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

In rotation: 4/16/21

Denton, TX | Denton businesses find new life after pandemic closures: Mad World Records. …Mad World Records, which operated a storefront on the Denton Square for nine years, closed its doors in June and moved its inventory to an online store that has been operating since, owner Mark Burke said. One factor in Burke’s decision to close the store was that his family was impacted personally by the pandemic early on. Burke’s brother — a former employee at the record store who now lives in New York City — contracted a particularly bad case of COVID-19 through his work with people who have special needs. Now, about a year after getting sick, he still suffers from complications, including fevers and lung trouble, though Mark Burke said his brother was healthy and athletic before contracting the virus. “We had no desire to be any kind of source where people are going to go in and touch everything and breathe on everything and be in this enclosed space,” Burke said. “We were always so busy with so many people, even if they weren’t buying stuff. There are so many people on the Square all the time that it was just a germ trap, and my wife and I both decided there’s no way we’re going to put money over lives.”

New York, NY | New record store brings hard wax to Industry City: A new record store in Industry City promises to be a haven for crate-digging Brooklynites. HiFi Provisions, a passion project from collector Matthew Coluccio, opens its doors in Industry City to wax-spinners this week — making the owner’s hobby official, after ten years of obsessive collecting. “It was kind of a hobby gone awry,” said Coluccio. “Records are kind of like cockroaches, more and more of them just keep showing up.” Throughout his years of collecting, Coluccio often sold records and stereo equipment at the yearly Carroll Park flea market in Carroll Gardens, but never had plans to open up a brick-and-mortar store. Yet, after a conversation at a birthday party with an Industry City executive, he decided to turn his side project into a full-blown business. Now, he’s set up a space in the sprawling waterfront complex and filled with records and other collectibles, including objects like a vintage fly-fishing rod and piles of old stereo equipment. The collector says he envisions the shop filling to the brim with records and other items, creating a space where collectors can dig for hours in hopes of finding a hidden gem.

San Diego, CA | San Diego’s vinyl records surge, but why? A talk with owners of Re-animated, Folk Arts, Lou’s, Beat Box. Nicholas Friesen is a 38-year-old native San Diegan – he grew up in Southeast – who has been working in used record stores all his life. “I’ve got this 10,000-hour thing going for me,” he says. “I started working at Music Trader in downtown when I was a senior in high school, and I’ve been loving it ever since. It’s about the only thing I’m good at.” For years, the CD was the lifeblood of San Diego’s independent record stores, but as digital downloading and then streaming caught on, CD sales shrank, as did the number of local record stores. But then, about a decade ago, a funny thing happened. The 12-inch vinyl LP, snuffed out by the CD back in the middle 1980s, began a dramatic comeback. It was spurred by nostalgic Boomers who started collecting the albums they had discarded decades earlier, and by a new generation of music lovers who saw the vinyl LP as something cool. “The first time I heard a record on a turntable, at a friend’s house, I was hooked,” says Jacob Lange, a 19-year-old Carlsbad local who received his first record player this past Christmas as a gift.

Los Angeles, CA | There’s a new ‘rare vinyl” record shop opening in Los Angeles: The shop in downtown LA is run by the promoters behind the city’s Dialogue and Midnight Lovers events. A new record shop is opening in downtown Los Angeles, run by Rolando Alvarez and Eddie Vela, the duo behind the city’s Dialogue and Midnight Lovers parties. The pair launch Chapter One Records — a store they say specialises in “rare vinyl” — alongside their new vinyl-only record label, Dialogue Records. Artists connected to Dialogue and Midnight Lovers will play a part in curating the wax on sale at Chapter One Records, with SONN’s of Making Shapes, the west coast’s TK Disco, Dublab’s esteemed vinyl purist Daddy Differently, and Club Tularosa all involved. Resident labels include Stones Throw, Visionquest, and Let’s Play House. According to the press release announcing the news, “Chapter One aims to fuel what its founders see as a cultural renaissance aimed to revitalize Los Angeles’ nightlife in the wake of shutdowns. “This new creative hub will also offer their community a range of in-store gatherings and services including release listening parties, live stream production, and media creation.”

Sioux City, IA | Morningside College’s student-run radio station hosting all-day vinylthon: On a Friday afternoon, station manager Matthew O’Connell thumbed his way through a batch of vinyl records that may soon find their way onto the playlist of KMSC 92.9 F.M., Morningside College’s campus radio station. So, what will Mustang music aficionados be listening to? Perhaps, the soundtrack from “The Sound of Music,” a Christmas album courtesy of Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass and, even, the mellow melodies of Mr. Perry Como. Wait, what!?! That doesn’t sound like very college-radio-y. According to O’Connell, this is a misconception many people have about radio stations run by students. “As KMSC’s station manager, it is my job to play a wide variety of music,” the Morningside mass communications senior explained, while pulling albums featuring Aretha Franklin, John Denver and Chet Atkins. And for a large portion of the day on Saturday, all of KMSC’s music won’t be alternative fare coming from CDs or off MP3s. Instead, they’ll be quirkier stuff, all on vinyl.

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In rotation: 4/15/21

UK | The Official Top 40 best-selling vinyl releases of 2021 so far: Records from Lana Del Rey, Bicep and Arlo Parks are among the most popular on vinyl so far in 2021. The UK’s biggest vinyl album of 2021 so far is Lana Del Rey’s Chemtrails Over The Country Club, can reveal. Released last month, the record has sold over 17,300 copies on wax to top the UK’s Official year-to-date vinyl albums chart. 16,700 of those were bought in its first week, earning Lana the title of having the fastest-selling vinyl album of the century for a female act. Sales of vinyl records continue to climb in the UK, with nearly 5 million vinyl albums purchased last year, up 11.5% on the previous 12 months. The upward trend looks set to continue this year, with many fans supporting their favourite acts by purchasing vinyl in the absence of gigs and touring as the UK slowly eases out of lockdown. The second best-seller on vinyl is Foo Fighters’ chart-topping Medicine At Midnight, the UK’s overall biggest album of 2021 released this year, while Isles by electronic duo Bicep rounds out the Top 3. British singer-songwriter Celeste lands at Number 4 with her debut album Not Your Muse, which recently had an expanded edition on vinyl, while another debut album, Collapsed In Sunbeams by Arlo Parks, completes the Top 5.

London, UK | Gothport shop reopening “feels like Christmas” for vinyl record shop owners: It seems that optimism has arrived on Gosport High Street following the reopening of non-essential retail stores. Shoppers were seen perusing High Street all day long, and entrepreneurs wanted small businesses to spend the day in the sun without so many large retailers. One of those business owners is Keelon Howes, who runs the Slice of Vinyl Record Shop on South Street. Angela Albray, 59, from Blockhurst, made her first haircut since the launch of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020. “I wouldn’t mind if no one appeared, but fortunately there are really loyal customers who are very supportive of our work.” Kieron wants the people of Gosport to shop locally and help independent retailers during these times of distress. “Currently, especially in Gosport, there seems to be a lot of love for independent shops,” he said. “This year, we have a lot of space for major brands to jump in, so I think we can often see the revival of independents here.

John Prine is gone but the music is still going strong at his record label: It took a decade – the entirety of the 1970s, to be exact – for John Prine to discover he wasn’t cut out for the majors. After releasing eight albums that showcased his plain-speaking and often wryly human brand of songcraft for two major record labels (Atlantic and Asylum), Prine set out to be his own boss. Along with manager Al Bunetta, he formed a label. It wasn’t a subsidiary venture of a major or a home industry that catered exclusively to his own work, but a company that viewed music-making as more than a hit driven, commercially motivated enterprise. It was a mission only an artist who had been around the block with the major labels could implement. Prine was the artist and, with the 1981 release of a red vinyl holiday single that had him singing “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” on one side and “Silver Bells” on the other, Oh Boy Records became the label. This year, Oh Boy and Prine’s lasting vision of what a record company should be, turn 40 years old.

A Pressing Issue: How ‘the vinyl revival’ has caught out the music industry during the pandemic: Release dates going back and back. Box sets getting postponed by a year. Physical albums arriving months after their digital release. Rumours of pressing plant meltdowns… COVID-19 was bound to have an effect on the release of albums. But the pandemic has brought home a crisis in the music industry, and that is, quite simply, the fact that there aren’t enough pressing plants to cope with the demand for vinyl. On the surface, the figures for the so-called vinyl revival are healthy: even with the high street shut for most of the year, vinyl sales in the UK rose by nearly 10 percent to 4.8 million in 2020. It’s the 13th consecutive year that vinyl sales have risen. Sales of turntables grew too, as music fans who had previously resisted the headlines about ‘The Vinyl Revival’ finally succumbed and began rediscovering love for the black stuff. Despite the rise in popularity, there has been no serious initiative, since vinyl sales picked up, to increase vinyl production. No new pressing plants of any significant size built in the past decade, coupled with an ever-increasing rise in sales, means a crisis point has been reached.

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In rotation: 4/14/21

Bozeman, MT | Best Record Shops in Montana: Music will never go away, it helps people get excited, pumped up or soothe their soul and the best part there are several different ways to listen to music but the best way is definitely by vinyl. The thing is, finding a great vinyl record store is hard to come by in Montana but great news, the few record stores we have in Montana are fantastic and can get you whatever you need. Here are our Top Six Record Stores in Montana. Cactus Records and Gifts: A icon of downtown Bozeman, Cactus Records has something for every music lover. You want to look through all their new vinyl, you got it! You want to check out their quality used vinyl, they got it too! Cactus Records is a place you could spend a lot of time and a lot of money. Cameron Records: Cameron Records in Billings might not be as popular as some of these other spots but they have a great selection of good vinyl…

UK | Bouncing back? UK businesses’ views mixed as Covid lockdown eases: Banquet Records. …Banquet Records, an independent record shop, sometimes boasts queues of music lovers round the block. But even before the first lockdown, the owners chose to shut its doors. They have not opened since. Jon Tolley, the shop’s co-founder, said they want to wait until all social contact resumes. “Record shops will always be about the charm and the cult of browsing in person. We are not an Argos. We need to be fully immersed in the tactile experience, or not bother doing it at all.” The store’s resilience stems from running a varied business: putting on gigs, selling vinyl over the counter and online, and owning its own record label. Government high street grants and the furlough scheme helped it through during the initial slump. Banquet quickly adapted to online-only sales, which are now double the pre-pandemic levels, and organised virtual gigs. “People have nothing to do apart from sit at home and listen to records,” Tolley said. “The biggest challenge is just not knowing where we are going to be.”

UK | Record shops reopen their doors after lockdown: “We’re back!” Record shops celebrate as they reopen their doors after months of lockdown. After multiple lockdowns over the past year, today (April 12) sees UK record shops along with other non-essential retailers finally reopen their doors to the public. Many record shops have faced an uncertain future over the past 12 months, with many adapting their trading models to survive, offering online ordering and home delivery for the first time. The move has helped keep physical music sales strong in 2021, with all but one of the 15 Number 1s on the Official Albums Chart this year being powered to the top spot by a majority of physical sales. Last week, physical sales accounted for 16.3% of the albums market, according to Official Charts Company data. All of HMV’s 93 shops across England and Wales and most independent record stores are back open for buyers to snap up the latest release or crate dig for hidden gems – though social distancing and other safety measures continue to be in place.

UK | HMV welcomes back ‘regulars’ as stores reopen after lockdown: Store manager Terry Boyle said it had been a ‘tough, challenging time.’ Shoppers have been hunting out hidden nuggets at HMV stores as the retailer welcomed back “all the usual faces” following the easing of lockdown restrictions. The entertainment giant reopened all 93 stores across England and Wales and was expecting to see in-store shopping return to pre-lockdown levels amid strong demand for vinyls and original CDs. One customer took the week off work to make the most of the easing of restrictions, and was looking to add to his vinyl collection at HMV in Manchester’s Arndale Centre on Monday morning. Ben Milner, from Lancashire said: “I just love music, I have got my record collection at home but it’s just not the same going on the internet and ordering stuff, it’s been another thing that I have missed so coming in and having a look around the records and stuff and seeing what I can find, why not.” Store manager Terry Boyle said it had been a “tough, challenging time”, but added: “It has been great this morning to see our regular customer base and all the usual faces back in the store.”

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In rotation: 4/13/21

UK | Record stores celebrate reopening as UK lockdown restrictions ease: “Come for an unvirtual browse and an undigital chat!” Record stores across the UK have reopened for in-person trading this morning (April 12) as a number of coronavirus-enforced restrictions have been lifted. Non-essential businesses in England can reopen today as part of the third phase of easing lockdown restrictions, which came into force on January 6. In addition, Northern Ireland’s “stay-at-home” order has ended, while further measures have been relaxed in Scotland and Wales. A number of record shops across England and the UK have resumed in-person trading today, with the likes of Leeds’ Crash Records, Manchester’s Piccadilly Records and London’s Sister Ray Records all celebrating the significant development on social media. Tim Burgess’ ‘Twitter Listening Parties’ website has an interactive list of independent record stores in the UK which you can check out here.

Nottingham, UK | Nottingham city centre store owners ‘overwhelmed’ by huge numbers as shops reopen: “We were not expecting to see it this busy.” Nottingham’s independent stores were busy today with shoppers returning to the city centre’s high streets. Queues were seen outside Zara, Primark, H&M and New Look by Nottinghamshire Live reporters this morning (April 12). Many of those shoppers chose to frequent the city’s independent stores to support their favourite Nottingham brands. Business owners said they were overwhelmed by the turnout, and did not expect to see so many customers entering their stores on a Monday. They said they were preparing for the upcoming weekend, but were taken by surprise on the first day non-essential shops officially reopened. Popular Lace Market book and record store Rough Trade is one place that has finally opened its doors after a long wait. Shop supervisor Sophie Diver, 30, said: “It’s nice to be back – people are so excited to come into the store and have a browse. “We were relying on artists to keep releasing music during the pandemic and we had a few ordering online.

Cornwall, UK | Shops, pubs, restaurants, gyms and more reopen across Cornwall: Pubs, shops, hairdressers, gyms and non-essential shops are reopening in Cornwall as lockdown measures are eased in England today, Monday, April 12 Outdoor attractions and public buildings now reopen, funerals can continue with up to 30 attendees and weddings can have up to 15 attendees. Most hospitality and leisure venues have been closed since the country was plunged into a third national lockdown on January 6, and business owners and staff are thrilled to get back to work, while customers are chomping at the bit to get back to the pub or get a haircut. Among the most popular businesses opening today are expected to be hairdressers and barbers with everyone desperate for a haircut! Among those reopening will be the Chapel Street Boutique in Chapel Street, Camborne, a Cornish family run business stocking many exciting brands in Camborne. They told the Packet: “We have many years experience in the fashion and accessory retail business and look forward to welcoming everyone.”

UK | ERA’s Kim Bayley on the return of music retail: Despite multiple lockdowns, record shops have kept physical music alive during the pandemic as they switched to new trading models, including collection and online orders. April 12 is the key date in the calendar for the return of non-essential retail, though social distancing and other safety measures continue to be in place. It means indie retailers and HMV can open their doors once again, although the prospect on an in-store gig is still some way off based on government guidelines. Record Store Day is set to return for its first drop on June 12. It follows a continuing vinyl boom and speculation that the format has been more widely adopted during the pandemic as fans were unable to spend money on gigs. Here, Kim Bayley, CEO of ERA, looks at how the return of retail could deliver another boost to music sales

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In rotation: 4/12/21

Miles Davis, The Clash among 2021 Record Store Day releases: The full list of RSD releases is out, here’s the highlights… The full list of Record Store Day 2021 releases has been announced – and it’s packed with rare and exclusive vinyl featuring The Clash, Miles Davis, Elton John, Amy Winehouse and Prince, to name but a few. Taking place over two days – Saturday 12th June and Saturday 17th July – RSD 2021 will offer music fans the chance to get their hands on no fewer than 538 limited edition releases (mainly vinyl but also some CDs and cassettes). Among the artists set for special releases on 12th June are Wolf Alice (limited edition of their forthcoming album Blue Weekend), Fatboy Slim (20th Anniversary edition of Weapon of Choice), Prince (little-known acoustic album The Truth) and The Rolling Stones (two LP coloured vinyl edition of the 1971 album Hot Rocks). There’s also a collection of remixes of Amy Winehouse tracks, including Jay-Z’s take on Rehab, and Elton John’s 1967 album Regimental Sgt Zippo, which was originally slated to be Reg’s debut album. Six of the songs were released last year but this is the first time the complete album has been made available.

Brooklyn, NY | Park Slope Record Store Changes Owners, Bets On Vinyl: In an era where any song is just a few taps away on your preferred streaming app, independent record stores feel like a relic. So when Jason Figel decided to retire after running Music Matters in Park Slope for 22 years, he was prepared to simply shutter the neighborhood mainstay. Then Chris Lentz walked in and changed the tune. In an era where any song is just a few taps away on your preferred streaming app, independent record stores feel like a relic. So when Jason Figel decided to retire after running Music Matters in Park Slope for 22 years, he was prepared to simply shutter the neighborhood mainstay. Then Chris Lentz walked in and changed the tune. Lentz, 45, was a regular customer who was looking for a new project. Originally from Hicksville, Long Island—Billy Joel’s hometown—Lentz moved with his family but returned to New York to attend Columbia University, studying art history. A career in art installation for the fashion industry was abandoned when he became a stay-at-home dad eight years ago. After a brief stint in Los Angeles for his wife’s job in advertising, the family moved back to New York in 2015. “New York always seemed like home,” Lentz said in an interview with Bklyner, shortly after taking over Music Matters on April 1st. “Like a boomerang, I’ve always come back here.”

Middlesbrough, UK | A new vinyl pressing plant in Middlesbrough is aiming to create 30 new jobs: “Not many towns or cities across the world have access to their own local vinyl pressing plant, so it’s a real win for the area.” Start-up company Press On Vinyl Production will open their plant at Middlesbrough’s new Tees Advanced Manufacturing Park (TeesAMP). The company’s website is currently hosting a countdown to what appears to be the official launch of the business in 49 days’ time (May 28). The opening of this new vinyl record manufacturing plant is being spearheaded by Press On Vinyl Production’s Teesside-based founding directors Danny Lowe, David Todd and David Hyne. All three have been part of the local music scene for the past 20 years, according to a press release from TeesAMP. It’s hoped that 100,000 records will be produced each month at the plant, with priority being given to smaller independent music labels. The Press On Vinyl Production team currently has a workforce of 10 employees, which is expected to expand to 30 by the end of the year.

Stamford, UK | Rutland business in lockdown – Oakham music agency’s café launch and boom year for Uppingham web business: Diversification has helped many businesses out of a dire scenario the pandemic had thrust them into. For Dave Graham, director of Rutland music agency, DG Music, lockdown persuaded him to add another revenue stream. With festivals and gigs, the lifeblood of his business, cancelled or postponed almost overnight, he brought forward plans to open the Piano Café, in South Street, Oakham. “Everything went south immediately,” he said. “Hundreds, if not thousands of events have been moved numerous times, from summer to autumn, into 2021 and then into 2022. “We wanted to help people so we have done that for free, but obviously we are not getting paid.” Having opened a base in South Street in 2015, he decided to merge his existing record store with his café idea. “I’d never intended to open it here because it’s a fairly small shop, but we rebranded the shop as a café and increased our vinyl stock…”

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In rotation: 4/9/21

Flipping Alone: An Oral History of Record Stores During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Owners of several of the coolest record stores on the planet explain how they’ve adapted during a global health crisis. …Faced with those headwinds, plus a once-a-century pandemic, many shops simply folded. The list of post-COVID record store casualties includes brick-and-mortar mainstays like Seattle’s Bop Street Records and Everyday Music, Record Alley in Palm Springs, and New York’s Record Mart, the shop in the Times Square subway station that was, until its closure in June, the oldest continually operating record store in Manhattan. For the rest of America’s record stores, time moves in fits and starts, with signs of hopeful normalcy mixed with the uncertainty of a March that, in many ways, never ended. This month, I stopped worrying and started talking, as I reached out to shop owners around the country to find out how they (and their stores) coped with this unprecedented year.

Here’s the full list of Record Store Day 2021 releases: What’s on your shopping list? Amy Winehouse, Wolf Alice, Rage Against The Machine, St. Vincent, Elastica, Lady Gaga, The Cure, Rolling Stones and AC/DC are among the artists with special releases due for this year’s Record Store Day. Check out the full list of releases below. Following on from last year’s triple event spread out due to coronavirus concerns, RSD will return for two dates this summer and see hundreds of vinyl, CD and cassette releases sold exclusively through independent record shops – with over 250 stores from every corner of the UK and thousands around the world taking part in the celebrations. Following yesterday’s announcement of special War Child charity releases from the likes of The Clash and The Cranberries, now the full list has been revealed of limited releases coming on the two ‘drop’ dates on Saturday June 12 and Saturday July 17. “We cannot wait for RSD this year! After the rollercoaster of a year everyone has had, it’s so refreshing to be able to look forward to such a successful and fun event,” said Louise Jackson from Wax & Beans Records.

Tampa Bay, FL | Vinyl Record Sales Spike During Pandemic: Micheal Stutz knows and loves music. And as a DJ he loves sharing music with others. “I love it. It’s almost like music performance, which is something I miss too now,” Stutz said. The last time he DJ’d for a large crowd was in February of 2020, but the coronavirus pandemic has not kept him away from his vinyl records or the turntable. Just 6 months ago, he and his wife, Marie, opened The Current Year, a record shop in Parma. “There’s about, I don’t know, maybe a half a dozen record stores in Cuyahoga County, but no, none of them are competing with each other, they’re all very different beasts,” Stutz said. When you walk into The Current Year, you may feel like you’ve traveled to the past. The vinyl records that fill the crates are easy listening, groovy 60s, 70s, luxuria and classical music. Covid has caused many to put off opening new businesses, but Stutz and his wife said it’s prime time for record shops.

UK | The Julien Dubuque International Film Festival preview: ‘Vinyl Nation’ …In the 1980s, sales of vinyl records plunged when compact discs arrived on the scene, and thousands of record shops, once the bastion of the record industry, were shuttered. The arrival of the Sony Walkman replaced the turntable as the preferred method of listening to music. CDs were small and easily stored, and the Walkman and others like it made music portable. The iPod, which came along in 2001, appeared to be the kiss of death for vinyl records. But, as one vinyl fan says in the film, “The thrill of what might be behind the door of that little shop — you know — I’ve never been stunned to find an MP3.” Director and producer Smokler emphasized that “Vinyl Nation” isn’t just for record collectors. “We made a movie about records that ended up being a movie about how music is the universal human language that connects us all,” he said. Smokler said everyone from hardcore collectors to those with a passing interest will find a lot to like about “Vinyl Nation.” “Really, we hope anyone who sees our movies realizes that if they like records or are even curious about records, they probably have a lot of friends out there they haven’t met yet,” he said. “And you’ll hear some great music, too.”

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In rotation: 4/8/21

Record Store Day Announces RSD Drops Lists: Titles To Be Released At Record Stores On July 12 and July 17. As announced earlier, Record Store Day, as it has come to be known, will not be celebrated in 2021… While we’d all love nothing more than a party at our local record stores, large groups still aren’t the thing right now. However, in our eyes, those independently-owned community businesses remain essential and may still need the revenue brought in by the sales of those sought-after Record Store Day titles. So, this year, we will celebrate and support indie record stores– the importance of their culture and their unyielding tenacity– as we did last year, with two events, but with one list of releases, which we are proud to announce today. At press time, the Record Store Day website has launched an RSD Drops List for both dates, detailing which of the titles will be coming to record stores on June 12, the previously announced date, and July 17, the newly added date. RSD organizers have worked tirelessly with artists, labels and distribution to assign dates to the titles on the Record Store Day 2021 List. A PDF shopping/wish list can be downloaded and printed, and titles can be viewed on the website along with artwork and more detail.

Columbus, OH | The Needle Exchange finds its niche in a crowded record store scene: In addition to used LPs and cassettes, Ian Graham will partner with Harm Reduction Ohio to offer literature and free Narcan on-site at his new North Clintonville shop. As a record collector, I often feel blessed to live in Columbus. Save a few major metropolitan areas, our city has to have one of the finest concentrations of quality record stores anywhere in the nation. What’s one more going to hurt? That certainly had to be a question local musician, radio personality and record clerk Ian Graham asked during his pursuit to open the newly christened Needle Exchange Records & Tapes in North Clintonville. He’s spent the last five years behind the counter at Lost Weekend Records, and has learned a thing or two about the ins and outs of keeping a store afloat from owner and mentor Kyle Siegrist. “A piece of record store philosophy that Kyle passed on is that stores aren’t really in competition here…”

Lansing, MI | Loud dispatches from Lansing’s music scene: How to sell used vinyl records in Lansing. Whether you’re a casual vinyl buyer, or a serious record collector, the need to unload some unwanted wax arises every once in a while. Sure, there are profitable online selling options, like Discogs and eBay, but that requires some tedious vinyl-grading wisdom, and the time it takes to ship records at the often-crowded post office. Hauling in a box to local record shops is often the easiest option, plus you leave with a few bucks in your pocket. Of course, not all vinyl is valuable, so learning the ropes before you head out is a good idea. Vinyl experts Heather Frarey (owner of The Record Lounge in REO Town) and Jon Howard (manager of Flat, Black & Circular in downtown East Lansing), offered up some friendly advice to consider before you lug those heavy crates of LPs over to their respective stores. Here’s what they had to say.

Nederland, CO | Boogie Records Celebrates Two Year Anniversary: Arthur DeVitalis, Nederland. Ryan Blackwell has continued the tradition of hits, one-offs and B sides with Boogie Records. He’s looking forward to a big celebration of the shop’s second anniversary. Blackwell just finished remodeling the store just in time for the two-year birthday this April 4. The shop has been buying and selling vinyl records, record players and more in Ned since April 2019. “Business is good. I’d like to invite people to come down and check it out if they haven’t been before,” he said. The store looks out onto the community garden, which features a grassy area and picnic tables. He’s been in talks with the owner of the building, and they’ve envisioned Friday night concerts starting in the summertime, provided Covid-19 restrictions continue to ease up over time.

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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.

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In rotation: 4/6/21

Toronto, CA | Toronto record store Soundscapes to close after 22 years: The shift to streaming services was already hurting the indie music institution’s bottom line when the pandemic hit. Toronto record store Soundscapes will close this spring after 22 years in business. “The last 20 years have seen a golden age in access to the world’s recorded music history both in physical media and online,” a statement on the shop’s website reads. “We were happy to be a part of sharing our knowledge of some of that great music with you. We hope you enjoyed most of what we sold & recommended to you over the years and hope you will continue to seek out the music that matters.” Soundscapes staffer Phil Liberbaum tells NOW a lot of “soul searching and number crunching” went into the decision to close. “Ever since the pandemic hit we were on shakier ground,” he says, explaining that the shift in music formats from physical media to streaming led to steady decline in business over the past 10 years. The store’s biggest sellers nowadays are legacy artists, Liberbaum says, and steep prices for vinyl albums mean the pool of shoppers tends to be limited to older, collector types.

Boulder, CO | Paradise Found: With new space on Pearl Street, Bart’s Records becomes Paradise Found. When Paradise Found Records & Music opens on April 1 at the corner of 17th and Pearl, it’ll be a homecoming of sorts. Pearl Street — albeit the West End — was where Bart’s Records started in the early ’90s; it’s the street where Bart’s bounced around for several years before finding its most iconic home where Ozo’s downtown store is today. All of that is to say: there would be no Paradise Found without Bart’s. “Not only is Bart a friend of ours, but he’s an inspiration,” says Paradise Found owner Will Paradise, who bought Bart’s Records from Bart Stinchcomb in 2016. After running the store for five years under the original moniker at cramped digs on Folsom Street, Paradise is taking the little record store that could back to Pearl for more spacious accommodations and a gentle makeover. “It’s a new day in a new location and I’m going to change the name, but the Bart’s sign is going to be hanging at the desk [at the new store],” Paradise says from the new space on Pearl, where a dozen or so empty racks wait for the thousands of records to be moved from the old location.

Memphis, TN | Malaco Records: An inside look at ‘The Last Soul Company’ For over half a century Jackson, Mississippi-based label Malaco Records has been an undeniable force in Black music. With a roster of R&B kings (Little Milton, Bobby “Blue” Bland), soul-blues masters (Johnnie Taylor, Denise LaSalle) and gospel greats (The Jackson Southernaires, The Soul Stirrers), Malaco’s catalog has been an essential repository of African American musical history — and continues to connect with contemporary audiences via high-profile hip-hop samples by artists like Drake and Kanye West. And yet, outside of a small fiercely loyal fanbase and a handful of music aficionados, the label remains relatively unknown in the wider world. A new illustrated book, titled “The Last Soul Company: The Story of Malaco Records,” seeks to give the label its proper due. “When I tell people Malaco has been around for 50 years, when I tell them it’s the longest-running independent label in American music history, and it’s the world’s biggest Black gospel label, they’re like, ‘Really?’” says Rob Bowman, author of “The Last Soul Company.”

Bolton, UK | How X-Records Bolton has kept going in coronavirus lockdown: The owner of Bolton’s only dedicated record shop has given an insight into how the store has managed to keep going throughout lockdown – as well as calling on people to support independent businesses. X-Records in Bridge Street has been trading for more than 30 years and is a staple of independent record shops in the wider area. However, with stores forcibly closed due to coronavirus restrictions, many businesses have felt the sharp bite of falling trade. Steve Meekings, owner of X-Records, said that “we intend to still be here for a while to come” as he praised the “art” of new record releases that have kept the store running. He said: “It has been a very strange time and we could never have expected something like this happening – but we are still here and we intend to be here for a while to come. We haven’t got any amount of great plans for the future but we’re just hoping.”

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In rotation: 4/5/21

San Fernando, CA | Vinyl Lovers in the Valley Can Find Everything from Hardcore Punk, Soul, Cumbia & More at This Cool New Record Shop: The Midnight Hour has landed in San Fernando — and it’s headed to the SGV next. If your vinyl collection could use more Misfits, Thelonious Monk, Mana, or Mötorhead (and everything in between), then make your way over to the Valley’s namesake town. The city of San Fernando has scored The Midnight Hour, a cool new mom-and-pop record shop that debuted in the 818 back in September. That’s not all: Its owners are bringing their curation of music to West Covina, where their second L.A.-area outpost officially opens today. Located on low-key North Maclay Avenue, the boutique stocks new and used vinyl, cassettes, handmade gifts, and more. Expect to find albums and rare international pressings in nearly every format across every music category and subgenre, including funk, garage rock, grunge, hardcore, hip-hop, Latin, metal, New Wave, psychobilly, rap, soul, and beyond. You’ll also find “mom and dad jams” (rather, grandma and grandpa tunes?) from classic rock acts like Fleetwood Mac and Alamaba (to name a few) alongside original mixtapes.

Duncan, BC | Business notes: Full Bug Records opens in Duncan: What’s going on in the Cowichan business community. Vinyl records are making a comeback, and Matt Hewlett has gotten on the bandwagon. Hewlett, a former restaurateur from Vancouver, recently moved to Duncan and opened up Full Bug Records at 171 Jubilee St. in Duncan. He said many of those who sold their record collections in the 1990s are looking to revive them, and a new and younger generation of listeners have begun taking to vinyl records as well. He said that while some believe the sound from vinyl records is better quality than CDs and the music that is downloaded from the internet, many of his customers just like the more interactive format that records, many of which have large 12-inch by 12-inch jackets, come in as they are typically covered in interesting information about the band and may even have posters. “People also want a physical copy of the music, instead of just downloading it,” Hewlett said.

Los Angeles, CA | Lines around the block at Ameoba Music’s grand reopening in Hollywood: More than a year after the pandemic forced it to shutter, and just shy of its 20th anniversary as a Hollywood fixture, music retailer Amoeba Music reopened in its new location Thursday morning. The moment, marked by the requisite jumbo-scissored ribbon cutting, occurred just before 11 a.m. at Hollywood Boulevard and Argyle Avenue. A line of giddy, young, mostly masked shoppers, many of whom had been waiting since early morning to enter the music Valhalla, stretched south down Argyle and around the block. The queue remained that way for hours. “The pandemic’s been hard on everyone, so I feel like this is going to boost morale, bring joy again,” said Alonzo Vasquez, who had driven in from the Central Valley with friends to go shopping. His mission: tracking down anything on LP by L.A.-based psych-punk band Osees. “I feel like this will make times normal. We’re getting spots back,” he said, the lower half of his face obscured by his face mask. “We’ve been waiting for a year,” said Silver Lake resident Kerri Barta, who was near the entrance on the cusp of access. Until COVID-19, a visit to Amoeba was part of the weekly ritual for her and companion Jason Yates. “It’s been a big hole in our life.”

Orillia, ON | Passion helps owner ensure record store is a hit: ‘Orillia has a lot to offer, and we feel like we are a part of that,’ says owner of Alleycats Music & Art. Believe it or not, Alleycats Music & Art owner Mike Rothwell isn’t a huge music guy. But his passion for being a key player in the community has prompted him to collect more than 10,000 records which he sells at his 95 Mississaga St. E. location in downtown Orillia. The Kitchener native formerly worked as a health, safety, and environmental professional for most of his life after studying science at the University of Toronto. In 2007, Rothwell and his wife Krista decided to move up north to start a new chapter of their life. “It’s my wife’s hometown, so we wanted to re-locate and move up here; we’ve always liked it here,” Rothwell said. In 2012, Rothwell and his wife opened up Alleycats as a hobby business to give them something to keep them busy. “I’ve always been entrepreneurial, so this is the first time I really got to do anything with my own business concept,” Rothwell said.

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In rotation: 3/26/21

Los Angeles, CA | Amoeba Music Is Reopening Next Week After a Year In COVID Hibernation: About 11 months after launching a GoFundMe campaign in a desperate bid to stay financially afloat, Amoeba Music is preparing to open its new Hollywood location. The 21-year-old record-store mainstay just recently announced plans to welcome customers to the new Amoeba Music Hollywood, located at 6200 Hollywood Boulevard. Early last year, Amoeba confirmed (in a video with Tyler, the Creator) that its existing Hollywood store would be demolished to make way for an apartment complex. And while Amoeba noted in the same clip that it intended to return at the aforementioned address by Labor Day (September 7th), the domestic onset of the COVID-19 pandemic (as well as related lockdown measures) disrupted the timetable. Now, Amoeba Hollywood is set to open its doors next Thursday, April 1st, with temporary hours of 11 AM until 8 PM. (The buy counter will close an hour before the store, however.)

Boston, MA | From Comic Book to custom vinyl records: Newbury Comics! For those of you who aren’t familiar with Newbury Comics, you might, you might go “WAIT WHUT?!” because there’s nothing VINYL about Newbury Comics at all. Newbury Comics was originally a comic store that only sells…well, comics. Their first store opened in Boston, New England’s largest city in 1978. The founders, John Brusger and Mike Dreese, both MIT students, started selling Brusger’s preloved comic book collections on Batman, Superman and Spider-Man and later expanded to many other comics with different styles and origins– from American comic books, graphic novels, manga…you name any comic title, they probably have it. But what really elevated their success aren’t the comic books, it’s music! They should probably rename the store to Newbury Music but I guess they don’t need to. Somewhere in the early 1980’s, the comic store shifted into selling CDs and vinyl records. This was all thanks to a box of records Dreese brought back from England and Boston’s booming local music scene. He just put it in their store and BAM, they’re gone. The albums sold fast.

Vancouver, CA | Neptoon Records thrives at 40, the pandemic be damned: The Vancouver vinyl palace has hosted everyone from Tyler the Creator to Jack White. Rob Frith knows exactly where and when his lifelong love affair with vinyl started. From the basement of Neptoon Records, where he sits surrounded by thousands upon thousands of albums, Frith recalls how, when he was four years old, his mother owned an old flip-top record player. The machine could only play 45s, which was just fine with the wee tyke because he revelled in the sound of singles by Elvis Presley and a mix of long-forgotten country acts. “There was a little light in the front that showed that it was on,” he recalls. “And I remember leaning against this counter that it was on and just staring at this light and this music would be playing, and I was just overtaken.” Sixty years later, music still holds a magical power for Frith. And that’s a good thing, because he’s celebrating four decades as the owner of Neptoon, the Main Street record shop that’s been a treasured destination for scores of Vancouverites in search of a music fix.

Santa Rosa, CA | The Last Record Store’s co-owner will retire as shop rebrands: It’s closing time for Michael “Hoyt” Wilhelm, his 38-year journey down the long and winding road of running The Last Record Store about to end as customers pick through the fruits of his labor. Wilhelm is retiring in May from the business he opened downtown on Jan. 15, 1983, with his longtime friend, Doug Jayne. Back in those days, physical LPs and cassettes were the dominant music format and the compact disc was only beginning to emerge. The intervening years brought massive technology changes and innovations such as Napster, iTunes and Spotify that wiped out most physical media sales. But The Last Record Store still stands as a beloved musical mecca for curious Gen Z shoppers to the most hard-core vinylphiles who could easily unpack the references in the first paragraph of this story to lyrics from Semisonic, the Beatles and Lucinda Williams, or even come up with their own. As part of the transition, Jayne and Wilhelm will close the business, which moved to Mendocino Avenue north of the Junior College in 2003. Jayne and longtime store manager Gerry Stumbaugh will reopen a new store called The Next Record Store at the current location.

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In rotation: 3/25/21

UK | UK vinyl spending on track to overtake CDs for first time since 1987: Sales surge as music fans indulge in classic LPs during coronavirus lockdown. Record labels are on track to make more money this year from the sale of vinyl records than the once-mighty CD for the first time since the 1980s, as pandemic music buying habits accelerate the revival of the classic LP. UK record labels enjoyed a 30% boost in income from the sale of vinyl records last year to £86.5m, the highest total since 1989, as fans unable to attend live music because of pandemic restrictions spent their spare cash on building up their record collections. The number of vinyl records sold, led by classics such as Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours alongside new releases from Harry Styles and Kylie Minogue, also hit a three-decade high of 4.8m last year. UK music industry body the BPI says vinyl income is now on track to overtake CDs for the first time since 1987, when Rick Astley, T’Pau and Pet Shop Boys topped the charts. The pandemic has not halted the inexorable decline of the compact disc. While the format was convenient, it was never a favourite with collectors and sales have continued to fall in the face of the streaming revolution…

AU | ‘It’s the ritual’: vinyl sales look set to break Australian records, so who is still buying CDs? Beneath the black ceiling inside Hum Records on King Street in Newtown, John Salway spots something on the shelf under the letter “C”. “Elvis Costello must have a new album,” he says. He picks up the hard plastic square and he and his friend, Regina Safro, squint to read the fine print on the bottom of the back of the CD case. Safro hasn’t seen the album before either. Salway finds the release date and nods. “2020. I’ll likely buy that on spec.” Salway estimates that he might buy a dozen CD albums a year. Safro thinks she purchases between 10 and 20. The pair are part of an increasingly small cohort of music fans who continue to buy CDs, in a world where most new cars and computers no longer have a way to even play them. Figures to be released this week by the Australian music industry are expected to show CD album sales in Australia fell by more than 15% in 2020. Meanwhile, sales of vinyl have rocketed by more than 30%, as more new artists release on the premium format as an alternative to digital streams, and labels continue releasing collector editions of the classics.

Boulder, CO | With move and rebranding, Bart’s reboots as Paradise Found: The tune might sound familiar, but its name — and venue — have changed. Paradise Found Records & Music, previously Bart’s Record Shop, is moving from its Folsom Street location to Pearl Street and will open April 1. The shop, previously owned by Bart Stinchcomb, was a Pearl Street staple until the move to Folsom Street in 2014. Stinchcomb sold the record store to Will Paradise in February 2016, and it will now head back to Pearl Street. Paradise announced the name and location change on the shop’s social media pages. Paradise always dreamed of working in or owning a record store as he started collecting records at 8 years old, Paradise said. “I talked to him (Bart) about the prospect of buying or partnering with him, and he said he wasn’t ready and then 10 days later he called me and said ‘I’m moving and I want to sell the business.’ and I was like, ‘Whoa, okay good.’ So I just bought it,” Paradise said. Paradise Found Records & Music at 1646 Pearl St. is larger than the shop’s current space, allowing for more inventory and exciting new features.

CT | Remembering the joys of the old neighborhood record store: Here’s a tale that’s been spun countless times for more than three decades: modern technology has made it incredibly easy to listen to our favorite music, anywhere and anytime, with good sound quality and less than a fortune in our pockets. Why, then, do so many of us still crave those old 45- and 33⅓-RPM vinyl records that invariably got scratched and chipped and ended up hissing like a tone-deaf snake? It’s not only the records themselves that Connecticut residents of a certain age miss, but also the artwork on the album covers, the liner notes inside — and those great ol’ record stores where we used to buy them, our own private dens of musical delight, where we made all the decisions, not our parents. We can still find a few places in Connecticut that sell or special-order old vinyl records (along with turntables, headphones, shirts and other items from the aesthetic to the nostalgic). It’s also possible to purchase almost any record online, no matter how wildly popular or downright obscure. But the record stores we remember from days gone by have gone by forever.

Shreveport, LA | ArkLaTex Made: The Little Shop of Music: They say music soothes the soul. You can bet you’ll find a lot of soothing sounds at one Shreveport music store. Wednesday morning, KTBS 3’s Rick Rowe visited The Little Shop of Music for his ArkLaTex Made segment. Scott Auer is fulfilling his dream of creating a shop for music lovers and musicians to gather, filled to the brim with the best stereo equipment, guitars, art and more. The Little Shop of Music is just that: a hang out spot, a record store and a place to connect to local music. The Little Shop of Music is located at 1055 Louisiana Avenue.

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In rotation: 3/24/21

Los Angeles, CA | After a yearlong hiatus, Amoeba Music announces April reopening in new location: Hear that drum rhythm echoing at the horizon? That’s the sound of Amoeba Music in Hollywood sound-checking its stereo system in a new spot. On Monday, the California music retailer announced that it would open its new 23,000-square-feet Hollywood Boulevard location on April 1. Located across the street from the Frolic Room and the Pantages Theatre, and a block west of concert venue the Fonda, the new Amoeba is situated within the El Centro residential and retail development at the corner of Argyle Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard. The move to a new space has been years in the making. Last year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Amoeba abandoned a planned farewell concert for its previous home on Sunset Boulevard, speeded up construction at the new address and hauled the store’s thousands of records earlier than originally planned. It had hoped to open in November, but the surge in COVID-19 negated that possibility.

Why Is Tower Records Coming Back Now, of All Times? It’s trying to offer something Amazon and Spotify can’t. In 1965, Heidi Cotler got a job at Tower Records. She worked in the books department, which had opened not long after the record store did. The job suited her countercultural style. “There was no dress code. There was no hair code. As long as you didn’t smell and your butt wasn’t hanging out, you were pretty much good to go. You had to wear shoes, most of the time.” Cotler says the vibe at Tower—what we’d now call its corporate culture—all came from its founder, Russ Solomon. He was cool, he was free-spirited, and he hired lots of cool and free-spirited young people to create the kind of company he wanted. He didn’t care much about rules as long as the job got done. “We ran on basically just sheer idiocy for a long time,” Cotler says, “and it worked because we adored Russ. He had respect for us, and in a business where you’re being paid $1.25 an hour, to be respected at 19 or 20 years old is a pretty heady thing. You really have to respect that and not screw it up.”

Record Roundup Volume 8: Record Store Day(s) 2021 Announced: It’s been a few months since my last Record Roundup was published. If you’re interested, you can catch up on Volume 7 from last October. What’s on tap for this edition? We have the dates for Record Store Day 2021, heads-up on forthcoming reviews that will be of interest to turntable and vinyl fans, and a hands-on review of a Beatles-themed turntable from Pro-Ject. Record Store Day(s) 2021: In 2020, we saw Record Store Day — the international, one-day celebration of local record shops and vinyl collecting — split into three separate days. The move was necessary given the pandemic and the need for social distancing. In 2020, we are making progress with vaccination, but aren’t quite there yet. So Record Store Day will be two separate days in 2021. Mark the dates in your calendar: June 12 and July 17. The list of record titles for the RSD drops has yet to be announced and stores will have different operating procedures depending on the local Covid-19 situation. However, record collectors have a lot to look forward to this summer.

Audio cassettes: despite being ‘a bit rubbish’, sales have doubled during the pandemic – here’s why: Described by some as “Europe’s biggest tech show”, the Berlin Radio Show has long been famous for exhibiting the next big thing in consumer electronics. In 1963, that was the compact audio cassette, introduced at the time by its creator, the late Dutch engineer Lou Ottens, who died in early March. Over the course of Ottens’ lifetime, cassette tapes came to redefine listening habits, which until then had been limited to the much more unwieldy vinyl record. Car stereos and the iconic Sony Walkman suddenly made individual listening experiences possible outside of the home. The re-recordable nature of the format, meanwhile, helped music fans collate and circulate their own mixtapes. At its peak in 1989, the cassette tape was shifting 83 million units per year in the UK alone. Despite having been superseded in functionality first by the compact disc (CD) and then the digital file (mp3 and mp4), the audio cassette retains a special place in the history of audio technology, with mixtapes a precursor to playlists, and the Walkman the precursor to the iPod.

The Offspring announces stripped-back UK record store sets: The Offspring have announced a pair of U.K. in-store performances. Frontman Dexter Holland and guitarist Noodles will play stripped-down sets at Crash Records in Leeds on December 2, and Banquet Records in Kingston on December 3. Each show will also feature a Q&A session. For any Offspring fans outside the U.K., hopefully we’ll be able to travel by then. In the meantime, you can visit for ticket info. Last month, The Offspring finally announced the details of their long-in-the-works new album, Let the Bad Times Roll. The record is due out April 16, but you can listen to the title track now.

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In rotation: 3/23/21

Macon, GA | Macon record store battling time, technology turns 50: When Phillis Habersham Malone was a child, she remembers the first movie she ever saw at the Douglass Theatre. It was the 1959 version of “Imitation of Life” with Mahalia Jackson. “It was my first time going to the Douglass, and I just felt real good knowing I can go to the movie theater,” Malone said. Malone grew up in the Tindall Heights neighborhood during the Civil Rights era, and although she was a little young to participate in some of the demonstrations, she remembers her father, the Rev. Allen Habersham, went to march with the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. “My favorite memory (of Tindall Heights) is during Christmas time. We all would get together on our skates and go to the top of the hill and skate all the way down to the bottom of the hill. That was my favorite memory,” she said. She grew up listening to James Brown and Otis Redding, and she surrounded herself with musical people. “When I was young, my brothers and my sister … they would play music all the time… so, I developed a love for music as a child,” she said.

Denver, CO | Labor of Love: Bart’s Record Shop Becomes Paradise Found: “I’ve spent most of my adult life in record stores. This is the most organized, cleanest record store I’ve ever worked in,” says Bart’s Record Shop vinyl buyer and former Cavity guitarist Jon Martinez, who’s been employed at Bart’s for over twenty years and is a veteran of now-defunct legendary Boulder record shops like Trade-A-Tape and the old Wax Trax. “It’s been refreshing to work under these circumstances,” Martinez said from behind a Pink Floyd mask while pricing stacks of used vinyl on a recent Thursday evening. “Everyone’s working very hard to make the store a great place. That’s not necessarily the case in all the other stores I’ve worked in. This is the one that hits all those sweet spots — and also, records are booming right now, and I’m astonished.” “…The big thing is, I wanted more vinyl in the store,” Paradise says. “We had close to 20,000 CDs. Since that time, we’ve almost tripled sales, and CDs have gone from over 50 percent of sales down to 2 percent. Nobody’s buying them. So I wanted more vinyl, and I wanted it to be more organized.”

Sacramento, CA | A look back: Sacramento record store keeps music alive during stay-at-home order. On the day California first issued a stay-at-home order, a Sacramento record store had just begun to change how it offered its music to customers. Phono Select Records posted their music selection on Instagram for people to pick and choose from, making it more convenient for customers to get their hands on their favorite LP or CD. “It’s like love comes out of vinyl because the world needs love,” said a customer. Phono Select still posts their music selection to their Instagram but now they’re open every day from 12 to 6.

Bay City, MI | Electric Kitsch moves to a much larger space in Bay City’s South End: Co-owners Jessica McQuarter and Jordan Pries are relocating their business to 2106 Kosciuszko (22nd St.), where they’ll have nearly three times the retail space and be able to expand their product offerings. Electric Kitsch first opened at 917 Washington Ave. in downtown Bay City in June 2012. That location closed on March 15 and the tentative reopening date at its new location is Thursday, April 1. “The building has quite a lot of history,” McQuarter said, noting that it was formerly Joe’s Appliance. In addition to music, Electric Kitsch sells guitar strings, cables, picks and other accessories. At the new location, customers can also expect to find some used guitars and amplifiers. Pries said he hopes the new location will serve as a gathering place for their customers and fellow music lovers. “We lived above our store downtown prior to this, and this place also has living quarters above the retail space,” McQuarter added. “We really like that old school, like, living-at-your-business thing.”

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In rotation: 3/22/21

Vernon, CT | Small Business Spotlight: Records–The Good Kind: Vinyl has made a resurgence in the last several years, with many current and new artists selling albums on digital and vinyl only. With the pandemic, many music lovers have found themselves digging through old record collections and even some younger fans have discovered an old way to listen to tunes. Classic rock and roll, classic cover art, and vinyl spinning on the turntable at Records – The Good Kind in Vernon. Ian Schlein says he’s seen a surprising uptick in business since reopening during the pandemic. “I knew records had “come back”, but I thought it was kind of peaking, but then the pandemic happened and I think I’ve never seen so many young people looking for records, because really there’s nothing to do now. People are home listening to music,” Schlein tells us. Collectibles in general have done well as more people spend more time at home, but Schlein says there’s just something special about discovering music.

New York, NY | Can Williamsburg’s Record Stores Get Back Into the Groove? Like the plague victim in Monty Python’s Holy Grail, “I’m not dead yet!” is the obstinate cry of independent record stores coping with lockdowns and reduced foot traffic during the Covid-19 pandemic. In Brooklyn’s northwest corner, two Williamsburg record stores have announced the closing of their brick-and-mortar locations, leaving a temporary void of arts and culture in a neighborhood already disappearing under commercial chain stores and high-rise apartments. Rough Trade NYC and Human Head Records both say they have plans to reopen in new locations later in the year, but their vague announcements made me nervous. In order to assess the health of my favorite record stores, I donned a surgical mask and set out to check on them. I spoke to employees at a distance while safely indulging my own vinyl habit. As I observed the life inside their walls, I found an atmosphere still charged with the search-and-you-might-find excitement that makes physical record stores so enticing.

Where to buy vinyl: affordable ways to start a record collection: How to start and build on your record library. Don’t let us put you off, but vinyl isn’t the easiest thing in the world to collect. Not if you want to listen to it, anyway, rather than just littering the dozens of vinyl collection hashtags on Instagram. It’s generally quite expensive, takes up a fair bit of room, needs constant care and attention, degrades a little with every play and requires a fair bit of technology to get it spinning. But the pay-off can be immense. We’re all pretty much agreed now that streaming and downloads, while up to exceptional sonic standards, have left a gap for many who want to hold their music. Even cassette tapes are experiencing a renaissance of sorts, but there’s nothing better than the black disc to provide the album as an experience. Then there’s the hours you can pass crate digging, in the vain hope you will be the next to bag a flea-market bargain or pick a future cult classic purely from the bizarre appearance of its cover.

Vinyl gore is the internet trend where people share photos of disfigured records: Ever ordered a record that arrives broken in the mail? Or left your vinyl next to a radiator for too long? That’s Vinyl Gore. Vinyl Gore is the internet trend where people share photos and video footage of disfigured records. This community of brilliantly self-deprecating vinyl diehards lives in the Vinyl Gore subreddit where tales of warped, snapped and smashed records are posted and commented on with plenty of dry humour and withering Discogs rating references. Ever ordered a record that arrives broken in the mail? Or left your vinyl next to a radiator for too long? That’s Vinyl Gore and the weathered souls who’ve been through it all before are here to help you through your pain. Trust reddit to house a community that understands the disappointment of a seriously bent sleeve or 12″ that’s been bent beyond the forces of gravity. The subreddit isn’t for the faint of heart due to the amount of smashed up vinyl on display.

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