find little gems all over the country. The problem is keeping them safe for the rest of the tour. Our van’s AC is not the most reliable so I always worry they’ll melt in there.

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