Category Archives: A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

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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In rotation: 11/19/20

Chicago, IL | ‘Dusty Groove’ film sifts through the emotions of giving up your vinyl: Chicago music store owners buy stranger’s collections and hear their stories in the engrossing documentary. Rick Wojcik and J.P. Schauer are the co-founders of the Dusty Groove record store in Wicker Park, and they’ve been at this a long time. If you caught up with John Cusack’s Rob Gordon and Jack Black’s Barry Judd from the fictional Championship Vinyl record store in Wicker Park from “High Fidelity” (2000) some 20 years down the road, well, that’s Wojcik and Schauer in a nutshell. …In Danielle Beverly’s engrossing and warmhearted documentary “Dusty Groove: The Sound of Transition,” the customers aren’t treated as human props for the proprietors, as is often the case on shows such as “Pawn Stars” and “American Pickers.” Beverly is clearly as interested in the record lovers as the record store owners, and the result is a verité slice of American life shining a light on a disparate group of individuals who have one thing in common: They love their vinyl.

Kansas City, MO | Best of KC 2020: Every single record store from Topeka to KC is doing amazing, sweetie: Starting out west, and heading east: Time Machine Music, Mother Earth Records & Tapes, the Vinyl Score, Love Garden Sounds, Orange Cat Records, FM Music, Josey Records, Revolution Records, Mills Record Company, Records with Merrit, Brothers Music, Vinyl Heaven the Vinyl Underground at 7th Heaven, and Gotwhatulike Records. These stores have been at the forefront of making sure that customers are distanced, masked and, in many cases, gloved during their shopping experiences, thanks to the sheer amount of touchy-feely involved in flipping through the bins. Be it scheduled visits, where customers can browse the shops all by their lonesome like a high-rolling celebrity, curbside pickup, outdoor browsing experiences, or just a copious amount of available hand sanitizer, these record shops have allowed a certain amount of normalcy in our live, while not unnecessarily putting anyone at risk. Given that musical experiences these days are few and far between, it’s a rare opportunity to engage with like-minded music fans.

BBC: Asia’s forgotten musical gems rediscovered on vinyl: As the vinyl market experiences booming demand, crate diggers are spending time and money to re-release forgotten musical gems around Asia and beyond. Fariz Rustam Munaf, a prolific multi-instrumentalist better known as Fariz RM, was a household name in his native Indonesia during the 1980s. Back then, both teenagers and adults grooved to his signature brand of jazz fusion, which incorporates elements of spacey disco and Brazilian samba. Today, contemporary record labels are re-releasing his music for a new generation of listeners, with DJs routinely mixing his hit songs with electronic genres, such as Balearic house, at underground parties from Jakarta to Ibiza. “Being reissued is a great compliment,” says the 61 year-old. “It’s a new period of my career. I feel like I’ve been reborn.”

The 11 Best Vinyl & Record Player Accessories for Every Turntable Setup: From sound tweaks to a record club, gift ideas for every record nerd. Like any kind of collector, record enthusiasts tend to be obsessive about the object of their desire. That’s good news for gift-givers hunting for the best vinyl accessories for their friends and family. While buying records for anyone you don’t know intimately can be a dicey proposition—unless, of course, you have a link to their Discogs wantlist—the list of add-ons, novelties, and vinyl-adjacent doodads is long, with a bounty of possibilities at every price point, from humble anti-static brushes to absurdly pricey record-cleaning systems. So we’ve perused our own crowded shelves to come up with a selection of gifts guaranteed to delight any record aficionado. For still more ideas—or maybe just because you deserve a treat, too—check out our guide to buying the best record player and stereo system for any budget.

Tame Impala announce 10th anniversary InnerSpeaker box set: We kinda had a hunch this was coming… Earlier this year, Kevin Parker commemorated the 10th anniversary of Tame Impala’s debut album InnerSpeaker and hinted that “something very special coming v soon.” That special something is a new vinyl reissue of the album. The 4LP box set features “2020 mixes” of the tracks ‘Alter Ego’ and ‘Runway Houses City Clouds’, instrumentals for ‘Why Won’t You Make Up Your Mind’ and ‘It Is Not Meant To Be’, a collection of demos, and a 40-page book. Diehards will get excited at the inclusion of a previously unreleased ‘Wave House Live Jam’ – as in the studio property in WA where InnerSpeaker was made, and that Parker purchased recently. InnerSpeaker won the 2010 J Award for Australian Album of the Year – we praised it as a “spiralling, trippy adventure” at the time. And just a few months back, the album came #3 in Double J’s list of the 50 Best Australian Debut Albums. hailed as a “timeless album that still hits like a mind-melting sonic adventure from another era.”

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In rotation: 11/18/20

Portland, OR | Photo Essay: Music Millennium Survived the Advent of Streaming Services. Now It’s Surviving the Pandemic, Too. Each month since reopening, sales have roughly equaled figures from the previous year. Founded in 1969, Music Millennium has survived Napster, smartphones and streaming. When the COVID-19 pandemic came, the store switched to curbside- and online-only service for 10 weeks but returned to limited in-store shopping in June. Now admitting up to 10 customers at a time, there is frequently a line to enter the store. Each month since reopening, sales have roughly equaled figures from the previous year.

Madison, WI | Strictly Discs in Wisconsin, in a Pandemic: New COVID-19 Closures Are ‘Getting Closer.’ In an “eventful week,” store owner Angie Roloff deals with a family tragedy, exploding coronavirus cases and the threat of new closures. In October 1988, Angie Roloff and her husband Ron opened Strictly Discs in Madison, Wisconsin, after Ron left a career in the biomedical research field to pursue his love of music full time. Nearly 31 years later, the couple made the difficult decision to shutter in-store operations due to COVID-19, roughly a week before Gov. Tony Evers forced a mandatory shutdown of all non-essential businesses. Now that the Wisconsin Supreme Court has overturned Evers’ stay-at-home order — ruling it “unlawful” and “unenforceable” — the Roloffs and their employees have reopened the store. As part of Billboard’s efforts to best cover the coronavirus pandemic and its impacts on the music industry, we will be speaking with Roloff regularly to chronicle her experience throughout the crisis.

Richmond, VA | Musical Healing: Record Store Day offers a special release of a legendary concert at Plan 9 Records from 14 years ago. In the summer of 2006, the Richmond music scene was still reeling from the tragic murders of the Harvey family. On July 13, Plan 9 Records in Carytown held a rock concert to raise money for the Harvey family memorial endowment – a show that would go down in the history books of that Richmond institution. The sold-out event for just over 200 people started at 10 p.m. and raged on for two and half hours, about an hour longer than the band originally planned. Now others get to hear all its sweaty glory when a four-record vinyl set of the Drive-By Truckers’ “Plan 9 Records July 13, 2006” is released on Record Store Day this Black Friday – an album one national music critic is calling the band’s best live recording. As for its pay that night, the group received a case of Pabst Blue Ribbon and two bottles of whiskey — all of which was consumed by the encore.

AU | Why are vinyl records making a huge comeback? Just when we roll our eyes at the fact that kids these days only listen to Spotify, we see news that the sales of vinyl records surpassed that of CD. Wait, what? Are we back in the 60s? Are vinyl records really back from the dead? Well first of all, vinyl never really died. It decreased in sales when CD became famous in the late 80s but there were still a bunch of people who are vinyl freaks. Vinyl sales dropped fast but it continually increased in sales years after, peaking in 2006 and it never stopped going up since then. Years later, here we are. The Recording Industry Association of America, LP vinyl records accounted for $232.1 million of music sales in the first six months of 2020, whereas CDs have only brought in $129.9 million. This is the first time since 1986 that vinyl has outsold CDs. Today, you don’t have to be a hotshot musician in order to release vinyl because one great benefit of the internet is that you can also find ways to lessen the risk of financial loss. Nowadays, you can make as few as 50 units and just sell it on your website or even do pre-order (they buy before you press vinyl) so you are sure every vinyl you press will get sold. Although vinyl is still relatively expensive to make, there are many tricks and tips for a cheap vinyl record pressing.

Norman Cook: ‘I would go out actively looking for strange old records I could take little tiny bits of.’ “…You know that that beautiful moment in DJing is when the whole room becomes as one like a collective euphoria and a collective abandon, which is a very powerful thing and if you can achieve that at arena level it really is quite an emotional thing to witness that kind of, the togetherness and the community within it… It started that I just had a big record collection so when I discovered a sampler and the fun you could have with it, I started trawling through my record collection. I was always a crate digger and I was always a vinyl junkie and that just kind of fed my habit that I could – when I was DJing abroad, I would always hit record shops in the afternoon and thrift stores and then yeah, so I would go out actively looking for strange old records that I could take little tiny bits of. So again it sort of fed my addiction of being a vinyl junkie but I was calling it my job because this was source material.

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In rotation: 11/17/20

Tower Records returns as an online store: 2020 has been a tough year, but one bright spot has surfaced as the year winds down. Onetime record store chain Tower Records has been resurrected as an online store. The new Tower Records, which can be found online here, will have online events, the return of their Tower Pulse! magazine, a merchandise section and a wealth of vinyl, CD and cassette selections. The onetime record store giant has been shuttered since 2006, minus a store in Japan, after filing for bankruptcy. The chain’s rise and fall was documented in the 2015 film All Things Must Pass. Deadline reports that the Tower resurrection was expected to be revealed earlier this year at Austin’s SXSW festival. However, the cancellation of the annual event due to COVID-19 led to the delay of the announcement. The intent was to add a series of pop-up shops as well, which could still happen when the pandemic lessens. Tower Records’ new CEO Danny Zeijdel made a statement about the company’s return. “[The news] has been met with tremendous success, feedback,” Zeijdel said. “A lot of people are so happy taking pictures of when they receive an order from Tower Records, posting it on Instagram.”

Memphis, TN | With Patreon & an Online Variety Show, Goner Records Adapts to the Pandemic: Record stores have been hit hard by the age of quarantine, and in the case of Goner Records, which is also a label and festival promoter, the effect has been tripled. And yet their many innovations, from a “telethon” for Record Store Day, to Goner TV (which debuted in July), to this year’s virtual Gonerfest, reveal their willingness to innovate in order to accommodate the new normal. Now they’ve embraced another approach to both surviving and staying connected with fans and customers, one that is more typically associated with artists: Patreon. I spoke with co-owner Zac Ives to learn more about the reasons behind their latest move, and what kinds of offerings patrons can expect. “…the positive thing about this is, it really allows people to have a more direct impact on things that they care about. And so that’s what this turned into. If you like what we’re doing, there’s a way for you to directly impact our ability to keep doing these things. And at the same time, it lets us be creative with what we can give back to people for their help, for being a patron.”

Toronto, CA | Jason Momoa spotted at Toronto record shop: Jason Momoa was spotted getting his groove on to some soul music at a Toronto record store. The Aquaman star stopped into Cosmos Records, located at 607a Queen St West, on Friday. The shops Instagram account posted a video of the actor dancing along to Syl Johnson’s “Different Strokes” as he looked through the vinyl. Cosmos wrote that the Game of Thrones alumni’s visit was “good vibes only.” Momoa was previously photographed at Ozzy’s Burgers in Kensington Market, and has been seen strolling through Parkdale. According to the City of Toronto’s list of Current Productions, the actor is in the city to film the second season of the dystopian Apple TV+ series See.

Elvis Costello on Turning His 1979 Tour De Force, ‘Armed Forces,’ Into 2020’s Splashiest Boxed Set: In a Variety bonus Q&A, Costello revisits how Bowie and ABBA influenced him four decades ago, why he’s cool with the super-deluxe “Forces” coming out via vinyl, streaming and downloads but not on CD… and drops a new performance of the classic “Party Girl.” Very few music boxed sets aspire beyond being gussied up digital repositories to becoming actual physical pieces of pop art. But opening up the new vinyl set from Elvis Costello, “The Complete Armed Forces,” feels like getting several Christmas mornings all at once, with a suitable-for-fondling nine records, seven paperbacks and various other ephemera intended to bring back the color explosions of 1979 as well as invoke other visual styles from the pulp-fiction ‘50s to the present. At the center of the “super-deluxe” set, enveloped in elaborate, Barney Bubbles-designed origami packaging, is one of rock ‘n’ roll’s fairly undisputed masterpieces, “Armed Forces,” a semi-concept record that reinvented Costello’s style three albums into his career and made “emotional fascism” sound like great, brow-furrowed fun.

Naples, IT | New record shop, Organica, opens in Naples: The store is run by the team behind popular venue Basic Club. Naples has a new record shop. Organica Records, which is run by the team behind popular local spot Basic Club, opened on Friday, November 6th. Located in the city’s historic centre, on Via Vincenzo Bellini, the shop stocks all sorts of music on vinyl, from Latin, soul and jazz to techno, disco and deep house. There are listening decks in-store, plus a selection of beers and soft drinks. Head to Organica’s website for more information, and check out some photos.

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In rotation: 11/16/20

UK | Independent record stores to be celebrated in relaunched #recordstoreoftheday campaign: It kicks off with Brighton indie store Resident. A campaign to celebrate independent record stores in the UK has been relaunched. Originally launched back in March at the onset of lockdown, #RecordStoreOfTheDay is back from today (13th November) to fly the flag for stores across the country. It kicks off with Resident in Brighton. Posted on Instagram, Record Store of the Day organisers said, “We are excited to announce that Record Store of the Day is back! In response to lockdown 2.0, we thought it only right to continue our campaign highlighting the best indie record stores around, starting with @residentbrighton.⁣” Supported by Association of Independent Music, BPI, ERA and more, the initiative will focus on one independent record store each day of the week. See the full list of record stores below. Back in June, a separate event, Love Record Stores Day, boosted music retail by £1 million.

The legendary Tower Records returns as online store: The iconic chain closed all its non-Japanese stores in 2006. The legendary Tower Records chain has made a comeback as an online store. The chain has been out of action for over a decade, closing all its non-Japanese stores in 2006 after filing bankruptcy. A new Tower Records website is already up and running, with vinyl, CDs, merchandise and an online version of their Tower Pulse! magazine on sale now. As Deadline report, the second coming of Tower Records was set to be unveiled at this year’s SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, which was then cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak back in early March. A series of pop-up shops were also set to accompany the store’s return, and may still come to fruition when COVID-19 rules are relaxed. Tower Records’ new CEO Danny Zeijdel made a statement about the company’s return. Zeijdel replaces late founder Russ Solomon, who died in 2018 at the age of 92. “[The news] has been met with tremendous success, feedback,” Zeijdel said.

Traverse City, MI | Collecting Vinyl Records: A Hobby that Will Never Go Out of Style: With the colder weather slowly pushing us inside for the winter, chances are you’re looking for new ways to stay entertained. One hobby that will never go out of style is collecting and playing vinylStudio Anatomy Pkg Ll 4 records. Studio Anatomy, a recording studio and event space in downtown Traverse City opened a record shop called Eugene’s Record Co-Op. It’s a consignment shop where people can buy and sell records, turntables, and accessories. Brian Chamberlain the owner of both Eugene’s and Studio Anatomy says, “records are definitely the comeback. I think a lot of younger people are interested in something that’s tangible.” Eugene’s is located within Studio Anatomy, a recording space for some of Northern Michigan’s talented artists and performers. Anyone and everyone is welcome to use the recording studio for a reasonable fee.

Asheville, NC | Citizen Vinyl: Put Another Record On: Session Bar & Café is my beat, but you can feel a different kind of beat pulses throughout the entire building at Citizen Vinyl. …They’ve come at the business of vinyl from a lot of different directions: the retail record shop, recording studio, their ability to make vinyl masters, as well as large and short album runs, and the rooftop, which may be used for intimate live performances. With the record press installed and running on the main floor, you’ll be able to watch it do its magic through large interior windows while you have lunch, sip a latte, or meet with friends for cocktails.

Is it ideal to start collecting vinyl records right now? Collecting anything is a very intimate process. No matter what type of collection someone pursues, it’s going to look a little different than anyone else’s collection. Often collecting leads the collector down a path of study, research, and introspection. Often the collector ends up with highly specialized knowledge that not everyone else is going to be able to relate to, understand, or appreciate (but those that get it, really get it). Truly great collections take time and energy—a consistent study over a long period. Then, even after all the learning, there’s still the hunt—the seeking out of rare items that are hard to find—the pieces that make any collection truly spectacular. Difficulties aside, collecting can be one of the most rewarding hobbies there is. The physical items that have been found and compiled provide joy and look great in a home, they sometimes entertain as well, but it’s more than this.

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In rotation: 11/12/20

Baltimore, MD | Rocked by the pandemic, Fells Point record-coffee shop will close after one year in business: Baby’s on Fire, a coffee and record shop that got its start in Mount Vernon, is just one week shy of celebrating its one-year anniversary at its second location in Fells Point. But the shop won’t be around for too much longer than that. Its owners announced Tuesday morning that Baby’s on Fire in Fells Point will be closing its doors at the end of this year after its debut was rocked by the coronavirus pandemic. David Koslowski, who owns the shop with his wife, Shirlé Hale-Koslowski, said they’ve tried just about every avenue to save the fledgling location. They remained open for takeout, started delivering, set up outdoor seating and applied for grants and loans. But with winter right around the corner and business not getting any better, they made the hard decision to call it quits.

Astoria, OR | Video Horizons reopens downtown with records, vintage wear: After nearly 36 years of operating Video Horizons, Neal Cummings sees it as his duty to keep one of the region’s few remaining video rental stores going. Cummings left his expansive old location on Astor Street and reopened in a smaller storefront on Duane Street near Heritage Square. He subleased the basement to a record store and will soon have a vintage shop in his main showroom. “It’s just a matter of survival,” Cummings said of the move. “The overhead is lower here, so I’m able to survive because of it. And I love Duane Street, because it’s kind of a burgeoning area of town.” Cummings originally opened in 1984 and spent his first 18 years along Marine Drive near the site of Fresenius Kidney Care dialysis center. He moved east onto Astor Street in 2002 and stayed there until closing the doors to the public during the coronavirus pandemic and struggling to eke out enough business from a curbside pickup model. …Cummings subleased the basement underneath the video store to Richard Moore, a music collector in the process of building displays for his estimated collection of more than 300,000 records, CDs, cassettes and other audio media.

Album of the day: Pink Siifu & Fly Anakin, “FlySiifu’s” The first skit on the collaborative project between rappers Pink Siifu and Fly Anakin depicts the rising MCs running a fictional record store named FlySiifu’s, and the 22 track album that follows plays out like a loving homage to the time-honored art of crate digging. An ensemble cast of producers including Madlib, Ohbliv, and Animoss serve up skillfully repurposed loops that exude a dusky, jazz-centric ambience, with beats woven together from cascading clusters of keys, deftly-clipped snares, and a soft slurry of static-coated bass lines. At times, the album recalls the work of the late ‘90s production unit The Ummah, which paired Q-Tip and Ali Shaheed Muhammad with J Dilla (one store customer orders a copy of the Detroit producer’s Welcome 2 Detroit in one of FlySiifu’s skits).

Rolling Stone: The 80 Greatest Albums of 1980: What came out of all this was, arguably, the greatest year for great albums ever. It was the end— the end of the Seventies — and everyone was more than a little antsy to get going on whatever was about to come next. In terms of music, the new decade started off like someone had fired a starter’s pistol. It’s fitting that the Clash’s London Calling, which is ranked Number One on our list of the best albums of 1980, came out in January of that year, and if you listen to the records that follow it on the list, there’s a palpable sense of clearing away the past to invent the future. Every style of music was fragmenting and evolving in ways that would’ve been hard to imagine just a couple of years ago, especially punk and New Wave, which were mutating into synth-pop, post-punk, goth, the New Romantic movement, the two-tone ska revival, the very beginnings of indie rock, and more. Funk and disco were getting streamlined. Metal was getting meaner, faster, and sharper.

Family Video Launches #SaveTheVideoStore Campaign To Raise Awareness of a Struggling Industry: With around 250 stores remaining in the United States, Family Video is the largest video store chain left — and they’re trying to launch a hashtag campaign and build some partnerships to bring attention to the struggles they and other video stores are facing amid the coronavirus pandemic. #SaveTheVideoStore is an initiative cooked up by Family Video’s brand management and social media managers, and they’re hoping to build the kind of broad coalition with the remaining video stores that fans are used to in industries like comic book and record stores, each of which have successfully banded large chunks of the market together to celebrate things like Free Comic Book Day, an annual event that helps keep eyes on the comics market. It is an uphill battle: about half of the Family Video locations that existed at the start of the year have been closed since the start of the pandemic, as the company does their best to keep as many shops open as possible by closing down underperforming locations, or stores that are close enough to other locations that they might cannibalize their business.

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In rotation: 11/11/20

Taipei, TW | Record label showcases Taipei’s experimental borderlands: Future Proof has put out 10 releases, most recently “Black Mold and Hot Springs, Taipei” by (Z)erpents: “Always feeling comfortable doesn’t necessarily make people develop,” said Lars Berry, the founder of the Taipei-based record label Future Proof, “and I think music is the same way: you don’t always have to feel comfortable.” Berry, who is in his early 40s, sipped a cappuccino while considering his words: “At a DJ event, one reason for the music is to keep people in a space consuming alcohol … that’s a very standard reason for music to be played: to keep people in a space for a long period of time.” “The opposite of that,” he proposed, “is when you start to make people feel uncomfortable, to maybe even question their sanity — then you’re getting into performance art territory.” “Then they might wake up the next day and go, what was that? I hated that. But, I want to know more.”

Miami, FL | Sweat Records Announces $15 Wage for Employees: Last Tuesday, Florida voters overwhelming supported raising the state’s minimum wage to $15 by 2026. It’s a life-changing result for many workers who barely scrape at the current $8.56 rate, a wage that has barely kept up with the rate of inflation in the past 20 years. There’s also the cost of living to factor in: Miami’s a notoriously expensive city, where $8.56 an hour is hardly enough to cover basic necessities like food, housing, and transport. At the Little Haiti record store Sweat Records, its eight employees were already getting more than the current minimum wage, with everyone earning over $10 an hour. On October 29, Sweat Records announced it would pay its employees $15 per hour. “Can we afford to do it? Barely. Is it the right thing to do? Unequivocally,” Sweat wrote in its announcement. Like every business in 2020, Sweat Records has had a hard year. First came the pandemic and the closures, then the new rules and the enduring loss of steady foot traffic.

Frightened Rabbit to reissue ‘The Winter Of Mixed Drinks’ for its 10th anniversary: “The Winter of Mixed Drinks, now 10 years old, is a cocktail of emotions for us.” Frightened Rabbit are set to reissue their third album, ‘The Winter Of Mixed Drinks’, to celebrate its 10th anniversary. The record was released on March 1, 2010 via Fat Cat, and the reissue will arrive on December 11 – get all the details below. “The Winter of Mixed Drinks, now 10 years old, is a cocktail of emotions for us,” the band wrote in the first of a series of tweets announcing the news. “Perhaps through it we will all find a little lightness to help us through one of the darkest winters.” The reissue will feature the original album on 12″ blue vinyl, alongside an additional 7″ featuring two live versions, as the band explain. “Earlier in the year we decided to acknowledge the life of this album with the release of a few live tracks,” the band said. “We pulled open the archives and decided on a 7inch with a track from each side of the Atlantic from different moments of the band.”

Tokyo, JP | Change of tune: Japan music fans moving from CDs to streaming services: Japanese music enthusiasts, loyal to CDs long after the rest of the world went online, have begun reaching for the eject button and switching to streaming services as artists cancel in-store events and fans stay home because of the pandemic. Despite a slow decline in sales in the past decade, CDs are still the most popular music format in Japan, accounting for around 70% of recorded music sales last year. In the U.S. and European markets, CDs have long been relegated to the history bin in favour of online downloads and recently, streaming. Streaming services, which had accounted for less than 10% of sales in Japan until a few years ago, grew to 15% last year and will likely exceed 20% this year, said Jamie MacEwan, who covers the Japanese media business for Enders Analysis. The shift is closely watched by the global music industry because Japan is the world’s second-biggest music market after the United States, worth nearly $3 billion annually. “The crossover point where total digital revenues eclipse physical production is now just a matter of time,” MacEwan said.

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In rotation: 11/10/20

Record Store Day 2020 Drops Helped Sell Nearly 2 Million Albums at Indie Retail: The drops generated 34% of all indie store CD and vinyl album sales since August. Record Store Day 2020’s three-part drop series came to a close on Oct. 24 — and continued to generate big album sales for indie stores and the music industry. The drops (staged on Aug. 29, Sept. 26 and Oct. 24) combined to help generate 1.95 million in CD and vinyl album sales at indie stores in the U.S. — with 1.41 million of that in vinyl album sales, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data. Those sums represent a sizable 34% and 38%, respectively, of overall indie store CD and vinyl album sales, and vinyl album sales-only, from July 31 through Oct. 29. Traditionally, Record Store Day festivities occur on a Saturday in the spring across independent record stores. Record Store Day draws many customers into indie stores, hoping to purchase the many unique and limited-edition albums — most on vinyl — released exclusively to indie stores for the holiday. In turn, the halo effect of these sales drives up album sales in general.

Atlanta, GA | Giving Record Store Day a spin at Buckhead’s Fantasyland: “…We’ve been taking part in Record Store Day since 2010. It’s a lot of work, but people love it. It’s a cool, fun event, and a great promotion for indie record stores. They come up with some great limited edition releases each year. … Most people enjoy it and have a great time — even the standing in line! People enjoy meeting and making new friends with fellow vinyl lovers. As for our store, the April RSD is always our biggest sales day of the year, and the Black Friday event is always a good day…Yeah, this year’s April RSD was postponed due to COVID. They decided to stagger the releases on three separate Saturdays, at the end of August, September and October, to keep the crowds down a bit. We weren’t sure how it was going to work out, or even if anyone was going to show up for it. But we were blown away by the turnout for part one in August. Part two was equally successful, as was last Saturday’s [Oct. 24]! It’s worked out well. Everyone masked up and social-distanced. We do it all in-store. No online sales. First come, first served. No holds. One per person, per title. The usual RSD rules.

Jerusalem, IR | Sales flourish as shops open after two-month closure: Two teenage girls used their Sunday to get their ears pierced, hang out and buy NIS 350 worth of records at the Third Ear. “Lots of young people are buying vinyl records,” Ishay Berger told The Jerusalem Post as he was helping the young women. “If a few years ago Arctic Monkeys were hot, now Billie Eilish gives them a run for their money.” With 15 years’ worth of experience working at the record store, which is also a label, a DVD rental store and a performing space when health conditions permit, Berger said Sunday had been “a strong day.” “Kids always come here to look for the classics like Led Zeppelin and Pearl Jam,” he said. “Thanks to that, we can introduce them to other things as well.” Berger was placed on unpaid leave twice, but started his first day at work with an optimistic mood. “You can’t download how a record feels,” he said.

New Brunswick, NJ | A Day in the Life of Hub City’s Only Record Store: For Andrew Spina, his small business is just a continuation of a hobby that started when he was a kid. “I started collecting records pretty young, probably around twelve or thirteen, just saving up money, buying a record here and there off the boardwalk,” says Spina, inside his record store on Easton Avenue. “Then I got a little older,” Spina says, “And I found my parents’ old thing of records. And there wasn’t much in there; there was like a Beatles’ ‘Help’ and some John Denver records.” A customer places a record on the counter: “I’ll add this to the bunch.” “Yeah, take your time. And uh, you know, it went from there.” He’s answering New Brunswick Today’s questions against the heat of an early afternoon rush, having just opened his doors a few minutes ago, at 12pm sharp on this October Saturday. “Vinyl Record Shop” is hand-painted in black and gold lettering on the window front. Old 45’s are strung like Christmas ornaments behind the glass, dangling atop a few records and vintage items for sale. It’s the only record store currently in the Hub City, a place known for its local music scene.

Wilmington, NC | Wilmington has a bevy of record stores. What’s behind the vinyl appeal? Back in the late 1970s and early ’80s, Eddie Todd worked at the long-since closed Record Bar music store chain on Oleander Drive, where the PPG Paints store is now. Little did he know that some 35 years later he’d be working at The Record Bar again, albeit a much smaller version a few miles down Oleander toward Wrightsville Beach. Todd, a longtime Wilmington musician and former record store owner (the old Eddie’s Discs in Wallace), just started working at the new Record Bar, which is owned by Wilmington CPA and record collector Tony Stroud, about three weeks ago. Branding itself as “an old name with a new spin,” the cozy nook is a music head’s dream, with wooden bins packed with both old vinyl and new vinyl releases. And the Record Bar is far from the only shop in Wilmington peddling vinyl, a format that’s shown an upswing in popularity among hardcore music lovers in recent years. Pandemic or no, you’ll find plenty people browsing the stacks at the five Port City record shops below.

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In rotation: 11/9/20

UK | English record stores share plans for lockdown trading: Following the start of the UK’s national second lockdown, which came into force midnight last night (5th November), a number of record stores have outlined their plans to keep trading throughout the current closure of physical, non-essential shops. Record shops in London, like Soho’s Phonica Records and Rough Trade on Brick Lane, announced that they will not only offer online services, but also a socially distanced click and collect service direct from the flagship stores. Disc World, one of London’s more recent additions, will also open one day a week for collection. Elsewhere in the UK, Crash Records in Leeds will offer a shop and collect service, as will Piccadilly Records in Manchester, and Eastern Bloc. In September this year, online music marketplace Discogs reported a lift in sales, with physical orders through the website increasing by almost 27% compared with 2019. This reflects an ongoing trend, with UK vinyl sales hitting an all-time record high last year. Read our take on whether the resurgence of plastic records can fit with an environmentally conscious dance music scene.

Lockport, NY | Making the rounds at area record stores: Now’s the perfect time to focus on your vinyl collection. With major concert venues shuttered this summer, I had to find other ways to pass the time and nurture my love of music. I have been a collector of vinyl records for 40 years, and while many records have been lost, worn out or absconded by my kids, I still have a sizeable collection. This summer I made the rounds to my favorite record stores in the Niagara region, and even discovered a couple of new ones along the way. While it may be tempting to just go online and order an album, there is nothing quite like the experience of perusing through stacks of records to find a hidden gem from a band you saw in your youth. In recent weeks, I have purchased rare albums by Wilmer and the Dukes, Off Broadway USA and Cheater. I also bought newly released live albums from The Grateful Dead and The Allman Brothers on Record Store Day. If you are considering dusting off your record player and picking up some records, here are a few of my favorite record stores in the area in no particular order.

The Best Vintage Vinyl Stores (and Online Record Shops) in America: Pre-loved records, yours to claim. The word “used” is so passé. We prefer pre-loved when talking about vintage vinyl—it just feels more appropriate. Whatever generation-leaning jargon you’re using to describe vintage vinyl, one thing goes without saying: there is always more music to be discovered amid crates of records packed into the indie shops of America. And audiophiles scouring the best vintage websites and making pilgrimages to the most sought-after record stores never miss a chance to investigate a new vintage vinyl spot. So, for those looking to expand their record collection, these are the best vintage vinyl stores in the U.S.—you can even shop their offerings online.

Dundee, UK | Artist’s tribute to legendary Dundee record store Groucho’s to be auctioned for cancer charity: A tribute to Dundee’s famous record store Groucho’s is set to raise funds for a cancer charity when it is sold at fundraising auction. The piece by Alex Dewars, originally from Arbroath, shows the shop front at the Nethergate. The painting is part of this year’s Macmillan Art Show, which aims to raise thousands for the cancer charity. The exhibition is being displayed digitally in 2020 because of coronavirus. There was heartbreak in Dundee earlier this year when the legendary music shop officially closed after decades of trading in the city. Alex painted the store early last year and completed it just before hearing about the death of Groucho’s owner and founder Alastair ‘Breeks’ Brodie. Alex, who studied at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, was a regular visitor to the shop when he lived in Dundee from 1999 to 2003. He said: “I was in there at least weekly, sometimes daily. It was a great place.

Square Enix marks Final Fantasy III’s 30th anniversary with a vinyl release: On April 27th, 1990, Final Fantasy III hit the Nintendo Famicom across Japan. While it didn’t receive an official English release until well over a decade later via the Nintendo DS remake, it was a smash hit in its home region, and has had an impact on the franchise ever since. One of the ways the game has stuck around is through its music, because it contains more than a few iconic tunes that have cropped up since, especially in the MMO Final Fantasy XIV. Fittingly, Square Enix is using a handful of these tracks to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the game, bringing the Final Fantasy III -Four Souls- vinyl to North America and Europe later this month. Original tracks and some new arrangements are included, as well as download codes so you can listen to the tunes sans record player. Check out a few of the tracks in the teaser…

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In rotation: 11/5/20

UK | Rough Trade reveals trading plans during lockdown: Rough Trade has revealed its trading plan during the English lockdown, which takes effect from Thursday (November 5). Because they are considered non-essential, record shops are unable to open as normal under the Covid-19 restrictions in place in England until at least December 2. While that is likely to impact indie retail and HMV during the busy Q4 period, many record shops put in place measures during the previous lockdown that allow them to continue trading online. Record Store Day went ahead with three vinyl drops, including an option for online orders. Rough Trade has confirmed that all stores will be open for click & collect purchases from Monday to Saturday, 11am-6pm. In the UK, Rough Trade has two stores in London as well as shops in Bristol and Nottingham. As well as an online mail-order operation, Rough Trade can take phone orders during store hours for delivery or click & collect. It opened a dedicated e-commerce fulfillment centre in Bristol earlier this year.

UK | 15 record stores in the UK to visit in person or online this Christmas: Our round-up of the best shops to find vinyl gems around the UK, from Glasgow to Brighton. It’s been heartening to see people gather online in 2020 for Tim Burgess’ Twitter Listening Parties, sharing memories of the first time they heard a classic album, spinning a yarn about lost weekends spent following their favourite band on tour, or discovering something totally new. It’s a reminder that being a music lover is to be part of a passionate community. Record stores are central to that, and we’re blessed with some of the world’s best in this country. We’ve gathered a list of places that are open for business, whether you’re after presents for friends and family, or just fancy treating yourself to new sounds for your turntable. In the words of Mr Burgess, ‘they need us more than ever, and we definitely need them.’

Michigan City, IN | Tom Lounges’ Record Bin celebrates grand opening with free concerts: The Lauren Dukes Band and The Juniors will perform concerts this weekend at the grand opening of the new Tom Lounges Record Bin in Michigan City. Tom Lounges, the Northwest Indiana rock journalist, promoter and radio host who used to publish The Beat Magazine that covered the Region’s music scene, opened a record store in downtown Hobart in 2018 and then a second at 1601 Franklin St. in Michigan City. Lounges, a veteran of the iconic Hegewisch Records on the far South Side of Chicago and Woodmar Records in Hammond, is celebrating a grand opening of the Michigan City record store in the Old Dough Boys Restaurant that sells vinyl, tapes, CDs, coffee mugs, CBD, crystals, incense, lunch boxes, Star Plaza Theatre posters, T-shirts, turntables, posters and other music memorabilia. The store features a stage that will be used to host weekly open mic nights and periodic live performances. Lounges, a longtime radio DJ who hosts the Midwest Beat show and podcast on Lakeshore Public Radio, also will broadcast a radio show out of the store on WIMS in Michigan City, which broadcasts on 95.1 FM and AM 1420.

KW | Meet the female hip-hop DJ behind Vinyl Destination: Kuwait’s first pop-up record store: Grazia hangs with DJ, producer and record store founder Farah Bishara to discover more about her pioneering Kuwaiti concept. “Vinyl Destination was born from the love of the quintessential record store experience. Throughout the years I’ve travelled in pursuit of crate digging, and every record store I walked into had a very special vibe, from the record selections to the conversations I’d have with employees. I wanted Kuwait to have that experience and to bring together a community of music lovers. In 2018, Vinyl Destination had its first pop-up in a local coffee shop and then migrated around the city every few months. It’s been incredible! …At my first pop-up, there were so many curious cats that just wanted to see what was so special about vinyl. I had set up a turntable with headphones in the corner of the shop and people would go and listen to a record and understand the mechanism. Some people ended up buying records without owning a turntable! The vinyl community is blossoming every day and it’s so exciting to be a part of its growth.”

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In rotation: 11/4/20

Las Vegas, NV | Record City: Holiday shopping could make or break small businesses: It’s good to see customers back in Record City. The place has been open for 32 years but in 2020, that’s a tough one. The pandemic forced the doors here to close for more than two months. “That was mandated,” manager Joey McDonald said, “but we also wanted to do the right thing for community and society.” According to Yelp, close to 100,000 small businesses have closed their doors for good across the country. The Vegas Chamber doesn’t know what the number is here but does know the pandemic is historically hard on owners. “I know the number of businesses at risk in Southern Nevada and across the state,” said Mary Beth Sewald of the Vegas Chamber. “It’s worse than it’s ever been.” It might be no surprise that holiday shopping is that much more important now. 20% of a local store’s revenue comes during this time of year but with Americans fearing a virus and told to keep their distance; will online shopping do to a local record shop what streaming services new technologies threatened to do?

How is the Vinyl Record Industry Weathering COVID19? The vinyl record industry, and the wider music business, is a passionate industry led by devoted people. It’s a labor of love while at the same time providing a genuinely fulfilling livelihood to thousands across the globe. So what happens when an unexpected and unprecedented global crisis hits the industry you love? To learn more about the impact of COVID19 on the vinyl record industry, we spoke to a plethora of pros from across multiple disciplines. Depending on how much face-to-face contact is involved, the impact of COVID differs significantly. One person whose job very much depends on relationship building and in-person meetings is Graham Jones, a UK-based music distribution veteran, and the author behind Last Shop Standing and The Vinyl Revival. Graham’s entire career has centered around visiting physical record stores, so the impact on his daily work is far-reaching.

Dundalk, IE | Classified Records launch new website allowing you to shop their collection online: Local record store Classified Records have launched their new e-commerce website The new site will allow people to buy a wide range of music and accessories from The Demesne shop at any time. Owner Neil Waters said: “While the latest lockdown means we are not allowed open our doors and serve the public, we are able to operate online. “We’ve spent three months building a site that has a lot of extra/additional features, making shopping on our site akin to actually being in a record shop – the interaction, the back-stories on a record, the sharing of information about said record etc. “We’ve been working very hard here behind the scenes and we’re delighted to be able to have the new shop available online.” You can check out the new site now at

Croydon, UK | Croydon record store owner says lockdown 2 is ‘completely unnecessary.’ Others have warned of the ‘worry, strain and anxiety’ facing the town’s businesses. For the second time this year businesses across Croydon will close their doors as England enters a second lockdown. It means that all non-essential businesses including restaurants and bars will be closed from Thursday until at least December 2. Duncan Barnes who runs 101 Records in North End, thinks that the second lockdown is a bad idea and he is facing the possibility of closing the shop for good. He said: “[The lockdown] is totally unnecessary, we know more about this thing now, we know how to take care of ourselves and other people. “But we’ve got to do it so I am going to carry on doing my business online. “November has always been busy online before Christmas but the shop starts to pick up in November too, like everybody else the lockdown will have a bad impact.” Duncan said that he will soon be making a decision on whether to continue running the physical shop or just focus on the online business.

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In rotation: 11/3/20

UK | Record Store Day’s final drop of 2020 boosts vinyl market: Record Store Day may have been disrupted by the coronavirus in 2020, but it’s still managed to boost physical music sales. The third and final vinyl drop of 2020 for Record Store Day took place on October 24. Artists who supported the latest edition of RSD with exclusive new product included Alice Cooper, Daft Punk, Lewis Capaldi, Sports Team, Calexico and Neneh Cherry. According to Official Charts Company data, there were 124,636 vinyl album sales for the latest chart week (44) during which Record Store Day drop three took place. As well as registering a 41.2% week-on-week increase, vinyl album sales were up 27.4% year-on-year. The limited edition clear vinyl of Lewis Capaldi’s Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent helped the album continue its Top 10 run. While it’s unfair to compare the third vinyl drop of 2020 with the performance of a single edition of Record Store Day in 2019, vinyl album sales for the latest chart week were down just 15% compared to RSD in April 2019 (146,611 vinyl album sales).

Record Store Day’s Black Friday Will Bring LPs From Aimee Mann, U2, The Weeknd… and a CD and Cassette by Pop Smoke: On deck, post-turkey: releases from the Rolling Stones, Lewis Capaldi, Lil Wayne, Bill Evans, Alanis Morissette, My Chemical Romance and a hundred-plus more. Record stores will not be dark on Black Friday this year — at least not the thousand-plus in the U.S. that have been participating in Record Store Day release events this fall and will do so again the day after Thanksgiving. It will mark the fourth month in a row for a Record Store Day event, as August, September and October will have all seen “RSD Drops” days parceling out the more than 400 exclusive releases that had been scheduled to be released through the main annual event in April, before the pandemic forced a tri-part postponement. The lineup announced for Black Friday is slightly trimmed down from last year’s, which might be expected, given the effects of shutdowns on the music industry. A total of 133 titles have been announced, versus 182 that came out for Black Friday 2019. But fans of any genre are still likely to find plenty to feast on from the post-holiday table.

Sedalia, MI | Rob is Psyched to Check Out Sedalia’s New Record Store: You may or may not know this about me, but my preferred choice when it comes to listening to music is vinyl. Specifically LP’s. Albums. I think it’s the easiest way to experience a collection of an artist’s songs. For those of us who still have turntables or a record player at home, shopping for records in West Central Missouri just got a little easier now that Sedalia has another record store. Record shopping in Sedalia got easier this spring when Josey Records opened a franchised store in the Lamy Building. Yet, in my couple of visits I’ve found their selection to be just OK. A lot of what they have seems to be geared towards casual impulse buying from people visiting their other businesses for dinner or a cocktail. Don’t get me wrong I’ve bought 20 or so records there, but I’ve found it harder to find that record I didn’t know I needed there versus other record stores I’ve shopped. So I’m happy to see another record store open. Jammin’ Nuggets Music has opened on South Ohio Street. According to a Sedalia Democrat article that Jammin Nuggets shared on their Facebook page, the store is owned by Deana Taylor and James Harmon. The pair had been selling albums out of their garage until their inventory made that difficult and they decided opening a store was the logical next step.

Englewood, CO | Longtime book and record store owner remembered for thick black glasses, giving spirit.” “He was just very friendly and cool.” Through all the changes Arvada has experienced over the last 29 years, one of the city’s great constants has been the Black & Read Books, Music and Game store tucked into a strip mall on West Wadsworth Boulevard. “Black & Read is always changing (as it is) influenced by customers, staff, the world at large,” said employee Kari Bakken. “But it always remains the place you can find that for which you didn’t know you were looking.” While customers could never be sure what would await them among the store’s overstuffed shelves, Black & Read had its own constant: owner and founder Danny Graul, with his passion for film and mercurial outlook presented through his gravely voice and trademark thick black glasses. But Graul, who died on Oct. 23 at age 70, will likely be best remembered by the many who knew him for his warm and welcoming way and love of people. “He loved talking to different people from all walks of life,” said Michael Baca, who became close with Graul while working with him at Black & Read for the last 20 years. “No matter where you were from, no matter what color you were or anything like that he was just very friendly and cool.”

London, UK | Orbital Comics to Revive Zippo Records in London’s West End: Well, that was a fun surprise reading the latest Popbitch mailing out. And advertisement that was rather close to home. “Soho Music are pleased to announce the opening of a new record store in Soho @ Orbital Space, the legendary comics shop in Seven Dials on Saturday 31st October. This Dad and Lad team have also recently opened Zippo Records in Stoke Newington @ Bolt Motorcycles (N16 0AH). Follow @sohomusiccompany or @zipporecords on Instagram and show in either store to get £2 off your first purchase.” Orbital Comics, now going by the name Orbital Space, has had quite the year. Leaving Diamond Comic Distributors, seeing ructions amongst staff over a relaunch, introducing a pop-up shop courtesy of online store Comic Toolbox to address the weekly Wednesday Warriors, staying in shutdown longer than other stores, coming out of it with a world-class barista, galleries of counter-culture comics original artwork, a David Bowie comic art print store, and now gaining a record shop section as well, from the hippest vinyl slingers in town.

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In rotation: 11/2/20

St Albans, UK | Shop Local: From comics and vinyl to Lego and action figures, how city’s independent stores are catering for a variety of hobbies. St Albans is fortunate enough to boast some excellent hobby shops stocking everything from action figures and rare Lego sets to comics and vinyl records. But their trading performances has also been impacted by the pandemic, and are relying on a successful Christmas to survive. The owner of the city’s only record store and comics shop fears losing everything in the wake of a second lockdown. Marina Desclavis, who runs Empire Records and Chaos City Comics in Heritage Close, said this year definitely feels like make it or break it for her businesses. “Christmas is the busiest time of the year for retailers, and another lockdown could potentially end us. “I’m scared that after working very hard for the last five years, I could lose everything. 2020 has been a huge challenge, and I‘m worried about my staff, as they all have families to support. It could be very difficult if not catastrophic for them to lose their jobs.”

Godfrey, IL | Pandemic shortens local entrepreneur’s timeline: Riverbend Records opens in Godfrey. Walking into Riverbend Records is like walking into a music lover’s dream. Row upon row of vinyl albums fill the clean, spacious, well-lit shopping area as the pleasing vibration of background music resonates throughout the store. Well-organized selections of vinyl music albums, CDs and cassettes are everywhere. A pinball machine, free Wi-Fi and a comfortable lounge area allow patrons of any age to relax and enjoy the atmosphere. Local resident Billy Hurst and his wife, Tara, own and operate the record store. The business held its grand opening on Oct. 24. Hurst has pursued creative interests his entire life. He has operated a photography business called Front Row Photography for years and shoots photos for major concert events as well as school and professional sports teams. He has been interested in music as long as he can remember and actually worked in Nashville as a singer and songwriter for a period of time. He continues to write and perform music locally today.

Lubbock, TX | Ralph Records’ Vinyl Flip Friday is your weekly moment of zen: This may seem ridiculous, but I religiously watch Vinyl Flip Friday every Friday on Ralph’s Records Facebook and Instagram pages. Whether it’s Bauhaus or The Beatles, Pantera or Public Enemy, I take this 5-ish minute ritual seriously. Of course, part of the appeal is seeing what new vinyl Ralph’s has in stock, but it’s way more than that. It’s almost a meditation to take the 3 to 4 minutes to just attentively focus on the records. Album art is such a beautiful and sentimental medium for me, and I make a mental game out of guessing what could be next. (Hint: it’s in approximate alphabetical order.) It’s also fun to see what my fellow Lubbockites are interested in. If the same record makes an appearance for multiple weeks, then you know it’s popular, like Mac Miller or Queen. You can also catch new releases, like this week’s Mr. Bungle The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny Demo, which is a fascinating release, to say the least. It’s a re-recording/ re-imagining of Mr. Bungle’s first album, but this time with Scott Ian and Dave Lombardo along for the ride.

Bozeman, MT | An Interview With Record Store Day’s Michael Kurtz: “…There would be no Record Store Day if artists like Jack White, Metallica, Wilco, Iggy Pop, Pearl Jam, the Foo Fighters, David Bowie, Paul McCartney, Brandi Carlile, and Ozzy Osbourne didn’t get behind us. They really gave us wings by doing special events and making the records. Many of these artists have strong ties to record stores. The Beatles original manager Brian Epstein was a record store owner. Iggy Pop and Jeff Tweedy both worked in record stores while they honed their skills. The connection with artists and record stores is very real. It’s been gratifying to relaunch the vinyl format and be able to funnel back millions of dollars collectively to these artists. When I met David Crosby a few years back, he was effusive in his praise for what we were doing and how much it was needed to support artists. ‘If I Could Only Remember My Name’ is one of my all-time favorite albums, so that felt great“.

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In rotation: 10/30/20

Toronto, CA | Sunrise music store entrepreneur raises tea shops from the dead: Doug Putman is reopening shuttered David’s Tea locations under T. Kettle brand. It was about eight weeks ago – seven months into the COVID-19 pandemic – that Doug Putman decided to resurrect the tea business. Specifically, the Canadian entrepreneur who resurrected Sunrise Records and Tapes, the Canadian and U.K. branches HMV, and the U.S.-based FYE (For Your Entertainment) had his eye on David’s Tea, the ubiquitous high-end tea shop that had more than 400 locations across the country. Like Sunrise, HMV and FYE, David’s Tea declared bankruptcy in the summer, shuttering 166 locations in Canada and 42 in the U.S., while maintaining its online business. On Oct. 28, Putman announced that Sunrise had taken over the leases of those shops and will be re-opening under the name T. Kettle in November.

Madison, WI | Strictly Discs in Wisconsin, in a Pandemic: ‘Right Now It Doesn’t Really Feel’ Like Things Will Turn Around: With cases in Wisconsin continuing to surge, Governor Tony Evers put a 25% capacity restriction in place for retail — until a state judge blocked it. In October 1988, Angie Roloff and her husband Ron opened Strictly Discs in Madison, Wisconsin, after Ron left a career in the biomedical research field to pursue his love of music full time. Nearly 31 years later, the couple made the difficult decision to shutter in-store operations due to COVID-19, roughly a week before Governor Tony Evers forced a mandatory shutdown of all non-essential businesses. Now that the Wisconsin Supreme Court has overturned Evers’ stay-at-home order — ruling it “unlawful” and “unenforceable” — the Roloffs and their employees have reopened the store. As part of Billboard’s efforts to best cover the coronavirus pandemic and its impacts on the music industry, we will be speaking with Roloff regularly to chronicle her experience throughout the crisis.

Light in the Attic Announces Nancy Sinatra Reissue Campaign: The archival label is kicking off the year-long tribute with a deluxe compilation of Sinatra’s work from 1965-1976. Archival record label Light in the Attic has announced a year-long reissue campaign to honor Nancy Sinatra, who recently turned 80. The campaign will include reissues of studio albums and archival releasees on vinyl, CD, and digital formats. Today, Light in the Attic has announced Nancy Sinatra: Start Walkin’ 1965-1976, a definitive compilation of Sinatra’s solo work as well as her iconic recordings with Lee Hazelwood. It will also include interviews, liner notes (penned by The New Yorker writer and Pitchfork contributor Amanda Petrusich), and more. The compilation is available on all formats February 5. Listen to the first single from the collection, Sinatra’s 1976 cover of “(L’été Indien) Indian Summer,” below. The songs on Start Walkin’ have been remastered from the original analog tapes by engineer John Baldwin. In addition to Petrusich’s liner notes, the vinyl edition includes new interviews with Sinatra, a 24-page booklet, and more. Colored vinyl options are available in addition to standard black.

Three Landmark Frankie Goes To Hollywood Albums Set For Reissue: ‘Welcome To The Pleasuredome’, ‘Liverpool’ and greatest hits collection, ‘Bang!’ are set to return on both CD and vinyl. Three landmark albums by 1980s pop superstars Frankie Goes To Hollywood are set for reissue on both vinyl and CD. Welcome To The Pleasuredome, Liverpool and Bang!…The Greatest Hits will be available through UMC on December 11, except for the US where all three will be available on January 22, 2021. Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s legendary debut album, Welcome To The Pleasuredome was first released by ZTT and Island Records on 29 October 1984. Originally issued as a vinyl double album, it was assured of a UK chart entry at number one due to reported advance sales of over one million. Featuring the band’s signature hits, “Relax”, “Two Tribes” and “The Power Of Love”, the album was also a top ten seller internationally in countries such as Switzerland, Sweden, and New Zealand. Produced by Trevor Horn, it was widely-regarded as a ground-breaking release and helped define pop music production in the eighties.

Verlaines to release on vinyl: Dunedin music veterans The Verlaines will release their first new music on vinyl in nearly three decades this weekend — a limited edition pressing of 10th album Dunedin Spleen. Presented for Record Store Day 2020, October 24, the release is a double album on coloured vinyl, presented in a gatefold sleeve. The genesis of Dunedin Spleen dates back to shortly after The Verlaines’ ninth album, Untimely Meditations, in February 2012, during a prolific songwriting period for band founder Graeme Downes. By the end of 2013, Downes had completed enough material for two albums, setting lyrics to music using notation-playback software. At Easter, 2014, after laying down basic tracks, the band was confident they had enough material for a double album — more than 20 songs making 90-plus minutes of music. It was about this time, Downes and the late Roy Colbert discussed the idea to hold a concert of classic Dunedin songs fleshed out for a full orchestra, and the Tally Ho! concert series was born.

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In rotation: 10/29/20

Why you need to visit a vinyl store: …When walking down the street of your favorite city, you typically come across a beautiful rustic store that catches your eye. When you see it you notice that it is a super nice vinyl store that has all different types of music that will give you the organic sense of music you have been looking for. When walking around a vinyl record store you are immediately strock with the sensation that you are walking around in a music history wormhole. Nothing beats walking around a vinyl record store and hand picking the music that you have loved since you can remember as a young kid. Vinyl will immediately take you back into history and show you that a vinyl record player that was played way back in the 80s sounds like and how it still sounds the exact same as it did back 40 years ago. Yes, the vinyl record player might have gotten a lot more older but when it comes to how it sounds and flows throughout the air vinyl defies history itself.

Burlington, VT | Checking in with Burlington Records: In the past few weeks, I’ve been checking in with local record store proprietors to find out how the pandemic has been treating them. I was also particularly curious about what kinds of records have been moving, as a nod to Seven Days’ formerly weekly and long-retired inclusion of record store sales in this section. Even before I started doing this series, I’d asked record store owners in past conversations about their best sellers. I always presumed, somewhat facetiously, that they sold a lot of copies of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours. Burlington Records’ Ian Doerner recently confirmed that, indeed, the classic 1977 album is his best-selling disc. “It’s annoying to say that, because if you asked a record store clerk that in 1981 and 1991 and 2001, it’s always gonna be the same goddamn answer,” Doerner said, noting that he sells, on average, one Rumours per day. “It’s just never ending.”

Vinyl records: they just mean more: There’s only a few things I like more than listening to live music. It’s one of those things you just have to see in person to keep your spirit fresh and renewed. It is an art piece unfolding before your eyes and ears that can be so many things, but at its core revolves around usually the same thing: a drum beat and a guitar. It is different for everyone, but it’s never left me going, “Eh, whatever.” Live bands, especially ones playing big venues, are curating their shows every night to be an experience that is best when consumed in full. There is a reason for the beginning, middle and end of a show, and how they order their songs. There are stories being told, emotions being brought to the forefront, skills being demonstrated, all for the sole purpose of creating an experience for the listener that brings an infusion of life.

Denver, CO | Angelo’s CD’s & More: Denver’s businesses respond with a sigh to new COVID-19 rules: Some will lose revenue. Others have been ready for this since the summer. …Despite visiting a dozen retail shops, we couldn’t get comment from most people working at them. For the most part, owners and managers weren’t in, leaving employees to say they couldn’t speak on the record. But we did find the general manager of Angelo’s CD’s & More on South Broadway in Overland. Sean Batz rolled his eyes at the new rules. “I stopped listening to the mayor in March,” he said. “I felt we have been on our own as a business.” When his shop reopened in May, just after Denver’s stay-at-home orders lifted, he decided he’d only allow ten customers in at a time. He’s not exactly sure what his maximum capacity is, but he’s confident he’s been operating below 25 percent for months. He even lowered his maximum allowance to just five customers for Record Store Day last weekend. His staff monitored a line snaking down the sidewalk outside as customers took their turns. He said he wanted to be sure everyone was safe, regardless of what it meant for business.

Record Store Recs: Sergio Acosta Of Zoé Shares Vinyl Gems From Austin & London: Their most recent album, 2018’s ‘Aztlán,’ earned the rock en Español heavyweights their first GRAMMY win, and the follow-up is on the way. …Nowadays, record shops are a fragile entity. Waterloo Records in Austin, Texas, no doubt is my favorite shop. It’s the perfect shop for me because it has a tight, wide and masterfully curated selection in a fairly small space. Curatorship is great at Waterloo. I can almost always find what I have in mind at Waterloo. Amoeba Hollywood, on the contrary, was almost as big as a Walmart, but packed with great music of all sorts of genres. Very well organized, and vast. High ceilings. Last I heard, it is moving out of its iconic temple that was a unique, massive place for music lovers for many, many years. I’m happy to know that it’s changing to a smaller location as the next step. And who can argue with Rough Trade Records in London? It is as fancy as London can be. They are always proposing new music, and curatorship is also impeccable. It is still a very special place.

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