I must have been six or seven years old. It was my birthday or some other event that required celebrating (it involved gifts for me, I remember that much) and my mother handed me a thin square package, wrapped in paper with big red and yellow balloons on it. I had no idea what it was. It didn’t weigh much (which was a bummer, because weight & size are important when it comes to gifts) and I had no idea what could have this shape. Maybe a very thin book? So I tore the wrap paper off quickly and saw the present and… could barely hide my disappointment. A vinyl record. They had bought me a vinyl record! I mean, albums were no strangers to me. My mother used to listen to her Georges Moustaki albums while she swept through the house, and my father had a Paul Anka album he was very keen on. But they were not something I could relate to. I mean, they could have bought me anything: a ball, a miniature truck or the outfit of Standard de Liège, my favorite football team. But an album?! What the hell was I supposed to do with THAT?!
But then my mother put the record on the player, gently laid the needle on the black disc, some crackling sounded and then I heard loud laughter. It was an album of Urbanus, a Belgian stand-up comedian who was very popular those days. He made jokes kids like me appreciated a lot. So after some moments of hesitation I moved back slowly, one small step at a time. My mother smiled as I sat down on the sofa, and the first smile appeared on my lips after a funny joke about a little kid being naughty. Pretty soon the smiles turned into laughter and then the laughter into guffaws. And before I knew the album was done and I begged my mother to put it on again. She showed me how to put the vinyl on the player. How to clean the album with a little brush and how to lay the needle on the black surface gently. She taught me how to treat the record as something fragile, something that required care and love and dedication. And so I learnt the process of putting on an album and I spent the rest of my childhood listening to records non-stop, sitting back on the sofa and crazily laughing my head off. I knew all the jokes by heart and recited them for anyone who might or might not be interested. For the next few years I only wanted to receive more records, more comedians, more jokes.
So today when a big package was delivered, I opened the boxes with much care. Slowly I pulled out one of the records, cleaned the surface with a little brush and put it on my record player. Then I laid the needle on the vinyl gently and sat back on the floor while the first crackling sounded. And then… I listened to myself sing from the black gold.
My first vinyl ever… Childhood dreams DO come true.
I am a happy man now.
PS. If you want to purchase one of these precious, please click here.
Since I didn’t get around to posting the tracks from Episode 17 that can be found on Bandcamp (partly because there was only 4, partly because I was away in Spain), I figured I would do a 2 for 1 post and compile all the ‘available on Bandcamp’ music from the last two episodes of Mix Tape Radio (i.e. Episode 18 as well). And since I started playing around with Songdrop the other day, I thought I would try sharing these Bandcamp tracks in a slightly different way then before (i.e. I used to do individual Bandcamp embeds for each track).
So press play on the first track and let it play to the end, or jump around till you find something you like… and then follow the links underneath the track to visit the artists Bandcamp page and maybe send them some beer money.
Up until a couple of weeks ago, the band Field Report were completely off my radar. And they probably would have remained off my radar if I hadn’t been tempted away from my Twitter feed after seeing Slowcoustic and Wake The Deaf raving in agreement about how great something was (Twitter Tip: if you see two people, whose tastes align well with yours, both raving about the same thing… it’s usually a good idea to go see what they are raving about).
That ‘something’ was the HearYa session that Field Report recorded. And they were not fooling. Too often in this ADD world we live in, I don’t make it all the way to the end of a 7 minute long video, but Field Report’s rendition of ‘Route 18’ had me a bit spellbound. And after the video ended (and after I downloaded the mp3’s from the excellent HearYa session) I immediately hit up Google and went looking for some more on these guys.
It turns out that they released an excellent self-titled album almost a full year ago (listen / get on Bandcamp). And it is a really brilliant album, and one that I completely missed out on (even while compiling end of year lists and trying to check out countless other sites lists). Now it may be too late to turn back time and include ‘Field Report’ in any of my end of year lists for 2012, so I guess I’ll just need to start making a list for all the albums I completely missed out on in the previous year: ‘The Best Of What I Would Have Included In My Previous Best Of List If My Head Had Not Been Up My Ass’. It happens ever year.
You should all take a moment out of your day today (or make note to do so later this week) and go listen to Tiny Ruins gorgeous new EP of old songs ‘Haunts’. If you have ever heard Hollie sing before, then you probably do not need any further convincing on why you should drop what you’re listening to right now and switch. There is a mesmerizing beauty to her voice and this EP is a simply magic. Just like everything else she’s put to tape… although, there might be just a pinch more magic captured on this EP.
So please go to Bandcamp and listen (or I guess you could just stay here and listen). And then buy a copy and take these songs for a walk through your nearest park.
Partly by chance, partly by procrastination, and partly because exfm isn’t currently working with Bandcamp pages… I ended up spending a fair amount of time playing around with a new (to me) site called Songdrop. Basically trying to figure out if I like it enough to spend time playing around with it some more… and I think I might like it.
Now, Songdrop offers a service that is very similar to what exfm does —and that service, for those who don’t know, is they both help you better keep track of the music you find and love on the internet— but there are a couple of things that Songdrop does that exfm does not. And those things happen to appeal quite a lot to the mix tape making brain that I happen to be stuck with:
You can make different playlists, including choosing song order (at the moment, exfm just lets you collect a really big list in the order that you ‘heart’ them)
You can embed those playlists on your site (like the mix tape I made above)
You can also keep track of videos from Youtube and Vimeo (exfm doesn’t work on video sites)
Now of course, exfm does things that Songdrop does not do as well (for example, you can add a pretty sweet music player to your entire site, it is probably a bit easier ‘hearting’ music on exfm than it is ‘dropping’ in Songdrop, great phone apps, etc.), so I’m not saying Songdrop is better than exfm. All I’m saying is that I enjoy being able to keep track of the music I find online… and I’m really liking being able to easily turn those collections into easily shareable mixes / playlists. And I will admit that I had almost gone full boner for Songdrop until I realized that the arranging + embedding of playlists is more geared toward ‘20 songs or less’ playlists and not for the massive list of songs I had in mind (i.e. like a really kick ass, never ending ‘Mix Tape Radio’ or ‘Bandcamp Radio’). But still, being able to make embeddable playlists of 20 songs is better than not being able to.
The 8th instalment of our ‘ask an artist to record their own ‘daytrotter-esque’ session in their own bedrooms / homes / DIY surrounding’ returns this week with the talented Wes Tirey sitting down and recording 4 tracks in his dining room in Black Mountain, North Carolina. Some of these tracks are new, some are old, one doesn’t even have a title yet, but all 4 were recorded in one sitting while his cat Tonto looked on from the living room. And now, through the magic of technology, you get to hear the same thing that Tonto heard.