In rotation: 5/5/20

Reno, NV | Nevada Interrupted: Book and record stores turn to curbside pickup as reopening begins, but hard to replicate browsing experience: Many Nevadans are adjusting to the spread of COVID-19 by practicing social distancing, stocking up on supplies and staying at home. The Nevada Independent is sharing their stories each day. If you are a Nevada business owner or worker whose job has been upended by the coronavirus, we would love to feature your story. Send an email to [email protected] for consideration. Kyle Howell, an owner of Recycled Records in Reno’s Midtown, and Zoe Miller, the owner of Grassroots Books not far from the Reno airport, are familiar with financial stress. “We’ve been held together with string, duct tape, and debt,” Miller said about Grassroots Books, which she opened in Reno more than 10 years ago. In Recycled Records’ 42 years of existence and in the last year and a half that he has owned it, Howell said that the store endured road construction, location changes and a variety of owners. “We’re survivors,” he said.

Toronto, CA | Former e-commerce holdout Sonic Boom builds a music community online: The Toronto record shop is now selling over 25,000 records online and has launched a virtual in-store live music series. For 20 years, Sonic Boom resisted going online. Owner Jeff Barber changed his mind just in time. If you’ve ever been to the Toronto record store – at its original location on Bloor, then inside Honest Ed’s and now on Spadina – you can probably picture people flipping through wide stacks of used CDs and vinyl. The shop is a sprawling testament to physical media. “I always wanted to put our efforts into the brick-and-mortar store because that is what record shopping is all about as far as I’m concerned,” says Barber over the phone. “We didn’t want to deplete the good stuff from our stock of used records – that’s for our shoppers to come in and find.” About six months ago, Barber finally decided to start selling online to expand business to record enthusiasts outside Toronto. Sonic Boom launched an e-commerce site just two weeks before the province ordered stores to shut down to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Bandcamp’s monthly initiative is becoming the new Record Store Day: The music platform is lifting its revenue share on the first Friday of every month – and now labels and musicians are putting out exclusive releases and deals. What started as a one-time initiative to help struggling artists who’d lost their whole live music revenue stream is now a monthly event – starting tomorrow (May 1), on the first of every month online music sales platform Bandcamp will waive its revenue share and give 100 percent of sales to artists. It’s a way to put money directly into the hands of artists without relying on royalty payouts from streaming services. And now labels and musicians are starting to put out special releases, arrange donations and merch specifically for the day. In a way, it’s a socially distant version of Record Store Day how it was originally intended – a way to support music sales and put exclusive and rare music into the hands of listeners. It just needs a catchy name.

Bozeman, MT | Wax Museum: New record store opens on Bozeman’s north side: After years of working in record stores around the nation, Kels Koch has come back to his Montana roots to open The Wax Museum in Bozeman, a record shop on the north of town specializing in used records and good company. “I want to have a place where the real music freaks of Bozeman can come and just focus on music and have it be kind of a cultural, social meeting place,” he said. “I want to definitely have a lot of really good inexpensive used vinyl … If someone walks in with a $20 bill, they can walk out with four or five records that they’re really going to dig.” The Wax Museum opened last Monday and, despite COVID-19, he said it was a good day for the new business. “I really didn’t know what it was going to be like,” he said. “I didn’t know if I was shooting myself in the foot … I was pleasantly surprised.” Koch grew up in Billings and went to college at Montana State in the mid-1980s when he played in local bands like The Beat Nothings, DJ’d on KGLT and was a devout Cactus Records customer. He worked at record shops and played in bands in Seattle, Austin and Nashville in the 90s and, at the end of the decade, briefly moved back to Bozeman with the intention of opening a record shop.

Seattle, WA | Food + Records: Seattle-based subscription box pairs the flavors of a meal with music: What does music taste like? Is it hot and spicy like a white bean and turkey chili? Does it have the unexpected tang of a lemony turmeric tea cake? Can you really put a flavor to the sounds that go in your ears? Absolutely, according to the husband-wife duo behind Turntable Kitchen, a food and music blog that also offers “Pairings Box”, a subscription that delivers an interesting combination: the vinyl record of a new artist paired with a spice and recommended recipe. …I received my own pairings box a few weeks ago, a package simply branded with their logo and tastefully packed in dark tissue paper. It included two records of artists I didn’t know, Clavvs and Quivers, as well as two packets of spices I would consider obscure by a layman’s cook (unless you’ve used epazote in a recipe, in which case, you’re probably very sophisticated). Separate, it could be easy to see these items as sorely unrelated, circling their own orbits of use and appeal. But there is a reason our toes tap as we taste test a sauce for the first time. The similarly therapeutic natures of music and cooking make them organic bedmates.

Clare, Ireland, IE | ‘One of the best’ – David Woodford’s passing leaves void in Ennis & Clare: One of Ennis’ most well-known and universally popular businessmen, David Woodford has died. Not alone is Clare’s music community in mourning but so many sectors right across the county town and beyond are feeling the loss of a gentleman. Known to generations as the owner of Record Rack in the Market of Ennis, David and his wife Eileen catered for the musical taste of hundreds of customers. They did so with a smile and a warmth which is fondly remembered by all those who ventured in the doors. The respect and appreciation they held for each genre is remembered to this day by all musicians. Married for just shy of four decades, their resilience in overcoming illnesses and setbacks plus how they interacted with the public has resulted in them being endeared by countless individuals across Co Clare.

Want to get one of the best turntables under $500? Check these out: Majority of the population has moved towards streaming music but the world of music CDs and vinyl records is still kicking it hard. While most technology and business experts believed that physical products are dead, the vinyl came back with a bang. You could literally find a vinyl version of famous movie soundtracks, pop albums and special edition game soundtracks readily available in stores today. So what’s stopping you from buying one? It’s the pricing of course because investing big on a retro technology might sound absurd. A sensible alternative is to simply go for best turntables under $500 that are budget-friendly, plays records with reasonable quality and may lack in some fancy features but you can get into the world of vinyl without having to worry about spending a fortune. These are some of the critically acclaimed, cheap yet good turntables you could purchase now.

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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