Monday, May 10, 2010

TVD First Date | Melissa Auf der Maur

The time, the place and the way you discover music, has a permanent affect on the way you remember it and feel it from that moment on. Just like falling in love or making a new friend- those first impressions sit with the relationship for good.

So to decipher my relationship with vinyl and certain albums in particular, it all comes down to the fact that I grew up in the album (and then, cassette) era. I grew up in the 70's & 80's and like the rest of us evolved into the now, CD and digital era, but my first impression of "MUSIC" was on vinyl…

Once upon a time, in 1969 to be precise, my mother Linda Gaboriau, was the first female rock disc jockey in Montreal, Canada. I was not born yet, but her record collection exploded around then, and I was born and raised on it. I always credit my mother's record collection and her relationship with her generation's music, for the reason I am making music today. The non stop soundtrack around the house, the amazing stories she'd tell me when looking at the album art together "Dylan. He's the greatest poet of our time", "Cohen: He's the sexiest man alive" or the confusing stories about "the one that died". Her connection with her generation emanated from those records, and I was sent on my mission to find my generation and my generation's music.

The first album I bought with my own money, was "Head On The Door" by The Cure. I still listen to it, and it's forever one of my favorite. My record player is front and center in my living room, and that is always the choice ritual and listening choice when hosting or having a party at my house.

My collection also includes a decent amount of those amazing 1970's box sets. I collected them while thrift shopping across the USA in the '90's. Those are epic artifacts! Up to 7 albums in a beautiful sturdy box, with lots of liner notes, cool flaps and art work. The best one is the "Space Shuttle Landing 1969" box set with all the audio and news reports from the journey. The rest are mainly easy listening versions of old standards. Perfect background music, that you have to stay tuned to and flip!

I put myself through college as a "Cassette DJ" : The Bifteck St-Laurent is Montreal's, now legendary, "Grunge" bar. An old Portuguese steak house turned broke musicians bar, that payed me and my friends 40$ a night to flip tapes from 9pm - 3 am 7 days a week. I lived in that bar from 16 till the day I joined Hole in 1994. There was always music playing and most of the time my picks. My mixed tapes were made from all my vinyl. Every month I'd set up my turntable and cassette deck to make my new mix tapes, then I'd play them on auto- reverse while I played pool and drank a pint of local auburn micro brew…..

Vinyl is the at the absolute core of everything music in my life.

Of course we all got distracted by CD's for a while, and I have a massive collection still not entirely digitized. I still to this day don't buy MP3s, I usually buy it on CD, because I still need to read the liner notes. Who engineered? Who are the writers? Most of my listening time is in the car listening to CDs and in my living room most often albums.

However, dear reader, it's worth mentioning this recent music "discovery" I made. This past weekend at my friend Steve's birthday / housewarming party, while everyone was in the backyard, I entered the empty living room while someones iPod was on shuffle. Led Zepplin's "Kashmir" came on… it stopped me in my tracks, and I sat in the middle of the floor, and in a strange psychedelic way, I re-discovered that song, and cried (yes it's true) out of my love of music. The next morning back at my house, I went down to my record collection, found my vinyl copy of it. It's the high quality, double album, long play version, with only two songs per side… and I cranked Kashmir.

I must tell you dear Vinyl District… That song remained the same… as good digital, as it is analogue. Music CAN transcend all physical realities, even though vinyl is the coolest format. I Love Music.

Thanks for listening….
Melissa Auf der Maur
May 2010

P.S. My new record OUT OF OUR MINDS is available exclusively at my website!

TVD Live at Noon Today (EST): The Joy Formidable & The Dig

The Joy Formidable - Whirring (Mp3)

The Dig - You're Already Gone (Mp3)

The Steelwells' Vinyl District Takeover!

I was holed up a couple of nights back at TVD HQ, jesus juice in a tumbler to one side, when a note zipped into the email box – some guy wants me to hear this band he thinks I’d like. Now, the difference with this email in contrast to the many daily was that it was just from some dude singing the praises of a band. Nothing more. No sell job. Just ‘methinks you’ll like.’


...and I did, so much so that Fullerton, CA’s The Steelwells are hanging out with us this week. —Ed.

"It's hard to imagine we started this thing almost three years ago. Billy, Andrew, Robbie, and our founding drummer Brian (as well as our current drummer Jon) all grew up playing music together. I, on the other hand, am the outsider to this crew. It took some time but I feel like I have been somewhat accepted at this point. All of us were born and raised in Southern California and I think the music does tend to reflect our surroundings.

Our current EP Shallow on the Draft in hindsight draws on some of our Californian influences like The Beach Boys, Calexico, CCR, Jeff Buckley, Pavement, The Rentals, and Starflyer 59 and on and on really. I definitely grew up loving Elvis Costello, The Beatles, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, Van Morrison, Frank Sinatra (the whole damn rat pack really). The list gets long. When asked to define our sound or give our influences we tend to get overwhelmed by the question. If I had to define our sound with a gun to my head I think I would have to just say it’s kind of a sweet and sour indie dish. Hopefully the gunman would get confused and hungry at the same time. What I can say is we do our best to make it honest both musically and lyrically.

Since our record release back in October at The House of Blues in Anaheim we have been pretty happy with the positive response to our music. We feel like we made the right choice to put music out there that isn’t trying to be anything other than a reflection of us. I tend to gravitate toward an artist that can dig around for something more from themselves and the music. My suggestion to anyone making any art at all is be honest and grateful. Right now we are writing and doing preproduction for our next EP. While we are very excited to put out some new music we don’t take it lightly that we owe it to ourselves to feel right about what we are making.

So that’s us in a nut. I hope you will check in this whole week while I try to dissect our bands influence’s into its various parts. I’m going to attempt to understand ourselves better musically since this is something we tend avoid getting into. Let’s just take it one day at a time and see where we end up.

I also thought it would be fun to have a little video contest while we are at it. The winner of the contest will receive two guest list spots at any of our up coming shows, a signed cd, a free t-shirt and stickers, as well as dinner with us. If I have time I will cook but more than likely we will go out for burritos. Either way you win!

To enter the contest simply send us a video of you, your friends, or your loved ones dancing to our song This Dance is Out of Your Hands. The band will vote on the best dance and choose the winner. If you’re from out of town you get all of the above and dinner when we tour through your town. We are going to work out the details this week and let it run for about a month. I will have more info as we go along here as well as a link to upload videos. Now DANCE!!!"
—Joey Winter

The Steelwells - This Dance Is Out Of Your Hands (Mp3)

TVD Spring Vinyl Giveaway | The Joy Formidable 'A Balloon called moaning"

I imagine that it's no surprise to any of you following along at home that if there was a new Joy Formidable release on vinyl, we'd find a way to get our hands on it and offer a copy of it on the blog.

Well, our Formidable exuberance being what it is, we have—and here it is—your chance to win a copy of The Joy Formidable's EP ‘A Balloon called moaning’ which is getting its official US release today on Black Bell Records.

"It can go either way when you grow up in a family of bootleggers and record collectors; you either catch the bug and join in or snub music completely. I was in cahoots from the start and absolutely reveled in my parents near library of vinyl, cds, cassettes and reel to reel. The vinyl section covered 2 walls and stacked on top were four large boxes of 7" singles.

I decided that this would be the starting point of my listening habits, I'd try and listen methodically to every single in every box. Black Coffee in Bed, Say a Little Prayer, Sex Machine, Family Affair, Fire, Something's Gotten Hold of My Heart.... so many brilliant tracks. I got quite far in the quest of going through every box; the joy and calamity of being an only child..."

That was Ritzy from our 'First Date' with the band last February.

Your task to win the vinyl copy of ‘A Balloon called moaning?’ Give us your backstory in regard to discovering music in general or vinyl specifically. The one that hits our sweet spot as posted to the comments section of this post —with contact info!—wins the EP. Simple, right?

You have until next Tuesday (5/11) to be suitably formidable.

The Joy Formidable - Whirring (Mp3)