ALMA,
The TVD First Date

“True story… each of us got our first record player in the pandemic. One of us had been gifted one of those kitschy victrola remakes that sell like bananas on Amazon years ago, and it broke six months later, but outside of that, we are new to the vinyl revolution. It didn’t quite start here though. Melissa spent hours at Crooked Beat in Adams Morgan, DC (now located in Alexandria, VA), Alba at Feten Discos (in Salamanca, Spain), and Lillie at Mystery Train Records in Gloucester, MA. We’ve inherited our families’ dusty record collections and have found ourselves here, finally listening to records in our own homes.”

The one record that’s gotten us each through the pandemic…

MELISSA: Flashback to April of 2020. I had spent most of the past six weeks inside. One of the first records I played on my new turntable was Postcard by Mary Hopkin. Her version of “There’s No Business Like Show Business” got me through hard times like no other. It’s weird, yet hopeful. And is the best to belt while dancing around your shoebox apartment. I’ve imagined Mary Hopkin recording that album and thinking how different it is now. We recorded the bulk of our debut album Mosaic from our home studios and would not have been able to put our music out in the world if not for the wonders of technology. So, I personally am the most luddite-esque of the group, but am endlessly grateful for having the gift of resources and knowledge to record at home.

LILLIE: Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon by James Taylor. Specifically, side two, “You Can Close Your Eyes.” There’s just something about it—between “Hey Mister, That’s Me on the Jukebox” and “Machine Gun Kelly” it’s like this surprise, little gem of sincerity and peace between these two cynical songs. In other words, you have two doses of “Damn, James, that’s a blue kind of time” with a helping of sunlight right between them. If that isn’t like the pandemic experience sandwich…I’m not sure what is. We’re all stuck at home trying to figure out our lives, but also, here’s our band ALMA releasing our debut record song by song. Pandemic sandwich!

ALBA: A Change in Diet by Elliot Moss! Elliot actually gifted me my first record player right before the pandemic started—I had arranged some horns for a couple of tracks in the album, so he gave me a copy of the vinyl as a keepsake. Then the pandemic hit, so it was the only vinyl I had for months! I listened to it on repeat, savoring every track. That record holds a special place in my heart.

Going analog…

MELISSA: Having my record player has also inspired me to take more time off of technology. It’s become an alternative anchor to my phone or computer. Every Saturday I try to take considerable time off screens (if not the whole day) and thank goodness I have something to listen to.

LILLIE: Remember CD’s? Remember clutching your discman and 7lbs of albums in disc jackets like it was your life? Because an album is a portal into another headspace, and what is cooler than that? When streaming got big, it was like the convenience of having any song at any moment destroyed the experience of the album. Yes, of course you could choose to listen all the way through, but wasn’t it just easier to skip the songs you didn’t immediately get or cherry pick the album into a playlist of favorites? I forgot what it was like to dive into an album and be immersed in a world curated by an artist, start-to-finish.

But the year I got a record player it was like I got the golden ticket back into the magic of being a kid with those 7lbs of albums. When I play a record, I am on for the ride (at least for the side!). I feel that personal relationship with the artist again—a time to focus on the music and the arc of the album (of course, our dream is to do this in our own upcoming album, Mosaic).  It’s my favorite way to start the day now. Coffee, quiet house, and a great record.

ALBA: The excitement of buying new music is back! Carefully curating your library, the regrets when you spend money on something you don’t end up enjoying… hadn’t felt this for years. Also, just the pure magic of the mechanical, tangible nature of it.

“Can’t Swim,” the brand new single from ALMA is in stores now.

ALMA Official | Facebook | Instagram | Bandcamp
PHOTO: ABBEY MacKAY

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