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Vinyl Thief
""Fathoms"
"
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In high school, my friend Craig Lee took it upon himself to educate me on what to do when I got high, which was: take a 311 CD and play it through Windows media player, and set the visualization to “Ambience.” With those days behind me (and a few subsequent years lost devil-sticking for tips as I followed 311 tours) I had long forgotten that particular use for Windows until I listened to Vinyl Thief’s debut album, “Fathoms.”

 

Released July 22nd, “Fathoms” listens like an entity. Granted, all albums vary song to song, and this one is no different, but few pluck the same rubber band in your brain and sustain it throughout it the duration. Fewer still can be so closely likened to getting lost watching a pixelated visualization of music on your ’01 Dell, wondering:“Whoa, how did they know to do that?”

 

Vinyl Thief is a synth driven powerhouse of a band that has been gathering acclaim since the release of their “Rebel Hill” EP in 2012. The group has essentially come of age playing together, from their high school inception to logging hours of practice in a church-sanctuary-turned-rehearsal space to perfect the sound and rapport that makes Vinyl Thief extraordinary. There are not many bands with such an expert handle on their sound.

 

There are a few anchors in Vinyl Thief that make them so listenable. Their synthesizers are going to do something beautiful. Grayson Proctor’s vocals are going to run through an impressive range without ever sounding forced or theatrical. And every song is going to reliably blow your mind in some way. It might be on a smaller scale, like when the guitar breaks the silence after the bridge in “London” with what I can only imagine a swoon would sound like. Or it could be big, like when the track “Rebel Hill” finally reaches a crescendo after a series of goosebump-inducing change-ups. The band has a knack for zig-ing when a zag is expected, going soft instead of loud, or even bigger when they’re already turned up.

 

Vinyl Thief is one of the best examples of the modern face of Nashville music, where already talented musicians go through great pains to learn their craft and the business around it. This is a band that is one sync away from national exposure. Be prepared to hear much more Vinyl Thief after Apple or Toyota licenses one of their tracks. Considering that “Fathoms” is a collection of their best material meticulously recorded and lovingly presented like a bowl of all-red jelly beans ready for the grabbing, this is only a matter of time. –Terra James-Jura


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Before you get all hot and bothered for not knowing who Book Swap is and, oh god they must be awesome because they're playing with Meth Dad, RIcHIE and Kelly Ruth, chill. In this case a cigar is totally a cigar and a book swap is simply an opportunity to pick up some new literature and unload that copy of "Ulysses" that impressed nobody, while offering the added bonus of listening to said awesome bands. The lineup will satisfy a range of tastes, whether it's for quirky folk pop, booty-shakin' grooves or straight party rock.  The show gets going at 8pm, and cover is $6, but drops to $5 with the presence of a book to trade. And why a book swap in the first place? As organizer and contributer to creative collective 2 Jung 2 Dye Jeremy McAnulty summed it up: "We just liked the idea of people coming together to enjoy music and art, but bringing something personal of theirs to exchange with each other. It's a fun way for people to interact at a show.

And, since we touched on the topic of booty-shaking groove, check out this video of Meth Dad laying it down for Ourvinyl.tv earlier this year. -Terra James-Jura

September 16, 2014
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Earl Burrows may be one of Nashville's most under-the-radar supergroups. Founded by Mark Watrous as a vehicle for the songs he had been banking while working as a touring member for acts including The Shins, Racounteurs, Karen Elson and Brendan Benson. Backing him is a crew of musicians with similarly impressive resumes: guitarist Carson Medders is a member of The Non-Comissioned Officers The Medders and Fox Bear Snake, drummer James Freshwater played for Lovedrug, and brother/bassist Joel Watrous played for DC's Dance Imperative and Mu Meson. Together they perform what the band describes as "music for thinkers by thinkers;" ie: impeccably executed compositions with decidedly left-of-center origins. They're sharp and intelligent, but don't let their wit get in front of the 70's-flavored pop fun or ability to spin a yarn. True to their dark horse nature, Earl Burrows has been appearing as a supporting act on consistently great bills for the past year they've been together, and are building up to an early 2015 release of their debut full-length album. For the interim, check them out live at The Basement on October 2nd, and dig into their available music online here. -Terra James-Jura

September 16, 2014
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Eight years is just drop of pig’s blood in the bucket, and this September is prom night for Sound and Shape. The band’s fourth album, “Bad Actors” will be released the 23rd of this month, and signifies a band weathering several years to hit their stride. They’ve teamed up with accomplished prodcers Matthew MCauley and Casey Wood to create something with such abnormally high levels of prog that it would be a disaster in less accomplished hands. Luckily the band’s tendency to temper some of the heavier thrashing with a sense of urgency and a very rock’n’roll bird-flip to tradition makes it very easy to listen through an album and reach for the next. There’s little doubt that "Bad Actors" will be more of the same. Artistdirect premiered their video for single “Venus” this Tuesday, and while we would have loved to see vocalist Ryan Caudle’s vision for a “three-part space opera” executed, watching the misadventures of a fallen angel was still pretty entertaining. The Sound & Shape’s next Nashville show will be at The End Sept. 26th. -Terra James-Jura

September 15, 2014
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It seems that the theme of the week is major label expats.  Chase Coy parted ways with Universal about two years ago, and his search for a more authentic creative endeavor landed him in Nashville and brought about the creation of Sun Culture. This project is much more beach-and-club influenced than the acoustic teenage ambles that catapulted Coy into the hearts of the Myspace generation. Sun Culture's debut album was release this past March, every bit the perfect soundtrack to living out the summer on Nashville's nonexistent coast. The band is already back in the studio, and recently put out this single, "Young Blood." It comes from the same youthful and sun-soaked place as the debut album, though there is some added heft when one takes into account the sea change that has occured between 18-year-old Coy and the present day. That takes some major balls to realize a greater artistic goal, especially when it would be so much more comfortable to remain static. -Terra James-Jura

www.suncultureband.com

September 09, 2014
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The Forty-Eight started in Nashville in the spring of 2013, as an outlet for solo artist and record deal refugee Alissa Beyer. She sought out a group project to counter the isolation felt as an island with a bad contract, and ended up which a high energy pop-punk project that offered her a much higher return on personal fulfillment.  Their debut album, "Radio Symmetry," was released last year, but just recently they've been allowing new material to trickle out on their website and Soundcloud (We're partial to "They Call It Love." Why wasn't it around when we were in high school?) The Forty-Eight are playing The Five-Spot for an early show at 6pm this Thursday with Andy Weathers and Brent Engel & The Upper East Side. Anyone with $5 and a secret yen for Paramore is strongly advised to attend. -Terra James-Jura

 http://theforty-eight.com/

September 08, 2014
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This Wednesday is going to be dedicated to anyone that's looked through a tangle of upraised arms holding glowing screens aloft and thought to themselves, "The end of the world is going to be Instagrammed..."

Of course East Nashville Underground would be the ones to put together a completely analog remedy to this epidemic. "Let's Have a Show With No Phones Show" is going to be 100% phone-free, save for two 20-minute "phone breaks" (bless their hearts.) The night starts at 8pm, and the cover is seven fully-refundable dollars should a guest make it to the other side without checking his or her device. While no one is going to be slapping a phone from your hand, consider this an opportunity to reconnect with the way things were done long before you were a twinkle in your daddy's eye.  Your pop's might have said that music was better in his day, but there's a good possibility that he was just paying more attention.

At the very least, this is a risk-free way to have three amazing bands in front of you for your complete and unadulterated listening pleasure: Machines are People Too, Penicillin Baby, and Diamond Carter. While we just raved about Penicillin Baby, we are one of many, and Diamond Carter has been receiving love on all sides, especially from our No Country for New Nashville brothers. However, we're tickled pink by this recent development from the Machines are People Too camp. MAPT have remixed "Middle of the Night," a song by their friends Vinyl Thief that might be recognized from our current album of the month. That sort of synth4synth love, along with with this event's entire concept, are perfect examples of the deep appreciation of music that makes this scene so great. -Terra James-Jura

 

September 07, 2014
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