In rotation: 11/16/17

Dolby Atmos for the People: R.E.M. on the lost art of listening: When was the last time you listened to an album? Or even a song? You may say last night, this morning, five minutes ago. But I mean really listened – free from other distractions, letting the sounds envelope you, phone switched off, Twitter thumbs disengaged, no YouTube comments to rail against, the stream of endless notifications turned off. Putting on an album used to be something of a ritual, a meditative, reflective act, at its zenith with the lush cover folds of a vinyl record, but still a precise act with any other physical media, be that the cassette or the CD. From scanning the shelves at the record store to filing your purchase on your shelves at home, to picking out the record best suited to the feeling of the moment, popping it into your stereo and letting the next hour or so carry you away on a sonic cruise, it was a journey of sorts.

VIP Records Sign Closer to Becoming Historic Landmark Following Heritage Commission Vote: A unanimous vote by the Cultural Heritage Commission Monday night passed an agenda item to designate the World Famous VIP Records sign as a historic landmark. The iconic sign will be stored in a temporary location before being restored and relocated to a new permanent location, pending a vote from the Long Beach City Council in December. “I’m very happy, this is a great night that I’ve been looking forward to,” Kelvin Anderson, founder of VIP Records, told the Post. “According to the mayor, designation of the sign would open up bigger opportunities for funding and programs. Hopefully we can push it to the city council vote and get to start working to build new VIP experiences in music, business and education.”

This Metal Record Store/Pinball Machine Paradise Is Completely Insane: If you’re ever in Middletown, NY, be sure to check out Stephen Keeler at his Rock Fantasy Record Store. Elliott Fullam of Little Punk People visits Keeler to explore his incredible collection of pinball machines and amazing collection of metal records. Rock Fantasy opened up in 1985 and has since hosted in-store performances by Alice In Chains, Death, Nuclear Assault, Exodus, Overkill, and Skid Row. Of course as usual, Fullam does a great job getting his interviewee to open up about the subject at hand. In this case, it’s all about Keeler’s insane collection!

A $10,000 Record Player for Vinyl-Obsessed Audiophiles, The first turntable from hi-fi audio maker Mark Levinson is an investment-worthy deck. Founded in 1972 and acquired in 1990 by Harman International Industries Inc., Mark Levinson is synonymous with high-end sound. Its eponymous founder, an aspiring musician said to have built a stage mixer at Woodstock, jump-started the craze for premium home audio equipment. To commemorate its 45th anniversary this year, the brand teamed up with another top-rated manufacturer, turntable maker VPI Industries Inc., to create its first record player, the No. 515. A 20-pound platter rotates on an inverted bearing to make it the most precise deck on the market. The reinforced base tamps down resonance to create a warm, clear, analog sound.

Many music lovers still love the sound of vinyl records: For the past few years the vinyl record industry has been making a comeback. But why would younger consumers purchase music on wider, clumsier discs that require a player and a needle that needs replacement over the easy handling of CDs?And why would they prefer the sound of imperfection of the phonograph record over the digitally-mastered sound of a CD? Surprisingly, music lovers like turntables — which have a superficial beauty — and they like the grooves on the record. The word groovy has been passed down over the decades from early jazz records and the grooves in the record. Furthermore, “the music sounds vivid and real on vinyl.”

Welcome to the Ultimate Record Collection: You can listen on the train or in the car, at the computer or on your phone. In your room. In the bath, or out on your bike. You might invest in noise-cancelling headphones for your hi-res audio player, or go retro with a cassette mixtape on a Walkman you found in a cupboard. Or, you could join the swelling tide of music lovers in returning to the joys of listening to great albums on vinyl. Whether you’re drawn in by the luxury of the package, of discovering new stuff, or the audiophile promise of hearing new dimensions in music you already know, vinyl is a fantastic way to listen. Certainly, more and more music fans are catching on – or returning to a format they’d previously abandoned…

‘Stranger Things’ Season 2 soundtrack gets vinyl release: That’s right: The Stranger Things Season 2 soundtrack will be getting an official vinyl release, and the variants are obviously stunning. According to Pitchfork, one variant, properly titled “Upside Down Inter-dimensional Blue,” will be out Dec. 22 via Lakeshore Records, with three additional variants being released worldwide January 12 via Invada—a black vinyl, “Crystal Clear Vinyl” with blue splatter and a “Purple Crystal Vinyl” with white splatter. Not to mention, there’s a gatefold design piece called “Hopper in the Pumpkin Patch,” and it’s clearly giving us all the Stranger Things vibes.

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