In rotation: 10/13/20

Milford, CT | Vinyl lovers welcome new record store to Connecticut: Who would dare open a new business during a pandemic? That man would be Milford resident, Jay Reason. Static Era is the name of Jay’s new record shop opening at 43 River Street in Milford on October 16, which is a takeoff on his record label, Status Era Records, that launched about a year ago. What kind of records will Reason’s new shop be selling? This is what he told the Milford Mirror: We’ll be offering a wide selection including top-40 stuff, hip hop, rock, and metal. I’ve done a lot of work to the space and there’s all kinds of cool little things to look at. I think people will trip out, for sure. Jay will not only be selling records, of course, but would like his new shop to become a community space where people can feel comfortable walking in to explore even if they’re not necessarily purchasing something. One of his first jobs was working at a record store: In 1973, after I graduated from Ithaca College, one of my first jobs was working at the ‘Record Theatre’ at Midtown Plaza in downtown Rochester, NY. I even remember how much I made per hour. Are you ready for this? I made $1.61 per hour. Before taxes, I brought home a whopping $64.40 a week.

Taking a spin on vinyl records’ iconic history (and appeal): When it comes to music, one analogue medium reigns supreme. Vinyl records have always been held in high esteem by hobbyists and professionals alike due to its various perceived benefits, such as superior sound quality. Despite the advancement of digital sampling, this centuries-old invention still holds appeal, in part also due to the romanticism attributed to it. Exactly how is it different from digital formats though?…The first commercially available vinyl record debuted in 1889 and saw distribution only in Europe. These original discs were approximately five inches in diameter and treated mostly as curiosities or novelty gifts. Over the next six decades, the vinyl record grew in size, coming in at 10 inches in 1901, and 12 inches two years later. It was only in 1948 that entertainment group CBS introduced the world’s first long play (LP) record and ushered in the new standard for music listening.

Minneapolis, MN | ‘We’re busier than we’ve ever been’: Twin Cities record store grooving along despite COVID-19 closures: Inside Mill City Sound on Main Street in Hopkins, the vinyl is stacked, the volume always up and, surprisingly, during what has been a challenging year, so are the numbers. “The store is busy, it’s kind of amazing,” said Mill City Sound owner Rob Sheeley. The record store has dealt with forced closures from COVID-19 and they’ve had to cut back hours this spring and summer, yet it’s still on track to hit record sales this year. “We’re busier than we’ve ever been. We’ve been making more money than we’ve ever made with this — our sales are up about 17-18% over last year,” Sheeley said. The store used to be open on Sundays, but not anymore, and for seven weeks this year, it was closed due to the coronavirus. “We were shut down once (for six weeks) and then we shut down again because we had a COVID-19 outbreak at the store with this,” Sheeley said. Sheeley thinks customers are coming in for the social connection.

Record Store Day’s Black Friday Will Bring LPs From Aimee Mann, U2, The Weeknd… and a CD and Cassette by Pop Smoke: On deck, post-turkey: releases from the Rolling Stones, Lewis Capaldi, Lil Wayne, Bill Evans, Alanis Morissette, My Chemical Romance and a hundred-plus more. Record stores will not be dark on Black Friday this year — at least not the thousand-plus in the U.S. that have been participating in Record Store Day release events this fall and will do so again the day after Thanksgiving. It will mark the fourth month in a row for a Record Store Day event, as August, September and October will have all seen “RSD Drops” days parceling out the more than 400 exclusive releases that had been scheduled to be released through the main annual event in April, before the pandemic forced a tri-part postponement. The lineup announced for Black Friday is slightly trimmed down from last year’s, which might be expected, given the effects of shutdowns on the music industry. A total of 133 titles have been announced, versus 182 that came out for Black Friday 2019. But fans of any genre are still likely to find plenty to feast on

New Orleans, LA | DJ RQ Away Hosts All Vinyl Radio Show Every Thursday: Before COVID-19, you may have spotted DJ RQ Away (real name Jevon Thompson) around town. “My last two ‘live’ sets were DJing the Pelicans versus Lakers game inside the Smoothie King Center (it was so exciting!), and Youth Run NOLA’s 504K the week of March 1,” he says. Outside of client bookings, DJ RQ Away hosted “The Tipping Point” event every Friday at Dragon’s Den, “Happy Feelins “monthly event at Ace Hotel, and “Lagniappe,” a quarterly event at Tipitina’s. He is proud to state, “All of which served the black creative and professional community here in the city.” Also pre-pandemic, you can add that he toured with Tank and the Bangas as their DJ for most of 2019 on top of hosting corporate, private, and personally produced events. Now the multitasker is back hosting “Get Down Nola,” a weekly all vinyl radio show featuring funk, disco, jazz, and soul cuts from the 60s, 70s, and 80s every Thursday night at 6 p.m. OffBeat talked to the vinyl master about his show and the beauty of record playing.

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