In rotation: 3/27/19

San Antonio, TX | Beloved DIY Venue Imagine Books & Records Is Moving: “Bittersweet” is the word Ezra Hurd is using to describe the new journey on which he and his family are embarking. Since 2011, 8373 Culebra Rd #201B has been the home of the DIY bookshop, record store and venue Imagine Books & Records. Mid-April will mark its relocation to a new space. “Me and my dad have had so many [good] times at the store,” said Hurd who books shows at the shop. “We’ve had a lot of great friends we’ve met, and it’s really changed our lives, and changing the store is a little bit scary, but we’re pretty positive about the move. I’m just worried about is it gonna be how it looks like in my head? Is it gonna represent Imagine? Is it gonna have a different feel? And we can’t know until we do it. It’s a little scary, but mainly exciting…”

New York, NY | Mexican Summer Launches New NYC Storefront Brooklyn Record Exchange. The indie label is entering the retail business with a new shop housed in the same compound as the venue Elsewhere in Bushwick. While vinyl sales continue to rise, reaching their highest level since 1988 last year, recapturing the classic spirit of the record store has proved a more challenging task. But it’s one that Mexican Summer label founders Andrés Santo Domingo and Keith Abrahamsson and Co-Op 87’s Mike Hunchback and Ben Steidel are taking on with Brooklyn Record Exchange, a new venture they’re bringing to a sunny strip of industrial Bushwick. Their shop — soft launching Thursday before opening in full on Saturday — is housed in the same compound as the venue Elsewhere, which brings a diverse array of artists to the area through its two performance spaces.

Peterborough, CA | ‘He wanted people to live their best life’: Friend remembers Peterborough business owner Jonathan Hall: Peterborough’s music community is grieving this weekend after the sudden passing of Jonathan Hall, a local DJ and business owner. At the time, Koski didn’t know Hall would become his best friend, his confidant, his business partner and, as Koski calls him, his biggest supporter. It was a role Hall really took on, not only with his friends but throughout Peterborough. “Jonny was a pretty amazing guy. I think what endeared a lot of people to him was he gave so much to the community and to everyone, and he never really asked for anything back. He gave a lot of people their start. He believed in a lot of people, including myself,” said Koski. Hall founded the alternative bar Trasheteria in 1994. It had an 18-year run before Hall, together with Koski, opened Spanky’s in 2009. There, people would come from far and wide to watch Hall spin as a DJ. Then, in May 2018, Hall opened The Twisted Wheel with his friend Mike Judson, celebrating music and the vinyl craze.

Seattle, WA | Seattle: Experience the Seattle cool in Sub Pop city: Seattle is full of excellent record stores selling a selection of new and used vinyl. It was while chewing the fat about the local music scene with the owner of Singles Going Steady in Belltown (a great store renowned for punk and grime), that I picked up a print-out of a hand-drawn map of where to find the best vinyl. Easy Street Records & Cafe in West Seattle is a cool place to hang, sift through a selection of vinyl, CDs and memorabilia — I left with a beanie, T-shirt and fridge magnet, as well as some brilliant albums. Named by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the US’s top record stores; apparently Eddie Vedder worked a shift in 1995 and played on repeat the store’s copy of Sonic Youth’s new record Washing Machine. Everyone’s got a story.

Fort Lauderdale, FL | Ticket alert: John Cusack and ‘High Fidelity’ at Broward Center: The Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale will host an evening with actor John Cusack and “High Fidelity,” his beloved 2000 cinematic homage to music and vinyl culture, which will be screened and gabbed about in the venue’s Au-Rene Theater on July 26. Tickets cost $39-$69 at VIP tickets, which include a post-show meeting and photo opportunity with Cusack, are available for $250. Based on the novel of the same name by English writer Nick Hornby, the Stephen Frears-directed “High Fidelity” found an immediate audience with its endearing portrait of 30-something manhood in the form of record store owner Rob Gordon (Cusack), whose unerring taste in music somehow (confoundingly!) does not translate into a wildly successful romantic life…Rob’s love of music and how it defines his relationships is revealed in resonant quotes that have kept the film alive in the minds of fans for 20 years. “What came first, the music or the misery?” he muses. “Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?”

Playing Vinyl Records Is My Favorite Way to Unplug: …While I could go on and on about the convenience of streaming music straight from my phone (I grew up during the peak Walkman/cassette era), it’s too easy for me to get swept up in checking emails, the news cycle, or falling through a social media blackhole, which is the complete opposite of relaxation. The best part about playing albums on vinyl in my apartment is that I don’t have to think about anything other than the music, which allows me to truly unplug from the chaos of the world. As soon as I place a record on my Crosley player, lower its needle, and crank the volume, all the stresses of the day melt away. I choose to stay focused on the rhythms of my favorite records instead of trying to sweat the small stuff. I’m more than happy to dance all by myself in the comfort of my entryway, living room, and/or kitchen depending on my mood.

Cassettes again darling of audiophiles: But as top musicians including Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber release their music on tape and demand continues to climb, the niche revival has faced a global shortage of music-quality magnetic tape needed for production. Now, two facilities―one in the American Midwest and the other in western France—have stepped in to meet the need. “It’s a good place to be―there’s plenty of business for both of us,” said Steve Stepp, who founded the National Audio Company in Springfield, Missouri with his father 50 years ago. He said that around 2000 the “imperial hegemony of the CD” cut his business, which stayed alive as a major manufacturer of books on tape that remained popular. But despite the astronomical rise of streaming, Stepp said rock bands like Pearl Jam and The Smashing Pumpkins began seeking to manufacture anniversary tapes in the mid-2000s, launching a cassette comeback tour.

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