In rotation: 11/30/18

Bleecker Bob has died: Robert Plotnik, the titular owner of NYC’s iconic Village record store Bleecker Bob’s, has died. The sad news was confirmed by his longtime partner, Jennifer Kitzer. Bob had been in declining health for some time after suffering a stroke in 2001. The store stayed open till 2013. NYC/Brooklyn store Academy Records offering up this tribute: RIP to Bleecker Bob, a true legend on the NYC record store scene and probably the most singular character among that very idiosyncratic bunch. I first got to know Bob and his wise cracking sarcasm as a teenager in the late 70s as I soiled my fingers flipping through his grimy reused record sleeves. I also quickly learned that he loved an equal dose of sarcasm in return and our interactions were some of my first tastes of what it meant to be a real New Yorker. When I first opened my store in 2001 it was a real badge of honor when he came to check it out and told me it didn’t suck too bad. Catch ya on the B side

Denver, CO | Looking Back On 40 Years Of Wax Trax, Denver’s Vinyl Record Mecca: Sometimes it still feels like 1978 inside Denver’s Wax Trax Records. Maybe it’s the creaky wood floors, or the ever-present soundtrack of ‘70s-era underground rock that plays through the store’s speakers. But a big part of that preserved-in-time feeling probably comes from the owners, Dave Stidman and Duane Davis. If they’re not in the corner CD store of Wax Trax, then it’s a safe bet you can find them two doors down restocking the endless stacks of new and used vinyl. It’s been 40 years since Stidman and Davis took over, and that time comes with a lot of colorful stories from a seedier time in Denver’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. “We got into the corner store in 1978 and we got this space probably early ‘80s. It had been a woman who had a needle-craft store,” Davis said, standing among rows and rows of vinyl albums.

The best turntables of 2018: …There were a number of themes running through this year’s turntable designs. Firstly, the flush of excitement around vinyl in the turntable market in last five years has given way to specialist tools for niche customers. As a result, manufacturers are increasingly including semi- and automatic functions on their decks for record buyers who would not consider themselves ‘audiophiles’. Across the hi-fi industry, the tendency towards all-in-one models – where additional elements like amplifiers and bluetooth are packed into the turntable chassis – is an example of brands catering for more flexible forms of listening. On the other side of the coin, there are increasing numbers of interesting designs on offer for the audiophile listener with sound quality and innovation coming to the fore.

7 times Marvel superheroes appeared on record covers. The stories behind the strange collision of two iconic but (usually) separate worlds. Recently, Marvel honoured the world of hip-hop by recreating some of the industry’s most iconic album covers with their own superheroes substituted in. The variant covers appeared on Marvel’s comics and proved so popular that the publisher even released a two-volume collection of just the album artwork. But Marvel’s characters have appeared on record covers before, and often for stranger reasons than you might expect. Here are a few famous (and not-so-famous) examples that you may or may not be aware of

Atomic Punks: Van Halen hanging out with their teenage fans at a Dallas, Texas record store in 1978: …The photos you are about to see were taken 40-years ago, almost to the day, and what a day it was if you were lucky enough to have been there. While you’re scrolling, take notice of the Van Halen albums on the wall—all of which were signed by the band while they were throwing back Schlitz Malt Liquor, smoking cigarettes, waiting to meet their fans. Also, while conducting my critical “research” on vintage ‘78 VH, I came across a comment left by a dude calling himself “Dave Jr.” noting that the “blonde” smiling in a photo (pictured below) as DLR signs an album for her friend, was his mother. “Dave Jr.” went on to say he arrived in the world nine months after the photo was taken, making him wonder if Diamond Dave might be his dad

Metallica to release ‘Helping Hands’ vinyl LP for charity. The album will include live acoustic renditions from the band’s Helping Hands benefit concert. Metallica recently held a concert in San Francisco to raise funds for their All Within My Hands (AWMH) Foundation. The band now plan to bolster their charity effort by releasing a limited-edition vinyl record: Helping Hands…Live & Acoustic at The Masonic, which features live acoustic versions of their hits taken from the 3 November gig. The 12-track double LP boasts stripped-down performances of fan favourites, including a rare unplugged version of “The Unforgiven”. Several acoustic covers of all-time hits have made the cut as well, with the band putting their spin on Deep Purple’s “When a Blind Man Cries”, Nazareth’s “Please Don’t Judas Me” and Bob Seger’s “Turn the Page”. Funds raised from the album will aid the group’s AWMH foundation, which “aims to assist and enrich the lives of members of the communities who have supported the band for years, as well as encourage participation from fans and friends…”

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