In rotation: 9/30/20

Ashville, NC | With Citizen Vinyl, Asheville Drops The Needle On State’s Only Large-Scale Record Pressing Plant: Eighty-one years ago, when Asheville had two daily newspapers, the new art deco building that housed them across from the Grove Arcade featured tall ceilings, glass block windows, frosted light sconces and vast, marble floors with custom inlays. On the third story, long ago hidden beneath asbestos tiling, there was another unique floor. “And you see all these pock marks?” Gar Ragland said, pointing down. “These are cello stands, these are mic stands, I mean, who knows?” When Ragland learned this was also the one-time home of WWNC-AM Radio, he knew he’d found the home for his own dream—of resurrecting an artifact from a bygone musical era while giving Asheville something altogether new: A vinyl records pressing plant. “We had seen this in some of the historic photographs,” he said of the neglected confines on the former radio studio. “This is unbelievable. We have this opportunity, both a privilege and responsibility, to incorporate this into our new startup story.”

Washington, DC | A Vintage Record And Magazine Store Opens On Maketto’s Second Floor: Vinyl collectors can now add a D.C. restaurant to their list of places to go crate-digging. Cool Kids Vinyl, a new record store, has taken over the second floor of Maketto, Chef Erik Bruner-Yang’s food/coffeeshop/retail spot on H Street. The shop, which launched Sept. 1, is the brainchild of 28-year-old Matthew Talley, a creative marketing specialist from Southeast D.C. Five years ago, Talley started Digging Thru The Crates, a series of pop-up events hosted with D.C. legend DJ Alizay and featuring guests like rapper Biz Markie and producer 9th Wonder. The concept gave attendees a chance to dig through crates of vinyls, pick one, and hand it to the DJ to spin for the party. Talley has long wanted to take that energy and put it into a brick-and-mortar business, but the coronavirus pandemic complicated his plans to rent out a space in Southwest. Talley, who works as a daytime manager at Maketto, said his boss was looking to shake things up a bit for when the restaurant reopened indoor dining this month. “Erik was like, ‘Hey, why don’t you just do it upstairs, man?’ It’ll, in a way, re-garner that community that used to come to Maketto,’” Talley says. “The records kind of compliment those people.”

Chapel Hill, NC | There’s a new groove – and even appreciation – for vinyl records. Sales improve for old school technology. Ben Alschuler steps over the children’s’ toys and books sprinkled across his living room floor on his way to another room. As he enters, he waves at the rows of multicolored album covers stacked floor to ceiling in two cabinets against the wall. Between the shelves sits a long, polished counter, like the dashboard of a spaceship. Two turntables flank a panel of switches and knobs connected to speakers below. Alschuler climbs a step ladder to reach a record from a high shelf. “’I made this like a mini-night club, which is unusual for a house,” he says. Alschuler, who lives in Chapel Hill with his wife and two young children and grew up with cassettes and CDs, said records were his parents’ hobby. Now, Alschuler’s kids could say the same about their dad. Alschuler pulled a bright yellow and blue album from his kids’ shelf: Sesame Street’s “C is for Cookie,” with Cookie Monster grinning on the cover. No longer DJing for just college friends, Alschuler, 38, emcees dance parties for his 2- and 5-year-old sons. His turntables are dance-proof; they sit on springs that absorb the bounce of tiny feet as two generations of Alschulers share a nearly century-old music experience.

Record Store Recs: El Guajiro Of Ghetto Kumbé Shares The Music & Rhythms That Inspire Him: With Ghetto Kumbé’s self-titled debut full-length album, released in June, they’re ready to bring their global sound and the messages of unity around the world. To listen to Colombian trio Ghetto Kumbé’s music is to go on a lively, joyful journey through time and space, where borders no longer exist and drums and dancing are aplenty. The group consists of singer/producer El Guajiro, percussionist Chongo and West African percussion master Doctor Keyta—all veteran musicians who grew up on Colombia’s musically and culturally rich Caribbean coast. Their music seamlessly fuses traditional sounds with modern electronic beats and aesthetics. For example, their use of call-and-response lyrics come from the rich African and Afro-Colombian tradition called gaita, and the hand drums and rapid rhythms they incorporate also come from Afro-Colombian traditions.

Joachim Cooder to Perform Series of Virtual In-Store Sets Via Independent Record Stores’ Instagram Live: Songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Joachim Cooder, whose Nonesuch debut album, Over That Road I’m Bound, is out this coming Friday, October 2, will perform a series of virtual in-store performances via Instagram Live of several US independent record stores this week. The sets begin on the Instagram of Music Millennium Records in Portland, Oregon, at 6pm PDT, tonight, and culminates via Electric Fetus in Minneapolis on release day. See below for all the details and links or visit nonesuch.com/on-tour. On Over That Road I’m Bound, Joachim Cooder uses the plain-spoken songs of country-music progenitor and banjo player Uncle Dave Macon as a jumping off point, tinkering with the lyrics and reworking melodies for his chosen instrument: an electric mbira. Cooder culled songs from Macon’s vast catalog and recorded them with his band and special guests: Ry Cooder, Rayna Gellert, Juliette Commagere, Sam Gendel, Glenn Patscha, Amir Yaghmai, Dan Gellert, and Vieux Farka Touré.

Exclusive: Daft Punk’s ‘Tron Legacy’ Soundtrack Getting the Deluxe Vinyl Treatment From Mondo: Released 10 years ago this December, Disney’s Tron: Legacy still feels ahead of its time. Less mainstream action blockbuster and more elevated video art instillation, it was a movie full of mood and atmosphere, precision cut for the most visual and emotional oomph. And a big reason why it works so well, why it has that elemental power, is Daft Punk’s incredible score. French electronic musicians/robots Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter brought so much to the world of Tron Legacy, with an instantly classic score that combined traditional orchestration with the electronic sophistication that has made them a global phenomenon. (It was also key to their musical evolution; it’s hard to imagine them making the Grammy-winning masterpiece Random Access Memories without having first done the Tron score.) And now, just in time for the tenth anniversary, Mondo is teaming up with Walt Disney Records to release a new version of the score on vinyl. And it’s a doozy.

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