One great thing about new music is that there is so much out there just waiting to be discovered. I am always amazed when I hear people stating that “there is no such thing as good music anymore!” If you are tuned in to mainstream pop radio, okay, I’ll tip my hat to that, but for those willing to work at sourcing ‘real’ music, there is an abundance of excellent modern music to be found. I found some of my absolute favorites purely by chance – Brandi Carlisle was a Pandora recommendation; Nathaniel Rateliff was a satellite radio station discovery, and the late Charles Bradley was being played in a record store whilst we were browsing the aisles.
A few years ago we were at a large used CD store just outside of Washington DC, and discovered several albums by artists that were completely unknown to us, but we were willing to give them a chance (based on how they were categorized in store). One such find was an album titled “Fumes” by a sister duo act “Lily & Madeleine.” A quick google search on my phone told me that they were a folk-pop act out of Indiana, and for a handful of dollars, proved to be a worthwhile investment. “Fumes” is a fantastic album, full of light-folk-pop numbers that offer great harmonies, great songwriting, and good old fashioned ‘feel good’ music. Two other albums (their debut and third full length albums respectively) were found in similar fashion during 2017, which are also incredibly enjoyable (although “Fumes” is by far their best work to date). Our final concert of 2017 ties in perfectly with this installment of Rescued Vinyl too, as Lily & Madeleine were a last minute addition to a show in VA, prompting us to quickly secure tickets and enjoy these sisters performing a selection of their music live on stage.
So what do CDs and a live concert have to do with an article about vinyl, I hear you ask? Fast forward to the first “Record Store Day” event (April 21st) of 2018, and we were heading from Eastern PA, across part of NJ and into NY for some live music. Purposely adding a handful of independent record stores to our travel plans on this ‘special’ day, a brief stop at Kiam Records (now Main Street Beat) in Nyack, NY would result in finding a copy of “Fumes” on limited clear vinyl. Mixed in amongst the used records, this one appeared to be in exceptional condition, and a conversation was struck with the store manager whilst making the purchase, from which I learned that the album was considered used due to it being spun once on the in-store record player. How could I turn down the opportunity to own my favorite Lily & Madeleine album on vinyl at a fraction of the retail cost? That’s right, I could not. “Fumes” spent the evening in NY with us, and then enjoyed the road trip back across NJ and into PA, and home.
Spinning this one here at home now as I compose this article, as is always the case with vinyl, this really does sound much more alive as it emanates from the speakers. Ah, what with the limitations of CDs due to digital compression and all that nonsense, the turntable and stylus combination definitely tantalizes the senses more with each track. Tracks such as “Rabbit,” “Cabin Fever” and the wonderfully moody closing number “Blue Blades” have never seemed so fresh and invigorating to me. This album did not deserve to sit collecting dust in a small independent record store. No, this is one that needs to be played, to be heard, and is a very welcome addition to our vinyl collection. Lily and Madeleine’s “Fumes”: consider yourself rescued.
Addendum: I really ought to add that a copy of Lily & Madeleine’s 2013 debut self-titled album was also found in NJ during this same trip. Two vinyl albums from the same artist on the same day – both were clearly destined to be given a new lease of life here in PA. Just one more to find……happy hunting.