In rotation: 7/7/20

Sheffield, UK | Love Record Stores: The last few months have undoubtedly been a nerve-racking time for even the largest businesses, with recent figures proposing that as many as 20,600 retailers can be expected to have closed down by the end of 2020. As the world adjusts itself to the fabled ‘New Normal’ of distancing and protective clothing, the future of small, independent music vendors and venues is all but certain. An oasis of celebration amid the pandemic came in the form of the Love Record Stores event on 20th June, an additional date to the independent music calendar following the postponement of Record Store Day from April to three separate dates in August, September and October. The specially digitalised event boasted over 90 re-releases and special editions from artists including the Arctic Monkeys, Libertines and Nirvana. Highlighting 130 independent record shops across the UK, with Sheffield’s Bear Tree and Spinning Discs among them, the event celebrated the perseverance of these stores throughout lockdown and their continued dedication to providing the best experience for music lovers in the world’s post-covid state.

Midland, MI | Business Matters: Spotlight on Radio Wasteland Records’ Jim Gleason: Jim Gleason, 54, owns Radio Wasteland Records on George Street in Midland, near the Midland Public Schools bus garage. Radio Wasteland is a traditional “indy” record store, specializing in new and vintage vinyl. Gleason works to recreate that atmosphere from the 1970s and ‘80s when people would hear music playing on a turntable while they were thumbing through records. The store was closed for several weeks because of COVID-19 regulations. The latest challenge is a major infrastructure project on George Street. The store is open Wednesdays through Sundays, but it will be closed for the upcoming holiday weekend. Jim and his wife, Kim, have been married for 27 years. They have a daughter in college and a son planning to join the Air Force. The family helps support the business. Friends pitch in, too.

Salem, OR | Vinyl fans wait in line for hours to bid farewell to Salem’s Ranch Records: Kit and Lori Close planned to buy and sell records in downtown Salem for two more years. When 2022 arrived, Ranch Records would celebrate its 40th year in business and then close. Covid accelerated those plans. Ranch Records, located at 237 High St. N.E., is conducting a going-out-of-business sale. When the last record sells, which Lori Close says might take a month or more, the doors of the iconic shop will shut forever. Vinyl fans in Salem are bereft. “The comments and the outpouring of love, people who seem heartbroken, it’s just…. Wow,” Lori said. “We knew people were going to miss the store, but we didn’t quite know that it would be like this.” Lines to get in stretch around the block as people from Salem, Portland, and Seattle stop in to express their thanks, wish the Close family farewell, and perhaps pick up an album, poster, or piece of rock memorabilia. “We’ve had a constant line during the hours we’re open,” Lori said. “Some people are waiting an hour or an hour and a half to get in.” It’s a fitting tribute for a shop that’s been part of Salem for so many years.

Production Designer Almitra Corey on Designing ‘High Fidelity’ in NYC: Nick Hornby’s novel, High Fidelity, first took place in London. Then John Cusack moved it to his hometown of Chicago for the film version. A Broadway musical followed, this time moving the locale to Brooklyn. The 4th iteration of Hornby’s book, the Hulu production starring Zoe Kravitz as “Rob,” a beleaguered record store owner who can’t get her romantic life together, also takes place in NYC. Production designer Almitra Corey was charged with creating the look of the televised series. She took an approach that pays some homage to the film, but also serves as a love letter to the gritty NYC neighborhoods where the show is set. …”In the ’90s, as a teenager, I spent a lot of time at record stores. There was this one really special one in Richmond, Virginia, where I grew up that I went to pretty much every week. Then when I moved to New York in my early twenties, there was one record store in particular, kind of near SoHo, that was my my regular shop. That one it doesn’t exist anymore, but it was around for a long time. It was called Rocks In Your Head. It was kind of the impetus for the design of our store in High Fidelity. It was subterranean.”

Five nights in a judo arena: Back in an alternate universe about 45 years ago, a young record store proprietor in Tampa carried, along with the regular merchandise, bootleg albums from several outlets in North Carolina, the home of all manner of fun stuff, including “cheap” cigarettes and ’shine. There were labels such as Singer’s Original Double Disk, Tiger Boy, TAKRL, and Ze Anonym Plattenspieler. There were great titles such as Jim Croce’s Dead Men Still Tell Tales and In Your Mouth or On the Ground by Blue Oyster Cult. The store, which all the school kids seemed to dig, also ordered ten copies of a bootleg by Tampa’s own killer Southern rockers, the band with four blazing guitars. The owner was a pretty lousy businessman, selling albums that cost $3 for $3.99. The store sold five of them for $4.95 gross profit (oh, and there was shipping). A friend of a friend of the band heard the store had made $10,000 from those record sales and promptly called the feds, who roared in one afternoon and confiscated everything that looked to them like a bootleg. They missed a few, most prominently ones in a display rack loaded down with a dozen copies of five nights in a judo arena. They missed those because they had distinctly un-bootleg-like covers, the ones that said at the bottom THE BEATLES ON STAGE IN JAPAN.

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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