In rotation: 2/26/21

Bozeman, MT | This might be the best record shop in Montana: If you are a person that loves listening and collecting vinyl records, this spot is a must go to in Montana. So here in Bozeman we have a few pretty great record shops. Cactus Records in downtown Bozeman is a great spot. They have some of the best new top vinyl’s you can get. Plus, their used collection is rock solid. Then there is the recently new Wax Museum in Bozeman. Their vinyl records are mostly in old school punk and some classics and their used section is pretty incredible if you are looking for classic rock or country. Both of these spots are great but there is a place in Montana that has one of the biggest and fantastic collections of vinyl record’s I have ever seen and luckily it’s a pleasant drive to get there. In Missoula, most people know Rocking Rudy’s for great gifts and a huge music selection(my dad would go here every time we visited) and I honestly thought that was the only music store in Missoula. That was until my brother introduced me to my new favorite spot. Ear Candy Music.

Bend, OR | Audiophiles, physical media fans embrace cassettes in Bend: Though not as popular as vinyl, tapes are making a comeback. Erika Windlinx of Prineville grew up listening to rock ’n’ roll bands such as Def Leppard, Guns N’ Roses and AC/DC on rides in her father’s truck. But the 21-year-old didn’t have a physical music collection until about three years ago when her grandfather died, and she inherited his truck. It only had a tape deck, so Windlinx started scouring Smith Rock Records (formerly Ranch Records) in downtown Bend for cassettes. She now has a collection of between 50 and 100 cassettes. “It’s something material,” Windlinx said. “I’m sure I could find some way to hook up my phone to my truck and play media through MP3s and stuff, but I like the material. I like having the little flip booklet that you have that has all the funny little pictures of rock stars in them, and then it has a little cover picture. In this day and age we’re definitely losing that, and I feel like that’s a bit pricier of something to have to pay, to lose the material for more convenience.”

Cleveland, OH | Boss Ladies of CLE: Brittany Benton. Producer, DJ, owner of Brittany’s Record Shop: this Boss Lady is helping to drive Cleveland’s music industry. Brittany Benton says that being prepared has served her well this last year. “It was one of those situations where they say, you know, stay ready so you don’t have to get ready,” Benton said of the events of 2020. As the reckoning around race and equity took shape last summer, her Slavic Village store, Brittany’s Record Shop, saw unprecedented sales. “The first four days of June, it eclipsed what I made all through all my sales channels in 2019 and it’s been pretty steady since,” Benton explained. “People were looking online for all types of black business owners to patronize and then, [it helped that in] the vinyl community were very close-knit.” Benton says that while she had to close her store for about five weeks at the start of the pandemic, her website sales have more than made up for the closure.

Raleigh, NC | Vinyl Record Stores in Raleigh, NC: A pandemic-plagued year presented brutal challenges for businesses of all types and sizes, including record stores. Yet somehow, record stores in the Raleigh area are finding new ways to not just survive but thrive, often by honing in on new features or niches. Here’s a survey of stores on the scene. All have the standard coronavirus protocols with mask-wearing, hand-sanitizing, occupancy limits, social distancing and such. Most of them offer curbside pickup or mail-order delivery if you want to truly keep your distance. Pour House Music Hall & Record Shop: As the pandemic picked up speed during the spring of 2020, the record store upstairs at the Pour House Music Hall was ill-prepared for a shutdown, lacking a website. So they had to do what co-owner Adam Linstaedt calls “a quick pivot,” with co-owner Lacie Linstaedt getting a fully functional website up and running by the middle of April. Online sales got the shop through the dark days of the shutdown, and they have since reopened four days per week. The inventory continues to be vinyl-only, and they have done their best to keep things fun even in the midst of harsh times.

Douala, CM | Old skool music: An immortal vinyl treasure in Douala, Cameroon: In the Deido neighborhood of Douala, Cameroon’s economic capital, you’ll find a small shop belting out authentic music on vinyl from the 1980s and 90s—Disco Saint Paul. A shining example of how traditional records still remain the top choice for music purists over modern streaming and mp3s. Record store owner and manager Ntchagna Paul owns up to 5,000 vinyl records of numerous musical genres: Makossa, Rumba, French and American tracks. Paul has been collecting, selling and lovingly curating his records for over 25 years, but he does not stock modern music. The music merchant believes that his records are one of the last products of musical hard work and devotion from artists. “Music was done well, unlike today when everyone sings anything,” he tells Africa Calling podcast, describing how music now just does not make the grade. “Music was so well done, it was animated. Look at 80s songs, they were good, until the arrival of CDs. Up to now, people still go back to them. Even when music directors want good things, they still go back to old music. It’s because it was good music, not what they play today,” Paul explains.

Cleveland, OH | Cleveland Still Rocks: The city’s music scene is banding together to survive the pandemic. …The Beachland’s long-time neighbor, Blue Arrow Records, is one of the great record shops in a city full of them. Located a mid-range touchdown pass away from the Beachland, Pete Guylas’ shop has managed to increase its business during the pandemic. Currently open for a handful of hours Thursday through Sunday, the tall, gray-haired Guylas expected records to be the last thing on people’s minds. Specializing in vintage and rare LPs, vintage magazines and tour memorabilia, Guylas’ sales have also benefited from a strong online presence with its own shop. as well as utilizing sites and platforms like Bandcamp (for its own releases), Etsy and Discogs. With high-priced items behind the register — adjacent to a signed 1993 L7 cover from this publication — and several meticulously organized rows and a stage on the back wall, Blue Arrow is a record collector’s dream. “Right from the start, I was getting orders from across the world,” Guylas says incredulously as he holds his cat Rhonda in the back area behind the store, which is wall-to-wall with records and products from his Blue Arrow label.

Tuscaloosa, AL | Pressing On: Druid City Brewing Funding Record Of Local Musicians: Druid City Brewing is raising the funds to finance a vinyl pressing of a Dec. 18,2020 live stream event, along with help from Oz Music. Druid City Brewing Co. owner Bo Hicks has an arm full of tattoos exclusively related to his home state of Alabama. Calling himself an “armbassador” for both Alabama and Tuscaloosa, his latest effort to aid the arts in his community could see memories preserved for decades to come, long after his tattoos are faded and gone. After hosting an online concert event at the brewery’s 15th Street location on Dec. 18, 2020 — featuring numerous Tuscaloosa musicians — Hicks decided to raise the money to have a vinyl record pressed through Oz Music, which is the brewery’s neighbor and the city’s only independent record store. The record will feature certain selections from the five-hour event, with Hicks saying Oz Music will get its margins from each sale, while the rest of the cost paid by the customer will go to the musicians. Tuscaloosa artists featured on the record: Tom Rathe, Patrick O’Sullivan, Adam Ingram, Brantley Charles and the One Timers, Matthew Wurtele and Matt Bryant.

Ian MacKaye Talks ‘Woodstock’ Soundtrack Obsession in New Book Excerpt: Fugazi and Minor Threat co-founder reveals the albums that influenced him most as a kid in writer Eric Spitznagel’s book Rock Stars on the Record: The Albums That Changed Their Lives. Hardcore legend Ian MacKaye explains how Woodstock and an unexpected house guest helped lay the foundation for his love of music in this new excerpt from Eric Spitznagel’s new book, Rock Stars on the Record: The Albums That Changed Their Lives. The book consists of interviews with an array of artists discussing the music that influenced them most when they were kids. Along with MacKaye, the book features Laura Jane Grace, Mitski, Cherie Currie, Mac DeMarco, “Weird Al” Yankovic, Suzi Quatro and more. For MacKaye, his parents weren’t a particularly potent source of musical inspiration, though he says he did grow fond of Floyd Cramer’s “Last Date,” a “schmaltzy, instrumental piano, kind of swing jazz thing,” that exemplified his mother’s taste. Rather, MacKaye’s ears were sharpened by outside influences: A babysitter who introduced him to Jimi Hendrix; a woman living in a commune down the road from his childhood home who had James Gang and Jefferson Airplane records; and finally a Vietnam vet-turned-conscientious objector, who needed a place to live and ended up moving into MacKaye’s home.

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