Wednesday, December 22, 2010

TVD's 2010 | A few of our favorite things...

"Vinyl is the at the absolute core of everything music in my life" Melissa Auf der Maur wrote in this spot last May.

Any wonder why she had one of our favorite 'First Dates' among the many gems?

"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's 2010 | A few of our favorite things...

One might think it could be a hard sell to ask any number of musicians or bands to sit down and pen a love letter to the medium most appreciated around these parts—but not so.

Wednesday's "First Date" feature ostensibly began as an introduction to new bands or whomever, but somewhere along the way it morphed into. . . well, I don't know what it morphed into.

You decide with a look back at a cross section of 2010's "First Dates."

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

"...Fast-forward to 1987 when my dad gave me for Christmas my first “big girl” stereo. If it was an overly large gift designed to mitigate the birth of my little sister, it worked. How I loved that single unit Magnavox with its familiar turntable, radio and state-of-the-art dual cassette player.

In the box was an accompanying present, one that my dad never could explain buying. The 1950’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Collection: Jukebox Saturday Night was a three-disc vinyl box set (on discount? An impulse item at the checkout counter?) that blew my eight-year-old mind and made me forget all about Judy. (Perhaps this was Dad’s ultimate goal.) I traded “Putting on the Ritz” for “Earth Angel” and “Stormy Weather” for “Teenager in Love” and never looked back..."

Olivia Mancini & The Mates - Easy Way (Mp3)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

"...Although I have known about the best hidden record store in Los Angeles for a few years now, I didn’t own my own record player or have what could be considered a bonafide collection until two months ago. Now that I have finally seen the light, I am working very hard to retire every digital album I have and replace it with its vinyl counterpart. My first and best stop is Music Man Murray on Exposition Boulevard.

It has been run for decades by 87-year-old Murray Gershenz, a former opera singer turned character actor. (You may recognize him from The Hangover as the half-naked patient in the hospital scene.) Murray has about every album you could ever want, and about 10,000 you’ve never heard of, but should want anyway. Music Man Murray is an experience in and of itself, and if you are looking for rare or interesting records, I suggest giving his store a try..."

Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros - Home (Mp3)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

"...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..."

The Joy Formidable - Austere (Mp3)

Friday, March 19, 2010

"...If I had any advice for young musicians coming up it’d be to learn the history of music. Study what came before, in the 40s and 50s. If you don’t know that stuff, the foundation of what you’re doing is built on, then you’ve really got no business doing it. Rock and Roll, and music period, were created a long time ago, its not something that just came up yesterday. Music is too attached to fashion now. It always has been, but now it’s mainly the fashion, and a little music. So hopefully people are going to look back and see where it all came from. There was a period in rock and roll from the mid-fifties through about 1973 or 1974 when they did pretty much everything, so don’t try to reinvent something. Have your own mind, but do study where it came from, and the independent record store is where you can do that..."

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

"...When I was in high school I discovered what it was like to find a record and fall in love, to feel like that music defined who I was—like the person singing was the only person in the world who really understood me. I have some good brand-new-to-me vinyl finds from those days, including a limited edition pressing of Tori Amos' "Boys for Pele" on clear blue vinyl (which I got from the Intergalactic Garage in Shepherdstown, West Virginia—the lifeblood indie record shop I frequented that had all the best imports and rarities) and a hand-numbered pressing of Portishead's "All Mine" single from when I saw them play 9:30. But as much as I loved those records (still do), I really loved listening to my mom's 45s. Made me feel like I was getting a window into the past, finding out something I would only know by listening to her records.

In that sense, I've always felt like vinyl is a real way of connecting people through time and space. There's something about the physics and physicality of it all. You have to touch the records, hold them in your hands. And they've got those grooves, little ranges of mountains that bounce sound around like people shouting "Echo! Echo! Echo!" into the air, into our eardrums, into our brains. And there it sticks. That, to me, is an incredible process—something that digital music (all summed up in 1s and 0s) will never quite do. I love working with Saddle Creek, a label that still values and puts out vinyl. They keep this whole cycle alive..."

The Mynabirds - Let the Record Go (Mp3)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

"...San Fernando Valley, CA. Now, who am I kidding - the best wailings to be had are in the school gymnasium. Here, I was temporarily acquainted with my now, long lost friends, who were bussed in from a good 30 (or more) miles away. Not only did I learn to clap on 2 and 4, I was introduced to the world of gospel. They would tape record their families precious vinyl and I would go home and memorize the songs that we were all to sing together during gym. I couldn’t harmonize all that well at first, but could sing a perfect 5th without any guidance whatsoever. They say money knows no color, well neither does vinyl (to tape)…"

Joniene Zapata - Good Looking (Mp3)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

"...A year or so after my dad’s death, when my mom began cleaning out his solitary haven in the basement, I was given the responsibility of hauling his records up the stairs. My mom didn’t want to give them away because she knew how much they had meant to him. She suggested I hook up my grandma’s record player in my room and keep my dad’s collection up there. I obliged, partly because my seventeen -year -old brain thought vinyl was cool (although I really knew nothing about it at the time), but also because I was curious and wanted to explore this facet of my dad’s life that I knew nothing about.

Through his records I learned something about him that I never knew when he was alive: that he loved psychedelic rock bands from the late 60’s and early 70’s. The first record of his that I ever listened to was Spirit’s album, The Family That Plays Together. Shortly after I became acquainted with Son’s of Champlain’s 1969 release, Loosen Up Naturally..."

Jessica Lanza - Time is Such A Cruel Device (Mp3)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

"...The lobby and surrounding pools played musak, including a surprising amount of Guns n Roses songs. A live reggae band played by the pool one day, while someone came around with a monkey you could have your picture taken with. In this picture, I am getting a drink at the pool bar during water aerobics.

When I was touring Europe with Edie Sedgwick, we had a very sweet driver from the Czech Republic named Ales. After the first few days, I asked Ales not to play metal, particularly the Czech blast-beat kind, before noon in the van. He was ok with that and played Czech Hip Hop, Monty Python, Tenacious D, and Hank Williams..."

America Hearts - Be My Jones (Mp3)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

"...Some may say it's a dying breed, or a dying business, but I still love the ritual of going to record stores or junk sales and buying vinyl. I love the warmth of the analog, the size, the artwork, and I love the experience of having to get out of the house and shop spontaneously.

The first records I got as a kid were records that my babysitters were playing. I would read the lyrics, stare at the artwork, and dream of a better life and other places than my tiny apartment in Queens, New York. Music gave me the confidence to not feel alone and like a total freak in a suburban middle class mainstream world. It is my favorite format to hear music..."

Jesse Malin - All The Way From Moscow (Mp3)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

"...But my favorite was a somewhat obscure record by a 60’s era folk duo called “Lily and Maria.” What grabbed me about them were their unsettling harmonies and almost creepy psychedelic touches. It was my mom’s record—turns out it was reissued in 2008—and she didn’t remember much about them other than that they never made it very big. The picture on the album cover was of the two women resting their heads against one another and staring hauntingly into the camera.

The image was overexposed and washed out, so much of their features remained indiscernible other than long, straight hair, and no makeup other than looong lashes. My mom would tell me “that was the style back then,” and I would get her to elaborate on stories about being a teen in the 60’s – like when her older sister, my aunt Bonnie, ran away and hitchhiked to Woodstock at 16..."

Film School - Heart Full Of Pentagons (Mp3)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

"...My love affair with vinyl began when I was 18. I had just began a DJing residency at The Bar; a club in Hanway Street, located in London’s Soho area which specialised in Mod, Jazz and Soul. I had started the night with another musician friend called James Bone (although he got barred after that night but that’s another story!) and we didn’t own a single record between us! My whole set was made up of CDs (which I didn’t realise at the time was a big NO - not cool at all!).

It didn’t take me long to work it out though and before long I was up in my Nan’s loft, trawling through boxes upon boxes of records, hunting out various little gems - the first of which was Marvin Gaye’s ‘I Heard It Through The Grapevine’ which was backed with ‘Can I Get A Witness’ the latter is a track which I still play at every single DJ set I do and have done since!"

The Supernovas - City Of Smoke (Dub Cartel Remix) (Mp3)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

"...I have been wondering for well over ten years now why my father hasn't invested in a more structurally sound, or at least a more youthful bookshelf to house his precious record collection that is nearly double my age (I am currently 24 years old) and easily seven times my size.

I'm not boasting - I'm sure your dad was hip too in his day. My point here is really just that the shelves of this bookcase are sinking at the middle. Think about the material value, not to mention the perfectly-aged nostalgia that could be shattered from such faulty shelving in the event of a sudden polyvinyl avalanche! You know, this unassuming piece of furniture has continually made me more nervous, more frightened, than the Fung Wah bus I am writing this from ever has (except for that time one flipped over while my dad was aboard, but that's a story for a different shelf.)

Perhaps there is hidden meaning in these saggy old shelves. They have lost their youth but still remain standing, rather, shelving, to fulfill their duty: To protect the music of decades past and it's cathartic, turbulent, funny, erotic, and revolutionary message and to 'carry that weight a long time'..."

Jukebox the Ghost - Empire (Mp3)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

"...My mother (a singer, actor, and writer) was onstage doing the musical Don’t Bother Me I Can’t Cope when she was pregnant with me, hence why I probably gravitated towards musicals in the beginning, I think for the drama. I vaguely remember watching it, but I know for a fact that I was deeply moved by the Broadway production of The Wiz and then to have the record in my possession, in my own living room. In my solitude, I’d push the coffee table off to the side to create my own stage to choreograph my own The Wiz. I swirl around the four corners of the room transforming myself into the powerful tornado that took Dorothy out of Kansas or I’d get on my hands and knees and act as the Mean Ole Lion, roaring and singing gruffly. And times when I’d feel a little scared or lonely at school or in my young life, I’d sit in a corner comforting myself, rocking myself back and forth singing the song that Dorothy sang when she was scared and lonely:

“When I think of home,
I think of a place where there’s love overflowing…
I wish I was home,
I wish I was back there with the things I’ve been knowing…”

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

"...The sun is getting big and low now, and it’s harder to drive west. I used to work at a record store that was slowly phasing out cassettes, it’s interesting how long it takes small towns to catch on to new technology, but why hurry? The music is the same and the technology always changes. That record store is now closed. We are passing a peaceful swampy river in Mississippi. Makes me want to buy a flat bottom fishing boat and an old radio to spend the day with. The sound of radio is right up there with vinyl for me. I will unapologetically say that right now most of the music on commercial radio is empty. It’s bleached and it’s bleaching me. I am a girl about interesting sounds and lyrics, about music that is living. Music with bones and bacteria, and fungus. Music that breathes and grows with you..."

Angie Mattson - Cool Water (Mp3)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

"...This is why I love vinyl so much: it forces the listener to hear the artist's work exactly in the way that the artist intended the listener to hear it. You cannot make a playlist with LPs and you cannot skip from favorite track to favorite track with the same ease of iTunes. I typically buy a record because there is one song in particular from a band or artist that I love. Initially, when I listen to the record my experience revolves around my desire to hear that one song, and I will typically dislike most of the other tracks on the record. After listening to the record a few times that desire fades and the songs that I didn't particularly like emerge as the underdog, becoming my favorite tracks on the record. It breaks my heart to think of all of the people creating playlists, missing out on having to make an effort to understand and enjoy the songs surrounding their favorite single on an album..."

The Kopecky Family Band - God & Me (Mp3)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

"...Not undertaken lightly, a purchase would be treasured, sleeve notes memorised, including details like 'laminated with Clarifoil.' Mono or stereo were available—mono was uncool, but you were warned that your clunky radiogram needle could destroy a stereo record. Then college, then darkened rooms where someone would 'skin up' using an LP sleeve as a lap tray.

Finally I acquired money, pre-recorded cassettes, CDs. A music recording doesn't have to be a physical object at all now of course. But that came too late for me—I look round the room at shelves of LPs, singles, cassettes (many are collections of copies of the one or two decent tracks off disappointing album purchases.) Upstairs are boxes of many more of all of the above by the Soft Boys, Katrina and the Waves, etc..."

Kimberley Rew - Stomping All Over The World (Mp3)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

"...Around a year and a half ago came a very very sad moment…. It was my housemate's birthday. We were all out and I decided to stay out longer with some other friends. The others went back to our house… I went home and found my kitchen in a trashed state and red wine poured all over my bed. Seriously pissed off, I went to sleep to deal with it the next morning. I had to go to work early so thought I'd sort it when I got home.

I had to work till really late again so then it was only 2 days later that I saw a Bad Boys Inc vinyl cover (a joke present given to me by my old uni housemate Lucinda) out of the bathroom window lying in the rain, in our back garden. Assuming it had blown out the window, I went into the garden to investigate to find my entire 45 collection smashed against the back garden wall, sodden sleeves strewn around the garden, covered in mud. I climbed into the tree to retrieve a Morrissey single, only to see a load more of my vinyl in pieces in the next door neighbor's garden..."

Anika - Yang Yang (Mp3)