In rotation: 2/17/21

UK | Record Store Day UK announces official partnerships for 2021: Record Store Day UK has today (February 16) revealed its official partners for the event’s 14th year, which is set to be held on Saturday June 12. RSD – which will include the participation of more than 230 independent record shops from all over the UK – has once again partnered with premium audio brand Bowers & Wilkins, audio manufacturer designers Rega Research and London-based vinyl manufacturing company Sound Performance, as well as welcoming the award-winning craft brewery Meantime as its Official Beer Partner. Although there has been no official confirmation on which artists will be participating in 2021’s event, a press release stated that, as with previous years, “hundreds of limited edition vinyl releases” will be made available exclusively from the participating shops. Despite tough circumstances last year—with Record Store Day being split across 3 dates—the event was a huge success.

Phoenix, AZ | Buy a Latte and Sit for a Spell at Mojave Coffee and Records: You can get a latte and a Led Zeppelin album at Mojave Coffee and Records, but don’t let the order of the words confuse you: This is first and foremost a record store that sells coffee. “People ask, ‘Why do you open at noon?’” owner TJ Jordan says. “Well, because I’m a record store guy, not a coffee guy. I’m not going to open at 7 a.m.” Mojave, which opened in east Phoenix in 2018, is a notably small space. It’s crammed with record bins, a selection of CDs, and a wall of cassettes. A typewriter sits under a Tiffany lamp, beside a bookshelf. The wall behind the coffee bar is made of wood, just like the hanging acoustic guitars, which Jordan says helps to add warmth. When I arrive early, Jordan asks me to give him a couple of minutes before our interview. He and a frequent customer, Nick Vukasinovic, are finishing up a concert by slide guitarist Sonny Landreth that’s playing on the television hanging above the records.

Talent, OR | Record store re-opens after original store was lost in Almeda Fire: Biscuits and Vinyl originally opened in Fall 2017 off of Talent Avenue. The business burned to the ground in the devastating Almeda Fire last September. Now, it’s back open – not too far from where it once stood. “Yeah, it was right down the road there,” said owner Matthew Farrington. He says although it’s bittersweet to look across the street and see the remains of his former business, he’s happy to be selling vinyl records again. “I lost a lot of inventory, and had to buy some collections, got a lot of donations and some record labels sent stuff.” Biscuits and Vinyl is now open next to the Talent Maker Space on East Main Street. “It was vacant and they were using it as a mutual aid station and they let us set up some pop-up events around the holidays, and we worked it out with the neighbors and took the space over,” he said. On opening day, the room was full with customers looking for records, ranging from used and new, reggae to classic rock. “This has been bigger than expected,” Farrington said.

Long Beach, CA | Analog Record Shop—a retail store turned filming hotspot—to close permanently: Long Beach has an assortment of record stores—some that specialize in certain vinyl such as Toxic Toast’s Japanese imports and others that cater to a broader clientele such as Fingerprints. But only one record store stopped selling records after becoming a hotspot for commercial filming. Now that space, Analog Record Shop, is closing for good. Alex Forsythe opened Analog at 1322 Coronado Ave. in August 2018. It was his third record store but his first in Long Beach. He first got into the record business in 2012 when he opened the original Analog in Costa Mesa. Next, he opened up shop in Tustin. He went on to close Costa Mesa a few years later to open in Long Beach, where he had previously lived for nine years. “I got into the business kind of impulsively,” Forsythe said, noting he had worked in retail through most of his 20s. “My dad grew me up on records—he still has a huge collection. And I’ve been a musician my whole life.” Forsythe originally opened his Costa Mesa store selling instruments and accessories such as guitar pedals. He had a small record section that did well, so he abandoned the instruments in favor of the reemerging audio format.

Melbourne, AU | Meet Melbourne’s Program Records, Australia’s first new vinyl pressing plant in 30 years: The plant is set to double as a live music venue too. A new vinyl pressing plant has arrived in Melbourne – Australia’s first of its kind in 30 years. Program Records is the brainchild of locals Steve Lynch and Dave Roper, and according to The Age, has come about after the duo addressed a common quandary. Epiphanies often bring rise to new business ventures, but Lynch and Roper have legitimate cause for this adventure – local acts don’t get their records quick enough, and are often forced to look overseas to source vinyl. Apparently, The Avalanches hit up a plant in the Czech Republic for pressings of last year’s record, We Will Always Love You, and waited seven months for their LPs to arrive. While much of that could be put down to disruptions caused by COVID-19, that’s still a decent hold-up. After doing some of our own research to further justify Lynch and Roper’s endeavours – asking anonymous musos and indie labelheads around the traps – there’s also the common understanding that good quality pressings are hard to come by.

Manawatū, NZ | Record fair turnout shows vinyl is never out of style: The large turnout at Palmerston North Record Fair shows vinyl never goes out of style, organisers say. Hundreds of music lovers, young and old, flooded to the annual record fair at Takaro Sports Club on Saturday to add to their collections, relive their youth with their favourites, and discover new sounds. Vinyl sellers Steve Tolley and Brian Wafer brought together 14 sellers from across the North Island to showcase thousands of records, attracting more than 700 people. “People are really after classics, blues and the classic New Zealand music,’’ Tolley said.“Some people have been here for two or three hours and have gone through all the records and all the tables, and others have just grabbed one or two and that’s it.” One woman had finally got her hands on a specific Dolly Parton record, Tolley said. It was selling for only $1, but for her it was priceless. “She was over the moon,” Tolley said. “You’d thought shed found Christmas. Just the excitement of finding something you’ve been looking for was amazing for her.

Are Vinyl Records Sustainable? There was a time when spinning records was the only way to listen to music of your choice at home. Subsequently, for a few decades, vinyl records had to compete with audio cassettes and CDs. And then came the tsunami of digital streaming that devastated all physical music formats. Miraculously, in the past 20 years, vinyl sales have exponentially increased, as have numbers of pressing plants and record shops. Now played on sophisticated turntables that retain a retro vibe despite using the latest audio technology, records (in all colours) now seem to have some of the resilience and charm of books. You can play them in a wi-fi-free environment, collect them, and enjoy their artwork; even the vinyl itself can be made to play with colour in mesmerising ways. But the environmentally conscious music aficionado views this resurgence with a mixture of joy and concern. Joy, because collecting music in a physical form remains special for the generations brought up on radio and vinyl…However, concern springs from the material standard records are made of: PVC (polyvinyl chloride) or ‘plastic #3’ (vinyl’s more technical names) – yet more additions to the plastic soup choking the planet.

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