Wednesday, July 1, 2009

TVD First Date with | Amy Speace

I’ve come to realize I bitch about the quality of contemporary songwriting in this space quite often. Perhaps it’s the ABSENCE of songwriting that drives me nuts and the layer upon layer of effects and artificial beats and processing that smothers even the kernel of something hummable. Or memorable.

A few weeks back I was sent Amy Speace’s track, ‘The Killer In Me’ which is the title track of her new Mitch Easter produced LP. ‘The Killer In Me’ actually features Ian Hunter on vocals as well, which is a refreshing note unto itself.

What begins at note #1 and carries on through to the outro however, is the palpable push/pull of raw emotion, story-telling, and spilling one’s guts right on the table top and handing the listener a fork. And you can sing along.

“The killer in me / loves the killer I see in you...”

Amy’s not only made the track available here at TVD, but has a few fond, vinyl thoughts into the bargain:

"I remember the 78s my grandmother had, heavy vinyl records in cinnamon colored sleeves. Old classical records. Mario Lanza, Rosa Ponselle. The Andrews Sisters. Rachmaninov.  My father’s vinyl collection was proudly displayed in our living room. My Dad grew up very poor in a 1 room farmhouse in Elkton, Maryland, with 4 siblings and no electricity.  Certain things he was able to buy for himself reminded him of how far he’d come: his first bike (a Schwinn) and his first RCA Stereo. He still has both, although he upgraded to a Bose stereo system a few years ago.  I remember sitting on the floor with his record collection, Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, Waylon and Merle and Willie, Ernest Tubb, Elvis, The Ray Coniff Singers, Neil Diamond. He’d play them at night and we’d all sing along.  He had this collection of records from the 60 that taught different dances. The Twist! The Pretzel! The artwork was great: stark white with people dancing on a Twister game in rainbow colors, or they were dark red with a beautiful woman dressed in a white dress and gloves. He also had this great collection of comedy records. My favorite was one called The First Family with a fake Kennedy clan on front by Vaughn Meader.

The first record I was given was probably the soundtrack to Disney’s Cinderella (Bibbity Bobbity Boo). The first record I bought for myself with saved up allowance was Billy Joel’s The Stranger.  I totally remember that day and I still have that record. But my favorite record was The Stones’Sticky Fingers, which I borrowed from my friend’s older brother (and never gave back) when I was about 14 and snuck in the house. It still had the zipper.  I was pretty interested in that cover.

My sister and I used to share a room and we’d put on records and sing along, or make up dances. The physical act of picking up the needle, that little screech you’d get, or the hissing, or when you’d fall asleep to a record and you’d be awoken by the needle at the end, its just not the same with a CD or a tape. The way you could hold a record like it was something you possessed, in an embrace. With our allowance on Sunday, we’d go buy records on Monday, and you’d hug the package to your chest like a lover. I was obsessed with listening. In junior high and high school I was living in a small town and just didn’t feel like I fit in, so I’d run home after school and come home to my own record player and lock my door and sit in my room with headphones and spend hours with my records. Mostly crap from the 80s, to be completely honest, but I also had a lot of classics, like The Doors, The Moody Blues, Janis Joplin. I had a good collection of classical and opera too. I listened to “Jacques Brel is Alive and Well…” over and over."

Amy Speace - The Killer In Me (Mp3)

It's a TVD 24-Hour (...give or take) Ticket Giveaway! | Middle Distance Runner, Thursday (7/2) at The State Theatre

Has anyone noticed the subtext that's swept into TVD as of late? I mean, sure—we dig vinyl but we also need to get out of the house, right? And if you're playing along at home, our plan is to be at The State Theatre Thursday night for one of DC's finest, Middle Distance Runner.

That's all well and good, you're saying, But you wanna come too. Hear ya. Loud and clear. So, until we come up with a different way to win these things, there's a pair of tickets with your name on 'em if you're the one singing loudest in the comments.

That's it. That simple. (And while you're at it, download the current single below.)

We're choosing the winner the morning of the show, so make it good and make it fast...

Middle Distance Runner - The Unbeliever (Mp3)

Middle Distance Runner "The Unbeliever" from maxwell sorensen on Vimeo.

TVD | Covered

...still squeezing out the (cover) sparks. Think of them as tiny fireworks.

Joe Jackson - Summer In The City (Lovin' Spoonful cover) (Mp3)
Gary Clark - Learning To Do Without Me (George Jones cover) (Mp3)
Portastatic - When Love Breaks Down (Prefab Sprout cover) (Mp3)
Manic Street Preachers - Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head (B.J. Thomas cover) (Mp3)
Neil Finn - Sexual Healing (Marvin Gaye cover) (Mp3)