In rotation: 11/26/18

Austin, TX | Hundreds skip Black Friday shopping at malls for exclusive vinyl records at stores like Waterloo. “The lines are a lot shorter here then other stores,” He said, “it’s less stressful than shopping at a franchise.” When you think about Austin, art and music likely come to mind and what better way to avoid those long lines on Black Friday than to shop at one of Austin’s oldest record stores. Waterloo Records has been open for more than 30 years. On Black Friday, 175 unreleased vinyl records were put on sale exclusively for independent stores like Waterloo. “I feel like music is one of the coolest gifts you can give to somebody,” said Sebastian Garcia. “It’s been a good part of my life.” It’s quite a different Black Friday shopping experience for Garcia, who is a frequent customer at the record store.

Murfreesboro, TN | ‘Almost magical’: Waxface Records helps music lovers rediscover sound of vinyl: Waxface Records is causing the heads of vinyl record lovers to spin in stereo. The first clue of the high-fidelity funkiness found inside the store of sound — tucked into a tiny strip mall on the north side of Murfreesboro — are the strands of lights and 33⅓ RPM records decorating the windows. Walk through the doors and you might be greeted by the wailing of rocker Janis Joplin or the smooth crooning of Frank Sinatra coming from the shop’s record player. For some, the treasure hunt of flipping through the albums displayed in colorfully labeled wooden crates evokes musical memories and for others the thrill of discovery. With an average of 4,000 ever-changing vintage and new selections in LP and EP formats regularly in stock, the store offers many discoveries for visitors during the Record Store Day Black Friday event.

Seattle, WA | West Seattle record store promotes shopping local on Black Friday. Easy Street Records in West Seattle celebrated Record Store Day on Friday, joining an international movement where stores release rare musical finds on Black Friday. While lines accumulated outside big box stores, a West Seattle purveyor of vinyl put its own twist on Black Friday. For the 10th year, Easy Street Records on California Avenue turned Black Friday into Record Store Day. “It’s really a celebration of music,” said owner Matt Vaughan. Record Store Day on Black Friday is an international movement where record stores work with record labels and managers directly to release rare LP’s, 45’s, and CD’s. Once they run out in the store, they run out.

Boise, ID | Record Exchange sees boost in Black Friday demand: It is not every day that a crowd of Idahoans line up at 7 a.m. outside a store– in nearly freezing temperatures. “We had 75 people in line outside before we opened the doors today. Uh, past couple of years, we had 50. So that’s a big jump for us,” said Chad Dryden, Marketing and Promotions Director at The Record Exchange. But today isn’t like most days– it’s Black Friday. So for vinyl enthusiasts, that meant setting their alarms, because the record exchange offered about 150 Black Friday exclusives– released only to independent record shops like theirs. “Grateful Dead, Taylor Swift, U2, Hozier, Weezer– they put, uh, the Rosanna and Africa Toto covers that they did– they put those on a special vinyl release.” More big-name contemporary artists like these are pressing vinyls [“Vinyls,” not a word. —Ed.] recently, said Dryden. This is one reason for the boost in demand, he said.

Denton, TX | Record Store Day Draws Music Lovers to Denton Store: We all know Black Friday is a big shopping day. But it’s also a big deal for music lovers. Record Store Day sent many North Texans looking for musical rarities — on a format once left for dead. Black Friday lines are nothing new. But the folks who got up early to wait for a Denton record store to open weren’t there for the bargains. “I’m here to hopefully score the re-press of the Smashing Pumpkins album,” said Cash Bailey, “Limited edition.” He and others are enjoying a resurgence — of a classic format. According to the Recording Industry Association of America, the sale of vinyl records grew by 12-percent in the first half of this year. “That was the thing with vinyl. You had the big picture of the album cover, you got to hold it,” said Bailey. “It was a piece of art.”

How a Niche Jazz Imprint, Resonance, Became Record Store Day’s Mascot Label. It’s not just jazz buffs but genre dabblers who dig the elaborate, limited vinyl packages that Resonance issues well ahead of digital editions. …How do they do it? Volume! Or the lack of it, actually, since collectors know a Black Friday rollout of 3,000 copies (or anywhere from 2-6K for other releases) may be gone by Small Business Saturday. “Our products are a little different than a lot of other record companies’, perhaps, in the respect that our vinyl pressings are not meant to live on in the bin,” Feldman says. “We really make them collectible pieces. And I know this really is frustrating for some people,” namely, those who don’t get to the store in time, or those who resist the call to get a turntable. It’s not as if they’ll miss out on the music altogether. Like a lot of labels that participate in RSD’s vinyl rush, Resonance does schedule a CD and download release, as well.

Toronto, ON | The rise and fall of A&B Sound: Iconic record store chain went bankrupt 10 years ago: There was a time when a stretch of Seymour Street in downtown Vancouver was a mecca for music lovers. Long before Spotify playlists and Soundcloud uploads, fans would seek out new music by strolling the aisles of independent record shops like Odyssey Imports, Track Records, and Collectors RPM — which had a Beatles museum on the top floor — or chains like A&A Records and Sam the Record Man. Tucked under the arms of many who walked along Vancouver’s so-called “Record Row” were square, bright orange plastic bags containing albums bought at A&B Sound, a record store chain that at one point dominated music sales in B.C. and had stores in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. “We had customers back then who spent the entire day there,” said Lane Orr, A&B Sound’s former vice-president, of the flagship Seymour Street location.

Lafayette, LA | Lagniappe Records moves into new space: Lagniappe Records has just moved into a new location in Downtown Lafayette. The locally-owned vinyl record shop moved to 311 Jefferson St., Suite B, which is just two doors down from its previous location next to Rukus Board Shop. “It made a little bit more sense for us, because it has high ceilings and a better layout,” said Patrick Hodgkins, who owns the store with his wife Tess Brunet. The store completed the move this week and opened in time for Black Friday and Small Business Saturday.

Madison, WI | End of an era: Ear Wax Record Shop closes after more than two decades. Rob Cleveland opened Ear Wax Record Shop in 1996, with $11 in the register and hundreds of obscure rock records on the shelves. But as of Nov. 1, as first reported on the music and culture website Tone Madison, downtown Madison’s only metal- and punk-focused record store has closed its doors. Ear Wax did business for 23 years, surviving multiple music industry shifts, from the rise of MP3 sales to the dominance of streaming platforms. According to Cleveland, the owners of 254 W. Gilman Street declined to renew Ear Wax’s lease. Faced with declining sales and few similar, affordable spaces in town, he decided it was time to move on. “I think it’s more work to close a business than to open one,” Cleveland says, referring to the process of closing business accounts.

Coeur D’Alene, CA | Local music store celebrates 45 years, 33 alone in Coeur D’Alene: Long before North Idaho became the home of the Long Ear, owners and then-newlyweds Terry and Deon Borchard were in California, attending concerts and listening to fresh LPs on a waterbed under blue candlelight. “It was a real experience to listen to music then,” Deon said. “It still is,” Terry added. “It wasn’t Netflix, it wasn’t all this stuff on TV,” Deon said. “It was, ‘Let’s listen to this new album.’” That was the summer of ’72, just a year before the husband and wife opened their first music store in the tiny town of Big Bear Lake. “It was a close network of people,” Deon said recently, sitting in the office of the present-day Long Ear at 1620 N. Government Way in Coeur d’Alene. “We would have Christmas and eggnog parties at the store,” she recalled.

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