In rotation: 4/7/21

Vinyl sales prop up independent music: Even with the popularity of streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music, last year saw a resurgence in sales of vinyl records—for the first time since 1986, there were more vinyl sold than CDs. The boost in sales couldn’t have come at a more opportune time, as some indie musicians and companies are struggling through the pandemic. For the first time since 1986, there were more vinyl records sold last year than CDs. Mac McCaughan is the cofounder of North Carolina-based independent label Merge Records as well as the frontman for the band Superchunk. For over 30 years, Merge has released some of the most seminal recordings in indie rock, bands like the Neutral Milk Hotel, Arcade Fire, and the Magnetic Fields. Despite the pandemic, 2020 turned out to be a good year for the label. “Pressing plants have had trouble keeping up with the volume of records that people have bought over the last year…”

Toronto, CA | Toronto record store that supported local music scene to close doors by June: Soundscapes, in business for 22 years, drew lineups on Saturday and Sunday for closing sale. A much-loved Toronto record store that supported the local independent music scene will close by June 1. Soundscapes, located at 572 College Street, drew lineups on Saturday and Sunday for its closing sale, which began on Wednesday and will continue until the store closes its doors. It has been in business for 22 years. Owner Greg Davis opened the store in 1999. “A big thank you to all of our loyal customers through the years! You have made it all worthwhile and we so appreciate your support for us through the good times and lean times,” a note on the store window reads. “We are all lucky to be living in a golden age for musical discovery. The past twenty years produced musical riches aplenty, both from new artists, as well as the discovery of archival releases from the past. We hope you have enjoyed the music we were lucky enough to recommend and sell to you over the years.”

South Africa: Shifting Vinyl With My Grandfather’s Records: The older generation collected music, whereas today’s aficionados collect records. Vinyl has become an art object, and fanatics scratch through family albums for that next gem. I have a thread of memories of sitting outside the scorching heat of my grandmother’s house in Durban, catching some shade under the mango trees with my grandfather. I would sit next to him, watching his slow, coarse fingers roll tobacco. At times he would sprinkle some marijuana in, smoking this with head bobbing as if he were chasing a particular groove only he could hear. Vinyl records were playing. None of our conversations ever touched on vinyl as a medium. He would only ever dwell on the sounds, places, eras and communities of people who shared his affinity for music. We would have our first conversation about vinyl when I started collecting records. It then dawned on me that we entered this exchange from very different perspectives.

Mornington Peninsula, AU | Vinyl store on the foreshore: Record collectors will find plenty of albums to get their hands on in Frankston this month. The Frankston Foreshore Pop Up Record Fair will take place on 17 April. Event organiser Leif van den Dungen, of Melbourne Record Club, said “I’m really looking forward to being by the water with this one. There’s going to be marquees over about 12 tables and I’ve got some bunting for some colour – it’s going to be an old-school type of fair.” “People talk fondly of the crackle, hiss and pop. You’ve got to interact with a record – getting up to turn it over – and you’re not inclined to skip through tracks so you’re listening to more music than you might otherwise. “Any mainstream band pressed on vinyl is going to go up in value. I recall purchasing The Rolling Stones or David Bowie LPs from second hand stores like Dixons only 10 years back for under $15 each. Now you’d be lucky to find an original pressing for under $50.” The event will run from 10am – 4pm. It will be run in partnership with Frankston Council.

Highway Hi-Fi, the Revolutionary Vinyl-In-Your-Car Tech That Failed: Early cars were mostly A-to-B carriers, so comfort wasn’t a major concern until luxury cars became widely available in the 1920s. But even so, mobile radio technology didn’t become commercially viable until 1930. It was still expensive, though, with the first radio units costing one-third of the price of a compact car. AM radios eventually became a standard feature toward the end of the 1930s, while AM/FM units with a scan function arrived in the early 1950s. While having an in-car radio was a big thing at the time, drivers were at the mercy of radio DJs for music. So carmakers and audio companies started looking into ways to incorporate mobile players for physical media. Rise of the LPs Back in the 1950s, LP records were the only physical sound storage medium. Vinyls had become common in the 1940s and remained the only viable sound storage medium until the tape cassette was introduced in 1963.

(Record Scratch!) You’re Probably Wondering How Lexus Got a Record Player in Here: The IS Wax Edition brings an old-school media player into the 21st century. Shout “enhance!” a few times at your computer like you’re in some kind of CSI-type show, or just peer more closely, and you might notice something odd in this 2021 Lexus IS’ glove box. An arm, a needle, a vinyl record … yup, that’s a turntable. In the glovebox. In 2021. And if you aren’t a turntablist, or a vinyl enthusiast, you might not recall that records skip. Before even the eight-track player, a few companies experimented with in-car record players, and it was a goofy extravagance that never really worked all that well. Because, well, records skip, even with specialized spring-isolated enclosures—especially when installed by indifferent dealers back in the day. But these early systems were state-of-the-art, one of the only ways at the time to play music in a car beside the radio. We’ve basically transcended physical media at this point with audio streaming and MP3s and what not, so maybe Lexus decided the time is ripe to remix the idea.

Roxette celebrate 30 years of ‘Joyride’ On Sunday March 28, Swedish group Roxette celebrate the 30th anniversary of their third album “Joyride” – the much anticipated follow-up to the band’s spectacular 1989 global break-through “Look Sharp!”. To celebrate, this autumn ”Joyride” will be released as a 4-album vinyl and a 3-CD box, containing the original release as well as previously unreleased or hard-to-get material that paints a fuller picture of a ride that still puts a smile on peoples faces. The albums three US #1 singles “The Look”, “Listen To Your Heart” and “It Must Have Been Love” and other big hits like “Dressed For Success” and “Dangerous” had almost overnight transformed the dynamic duo of Marie Fredriksson and Per Gessle into a world-wide hit phenomenon that would soon pave the way for other Swedish pop acts during the 90’s.

The Clash, The Cranberries and Miles Davies announced for War Child’s 2021 Record Store Day releases: Limited edition releases from The Clash, The Cranberries and Miles Davies will go on sale to raise funds for War Child on Record Store Day. For the second year running the organisation is the official charity partner of the annual record shop celebration. The Clash’s If Music Could Talk, a 1981 promo, Miles Davis’ Champions from The Complete Jack Johnson Sessions and The Cranberries’ Stars: The Best Of 92-02, will be reissued on July 17 – the second of two Record Store Day dates planned for 2021. The first is June 12. War Child will also be re-releasing their 1995 Help EP and Come Together single as a 12-inch vinyl, which will include tracks from Radiohead, PJ Harvey and Portishead. “We are very honoured that Universal have chosen Stars as a special Vinyl release for Record Store Day,” said The Cranberries’ Fergal Lawler of the special editions.

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