In rotation: 2/5/21

New York, NY | Dream Fishing Tackle: Greenpoint’s quirkiest brick and mortar: “…in 2013, Barbara stumbled upon a crate of records during a road trip. Thinking they’d make a nice addition to the interior decor of the shop, she purchased them. At that same exact moment, she got a call from her dad, who suggested they add some records to the store since patrons had been increasingly requesting them. As a test, they put out the crate in the shop. The records, mostly classic rock and the likes of Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin, sold in two days. DFT, which some argue has the best collection in the neighborhood, now sports over twelve thousand thoughtfully curated records. You’d expect that as the younger Piskorski, Barbara was the mastermind behind the record section, but it’s actually Robert who has a passion for music and sources most of the records. “He transitioned his focus from fishing to the records, but he still has great fishing supplies and gives advice to anyone coming in to talk shop. He puts a lot of thought and care into which records we offer, and the clientele notice,” said Barbara of her father.

Spokane, WA | Selling fun: 4,000 Holes supplying good vibes to Spokane since 1989: There’s something so enchanting about being inside an old-school record shop like 4000 Holes record store, whether it’s the selection of music playing overhead, the thousands of records to be flipped through, the album art that decorates every wall or the people. Take it from Bob Gallagher, owner of 4000 Holes record store. Gallagher has bought records since he was a kid and loved The Beatles when he was younger, but he started seriously collecting records in the 1970s, when he said he got ‘Beatlemania’ again. “As a kid, I always wanted a record store. I mean early on, I remember going into the local record store, and it was like sort of a church for me. It was so cool, all that stuff in there,” Gallagher said. When Gallagher first started collecting records, he realized that he wouldn’t be able to keep collecting them on his salary, so he started selling records and found out he had a talent for it. Eventually he had enough to open a store, and so he opened 4000 Holes in 1989, Gallagher said. The store’s current location on 1610 N. Monroe St. is its third location, and Gallagher said he’s been there for the past 16 years.

St. Louis, MO | DVD lovers seek the tangible, keep stores afloat. ‘I just buy anything I like,’ says one customer: CD Warehouse is a neighborhood store. Owner Walter Ray knows his customers by name and doesn’t sell online. “Buy three, get one free” deals keep prices low, about $2 per DVD. And, despite the spring shutdown, CD Warehouse, on Tesson Ferry Road near Sappington, did brisker business in 2020 than the year before. “If one of my neighbors moves out, I’ll expand,” said Ray. “I’m busting at the seams.” Somehow, in the face of a pandemic, a boom in video streaming, and a near-total collapse of the rest of the market, St. Louis-area DVD and CD stores are hanging on. Some even want to expand. A small but dedicated band of consumers — people who want their entertainment in a tangible form — have been keeping the few local movie-resale shops afloat. Film and TV buffs don’t want to gamble that their favorites will always be available on platforms like Netflix, so they frequent throwback stores that carry everything from “Goodfellas” to “The Goonies.”

Juneau, AK | Permanent records: New shop gives old media local staying power: It was love at first listen. Nano Brooks doesn’t remember the exact record, but he remembers the sound that got him interested in collecting records and audio equipment. “I just remember the quality,” Brooks said during a masked-and-distanced interview. As impartial ears and audio experts can attest, analog formats simply sound different from digital formats. In the opinion of the sort of crate-digging audiophiles who helped propel record sales to a historic high last year and gave cassettes renewed relevance, physical media such as records don’t just sound different, they sound better, warmer, than CDs, MP3s or streaming options. In any case, it was love at first listen when Brooks heard the music coming out of his friend’s high-fidelity equipment. He was hooked and interested in getting his own records and hi-fi gear. Brooks’ friend with the records and nice-sounding setup was Anthony Thingvall, who is now Brooks’ business partner. The two millennials — Brooks is 26, Thingvall is 27 —want to find new homes for old equipment and media through their shop Hi-Fi Senpai. Thingvall joined Brooks for a late-morning interview in the shop.

New Orleans, LA | Just In Time For Valentine’s Day: New Orleans Vinyl Club Debuts Sweets & Beats: If there are two things people really think are sweet, it’s got to be vinyl and candy. This is not lost on Mike Quinlan, one of the owners and operators of New Orleans Record Press and its vinyl club subscription service. “Vinyl is inherently cool,” declares Quinlan. “And cool shit cannot be denied. It’s impossible to not find vinyl interesting.” Quinlan, who not only has a knack for business and marketing, also has an eye for art. You may have recently seen his work in Sound Garden—the JAMNOLA exhibit, not the band—where he and Rachel Arrington created a floral garden art installation of over 500 recycled and up cycled vinyl records. He’s quick to jump in and help local businesses like JAMNOLA whenever he can, especially when so many small businesses have been affected by Covid.

ART OF THE ALBUM | 12 Great Album Covers, Chosen by Karl Heitmueller Jr.: B-52’s, Frank Sinatra, KISS, Built to Spill and more. When I agreed to participate in this series, I quickly realized how daunting it was going to be to limit myself to just a dozen covers. To winnow the list, I decided to only use records I actually own, leaving some covers that might’ve made the cut (e.g., Elvis Presley’s eponymous debut) for others to highlight (not that there won’t be some crossover here). Additionally, my criteria are completely subjective, meaning some covers might not seem to some of you as being particularly striking from a design standpoint. But to me, with every one of these albums, the link between music and cover art is inextricable.

28 Days of Album Cover Blackness With VSB, Day 4: Black Ivory’s Don’t Turn Around (1972): Black Ivory—the trio of vocalists from Harlem, N.Y.—is a group that had me at hello. Made up of multihyphenate, do-it-all group members Russell Patterson, Stuart Bascombe and Leroy Burgess, I still remember the first time I heard their single “Don’t Turn Around” because I was digital crate digging and saw this album cover and said, “Panama, this is one Black-ass album cover.” So I listened. And I loved it long time. That intro? Chef’s kiss. And it’s not like Black Ivory were the greatest singers of all time, but they just worked well together. And their production sound worked well for their voices. But the song of theirs that immediately landed on Panama’s List of Favorite Songs of All Time is “You and I, ” a 7-minute song with a whole jam session vibe (with Larry Blackmon getting some drum work in) in the last four minutes. And not the remastered version, but the original.

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