Tag Archives: rock

#MondayMixtape – Songs to Get You Out-of-Doors

take on the worldThis past weekend was glorious. Saturday was particularly so. A few of us headed up to Stage Fort Park in Gloucester for a midday barbecue and the conditions were perfect. Not too warm,  not too cold, with blue skies all around and nary a cloud in the sky.

After a nice leisurely lunch, we headed down to the beach and took a walk along the rocky shoreline. It was incredibly therapeutic to see everything in such vibrant, brilliant color and so full of life after all those months of cold. The leaves on the trees looked fuller and greener, the water in the bay looked even fresher and even bluer, and the whitewashed seaside chapels further off in the distance seemed to give off a warm, radiant glow. And to think all this lay just one hour from Boston. Beautiful. Gorgeous. Excellent.

It got me thinking about songs that sing lovingly of the great outdoors. Songs whose verses could compel even the laziest of Johns to get outside and smell the roses. Songs that speak fondly of good times had out in nature and of the promise of more good times ahead.

These are a few such songs, summarized in five lines or less (because hey, this list isn’t about you sinking in more to your seat– it’s about getting you outside to enjoy everything the great outdoors has to offer!).

1. John Denver – Rocky Mountain High

Ask anyone– if you’re making a list of songs made for exploring and extolling the wonders of the natural world, this song is going to be on it. It’s one of John Denver’s greatest hits, and for good reason: feel that leisurely, zen-like tempo, dig that lightly twangy, tangy flatpicking– that gentle, buttery voice!– it’s no wonder this song recently became one of Colorado’s official state songs. And with its underlying message of man’s responsibility to be good, mindful stewards of the earth’s natural treasures, it’s not just an ode to the Rockies– it’s a song of love and appreciate of the great outdoors everywhere.

2. James Taylor – Copperline

From a song that looks with immense fondness and love at all natural palaces and sanctuaries to song that focuses on a fondness and love of one place in particular: the strange, wonderful parkland just a short distance from the narrator’s boyhood home. It was the sort of place that would have always captured his imagination even if he hadn’t spied his father dancing in a drunken display of bliss and inhibition or got the  “first kiss I ever took” there. But ah, so it was, and so it is, and so it shall ever be. “Day breaks and the boy wakes up and the / Dog barks and the bird sings / And the sap rises– and the angel sighs..” Such powerful, lasting memories can be made out there, even just a few miles from home.

3. Jakob Dylan – Something Good This Way Comes

As it happens, four of the five songs selected this week are written in the key of E. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that, on the guitar, an open E chord is one of the lucky few that uses all six strings. It gives the chord a particularly fresh and open tone, a quality that each song really embodies. And this one, from the Wallflowers frontman, is no different. A talented, prolific songwriter in his own right, the younger Dylan also knows how to take it easy and play a simple, breezy tune, and this is a great example of that. A good tune to accompany you on any adventure  you so choose.

4. Nickel Creek – Ode to a Butterfly

Continuing on our secondary theme of Songs in the Key of E, here’s one to really get you up and at’em. The title lends itself beautifully to the sort of imagery that it conjures up: a butterfly flitting and floating about a wide open field with corn and buckwheat swaying in the breeze. But it’s just as suitable for getting you up the side of a mountain, exploring the hidden spaces of a forest, or simply sitting around a campfire roasting marshmallows. It’s a reminder that even the smallest things are full of some of the coolest, most intricate and wondrous stuff in the world.

5. Special Consensus – Carolina in the Pines

Our little tour of song and nature now complete, we return east to the land of green Appalachian hills (and whaddayaknow– there’s a key change too!). It’s the perfect mix of sweeping instrumental breakdowns and simple but deeply affectionate lines about the comfort that comes from just being out there among the mountains, the forests, and all of nature’s splendor. “There’s no guesswork in the clockwork / On the world’s part or mine / There are nights I only feel right / With Carolina in the pines.” With all the uncertainty in life, it’s nice to know that whatever happens, we can always find time to get back to basics, with earth, wind, and sky.

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#NewMusicTuesday (on a Wednesday) – Summer 2014 New Music Preview

Clockwise from Top Left: Neil Young, Felice Bros, Allen Stone, Common, and The First Aid Kit
Clockwise from Top Left: Neil Young, The Felice Brothers, Allen Stone, Common, and The First Aid Kit

(photo credits clockwise from top left: theguardian.com, americansongwriter.com, hipstervrealworld.wordpress.com, houstonpress.com, vogue.com)

Summer’s upon us, and though the memorable, sure-to-delight summer blockbusters of old have been on their way out for quite a while, summer music releases never fail to delight. These may not be on any big, honkin’ billboard list, but these are a few of the titles I’m most looking forward to hearing this season.

1. Neil Young – A Letter Home (Released 5/27)

I’ve been listening to a lot of Crosby, Stills, Nash and this guy lately, and it’s fantastic stuff to use up an afternoon with. Each member of this iconic foursome found success in their respective solo careers, and Mr. Young was no different. His last few albums, however, left much to be desired. Call me a stubborn traditionalist, but I preferred his songs more when the political jabs and searing social commentary was folded in like good metaphors ought to be, not just piled on like some over-sugared meringue.

That said, lately Young has been getting back to basics, though not necessarily of the original lyrical sort. Instead he’s turned his attention to the basics of sound production and the impact it has, good or bad, on our listening experience. One way he’s done this is by becoming something of a sonic evangelist, making sure everyone can hear music properly. That is, high quality (192 kHz). “The way it was meant to be heard” (As opposed to the compressed versions of the tracks heard on CDs or MP3s– less than 40 kHz– that sound as good as if you were, as Neil puts it “underwater”). The result is Pono, a new music service that gives listeners the ability to purchase and play high quality sound versions of their favorite songs.

On the other end of the spectrum, there’s his new album, A Letter Home, which features a decidedly more low-fi– but not low quality– sound. The album features 12 covers of popular folk, country, and rock tunes from the last 70 years, all performed by Young himself and recorded using a 1947 Voice-O-Graph Recording Booth. Once a staple of carnivals and county fairs nationwide, Young recorded the album on one of the few remaining models, owned by fellow sound enthusiast and music nostalgist in the best way Jack White and his Third Man Records label in Tennessee.

It’s just Young, his guitar, sometimes a harmonica, and the sparse, warbly sounds of an old vinyl record machine making beautiful music. Sounds good to me.

2. First Aid Kit – Stay Gold (6/10)

The Swedish folk duo that brought you the 2012 sleeper hit “Emmylou” is back with another round of spooky, mysterious late-60s-era psychedelia folkie stuff. Expect more beautifully haunting vocal harmonies, sweeping, arpeggiated strings, and stories of estranged lovers getting their just rewards. If you’re still unsure of what to expect, think She and Him minus the Him part or Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros minus Edward and the other boys of that posse. Or just take a peak at the advert for their new disc / homage to 70s B-movie wonderment.

3. The Felice Brothers – Favorite Waitress (6/17)

Now take the male half of the bands previously mentioned, add to the mix the raucous bluegrassy, folksy stylings of The Lumineers or the roots-rock vibe of Kingsley Flood, and you’ll have these guys, The Felice Brothers. They are to bluegrass and roots what deviled eggs and turkey bacon are to brunch: slightly updated standards, but still satisfying. These guys are also a ton of fun live. They opened for Josh Ritter during his spring tour last year and got the crowd plenty ready for a long evening of good tunes and good times. Go see them when they come by this summer.

4. Common – Nobody Smiling (TBD)

I’d lost track of this guy for a time, so I was excited to learn that there’re plans on the table for a new full length release sometime this year. A Chicago-based MC, this album is inspired by and dedicated to the young people of the hometown he loves so much. It reflects its troubles while also celebrating its successes. In the artist’s own words it’s meant to be a “wake-up call” for those who haven’t been part of the positive solution. It has been some time since anything else was mentioned about this project, though he has been awful busy supporting his nonprofit’s community events and initiatives around town. Can’t be mad at an MC with a track record of doing good in his community. No doubt it’ll be worth the wait.

5. Allen Stone – Title TBD (TBD)

Talk about much anticipated releases. Back in November of 2013, this golden-voiced soul singer announced plans to drop his next record sometime this year and soon thereafter released the first single from that album “Million.” Since then, however, it’s been relatively quiet. Like Common he’s also been rather busy with a world tour, spreading the love and good vibes through his music, his Instagram account, and his ridiculously wide grin, so it’s understandable that he may not have had the time to let the people know when to expect his next release. Still, with pipes like that, it’s surprising that he wouldn’t have had things ready to go by now. He’s got the sort of voice that’s made for summer beach mixes.

For now, we’ll just have to wait like good boys and girls and let treats like these hold us over.

#FridayFinds: Music Memoirs, Dollar Bin Discoveries, Lip Syncing to Styx, Saxy Tunes, and Getting it Right on the First Take

photos courtesy (clockwise L to R): consequenceofsound.net, robsheffield.com, liveandbreathing.com, nbc.com
photos courtesy (clockwise L to R): consequenceofsound.net, robsheffield.com, liveandbreathing.com, nbc.com

Friday! Weekend! And the ides of May are nigh. My goodness. How time doth move.

It’s been a good week. Lots of action and activity in all the right areas, particularly in the area of personal/professional growth in music adventure and experience. Solid stuff all around.

And here for you now are five of the things that have added that extra dash of excellent these last few days.

1. Rob Sheffield’s Book – Turn Around Bright Eyes: The Rituals of Love and Karaoke

I picked up this fun little read over Christmas and heartily enjoyed it from the get go, but it wasn’t until just last night that I was able to find the time to finish it. Ah time… thou art a flighty and fickle mistress.

For those familiar with Sheffield’s other work, this book will offer a welcome and decidedly more hopeful conclusion to his previous stories of love and loss and the music that brought him to adulthood (Talking to Girls About Duran Duranand got him through the tragic, untimely end of his first marriage (Love Is a Mix Tape).

That said, the book isn’t off limits or full of anything that would make it difficult to understand for those not familiar with those stories, and Sheffield’s musings on music, karaoke, and life in general are honest and sincere and thus effortlessly universal.

For Sheffield, music is a labor of love in and of itself. He’s self-deprecating and humble about his own shortcomings as a performance artist (how many different ways can you tell people you’re not the most on-key singer? There’s at least 20, judging by the number of times it comes up in the book) and has an unabashed admiration for anyone who puts themselves in the limelight. The karaokes lifers, the career session musicians, the up-and-coming musical prodigies and wunderkinds– the David Bowies, Neil Diamonds, and everyone in between.

But it’s not all karaoke and musical jargon either. There’s really something in here for everyone. From the awkward 20something to the purportedly less awkward 30something, and from the new husband learning the ropes to the old professional romantic– and certainly the shower singer and the closet musical mastermind– everyone can find something to identify with in this collection of vignettes.

2. Discovering the Untold Pleasures of the Dollar Used Vinyl Bin

So I may have mentioned that I recently inherited a lovely little record player. It’s amazing, and I’m still very much in that “new father with newborn babe” stage wherein I take extensive precautions to ensure proper handling of turntable, records, and all related paraphernalia that the listening experience entails. With great power come great responsibility, after all.

But of course, with great responsibility comes great temptation to stock up on whatever things you don’t have but think you might need to have the best possible experience. Record brushes and cleaning fluid, plastic covers for each individual record sleeve, and a whole new arsenal of albums to play loud and proud.

Anyone who’s considered themselves an enthusiast in anything can tell you, having a hobby is expensive. Comic books, photography, stamps even– shout out to the quiet, the proud, the esteemed few stamp collectors still among us– every endeavor comes with quite a costly price tag if you really want to get serious.

Which is why the dollar bin at your friendly, neighborhood record store is all the more dangerous. One moment you’re leafing through the sea of titles thinking nothing of it, and the next you’re on your way out the door with half your day’s pay in the friendly, neighborhood record store’s till. But at least you got that Gordon Lightfoot album you never knew you always wanted, right?

Jokes aside, there’s generally a lot of decent items among the stacks. You just have to be willing to dig. In my first two visits, I spent just under $30 on seven albums that would have, at their original list price, probably gone for $100 all told (estimate adjusted for inflation, naturally).

P.S. If you’re looking for the perfect birthday gift for that special music blogger in your life, consider getting him (or her… what do I know… June 10, people) a handful of dollar bin delights. What better way to expand one’s musical horizons. Thoughtful and fun too.

3. Tonight Show Lip Sync Showdown between Jimmy Fallon and Emma Stone

Though I’m overall on the fence about The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon, the man and his staff definitely have one thing down: a fantastic assortment of musical segments. They’ve done barbershop quartet renditions of popular hip hop tunes and spot-on impersonations of everyone from Neil Young to Bruce Springsteen to Tom Petty. And pretty much every Jimmy Fallon / Justin Timberlake collaboration you can find from the show is both uproariously enjoyable and musically inclined. Excellent stuff all around.

This isn’t the first lip sync battle that he’s done either. It started with an energetic face-off against Joseph Gordon Levitt while he was still at the 12:35 Late Night spot and then continued with a moderately silly one against Paul Rudd, but this one is the best thus far, particularly in the area of visual accuracy in lip sync lyric delivery.

Honestly it’s over at the end of the first round when Ms. Stone delivers a stupendously articulated rendition of Blues Traveler’s other hit from their 1994 breakout album Four– “Hook.” I think John Popper would approve.

4. Getting Saxy with the Saxyderms

Last weekend I went out with some friends to see the spring concert of a Tufts University-based saxophone ensemble called the Saxyderms (the Tufts mascot is an elephant, they play saxophones… Saxyderms…. get it? good). I’d seen them once before while on a mid-summer’s afternoon stroll through the Boston Common, and they were fantastic. Plus it turns out that my friend Jason is not only a Tufts grad but also a member of the band himself. Surprise, surprise. The guy’s got some chops.

With all the rock, roll, and other fun sounds out there on the airwaves today, it’s always nice to remember that music doesn’t need words, a raucous, romping guitar line, or even a cowbell beat to be enjoyable (though the cowbell doesn’t hurt). And these guys and gals prove it.

The program was a lovely mix of chorale pieces, jazz hits, and even one or two pop covers. All were beautifully arranged and delivered, but my hands down favorite of the afternoon was their rendition of the Dizzy Gillespie tune “A Night in Tunisia.”

And speaking of sexy saxes and pop music, check out this little mash up of great rock songs that feature that lovely sound. I’m hard pressed to think of any recent hits that really showcase that sound, but now I’m going to keep my ears dutifully peeled for it.

5. Bring the Band to Your Living Room: Live and Breathing Sessions

These days there are a lot of ways to find out about new music on the internet. And just about every day it feels like there’s a new YouTube channel devoted to enterprising young videographers looking to capture your favorite or soon-to-be-favorite bands in a new way with crazy camera angles, exotic locations, and all matter of color and light filters.

Enter Live and Breathing. They showcase well-known and up-and-coming bands, recorded with a few cameras, yes, but done all in one take, and without too much crazy camera mishegas or ridiculous, over-wrought lighting. They put the emphasis on capturing the essence of the performance, placing the premium on the musicians and their craft, not suped up production.

I learned about a lot of cool groups from their videos like The Wood Brothers and St. Paul and the Broken Bones (listen to those guys now). It’s also how I solidified my obsession with The Lone Bellow and Lake Street Dive. Check out their stuff today, and make yourself a little country/blues/folk-rock-americana in-house concert playlist this weekend. And enjoy!

#ThrowbackThursday – My First Concert: Keller Williams @ The 9:30 Club in DC

horns and hails y'all

I’m what you’d call a late bloomer. Started walking later than most kids, didn’t ride my first two-wheel bike until I was near on 7, and I didn’t realize the buzz cut hairstyle wasn’t cool until well into eighth grade. On the flipside, I definitely started eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches earlier than most.

That said, it’s not too surprising that the first concert I ever saw was Keller Williams at the 9:30 Club in DC during the fall of my junior year of high school. While I do recollect some early childhood memories of seeing some iteration of Sesame Street Live as well as a small show featuring a local Raffi-esque songwriter known as Billy B., my honest to goodness first taste of real rock and/or roll lifestyle was supplied by this south Virginian one-man wonder of multi-instrumentalism.

I honestly don’t know why it took me so gosh darn long to see a show (though perhaps it comes from the same place that makes me think the phrase “gosh darn” is an appropriate, not-in-the-least-bit-silly exclamation to use in daily speech). I’d been musically inclined since I was old enough to recognize I was humming along with my cereal-chomping jowls, and I’d spent much of my formative time in middle and high school perusing the aisles of the local Tower Records and Borders Booksellers establishments (RIP, my dearly departed friends), sampling the fineries therein. I guess it just comes down to plain ol’ dumb luck. Or just the lack of understanding of just how much good, affordable live entertainment lay just a dozen Metro stops away.

If only I’d just looked with some interest and intent at the concert listings section of the Style section of the Post. I may have saved myself the unenviable fate of being a 16 year-old neophyte.

But alas, such was the state of things. And thus, one balmy evening in mid November on the invitation of my friend M., I went down to U Street with my good friend Andrew to see a show. M. was cool as a cucumber. We generally moved in different circles at school, but we were both in poetry club together and had a mutual respect and admiration for the other’s writing chops. All the same I was honored (read: giddy) when she invited us to come with her and her friends to the concert.

She listened to a lot of music that I had some understanding of (e.g. Deathcab For Cutie, Less Than Jake, The Smiths, Bright Eyes), but mostly stuff of which I knew nothing about. No doubt I was in for an adventure. That I liked the girl quite a bit certainly didn’t hurt either.

Nothing ever did materialize between said girl and said boy, but on the plus side the show was fantastic. We stood seven or eight people back from the stage on the ground floor of the simple, two-floor rock club. In the center of the stage was a large oriental rug and strewn around it in what looked like a meticulously coordinated mess of cables and wires was a host of various instruments, machines, switchboards and levers. The lights dimmed and the crowd let out their first of many cheers and chants of gratitude. The lights came up again as he walked in, revealing a slight, plainly dressed, impish looking man with a rosy, cherubim face that positively beamed as he crossed to center stage.

And this simple mortal– with his anyman orange crew neck t-shirt, baggy blue jeans, plethora of stringed instruments, and electric, space-age accoutrements– dazzled and delighted for 90 whole minutes. It was a veritable jungle gym of sonic joy, his angelic face eternally alight and his long, brown locks bobbing back and forth as sang in his deep, rich baritone while he switched between guitar licks, intricate slap-bass patterns, synth loops, and the expert use of percussive beatbox tricks– often all at the same time.

And the crowd loved every moment of it. A sea of faceless silhouettes on two levels swaying, shaking, and grooving in time. Sure the people on the balcony level had more space to move around, but we were having more fun among the hip shaking, body bouncing hordes below.

My friends and I certainly were having a heck of a time dancing and bopping about, with M. right up there with the best of them. It was during the show that it started to sink in that she probably wasn’t as interested in me as I was in her, and that tempered things a bit. But honestly, for the most part my attention was almost wholly set upon the man on stage and the carefree, leave-it-all-on-the-dance-floor spell he’d put us all under.

Suffice it to say my first concert experience was incredible, and from it came other similarly excellent adventures. There’ve definitely been a few duds in the bunch, and I’ve gotten a sense for what makes a good concert and a not-so-good concert (more on that later, no doubt), but one thing’s for certain: it’s a heckuva way to spend an evening, especially when it’s a good show.

A good show– a great show– treats you to something different. Even if you know a band’s entire repertoire from garage EPs to final platinum sixth or seventh albums and every B-side in between, going to the show gives you the chance to be an active part of the music. You’re a part of the tracks now. You’re living every line of the story, every wail and whine of guitar, every pounding fill of snare and bass drum. It gives you new perspective, renewed appreciation, and fills you with a heightened sense of gratitude for the guys and gals up there doing their thing.

I could go on (and likely I will in the near future), but for now, let me know. What was your first concert? What was your favorite concert-going experience? Any less-than-thrilling (even awful) experiences? Let me know.

And get out there and see a show!

New Music Tuesday, Vinyl Discovery Edition no. 1: The Police – Synchronicity

The Police - Synchronicity

1. The Set-up
One of the main things I did over my two week sabbatical from writing was to visit friends and family down in DC. It was a lightning-quick weekend of a trip, but a much needed break from the usual. Reunions, good food, Nationals baseball, and a few notable musical moments as well. I got to see one of my new favorite bands (Poor Old Shine) play at a club I hadn’t been to before (The Iota in Arlington), and I took advantage of being home to dust off my dad’s old Yamaha record player, test it out, and bring it and his little assortment of vinyl back north with me.

I’d always known my dad to have a good, well-rounded palette where music was concerned. While he’s a big fan of the greats like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, he’s also a devoted lover of the moody, folk-rock stylings of Buffalo Springfield and, by extension, Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young.

But it wasn’t until that weekend that I fully realized the extent of his love for other sounds like the sweet talkin’ Lionel Richie, your frisky, Purple Rain-era Prince, or the easy-going sounds of Bread (that’s right– Bread).

What’s more, my dad was a huge fan of progressive rock. Or at least, the early progenitors of the craft. Your Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Your Styx. Your Dan Fogelberg and Tim Weisberg Twin Sons of Different Mothers. And every single album that Yes ever recorded. Ever. Groovy stuff.

These are the influences on which my own rock & roll education was founded. I know I’d seen these records before, having thumbed through them at least a few times during my childhood, but I’d never really understood what– or who– I was looking at.

And it makes sense how these seemingly disparate sounds and textures could live together in my boyhood experience. How evenings could be spent listening to the melodic, tried-and-true voices James Taylor, Carole King, or Sade, while Sunday afternoons in the car were meant for the more far-out, heady, rocking sounds of latter years Beatles, Pink Floyd, or Peter Frampton.

(It’s not his taste alone, of course, that shaped my interests. I surveyed my mother on a host of albums in my father’s collection to get a sense of her influence as well: “Emerson, Lake, and Palmer? Your father. Lionel Richie? Both of us. Little Feat? Your father. Bruce Springsteen? That was me.” Go mom.)

2. The Police
It’s because of these influences that The Police are responsible for one of my earliest known, most-beloved pop song obsessions: “King of Pain” from their 1983 album Synchronicity. Of course I probably had no idea what album it was on at all when I first heard it, which most likely happened on one of those long, aforementioned Sunday car rides. Those days we’d head further and further away from the bustling ‘burbs around DC and closer and closer to the farmlands and rolling countryside of upper county Maryland and the wild Potomac valley.

I instantly loved the song for the colorful cast of characters it contained and the way it described them in simple terms that were made all the more wonderful and fantastic with just a little imagination. “A little black spot on the sun today… a black-winged gull with a broken back.” To my young ears it wasn’t the sparse, weary observations of a man tired of a monotonous life, but a whimsical, sing-song list of the rich, beautiful, and unique characters present in the world. It made as much sense to me as any other whimsical fairy tale.

If I liked this song, I reasoned, I probably would like their other stuff too. And to an extent I did, seeing as how I came to know their other hits as well. But I never actually listened to a whole Police album from beginning to end, not even Synchronicity. My dad’s turntable had been a part of the family longer than I had, and I know he had  few of their albums in his collection, but I never actually sat down and listened to one.

And what do you know: it turns out The Police were great at turning out great records in addition to great hits, and Synchronicity is a great example of that. It’s much less a the collection 2.5 minute hot-blooded tunes about love affairs gone wrong that its predecessors were and much more an album of complex and introspective explorations of life in past, present, and future tenses.

That doesn’t mean it’s a wholly cohesive, masterful, or flawless piece of work, however. It definitely contains its own frenzied demons, particularly on the track “Mother,” which really seems more appropriate on a The Wall-era Pink Floyd album or as a Beatles White Album B-side than it does on this one. Critics and fans alike seem to be divided to this day on the merits of the song’s inclusion on the album. Some say it breaks up the monotony of the synth-infused, fairly run-of-the-mill Police hit-making machine and shows their true depth as songwriters and innovators. While I do appreciate that perspective and do honestly appreciate the track itself as a sort of “between-acts” diversion, I find it really breaks up the flow of the album as a whole, causing Side 2 to end up being the more balanced and universally more pleasing side (that Side 2 also happens to be the side with three of the four singles from the album– “King of Pain” as well as “Wrapped Around Your Finger” and “Every Breath You Take”– only solidifies this feeling).

Aside from that one space oddity, the album is a treat. For me the real gem is “Walking In Your Footsteps,” an ode to one’s boyhood fascination with dinosaurs (and a happy resident of Side 1). Even as it speaks of the bygone past it also serves as a wonderful sonic sample of what’s to come in the future for these musicians as they go off into their own respective solo careers. Sting in particular has gone on to infuse his own endeavors with the sorts of world-beat rhythms and songwriting that this track provides.


There’s definitely something about the vinyl listening experience that you can’t get from listening to CDs or MP3s. Maybe it has to do with the fact that you really have to be present when listening to records, due to the obvious requirement of having to get up to change the record from side to side, but also due to the deeper, subtler sonic textures that only vinyl can afford.

At the very least, there’s nothing like hooking up an old turntable, dusting off a record, setting the needle down on Side 1, Track 1, and reminiscing about your favorite memories that happened while you were listening to Steely Dan’s Aja album.

I’m looking forward to exploring each side of this inherited collection, and to gradually adding my own pieces as well.

The Police – Synchronicity
A&M Records, 1983
Grade: A
Listen Now: Synchronicity II, Walking In Your Footsteps, Mother, King of Pain