In rotation: 5/18/20

London, UK | Phonica Records re-opens online shop for orders: The London institution is back. Phonica Records has re-opened its online shop for UK and international orders. While its physical outpost is closed due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Phonica is operating the website as normal, with new records and pre-orders alongside classics, reissues, gear and merchandise. Head here to check out the latest releases on site, and stay tuned for a VF Live set hosted from the shop next week.

Seattle, WA | A happy ending for Seattle’s Bop Street Records: a nonprofit buys up the entire collection: When Dave Voorhees, owner of Seattle’s Bop Street Records, announced last month that the store was closing at the end of June in part because of the COVID-19 pandemic, he wasn’t sure if he would be able to sell his enormous collection of 500,000 recordings, sales he had hoped would fund his retirement. This past Sunday, Voorhees stopped worrying. A San Francisco nonprofit called the Internet Archive agreed to purchase the entire collection, sight unseen. Bop Street business manager Bob Jacobs said the exact purchase price will not be settled until the archive has sifted through the collection, but the buyer has already sent a preliminary check and signed a contract. At the end of the day, said Jacobs, “Dave is going to have a healthy, six-figure down payment on his retirement.” …Though “six figures” is a far cry from the $3 million value Jacobs put on the store’s collection last month, Voorhees said he was relieved.

Clawson, MI | Clawson’s Flipside Records battles for business amid COVID-19 state shutdown: “We started out with records, expanded to toys, comics all the rest of the paraphernalia you see around here,” said Todd Fundaro. But ultimately at Flipside Records it’s about the music. They’ve been playing it and selling it in downtown Clawson since 1983. “Music is always, it’s an emotional thing, right? It appeals to your emotions,” said Fundaro, the owner of Flipside Records. Like so many other small shops business was good – until it wasn’t. A global pandemic and a statewide shutdown took place while Flipside Records has been playing the music – but there’s no one there to listen to it. “We do some online sales but there’s way to possibly make up for the loss of business that we have online,” he said. There is also curbside pick-up. “So you call us up, and we have what you want, and we will give you a total on it,” he said. “You can pull up to the door, we’ll get our masks on, our gloves, get your credit card payment or cash and bring it out.”

Columbia, TN | Shoppers return to Variety Record Shop: After weeks of staying at home, Columbia’s music lovers can return to shopping for classic albums and the latest releases at a locally owned brick and mortar store. Maury County’s Variety Record Shop opened its doors last week after more than a month. It was closed in accordance with a state order to shut all non-essential businesses. “It has been steady,” shop co-owner and celebrated bluesman Scott Holmes said of customer traffic as he sat behind the store’s counter with a butterscotch telecaster in hand after reopening the store. Variety Record Shop reopened just in time for the release of the new album from Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit, as it was made available exclusively through independent record stores, pressed on “dreamsicle” orange vinyl. The celebrated singer and songwriter and bandleader called the special release a “thank you for all the support throughout the years.”

Audio-Technica partners with Discogs Homespun: Audio-Technica and online record marketplace Discogs have got together to support record stores around the world. Discogs Homespun series is a global tour of record stores where each will share their favourite cuts from their vinyl collection in hour-long live-streamed DJ sessions on the Discogs Facebook and YouTube pages. Naturally, you need equipment to play the records on and this is where Audio-Technica has kindly stepped in. The Japanese audio brand is supporting Discogs by providing every record store involved with a pair of AT-LP140XP direct-drive turntables, a set of M-series professional monitor headphones, and an AT-XP7 dual moving magnet DJ cartridge. Audio-Technica’s partnership with Discogs Homespun runs from May 18th until June 26th. The Homespun series launched in April and aims to promote record stores as well as encouraging you to buy vinyl from the participating stores via the Discogs platform.

Queensland, AU | Driven by nostalgia and boredom, a video rental store says it’s been resurrected by the pandemic: A Queensland video rental store is thriving amid the coronavirus pandemic as more people look for ways to stay entertained at home. E-Time video is the last store of its kind in Cairns and is reporting a 300 per cent increase in business, compared to this time last year. The store itself is frozen in time, a nostalgic nod to the late 20th century, complete with a kids corner, fairy floss and flavoured popcorn. It boasts more than 18,000 titles; from new releases and old school classics, to comedy, romance and for the brave, thriller and horror. Store Manager Neville Fitzsimmons has worked with the company for over 20 years – from Cairns to Alice Springs and all the way back again. He’s been there for its highest highs and lowest lows. “Normally we sign up to 15 to 20 members a week, and now we’re signing about 50 to 80 new members,” Mr Fitzimmons said. “A lot of young people are coming in signing up for the first time, they’ve heard about it from their parents, and say wow this is what mum and dad used to talk about.”

Led Zeppelin – Live Scandinavia ‘69 limited edition white heavyweight vinyl due in July: Led Zeppelin – Live Scandinavia ‘69 will be released on limited edition white heavyweight vinyl on July 10. From jamming in a basement in a London record store to bagging the biggest recording deal in the history of popular music, Led Zeppelin’s rise to super-stardom took only a few short months. The band that would come to redefine hard rock music and influence generations of future rockers is here captured in all its thundering sonic glory as it embarked on a tour of Scandinavia in the spring of 1969. Performed live at Stockholm’s Konserthuset on March 14, broadcast by Sveriges Radio and Copenhagen’s Gladaxe on March 17, broadcast by TV-BYEN, these gigs are an early taste of the virtuoso rock performances that would break stadium attendance records across the globe and change the genre forever.

Manchester, UK | Legendary Manchester DJ Dave Booth has died: Ian Brown, Peter Hook, and Dave Haslam have all paid tribute to the DJ. Tributes are being paid to legendary Manchester DJ Dave Booth, who passed away on Saturday. Renowned for his eclectic sets at clubs like Space Ibiza and Hacienda, as well as Stone Roses gigs, Booth’s death was confirmed by fellow DJ Dave Haslam. His cause of death has not yet been revealed. “Upsetting news,” Haslam tweeted. “DJ Dave Booth has died. A legend for decades in Manchester – from Pips, through to the Playpen, Isadora’s & beyond – and a star at Garlands in Liverpool. Did the Stone Roses gigs with him, including Spike Island. He music and presence gave pleasure to us all. RIP.” Pivotal in the birth of the Manchester alternative scene, Booth’s iconic residency at Roxy Room and at original alternative club Pips Disco helped write Manchester’s cultural history. He was also known for his keen ear for new music and huge record collection. In 2018, he told NorthWales Live that he had over 5,000 albums on vinyl.

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