In rotation: 11/20/20

Tower Records launches online store: The legendary Tower Records is back and better than ever! Founded back in 1960 in Sacramento, California, the record store had to unfortunately file for bankruptcy in 2006 and has been closed ever since then. It previously had 89 chain stores across America, and their store in Japan became iconic – but had become separate from the business back in 2002 – and still runs as popular as ever today. The original Tower Records, though, is now back in an online store form. Not going anywhere now, this is brilliant news for the independent record store market, and their online form means that it will never leave us again. It’s been 14 whole years, but now the revival of Tower Records is in full swing. Stating that they’re open 23/7, they boast over 500,000 titles on CD and vinyl including 468 pages in the electronic section filled with some of the greatest dance albums of all time. Also on their store is a merch section where you can purchase logo shirts, record slipmats, hats, sweaters and much more.

Louisville, KY | Would ear X-tacy Survive in Today’s Vinyl Revolution? For music lovers in Louisville, it’s almost a citywide shared memory: You carve out some time, head to ear X-tacy in The Highlands and get lost for the next two hours checking out new music on the many listening stations scattered around the store. The hope was you’d hear that next band or artist that you were about to fall in love with and listen to incessantly, as the thrill of “discovering” that new favorite band is something that cannot be explained, only experienced. The iconic store opened Aug. 1, 1985, at 4264 Poplar Level Road, moved to a space next door to Great Escape where it did business for three years, then to the 1534 Bardstown Road location that became its long-time home. It ultimately landed in a smaller spot down the street, at Douglass Loop, before closing for good in late 2011. The classic Bardstown Road space then became a Panera restaurant, adding insult to injury. Ear X-tacy’s legacy would spark the 2012 documentary “Brick and Mortar and Love,” and many remain wistful for those days of browsing through albums and CDs and soaking in the quirky atmosphere of the destination music shop.

Rehoboth, DE | Rehoboth’s Extended Play triples size with new location: Record store moves from Rehoboth Avenue to Village By The Sea complex. After more than two years in one of the smallest retail locations in Rehoboth Beach, record store Extended Play has tripled its size with a recent move to the Village By The Sea shopping center. Owner Steve Fallon opened Extended Play in July 2018 in the space next to Dos Locos Stonegrill. At the time he estimated it to be roughly 400 square feet. The new location, Suite 8B, across from Arena’s Deli, is about three times the size, he said. Fallon said the extra space was the reason for the move. In addition to more room for records, the space allows for the display of the business’ audio equipment, he said. “Too many tiny hands could touch things in the old place,” said Fallon. Estimating 2,000 vinyl records sitting on the floor now, Jackson Beckner, Extended Play store manager, said the new location will allow him to sort out and display the remaining 4,000 records the shop has in storage. “More space means more inventory,” said Beckner, happy to have the task in front of him.

San Diego, CA | Folk Arts and Jupiter join forces: “When you own your own store it’s the real education.” Brendan Boyle began his vinyl education while working at a record shop in Sacramento. Following that, he went solo and spent about ten years selling vinyl online. The combined experiences gave him a 20-year education when it came to buying and selling records, but he claims that it wasn’t until he purchased Lou Curtiss’s Folk Arts Rare Records that he entered the uppermost realms of vinyl expertise. “When you own your own store it’s the real education,” he explained. “What you’re learning is on a whole other level than anything else. So, the biggest education I’ve had is the last six years.” Boyle’s El Cajon Boulevard Folk Arts location had been chugging along fine since it opened in 2014, but about four years into that run he decided to open Jupiter, a second record shop. It wasn’t so much a stab at increased profits as his inner soothsayer predicting bad days on the horizon. “I built Jupiter in 2018 partially as a fallback plan,” he explained. “It was a fallback plan for a potential Great American Shitshow. I was worried about Donald Trump not being the greatest president and some kind of shitshow happening — and I ended up being right.”

Poppy reveals her favorite store is Newbury Comics, announces holiday EP: It’s uncertain to really know just how many things Bostonians have in common with Poppy. But as of today (November 18), we can add our favorite chain of record stores to the list. News dropped this morning that the increasingly enigmatic metal-pop-fusion star will release an album of Christmas tunes called A Very Poppy Christmas on December 1. New England-based pop culture and record shop Newbury Comics also shared via Twitter that they’ll have 1000 white vinyl copies of the album available to pre-order, exclusive to their shops. Then came the big reveal: Poppy responded to the tweet, writing “My favorite store since I was a bb.” The news, while glorious, isn’t altogether shocking; Poppy was born in Massachusetts and lived here until her early teens until she moved to Tennessee, and then later, to Los Angeles. Multiple articles, fan pages, and her Wikipedia page state that she was born near or in Boston, making her birthplace one of the few facts about her life that isn’t constantly disputed on online message boards.

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