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August 2014
Vinyl Thief
""Fathoms"
"
mp3

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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Shack Shakers, Dirt Daubers, Split Lip Rayfield @ Mercy Lounge, 12/3

Shack Shakers, Dirt Daubers, Split Lip Rayfield @ Mercy Lounge, 12/3

We’re not sure what it is about J.D. Wilkes – maybe it has something to do with his crazy eyes, stringy hillbilly-punk appearance and tendency to replace a horn section with kazoo – but we love to watch this guy put on a show, whether he’s with Southern goth troubadours, the Legendary Shack Shakers, or the more recent rockabilly/ragtime trio, The Dirt Daubers, with wife Jessica and the talented Nashville bassist Mark Robertson. Tomorrow night at Mercy Lounge, you get a double deal with both acts, plus Kansas-based Split Lip Rayfield, who’ve got their own kickass brew of hard-driven, bluegrass-infused Americana. 9 p.m., $14 at the door Dec. 3 if you like you some banjo…

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