Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Vinyloscopy with The Rare Occasions

The Rare Occasions have recently released their debut album, Into The Shallows. As a band they've been putting out music since 2013, but it took them a full five years to put out a full length record.

Let's not be too hard on them for taking this long to get that full length out because there's several other releases to choose from too.

They're a garage rock band that'll make you want to dance the night away.

They've even got a slight electronic tinge to them, but really we wanna know more about how they feel about records...check that out here....

1. Listening to Black Sabbath's eponymous debut the night I got it blew me away. What's the album that sounds the best on vinyl compared to digital sources? 

I generally like vinyl for listening to music that has a lot of space. I recently spun SOAK's debut album Before We Forgot How to Dream and it sounded great.

 2. I was laying in bed one night and couldn't sleep and I figured, it was time to start buying records. How did you come to the idea that it was time to start buying vinyl instead? 

I was really into classic rock as a teenager and found myself often digging into my dad's old records.

There was this record store called In Your Ear that was walking distance from my house in Rhode Island. I would go over there on the weekends and pick up a used Zeppelin or Who album for only a few bucks.

3. For my old stuff, it's vinyl worth, for new stuff, it's all vinyl if available. Do you buy everything on wax or do you have a vinyl worthy category?

I mainly buy vinyl records from local and touring bands that I see at shows. When I lived in Boston, I picked up Krill's A Distant Fist Unclenching, Bent Shapes' Wolves of Want, Ovlov's am, and Speedy Ortiz's Major Arcana, all at shows I went to at Great Scott in Allston.

I recently picked up Vundabar's Smell Smoke when they came through.

4. My second living room is where I keep it all. Upstairs, my late 90's receiver, vinyl preamp, with a 70's turntable and 70's 5 way speakers. Tell us all about your vinyl set up. 

My setup is pretty janky in comparison haha.

I have this Sony USB turntable and a stereo receiver/amplifier that I mainly use for the TV with a pair of JBL Control 1 speakers. My turntable spins too fast which really bugs me because the songs are slightly above the intended key.

I gotta calibrate it one of these days.

5. Do you read the lyrics and go over the inserts when you're spinning? 

Of course! I especially like reading any notes about how the record was made, where it was mixed, who played on it, etc. I remember Quadrophenia by The Who had a ton of notes explaining the concept and story of the album and I must have read it a hundred times as a teenager while listening through.

6. When someone says, I'm stupid for buying records, I tell them, thanks, more limited edition colored vinyl for me, what's your answer? 

Vinyl is always going to add distortion and other non-linearities to the audio signal, so I don't really buy into the whole "vinyl sounds better" thing, but I can tell you that music is subjective and often times these sorts of imperfections do make for a better song.

I would say that ideally the mix engineer should keep this in mind and add rich harmonic saturation in the recording stage rather than hoping the listener will do so in the playback stage.

The main reason I buy vinyl records has nothing to do with the sound, it's for the physicality of it; it's nice to have something that you can hold in your hands and that you own. It's like owning any other piece of art like a painting or a sculpture.

7. My first album ever was Live Evil by Black Sabbath, so I'm stuck on live albums. What's the best live album on vinyl? 

My dad had a copy of Frampton Comes Alive that I used to listen to. That's a classic! One of the first vinyl records I bought was Led Zeppelin's Coda which has a soundcheck take of I Can't Quit You Baby from their 1970 Royal Albert Hall concert.

They should really release that entire concert as a live album because it totally rips. One of the best live concerts ever.

Catch The Rare Occassions on the road here...
6/19 - ​New York, NY - Sofar Sounds
6/20 - New York, NY - Rockwood Music Hall
6/21 - Boston, MA - The Red Room at Cafe 939
6/22 - Providence, RI - AS220
6/24 - Washington, DC - Black Squirrel
7/14 - Glendale, CA - Street Food Cinema (Brand Park)

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