In rotation: 1/7/20

UK | HMV quietly shuts down 10 more stores as more ‘closing down’ signs are spotted across UK: High street music and entertainment store HMV is quietly closing at least 10 stores after putting up ‘closing down signs’ over the festive period – following Debenhams’ announcement of 19 shop closures. Signs suggesting they would be shutting up shop were spotted across the country in HMV outlets including Leeds, Coventry, Reading, Plymouth, Worcester and Birmingham (Bullring). Canadian businessman Doug Putman, who closed 15 stores when he purchased the music retailer in February last year, had promised the firm would open new stores as the business pumped cash into new sites and refurbishments. Shoppers outraged by the signs took to Twitter to vent their frustrations. Josh Buck tweeted: ‘HMV in Reading is having a closing down sale… I can’t even… ‘

Bronx, NY | 40 Years Later, Reggae’s Heart Still Beats in the Bronx: Lloyd Barnes has run the Wackie’s recording studio and label since the late 1970s. As he prepares for his next chapter, he wants to ensure its spirit lives on. …It’s been 40 years since Wackie’s hit its stride, and it has held a prominent place in New York’s music history ever since. First as a reggae sound system that put on parties, later as a studio and record shop, it has served as an expression of the immigrant-led aesthetic exchanges that came to define the city’s musical fabric. But Barnes isn’t sure how much longer he’ll be able to focus on his beloved studio. Now 75, he underwent double bypass surgery in 2017 and later developed nerve damage affecting his neck and arms. Though he recovered, he’s now looking back at his career with appreciation.

Syracuse, NY | Vinyl Revival: Sound Garden Sees Rise in Record Sales as CD Sales Drop: There are thousands of vinyl records to choose from at The Sound Garden in Syracuse. And for Marissa Moore, that’s music to her ears. “I want that one too because I don’t have that one either,” said Moore, a Syracuse resident. “I can’t help but stop here whenever I get the chance to. I’ve been collecting for about over 10 years now. I have about 135 records which I’m definitely trying to expand more.” Moore isn’t alone in her quest to collect vinyl. The store’s general manager Nick Shelton has his own fair share. “I have about 1,500 records I’ve been collecting since 16,” said Shelton. Classic albums have made a huge come back through the years as vinyl records experience resurgence from collectors and music lovers alike. “I would probably say that even in December we had probably double what we sold in November…”

Boston, MA | Family’s farewell as Boston music store closes: A family-run music shop in Boston has bid an emotional farewell to the town, thanking customers for their support in the run-up to its closure. Nevermind the Music Store, in Church Street, ceased trading on Saturday, December 21. The business launched in 2001 and over the years built up a strong following in the town. This was particularly evident on Record Store Day when music-lovers would queue up outside the shop before it opened in the hope of getting their hands on exclusive releases. In October 2018, however, it was hit by tragedy when owner Gareth Skinner died suddenly, aged 50. Following his death, Gareth’s family took on the running of the shop. Twelve months on from their loss, the family announced ‘with a sad and heavy heart’ the store would be closing. They explained at the time that the decision came as a result of changing consumer patterns due to the internet, but also the toll of losing Gareth.

Catonsville, MD | Hare’s Breath Records vinyl shop relocates to Catonsville from upper Fells Point: Kat and Matt Peach aren’t here “to get rich,” Kat said behind the counter of their Catonsville vinyl shop. “We’re here to help connect good people to good music. Continue a conversation about music, and musicians.” Hare’s Breath Records, an eclectic record shop run by the Peaches, moved from its previous location on South Broadway Street in upper Fells Point to a cozy space, previously vacant on Frederick Road, just a short walk from where the Peaches live in Paradise. Bins of 45s pressed with the sounds of funk, soul, jazz, classic rock, industrial and techno musicians line the perimeter, each graded by the Peaches and brought to Catonsville from their frequent treks record-hunting around the U.S., or sold to them by other collectors and regulars who know what they’re looking for. “Record stores are a bit like barbershops,” Matt said. “People just come and hang about. Records stores tend to attract more characters, and we learn something from people as well.”

New York, NY | Wanted: A Home for Three Million Records: The Archive of Contemporary Music is losing its space in TriBeCa. In a part of Manhattan booming with trendy green high rises, renovated lofts and digital media companies, a hidden trove of musical relics has been growing for over 30 years. Housed in a nondescript building in TriBeCa is the Archive of Contemporary Music, a nonprofit founded in 1985. It is one of the world’s largest collections of popular music, with more than three million recordings, as well as music books, vintage memorabilia and press kits. For point of comparison, the Library of Congress estimates that it also holds nearly three million sound recordings. Inside its space on White Street, there are shelves upon shelves upon shelves of vinyl records and CDs. Signed Johnny Cash records hang close to nearly 1,800 other signed albums. There are boxes of big band recordings, world music and jazz and original soundtracks. Most of the inventory is stored in the basement below.

Aberdeen, UK | Aberdeen guide: Where to eat, drink, shop and stay in the Granite City: …Aberdeen has a surprisingly thriving record shop scene, where you can pick up vinyl by local heroes including Annie Lennox, The Shamen and The Xcerts. Check out Maidinvinyl (Tuesday to Saturday, 10am-5.30pm, closed Sundays); the snazzy Chameleon – which also sells upmarket interiors for the oil exec in your life (Wednesday to Saturday 10am-6pm, closed Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays); and second-hand superstore Aberdeen Vinyl Records (Monday to Saturday 9am-5.30pm, closed Sundays).

Chatham, UK | Ex-patrons of Loco Records, Chatham, raise money for Demelza Hospice Care for Children: Music fans are raising money for a good cause to pay homage to a record shop owner. Garry Turner opened Loco Records in Chatham back in 1992. Those who have paid tribute to Mr Turner, who passed away two years ago, have said he was something of a “godfather” for the Medway music scene. Ross Hutchinson, a former DJ who now works as a special needs teacher, says he owes his career to the record store in Church Street which closed in the early 2000s. The 43 year old said: “Garry took the time to go that extra step – saying ‘if you like that, then you should really have a listen to this’. “He had a knack of taking what you’d gone in to look for and educating you on where the samples came from and what genres it was derived from. “It was through him that I acquired a life-long love and fascination for the sample culture that so much music, whether it be hip hop, breakbeat, drum and bass etc came from.

Innovative Turntable with speakers makes its way to the Indian market: CLAW announces the launch of the CLAW Stag Superb Plus Turntable with built-in speakers. The record player is available in 2 color variants – Black or Brown and will be priced at Rs 8,990 and is available at leading online and retail stores. The Stag Superb Plus carries a vintage design with its wooden finish base and transparent dust cover. The diamond ceramic stylus supports 33.3, 45 & 78 RPM speeds and 7″, 10″ & 12″ vinyl records featuring a belt drive with a manual tone arm and auto stop function for ease of playback. Built-in with 2 units of 3W stereo speakers allows the user to listen to their records instantly. It can even be connected to external speakers or headphones via the RCA or 3.5mm outputs while the volume control knob allows the user to adjust speaker output levels.

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