In rotation: 1/30/19

Philadelphia, PA | The Five Essential Record Stores For Building Your Vinyl Collection: Take your music taste for a spin with these classic stops. Newsflash: the album is dying, but the vinyl is gaining a whole new life. A relic of the pre–Spotify era when DJing meant more than just queuing a playlist, the record represents our wildest Gen–Z fears—commitment, authenticity, and fragility. And yet, we can’t stop buying them. In 2018, vinyl sales increased by 12.6 percent, while tangible album sales plummeted by more than triple that. With those statistics, it feels like everyone and their trendy little sister is getting in on this vintage trend. And you can, too, by building a vinyl collection that has everything the music section at Urban Outfitter’s doesn’t: hidden classics, genuine collectibles, and even the spare cassette tape. Whether you’re itching to live out an Empire Records–themed fantasy or put the latest Phoenix release on the needle, these stores have you covered. These institutions of all things throwback are the best record stores in Philadelphia

Seattle, WA | Vintage and the vinyl: A quick tour of five local record stores: Against all the odds of an increasingly digitized music industry, record stores seem to be everywhere. It appears that not even advancements in technology can expel vinyl records from their elusive “cool kid” status. In fact, vinyl sales themselves have been steadily rising since the market experienced a miraculous resurgence in the mid-2000s. In a consumer culture that routinely relies on the resurgence of “vintage” to diversify sales trends, record stores seem to thrive on their utter outdatedness. So for your retro pleasure, below are brief descriptions of five Seattle record stores that epitomize both the city’s diverse music scene and the distinct qualities that sustain the vinyl industry. Each store was evaluated based upon selection, organization, price range, and its general atmosphere and vibe.

Tell the truth: Do you really listen to albums on vinyl? I know it’s retro-cool to have a turntable for your favorite classic albums. But honestly — isn’t it really kind of a pain? …while I admit I, too, get a little nostalgic when I hear that telltale crackle in the speakers that means somebody’s playing a vinyl record, I can only take so much of the warm fuzzies before I wonder “why bother?” I mean, once you hear “Rocket Man” on Honky Chateau, you’re at the end of Side One. Which means after just five songs, you have to get up, walk over to the turntable, flip the record over, and listen to the next five songs on Side Two. And this is assuming you actually like all five songs on each side of the album. If you feel like skipping “I Think I’m Going to Kill Myself” (SIde One, Track Three) that’s another trip over to the turntable to lift the needle and drop it at the beginning of the next song. I feel as if all the progress we’ve made in music tech since the 1970s has rendered all that getting up and getting down unnecessary.

Review: Fluance’s RT85 turntable helped me understand vinyl’s surprising comeback: I have a bit of a confession to make. I’ve spent more money on audio gear than I care to admit… but I’ve never been that much into vinyl. Sure, I’ve owned a few budget tables over the years, and I’ve quietly admired the Regas, Technics, and VPIs of the world at audio events. I appreciated their value for those with extensive vinyl collections, or simply for the experience of the album art and ritual of placing a record on a platter. But as someone who grew up with the convenience digital era, I never felt compelled to invest in a fancy turntable. Then Fluance sent over the RT85, the $500 flagship of its new ‘Reference’ turntable family. I think I get it now. The RT85 is a beautiful, well-thought-out table, and for this relative vinyl noob, its sound quality was good enough to make me a bit of a convert.

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