In rotation: 11/12/20

Baltimore, MD | Rocked by the pandemic, Fells Point record-coffee shop will close after one year in business: Baby’s on Fire, a coffee and record shop that got its start in Mount Vernon, is just one week shy of celebrating its one-year anniversary at its second location in Fells Point. But the shop won’t be around for too much longer than that. Its owners announced Tuesday morning that Baby’s on Fire in Fells Point will be closing its doors at the end of this year after its debut was rocked by the coronavirus pandemic. David Koslowski, who owns the shop with his wife, Shirlé Hale-Koslowski, said they’ve tried just about every avenue to save the fledgling location. They remained open for takeout, started delivering, set up outdoor seating and applied for grants and loans. But with winter right around the corner and business not getting any better, they made the hard decision to call it quits.

Astoria, OR | Video Horizons reopens downtown with records, vintage wear: After nearly 36 years of operating Video Horizons, Neal Cummings sees it as his duty to keep one of the region’s few remaining video rental stores going. Cummings left his expansive old location on Astor Street and reopened in a smaller storefront on Duane Street near Heritage Square. He subleased the basement to a record store and will soon have a vintage shop in his main showroom. “It’s just a matter of survival,” Cummings said of the move. “The overhead is lower here, so I’m able to survive because of it. And I love Duane Street, because it’s kind of a burgeoning area of town.” Cummings originally opened in 1984 and spent his first 18 years along Marine Drive near the site of Fresenius Kidney Care dialysis center. He moved east onto Astor Street in 2002 and stayed there until closing the doors to the public during the coronavirus pandemic and struggling to eke out enough business from a curbside pickup model. …Cummings subleased the basement underneath the video store to Richard Moore, a music collector in the process of building displays for his estimated collection of more than 300,000 records, CDs, cassettes and other audio media.

Album of the day: Pink Siifu & Fly Anakin, “FlySiifu’s” The first skit on the collaborative project between rappers Pink Siifu and Fly Anakin depicts the rising MCs running a fictional record store named FlySiifu’s, and the 22 track album that follows plays out like a loving homage to the time-honored art of crate digging. An ensemble cast of producers including Madlib, Ohbliv, and Animoss serve up skillfully repurposed loops that exude a dusky, jazz-centric ambience, with beats woven together from cascading clusters of keys, deftly-clipped snares, and a soft slurry of static-coated bass lines. At times, the album recalls the work of the late ‘90s production unit The Ummah, which paired Q-Tip and Ali Shaheed Muhammad with J Dilla (one store customer orders a copy of the Detroit producer’s Welcome 2 Detroit in one of FlySiifu’s skits).

Rolling Stone: The 80 Greatest Albums of 1980: What came out of all this was, arguably, the greatest year for great albums ever. It was the end— the end of the Seventies — and everyone was more than a little antsy to get going on whatever was about to come next. In terms of music, the new decade started off like someone had fired a starter’s pistol. It’s fitting that the Clash’s London Calling, which is ranked Number One on our list of the best albums of 1980, came out in January of that year, and if you listen to the records that follow it on the list, there’s a palpable sense of clearing away the past to invent the future. Every style of music was fragmenting and evolving in ways that would’ve been hard to imagine just a couple of years ago, especially punk and New Wave, which were mutating into synth-pop, post-punk, goth, the New Romantic movement, the two-tone ska revival, the very beginnings of indie rock, and more. Funk and disco were getting streamlined. Metal was getting meaner, faster, and sharper.

Family Video Launches #SaveTheVideoStore Campaign To Raise Awareness of a Struggling Industry: With around 250 stores remaining in the United States, Family Video is the largest video store chain left — and they’re trying to launch a hashtag campaign and build some partnerships to bring attention to the struggles they and other video stores are facing amid the coronavirus pandemic. #SaveTheVideoStore is an initiative cooked up by Family Video’s brand management and social media managers, and they’re hoping to build the kind of broad coalition with the remaining video stores that fans are used to in industries like comic book and record stores, each of which have successfully banded large chunks of the market together to celebrate things like Free Comic Book Day, an annual event that helps keep eyes on the comics market. It is an uphill battle: about half of the Family Video locations that existed at the start of the year have been closed since the start of the pandemic, as the company does their best to keep as many shops open as possible by closing down underperforming locations, or stores that are close enough to other locations that they might cannibalize their business.

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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