In rotation: 3/11/19

Pocatello/Idaho Falls, ID | Record swap: Collectors talk appeal of vinyl as medium hits 30-year high: To Mike Steinberg, collecting records is about music and also not. He can point to many of his thousands of records that fill his house and tell a story. Each one, he said, is “a physical artifact of my life and has meaning.” Steinberg, the executive director of the Roxy Theater, has a KBGA radio show where he plays from his deep collection of vintage soul and R&B 45-inch records. His specialty? Singles by groups that often never recorded a full-length album. Many of the tracks don’t exist online, save for bootleg versions posted on YouTube. He grew up around records, because his father and aunt ran a music shop, The Disc Connection, in his hometown of St. Louis, for about 25 years. He counts among his irreplaceable records a Kinks promotional LP that his father played on the radio. Like many DJs, he circled a few songs on the back to recommend them as radio-worthy. Steinberg could probably find another copy of the album if he wanted, but it wouldn’t be the same. “I can’t replace that,” he said.

Liverpool, UK | Yvonne Page, Dig Vinyl : A day in the life of working in a record shop: “…To be honest I’m a bit spoiled because of working in a record shop, I experience a bit of the “Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon” when it comes to vinyl! So, this is “the illusion in which a word, a name, or other thing that has recently come to one’s attention suddenly seems to appear with improbable frequency shortly afterwards” – basically, when I decide I really want a record, or hear something that I’m a bit interested in, chances are it, or something very similar, will end up in the shop, and subsequently back home with me, in the near future! A few weeks ago I decided I really wanted a copy of the Tom Tom Club debut LP, and one turned up in the racks that very same weekend. Unfortunately sometimes a record turns up that I’d love to have, but I need to come to terms with living without because it’s just well beyond my means – like the first Mazzy Star album and the original Nick Drake – Bryter Layter that still haunt my dreams. Someday…”

Brockport, NY | Trader Shag’s Emporium to celebrate vinyl on Record Store Day: Boyz II Men had the hit song of the month and CDs reigned supreme when indie music store Trader Shag’s Emporium opened on Main Street in Brockport in October 1997. Twenty-one years later, the chart-toppers and the way we listen to them have changed, but the beat goes on at the store owned by Geoff Dwyer, a Brighton native who now lives in Sweden. “When I opened we had no vinyl or DVDs,” said Dwyer, who was a baker for Wegmans with his wife, Coleen, before they decided to become entrepreneurs (Coleen owns Coleen’s Kitchen down the street from Trader Shag’s). “Used CDs were the big, viable thing.” Dwyer, whose childhood nickname was Shag, found the Rochester area saturated with record stores at the time so he chose Danbury, Connecticut, to open his first store, Compact Disc Exchange. He ran that store for seven years, but its location in a strip mall was not ideal and he and Coleen missed the Rochester region.

Alkhobar, SA | Exploring the creative café scene in Saudi Arabia’s Alkhobar: There is no shortage of cafés in Alkhobar. However, the recent boom in creative cafés — combining co-working spaces, Instagram-worthy food, and art — seems to have found a cult following. You can expect to mingle with Sharqiyah’s art patrons, local college students, community groups, and coffee aficionados. In the midst of an artistic movement, here are three distinct spaces that offer coffee and solace for your creative soul. Inspired by the record-store culture in London, former college students Fawaz Alsulaim and his partners founded Bohemia Art Café, a multipurpose venue that operates as a co-working space, record store, coffee and vegan-food shop, and art gallery. Its minimalistic and DIY aesthetic might leave you underwhelmed, but “it’s all part of the bohemian brand, inspired by the need to be unconventional…”

Soundgarden launch 35th anniversary vinyl series. Superunknown will be reissued on 180-gram translucent red and gold vinyl: In 2019, Soundgarden celebrate their 35th anniversary. To commemorate the landmark year, A&M/UMe is partnering with The Sound of Vinyl to launch an Album of the Month series cataloging the groundbreaking alt-rock act’s storied career and influence. Each month starting in April, the label will issue a different Soundgarden LP on limited-edition colored vinyl. First up is Superunknown, the 1994 Grammy-winning studio release that effectively launched the group into stardom with hits like “Black Hole Sun”, “Fell on Black Days”, and others. In honor of its 25th anniversary today (!), the upcoming record will be pressed on 180-gram translucent red and gold vinyl. In addition to Superunknown, the series will feature 1989’s Louder Than Love, 1991’s Badmotorfinger, 1996’s Down on the Upside, and 2012’s King Animal.

Josh Turner’s musical influence and vinyl collection started with his Granny. “My first recollections of vinyl records actually came from when I was really, really young when my daddy’s mama would babysit me. I called her Granny, and she had a huge record collection in her house, and most of her records were either southern gospel or bluegrass or country, a lot of the Opry stars,” recalls Josh. “I remember her having records from Roy Acuff and Ernest Tubb and Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings and the Osborne Brothers and the Stanley Brothers and there’s just all the southern gospel quartets that were out back in those days. I acquired a good many of those records, I’m proud to say.” When he was a college student in Nashville, he discovered a rare find in a local antique store. “One of the coolest finds that I made there in Nashville was actually the Johnny Cash Ring of Fire record,” says Josh. “When I brought it home and opened it up, I realized that Johnny Cash had actually taken a ballpoint pen and actually signed the label on it, which was pretty cool.”

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