In rotation: 1/3/18

Local music store Earfood sees spike in vinyl record sales, Store owners hopeful that music stores re-emerge just like vinyl records have: WINCHESTER, Va. – Vinyl records first became mainstream in the 1970’s, and now over 40 years later a Winchester music store can’t keep them on the shelves At 7-years-old Anthony Matthews used his mothers pots and pans as drums. Soon after, he picked up his first guitar, and as a young adult he played in several bands. As he grew older, Anthony knew he wanted to keep music close. “Either radio dj, or in a band or working at a music store,” said Anthony Matthews of Earfood Music Store. Now as Earfood music store’s co-owner, he’s proud to have done two of those three things. “Working at a music store worked out for us. I get to work for my son, so it couldn’t get any better,” he said.

Keeping vinyl alive: Where to buy rare records in the Midlands: Despite existing in the digital age, the classic vinyl is thriving. Vinyl sales are at their highest sales since 1991, meaning that original 7” of your favourite artist is even more desirable than ever. Luckily, the West Midlands is full of independently owned record shops tucked away on side streets and alleyways away from the busy high streets. Help keep both local businesses and the record industry alive by hunting down those rare records at these Midlands based stores…We’re starting off with one of the oldest record stores in Birmingham, establishing itself in 1952. The Diskery has become synonymous with Birmingham for over half a century, with faded concert posters adorning the walls and retro record sleeves covering the ceilings, showing just how long The Diskery has been standing proud in Birmingham alongside its stellar collection.

Last record store in Everett still spinning, Online music services and file sharing have decimated what were once staples in neighborhoods across this country. On the front door of Everett’s Bargain CDs Records & Tapes is posted a sign that reads, “step into a world of magic and excitement.” You can’t help but sense a bit of magic in the air when you walk into Gordy Arlin’s store and the needle gently touches the vinyl. “It’s the fairy dust of the music!” He exclaimed. “Music, music, music!” Gordy has been buying and selling cassettes, CDs, DVDs and records in Everett for 28 years — everything from Sheena Easton to Lawrence Welk. “It’s kind of a time machine,” he said. “You thumb through and you see a record and remember that was when I asked Betty Lou for a date and she said no!

To Break Into the Grammys, Netflix Went Old-School Vinyl, Netflix released vinyl records of its streaming comedy specials to garner its first-ever Grammy nominations. Netflix submitted a dozen of its original stand-up comedy specials to compete as comedy albums. However, the majority of these entrants didn’t get a conventional album release. The live comedy sets, including performances by Marc Maron, Trevor Noah and Amy Schumer, aren’t available on CD or on streaming music sites such as Spotify. Instead, Netflix released audio versions of its video specials on vinyl only. The primary purpose was to qualify for Grammy nominations. Withholding the comedy specials from other streaming sites also helped the company maintain the exclusivity of its content. A side benefit: Vinyl records are less susceptible to pirating than CDs.

For the record, I was a vinyl vandal: There are reports of bumper sales of turntables this Christmas. Young people are buying them and older people too, keen to revisit their old records. Which is understandable, though spare a thought for those of us whose old vinyl wouldn’t be up to it. As a former music journalist, it’s sometimes presumed that I “must” have a great vinyl collection. That rather depends. I had a great time listening to my records, but are they in a great state now? Nope. My surviving records are scratched, reeking of wine, sprinkled with fag ash and even a few boot prints. The inner sleeves have nearly all vanished, and I once found a copy of Kate Bush’s Hounds of Love on the kitchen floor, wrapped with drunken tenderness in a dirty tea towel.

Remote-controlled, LED-filled vinyl records now exist: US record label Romanus Records has lived up to its commitment to release unique forms of vinyl, with the likes of tri-colour, glow-in-the-dark, and sand-, glitter- and beeswax-filled vinyl pressings. Yesterday, it released a limited edition run of Brother O’ Brother’s 2017 Neon Native album complete with LED lights and remote control. We can’t help but think Pink Floyd missed a trick here… How, you ask? As the label’s boss Chris Banta told Team Rock, “[I] couldn’t figure out how to get power to the LEDs without implanting a battery — which would eventually die — or a giant standard AC power pack. Plus, I could only figure out how to get power to one side. “I had nearly given up, and while being on the road with Brother O’ Brother I finally came to the conclusion that I had to cut a hole in the record. I mount a 45 adapter to an Ion Power Pack vertically, which keeps the cables from resting or being in the way of the tone arm.”

Lorde Is Releasing ‘Melodrama’ on Vinyl This Spring: As Lorde closes out a massive year in her career, the singer on Monday offered some holiday news. Her sophomore record Melodrama will be released on vinyl this spring, nearly a year after its original arrival. There will be a standard version and a deluxe version, the latter of which will include “six double-sided photo pages,” with both editions coming April 6. News of the vinyl release comes ahead of next month’s 60th annual Grammy Awards, where Melodrama is nominated for Album of the Year. Lorde will also be quite busy for most of 2018, with a massive North American tour starting in March.

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