In rotation: 6/13/19

UK | This new book takes you inside London’s independent record shops: A 60-stop vinyl tour. A new book called Vinyl London: A Guide to Independent Record Shops has been published by ACC Art Books. Written by Tom Greig with original photography by Sam Mellish, Vinyl London visits sixty independent record shops, stalls, cafés and fairs in the city. Organised by location – Soho, North, East, South, West, Suburbs, Markets, Vinyl Cafes – it includes maps, addresses, opening times and information about stock. Featured locales include Phonica Records, Alan’s, Crypt Of The Wizard, Spiritland, and the Independent Label Market. Vinyl London is part of a series by ACC Art Books exploring creative scenes in the capital.

Austin, TX | Astro Records takes ‘a leap of faith’ in downtown Bastrop: Kevin “Lippy” Mawby’s grand opening of Astro Records in downtown Bastrop recently was an auspicious beginning for his new business. More than 100 people turned out — musicians, vinyl collectors and curious passersby — and the excitement surrounding his new venture was palpable. Astro Records, which takes its name from Bastrop, minus the first and last letters, has become Bastrop County’s first record store, nestled in a 1,000-square foot storefront along Pine Street in downtown Bastrop. After nearly 15 years trying to find a home for his vinyl collection, which he’s towed from New Orleans to Austin to Bastrop, he’s finally taking a “leap of faith” on Bastrop’s downtown. “The great thing about Bastrop, it’s one of a few downtowns that remains vital in small town Texas,” Mawby said. “It’s a lovely place to live. It’s safe, comparatively affordable, and everybody seems happy to be here.”

Oak Park, IL | The evening John Prine stopped by Val’s: Legendary folk singer wanted to give old pal’s shop a boost. It’s no secret that Val’s halla Records, 239 Harrison St. in the Arts District, has been struggling. Val Camilletti (1939-2018), the long-time proprietor, was one of Oak Park’s most beloved figures for over four decades. For 46 years Val sold new and used records while sharing her warmth and wisdom about music ranging from ragtime to rock. She died of cancer while in hospice care nearly a year ago. Through the decades, while developing a large number of devoted customers, Val had also got to know many musicians, especially those with local roots. One who was especially significant was John Prine from Maywood. Val actually helped John choose his first pressings for his records. Shayne Blakely, who spent half of his 38 years working at Val’s halla, continues to manage the store. He pays the bills, builds relationships, and sells new and used vinyl, cassettes, and CD’s, ever hustling to keep the place afloat.

Savannah, GA | Mini Graveface fest brings together impressive, diverse lineup: Ryan Graveface talks ahead of special Jinx show: Graveface Records, owned by musician, label head, and entrepreneur Ryan Graveface, is a Savannah staple by this point. He’s been running his label for over 15 years, and his record store has been here in town since 2011. Since landing in Savannah, Graveface has staged some successful music festivals — but admits that attendance started lagging after the first few years. He shifted his focus towards horror film festivals, but he’s ready to test the waters again and see if there’s still a hunger for the incredible music he’s consistently brought to our city. With the lineup he has planned, it’s bound to be an unforgettable event. I’d been doing the Graveface Music Fest for 15 years, mostly in Chicago,” he tells Connect.

Prince dominates retailer’s Top 100 of most expensive records sold: Prince albums appear 5 times, including at No. 1. A copy of Prince’s Black Album is No. 1 in a record dealer’s Top 100 list of the most expensive records it has sold in America. Discogs released the list that spans the 14 years of its existence, showing what albums attracted the highest bids from buyers in the U.S. And Prince features prominently, not least at the top of the charts, after a 1987 vinyl promo version of The Black Album sold for $15,000 in 2016. The Black Album, aka The Funk Bible, was eventually released in 1994 by Warner Bros., after Prince abandoned the initial release in 1987 after becoming convinced it was “too evil” to go into circulation. However, around 100 promo copies had been distributed to Europe before Prince had pulled the album in 1987, as Den of Geek reports, making them a highly-sought after collectors’ item.

Jazz’s Resonance Label, Beloved by Vinyl Buffs, Finally Joins the Streaming Tide: GM Zev Feldman admits to being “a little nervous” about messing with a model predicated on sales of elaborate physical editions. “…Even hardcore record collectors such as myself use streaming in our everyday lives,” says Zev Feldman, the label’s co-president and general manager. “I stream music on my walks, in the gym, in the car, in meetings, you name it. It could create an all-new audience for us, and that’s why we’re taking the gamble. I want our back catalog to be streaming on all these platforms people use throughout their everyday lives. But Resonance always has and will for the foreseeable future continue to primarily devote our energies towards producing the signature deluxe packages that we’ve become known for.”

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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