Wednesday, October 28, 2009

TVD First Date with | The Blakes

During a week when we’re discussing influences, I’m trying to put my finger on just who Seattle’s The Blakes are channeling. Could be Plimsouls...there’s some Beatles in there...The Who...The Kinks too. But it’s all entirely fresh and new as it should be.

Find out yourself when The Blakes play The Red & The Black on November 8th. We chatted with the band’s drummer and resident crate digger Bob Husak, in advance of their DC date:

"Vinyl has become a huge part of my life in recent years. Although I'd been an on-and-off casual collector since high school, a fateful trip to a giant rummage sale on Bainbridge Island in 2007 propelled me headlong into vinyl obsession. At that sale I filled a grocery bag full of any and every LP I could get my hands on, from Liberace to Andy Gibb, and I haven't looked back since.

I'm now dealing vinyl on eBay as my chief means of income, and I've found the act of selling records to be much more rewarding than simply collecting them. I regularly spend uncounted hours sifting through dusty bins and boxes at thrift stores, yard sales and old ladies' garages, obsessing over the condition of each piece I come across. I'm learning to quickly evaluate any given record's worth. I often research labels, pressings, acts, and so forth.

I've noticed that the hyper-detail-oriented approach to vinyl required by turning dealer has essentially demythologized the medium for me. In my opinion, a clean copy of a good pressing played on a good needle through a nice system can sound great, but if you're into analog, reel-to-reel is superior sound-wise. Digital remasters often sound better than vinyl, I believe.

I love vinyl mainly because of the vast amount of music pressed on it that's simply unavailable in any other medium. Entire genres have been practically forgotten, particularly classic easy listening, which I've grown to love. And records are a wonderful link to the past; for example, if you really want to know the sixties, you can't just spin your copies of Pepper, Pet Sounds and Forever Changes, you also need your Herb Alpert, your Man and a Woman soundtrack, your Johnny Mann Singers, your Ray Conniff. Of course, you can always take things to the other extreme and just collect esoterica from the margins, like The Godz or something. It's all fun to me.

Oh yeah, and liner notes. Try reading Maynard Solomon's erudite notes from the early Vanguard releases and tell me you don't suddenly consider yourself a folk expert."

The Blakes - Ramshackle Hearse (Mp3)
The Blakes - Basket (Mp3)

TVD | Flares of Brilliance

From yesterday’s points for consideration, we have my pal Shamus delighting in the experience of discovering new sounds and new music, film auteur Woody Allen commenting that, "When you first start out you're always striving for greatness and perfection and then after some years reality sets in and you realize that you're not going to get it," and Mika performing at the Palladium with his vocal tracks on hard drive. (Now with youtube’d evidence.)

The first band to snake charm me into music was Sweet. The eight year olds of today being seduced by garbage and I stand like the Native American Indian in the antilittering TV commercial with one tear ...streaming down my cheek.

This morning I noticed a few grey hairs.

Sweet - Ballroom Blitz (Mp3)
Sweet - Fox On The Run (Mp3)
Sweet - Action (Mp3)
Sweet - Love Is Like Oxygen (Mp3)
Sweet - The 6-Teens (Mp3)