In rotation: 11/2/20

St Albans, UK | Shop Local: From comics and vinyl to Lego and action figures, how city’s independent stores are catering for a variety of hobbies. St Albans is fortunate enough to boast some excellent hobby shops stocking everything from action figures and rare Lego sets to comics and vinyl records. But their trading performances has also been impacted by the pandemic, and are relying on a successful Christmas to survive. The owner of the city’s only record store and comics shop fears losing everything in the wake of a second lockdown. Marina Desclavis, who runs Empire Records and Chaos City Comics in Heritage Close, said this year definitely feels like make it or break it for her businesses. “Christmas is the busiest time of the year for retailers, and another lockdown could potentially end us. “I’m scared that after working very hard for the last five years, I could lose everything. 2020 has been a huge challenge, and I‘m worried about my staff, as they all have families to support. It could be very difficult if not catastrophic for them to lose their jobs.”

Godfrey, IL | Pandemic shortens local entrepreneur’s timeline: Riverbend Records opens in Godfrey. Walking into Riverbend Records is like walking into a music lover’s dream. Row upon row of vinyl albums fill the clean, spacious, well-lit shopping area as the pleasing vibration of background music resonates throughout the store. Well-organized selections of vinyl music albums, CDs and cassettes are everywhere. A pinball machine, free Wi-Fi and a comfortable lounge area allow patrons of any age to relax and enjoy the atmosphere. Local resident Billy Hurst and his wife, Tara, own and operate the record store. The business held its grand opening on Oct. 24. Hurst has pursued creative interests his entire life. He has operated a photography business called Front Row Photography for years and shoots photos for major concert events as well as school and professional sports teams. He has been interested in music as long as he can remember and actually worked in Nashville as a singer and songwriter for a period of time. He continues to write and perform music locally today.

Lubbock, TX | Ralph Records’ Vinyl Flip Friday is your weekly moment of zen: This may seem ridiculous, but I religiously watch Vinyl Flip Friday every Friday on Ralph’s Records Facebook and Instagram pages. Whether it’s Bauhaus or The Beatles, Pantera or Public Enemy, I take this 5-ish minute ritual seriously. Of course, part of the appeal is seeing what new vinyl Ralph’s has in stock, but it’s way more than that. It’s almost a meditation to take the 3 to 4 minutes to just attentively focus on the records. Album art is such a beautiful and sentimental medium for me, and I make a mental game out of guessing what could be next. (Hint: it’s in approximate alphabetical order.) It’s also fun to see what my fellow Lubbockites are interested in. If the same record makes an appearance for multiple weeks, then you know it’s popular, like Mac Miller or Queen. You can also catch new releases, like this week’s Mr. Bungle The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny Demo, which is a fascinating release, to say the least. It’s a re-recording/ re-imagining of Mr. Bungle’s first album, but this time with Scott Ian and Dave Lombardo along for the ride.

Bozeman, MT | An Interview With Record Store Day’s Michael Kurtz: “…There would be no Record Store Day if artists like Jack White, Metallica, Wilco, Iggy Pop, Pearl Jam, the Foo Fighters, David Bowie, Paul McCartney, Brandi Carlile, and Ozzy Osbourne didn’t get behind us. They really gave us wings by doing special events and making the records. Many of these artists have strong ties to record stores. The Beatles original manager Brian Epstein was a record store owner. Iggy Pop and Jeff Tweedy both worked in record stores while they honed their skills. The connection with artists and record stores is very real. It’s been gratifying to relaunch the vinyl format and be able to funnel back millions of dollars collectively to these artists. When I met David Crosby a few years back, he was effusive in his praise for what we were doing and how much it was needed to support artists. ‘If I Could Only Remember My Name’ is one of my all-time favorite albums, so that felt great“.

Rochester, NY | Record Archive Closing Temporarily After Staff Member Tests Positive for COVID-19: Record Archive says it’s temporarily closing after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19. If you visited the store during the times and dates, you may have been exposed to the virus and should contact your doctor for further guidance: October 26, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., October 26, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., October 28, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. The record store tells Spectrum News it’s having the entire store cleaned and all staff members are being tested. You can check the store’s Facebook page for reopening updates.

Weston, UK | Weston record store owner’s tribute to John Lennon Helps to raise money for Spalding and Holbeach Macmillan Cancer Support: A record store owner has paid homage to a musical legend while also raising money for a good cause. Alan Barnsdale has created a tribute wall to John Lennon at Uptown Records to mark what would have been the Beatles star’s 80th birthday. He is also raising money for the Spalding and Holbeach’s Macmillan Cancer Support group by selling copies of the Imagine single from his store in Baytree Craft Centre at the Weston garden centre. The charity is close to Mr Barnsdale’s heart after losing his brother Michael to cancer and his partner Sharon Roberts has also been battling the disease. Sharon has undergone two operations, including one at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in the spring. Mr Barnsdale said: “It is important to me to support this charity as my brother died of cancer and my partner had two major cancer operations and she is very lucky to be here. “We had a check-up three weeks ago and they can’t find any.”

How Jamaica shaped the creative spirit and evolution of music production: On the heels of the release of Bedroom Beats and B-sides – author Laurent Fintoni shares an excerpt from the book, exploring the pioneering influence of Jamaica and King Tubby. “One of the biggest impacts on the evolution of the producer came from the island of Jamaica. More specifically, from the front room of a house at 18 Dromilly Avenue in Kingston’s Waterhouse district where Osbourne “King Tubby” Ruddock used his interest in electronics, sound systems, and audio recording to develop and popularise a style of production that would become one of the most important innovations of the 20th century: dub, which effortlessly moved crowds through cavernous echoes, valleys of filters, and pools of reverb. By the early 1970s the studio was becoming an instrument in its own right and Tubby, first and foremost an engineer with a sharp mind, put his focus on the beating heart of the modern studio: the mixing desk. In 1971, he bought a second-hand MCI mixing desk and, once installed in his house, began to play it like an instrument with the faders and knobs like so many strings and keys he could use to transform the different parts of recorded material.

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