Release Date: 23 January 2007 (Secretly Canadian)
David Vandervelde moved from Michigan to Chicago and began working/living at Jay Bennett's studio. The former Wilco member was an influence on this album, but you can also heard a cache of other influences. The Rolling Stones, T. Rex, and David Bowie are probably the most noticeable, but there's more. The album is layered with multiple guitars, vocals, and reverb. The more I listened to it, the stronger each song sounded.
Nothin' No (mp3) [removed] | Jacket (mp3) [removed] Jacket (video) [removed]
Frank was on a mission. He had assembled a crew of his closest friends for a meeting at his new apartment.
“We’ve got to find all of my old records. My ex sold them, but she won’t even tell me what shop she sold them to. So we got to hit every record store, call every number in the phone book, and check every pawn shop.”
“If Janet took all your records, what are we listening to?” asked Phil.
“My ex-wife sold all of my vinyl. I still have all my CDs. This is one of the newer ones I got. It’s by David Vandervelde, called The Moonstation House Band.”
The album was full of a layered sound – electric guitars on top of electric guitars on top of organs and pianos on top of string and orchestral arrangements on top of doubled up vocals. Even the percussion sounded tiered with gated drums keeping the kick and snare front and center while the cymbals are full of reverb and distance. It had a sound that summoned these same records that Frank was missing. It started with “Nothin’ No,” a love song to someone who lies and hides.
“So what records are we looking for?” Phil seemed to be the one asking most of the questions.
“I made a list. It’s as complete as I can remember.”
As Frank passed out the list, Johnny added, “How are we going to split up all the stores so we don’t keep crossing our own tracks?”
“I figured you and me, Johnny, we’d take the record stores. Phil, you’re the one who’s most familiar with the pawnshops, so you check those. Kevin, you take the phones.”
“Man, you sure had some good records. You had Odessey and Oracle and Fifth Dimension on vinyl?” rhetorically asked Phil.
“What about Nilsson Schmilsson, Electric Warrior, and Sticky Fingers? If we do find the store she sold these to, they will have already sold them or they’ll cost too much,” noted Kevin.
The Vandervelde album moved on to the catchy single track, “Jacket,” highlighting one of the reasons why Frank and Janet are now going through a messy divorce – miscommunication. As the affably phrased refrain of “Didn’t someone tell you it’s raining/ Because you forgot your jacket’s on the second floor/ You might have got a mind like a fortune teller/ But you never know what love is for” kept swinging around, Phil noticed, “This album sounds a lot like the stuff we’re looking for. I’m seeing Hunky Dory and,” he paused as the next song began, then added “All Things Must Pass. How did Janet get her hands on these records before you saved them?”
“At first I didn’t have a record player here. So I only took the things I needed – my clothes, these CDs, some files and paperwork. I never thought she’d sell everything else before I came back for the rest of it.”
Kevin raised a good question. “Isn’t everything supposed to be frozen until the divorce is final?”
“Yeah it is. Unless it’s something we both agree on selling and settling. So right now that’s giving me the upper hand. But we still got to find these records.”
“Corduroy Blues” came on, with its spectacular string arrangement and melodious horn parts, and Frank was reminded that Five Leaves Left was also on his list of missing records. “Can’t See Your Face No More,” with its psychedelic pop music, galloping percussion and lyrics of loss, reminded Frank of the reason his vinyl had been plundered. “I can’t see your pretty face no more/ Since you found your perfect lover/ And I know my time with you is through/ Now you’re living with another.”
One of the most memorable tracks on Vandervelde’s album was “Murder In Michigan,” a tale of “black eyed Suzanne.” The narrator built a story that ends with “wrapped you in blankets and dragged you through the rain/ May God forgive me for killing you in vain.”
The group couldn’t help but pause on this song and awkwardly look at the list of sought after vinyl. The final track, an instrumental called “Moonlight Instrumental” came on. Johnny broke the mood by saying, “You’re missing The Gilded Palace Of Sin. Damn, that was a good record.”
“I know. Let’s start looking for this stuff.”
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