In rotation: 2/12/19

Sunderland, UK | Long live our record shops: In a week of bad news on the job front, here in Sunderland, I was very pleased to hear that the HMV shop in The Bridges Shopping Centre has been saved from closure. It, along with Hot Rats Records, can continue to offer music fans an outlet to buy their vinyl and CDs and in the case of HMV films. In this age of downloads and streaming the joy of owning a solid copy of an album or film still has its appeal. I can still remember buying Tubular Bells and being jokingly told “You can’t listen to it on old tin cans”. Going through the brown boxes of singles on a Friday in my hunt for something special, struggling with two arms full of LPs when HMV on High Street had one of its sales or buying my first Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band LP from that small corner record shop (whose name is now lost in the mists of time) situated at the bottom of Church Street, Seaham. My singles, LPs, cassettes and videos are still playable today and the look and feel of an LP or iconic album sleeve cover or record label design can still excite.

Jersey City, NJ | After 25 years, last day nears for Jersey City record store: 1994 was a bad year for records. With CD sales booming, vinyl sales accounted for less than 1 percent of all music purchases that year. Even cassettes made up nearly a quarter of sales. Still, DJs and hip-hop artists and college students still bought old records, so there was a market when Stephen Gritzan opened Iris Records in a Brunswick Street storefront on March 1, 1994. Flash forward 25 years and vinyl sales now hover around 5 percent of all music sales. But the boost in sales is not enough for Gritzan, 59, who will shut down Iris Records for good on Saturday. “It’s sad, but what are you going to do?” Gritzan told The Jersey Journal. “I think it’s time.” There’s no one reason. The rent has skyrocketed, Gritzan said, to $4,000 monthly, up from $700 when he first opened, making the store the least profitable arm of his record selling business, which includes online sales.

UK | New hope Plymouth and Exeter HMV stores could re-open. Canadian owner enters talks with landlords in bid to reopen the 27 stores that shut when he rescued the chain. There are hopes the closed HMV stores in Plymouth and Exeter can be saved as it emerged the chain’s new Canadian owner is in talks with landlords. Doug Putman, the 34-year-old boss of Canada’s Sunrise Records, rescued HMV from administration in January 2019, seeing off a bid from Sports Direct’s Mike Ashley. But he immediately closed 27 of the 127 branches, including the flagship Oxford Street store in London, and those in Plymouth’s Drake Circus Shopping Centre and Exeter’s Princesshay. Experts said that he had clearly targeted the stores with the highest rents and rates bills for closures. The Plymouth store is shut but after a week all the goods inside had not been touched.

Oceanside, CA | Riley Hawk Opens Record Store Cafe in Oceanside. It’s the latest project from the pro skater, who also fronts a local sludge punk band called Waris. Need an extra buzz? Check out Tony Hawk’s son Riley’s new coffee shop and record store that just opened this week in Oceanside. It’s the latest project from the pro skater, who also fronts a local sludge punk band called Warish that just released their self-titled debut EP. The new shop is called Steel Mill Coffee and features some hand-picked vinyl for sale, ranging from “obscure hard rock to psychedelic,” according to Eater San Diego. To top it all of, they’re currently serving James Coffee Co. beans, the roasting company co-owned by ex-Angels and Airwaves guitarist, David Kennedy. It’s not exactly a new venture for the Hawk family, considering Tony was an investor in Blue Bottle Coffee. That paid off handsomely for him, so hopefully it does for Riley as well.

Eindhoven, NL | Philips Museum gets an exhibition about vinyl records: The vinyl record will be at the center of the Philips Museum from Friday 15 February. During a new exhibition, the Eindhoven museum is full of covers, photos, pick-ups and other vinyl objects. Former CEO of the Frits Philips group bought a small record company in 1942. That eventually grew into PolyGram, one of the largest music industries in the world. The Bee Gees, Elton John, Dire Straits and many others released records on Polygram labels. After the arrival of the compact disc in 1982, it was thought that vinyl would end. Nothing turned out to be less true: the vinyl became popular again. Bands still give albums on vinyl, and vinyl records are played in nightclubs. The exhibition lasts until July 15, 2019.

Kent, UK | Vinyl Revolution: Half term vinyl workshop for families: We love families coming into the shop and really enjoy helping youngsters discover the joy of vinyl for the first time. So during February half-term we are going to host morning and afternoon family workshops every day. We’ll explain how records work, how to use a record player and how to hold, clean and look after vinyl records. Our workshops will be great fun and even better they’re FREE OF CHARGE! Max size 12 people per group. Please contact us to book places or CLICK HERE to respond via FACEBOOK EVENTS.

Denon’s new turntable duo makes high-quality vinyl playback – and even recording – simple: Denon, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of high-quality home entertainment products, is adding two stylish new turntables to its Design Series, combining over a century of experience in design and engineering for analogue playback with the very latest technological advances. The DP-400 and DP-450USB are built for high performance and ease of set-up and use while matching the sleek lines of the company’s Design Series range and renowned CEOL Series, as well as their classic 43cm Hi-Fi components. Both turntables feature a built-in pre-amp making them suitable for use with a wide range of systems, while the DP-450USB adds to its specification analogue-to-digital conversion, making it simple to record favourite LPs and singles straight to USB storage devices.

Exclusive David Bowie picture disc announced for Record Store Day 2019: A lavish re-press of Bowie’s 1973 covers album could be yours. David Bowie‘s 1973 album ‘Pin Ups’ is being reissued as a vinyl picture disc for Record Store Day 2019, which takes place on April 13. The album, which features Bowie covering songs by the likes of Pink Floyd, The Kinks and The Who, hit number one on pre-orders alone when it was first released 46 years ago. Its now-iconic cover sees Bowie pictured alongside 60s supermodel Twiggy, who was also namechecked in a song on ‘Aladdin Sane’ released that same year. Side one of the picture disc features that image, taken by Justin de Villeneuve initially for Vogue magazine. Side two features a Mick Rock photograph from the same session that was used for the LP’s back cover. Bowie’s music has become a fixture of Record Store Day. Limited edition releases of his work over the years have included picture disc singles for ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Suicide’, ‘Changes’, ‘Drive-In Saturday’, ‘TVC 15’, ‘Life On Mars’ and ‘The Jean Genie’.

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