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

In rotation: 8/10/20

London, UK | New record store to open in London this month: A new record store is opening in London in August. Next Door Records will open in Shepherd’s Bush on Wednesday 12th August as a store, bar and café. After smashing its crowdfunding target of £3000, the three-man team behind the store promise to provide a “mixture of new and vintage vinyl which will span a variety of sounds for both the living room and the dancefloor.” The record store also hopes to host live music and DJ events, book launches, exhibitions and workshops in future. In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, record stores have been allowed to open in the UK since June. During lockdown, an interactive map was developed to show what independent record stores were still operating in a limited capacity, and how you can buy from them. In that time, Bristol record shop Idle Hands issued a stark warning on how the pandemic might affect small, independent businesses. Earlier this year, a new record store and dubplate cutting house, Disc World, opened in New Cross, south east London.

San Francisco, CA | Popular SF record store closes permanently: ‘There just isn’t a way forward in the city.’ Stacks of colorful indie comics have slowly begun to replace the massive collection of vinyl records sold at 1-2-3-4 Go! Records on Valencia Street. On Monday afternoon, owner Steve Stevenson announced the San Francisco location would shutter after five years in business, with comic book shop and former DIY record label Silver Sprocket taking over for the remainder of the lease. “Given the uncertain direction of the pandemic and the heavy revenue losses we’ve sustained over the last 5 months there just isn’t a way forward in the city,” Stevenson wrote in a Facebook post, encouraging his clientele to support the comic book publisher in the coming months. Silver Sprocket, previously located on Haight Street, moved into the record shop in late February after a seismic retrofit taking place at their former location prevented them from resuming operations. Since the comic book shop was operating out of the building as a pop-up business without a formal lease, they knew that once the renovations were over, their landlord would likely begin the search for a permanent tenant.

Boynton, FL | Boynton record store had a side business as an illegal gambling operation, cops say: A Boynton Beach record store owner is accused of using her business to run an illegal gambling operation, taking in thousands of dollars in bets a day. Police arrested Alison Henry Abner, 49, of suburban Lake Worth on Thursday after serving a search warrant at the Caribbean Record Store on Gateway Boulevard, near U.S. Highway 1. Henry Abner is the owner and operator of the business, police said. During a search of the business, officers found more than $6,000 in cash, including a bundle of cash with separate gambling tickets and payouts attached. Investigators found more than $2,500 hidden in a bathroom wall. Abner was advised of her rights and taken to the police department for questioning. There, she reportedly admitted to running a gambling game out of the business. She told investigators she did not know the name of the game, but described it as a game of chance in which a person would pick between one and four numbers and put money on each number.

Athens, AL | Vinyl Revival: Record store keeping it old school in Athens: The music industry has undergone many changes over the years when it comes to keeping up with the modern digital age. Most people stream music from one of many apps on their smartphones these days, but not so long ago, music was found primarily on physical media. Even CDs have been largely phased out, but there’s still those who prefer something more than a digital file. That’s where record stores like Vinyl Revival in Athens comes in. Places like this small, local shop cater to clientele who like to keep things old school and still get their music on physical media like vinyl records. “I think records, above all other mediums, are pretty unique,” said owner Keith Montgomery. “It’s a hands-on experience. You have a jacket. It’s got its own artwork and lyrics. It’s an organic experience. There’s an argument to it, but generally speaking, I think that vinyl records sound ‘better’ than digital formats. I like it.” Montgomery is from Athens originally. He moved to Detroit in the late 1970s to be closer to some family members, but after he got married, he decided he didn’t want to raise his children in Detroit. So, the family moved back to Limestone County.

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In rotation: 8/7/20

Colorado Springs, CO | Remember Record Store Day? It’s back! Bryan Ostrow has mixed feelings about Record Store Day. As the co-founder of What’s Left — a political music zine, indie label, and newly opened record shop at 829 N. Circle Drive — he feels the annual “celebration of the culture of the independently owned record store” is becoming less about small stores and more about big record companies. …But Ostrow is also an enthusiastic vinyl collector with an undying devotion to punk, metal and hip-hop. So it’s inevitable that several Record Store Day exclusives find their way into his collection each year. “Collecting physical music is so important,” says the longtime Colorado Springs resident, who also plays guitar in Night of the Living Shred and books shows for various venues around town. “Listening to a full album the way it was meant to be played; pulling out the liner notes and reading along as you listen; it’s an important art that has been going away for a while now.”

Austin, IL | ‘Austin is where we want to be.’ Despite pandemic, looting West Side small businesses still loyal to community. On June 6, less than a week after the wave of looting swept through West Garfield Park’s Madison Street corridor, Out of the Past Records store, which has been operating at 4407 W. Madison St. since 1986, was open for business. Marie Henderson, who founded the store with her husband, Charlie Henderson, said that the store has been struggling throughout the pandemic. And while it wasn’t looted, in the month after the reopening, the business hasn’t fully rebounded to where it was pre-COVID-19. The Hendersons are among a handful of small business owners on the West Side who were interviewed about how they’ve fared since the pandemic and the death of George Floyd. Some of the entrepreneurs reported an increase in profits while others found their business model completely disrupted. The Hendersons said that at one point they owned 12 record stores throughout Chicago, but as tapes and later CDs became popular, the demand for records plummeted and they wound up consolidating their inventory into their current location.

Macon, GA | Old School Music Headquarters celebrates 50 years of music in Macon: Since 1967, owner ‘Laughing’ Lafayette Haynes has watched the world of music change from his downtown record shop. For 53 years, former radio personality “Laughing” Lafayette Haynes has watched the world of music grow from his record shop in downtown Macon. Whether through owning his shop or working as a radio disk jockey, Haynes’ life has been a large part of Macon’s evolving music scene. “It’s been amazing to see the difference that has taken place in Macon since I was a little kid,” says Haynes. The same month that he opened Old School Music, Haynes started at WIBB with “The Laughing Lafayette Show.” While hosting, Haynes became a household name interviewing stars like James Brown, The Temptations, and Fletch Stone. During his 13 years at WIBB, Haynes also helped shift the station from country music to gospel and rhythm and blues alongside ‘King Bee’ disk jockey, Hamp Swain. “People used to tell me, ‘We’d get off work just to listen to you,'” says Haynes. “When WIBB went to R&B, Black people had something to listen to, it was brand new.”

Everett, WA | Pop into this Everett pop-up store for new vinyl records: Upper Left Records will offer albums from local bands and new pressings of classic recordings. Success for Ryan Taylor and Brooks Smothers would mean a six-foot folding table and, if sales really take off, an eight-footer. The two partners recently launched Upper Left Records, a pop-up store that sells new vinyl records. “Our store is a four-foot table. We’re just going to be a little pop-up table,” Smothers said. “We’re starting small, but our goal is to grow to a six-foot and then an eight-foot table,” Smothers said. The two friends, who share a love of music, were camping with their families in June. Over a campfire, they began musing about how rare it is to find places in Everett that sell new records. “I said, ‘Let’s do a little research and see if this is viable,’” Smothers said. What they found is that recent music industry studies suggest that vinyl records are having a resurgence.

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In rotation: 8/6/20

Melbourne, AU | Melbourne businesses say online sales and government help is key to surviving stage-four lockdown: …Over at Vinyl Space, a record store on Johnston Street, Collingwood, owner Mick Smajdor said business would also take a dive. “We basically have to close the shop, which probably represents about 40 to 50 per cent of my turnover, so basically it’s a massive part of the business,” Mr Smajdor said. The shop had remained open during most of the first lockdown, but has now closed in line with government advice. “We’re lucky though that we do have a fairly strong online presence through eBay and Discogs,” he said. But the downside was they hadn’t been able to qualify for JobKeeper, owing to an increase in revenue immediately leading up to COVID-19. “Unfortunately, because of the way the business grew quite a lot in the last 12-month period specifically, because of the online growth we’ve had, we’re not able to get the government support [like JobKeeper],” Mr Smajdor said.

Milwaukee, WI | Two friends just opened a vintage clothing and mid-century decor shop in South Milwaukee with an in-house record store: …One room of the shop, with a listening station, is dedicated to Swing Boogie Stomp, Natalie Gajewski’s husband Joe Gajewski’s vinyl and DJ business. “It’s always been kind of a pipe dream to open a record store,” said Joe, AKA DJ Nailhead. One room of Dupree’s in South Milwaukee is dedicated to Swing Boogie Stomp, Joe Gajewski’s vinyl and DJ business. Joe has about 6,000 records, both vintage and new releases, including ones from Hi-Tide Recordings, Swelltune Records, Wild Records, and Bloodshot Records. “A lot of it is vintage-inspired,” he said. In addition to DJing at car shows and vintage fashion shows, and having a podcast, Joe is a personal banking representative and in the Marines. “He’s the only client I ever went on a date with,” Natalie Gajewski laughed

Shanghai, CN | Old technology? Yes, but vinyl phonograph records still attract music purists: To music purists, the next best thing to attending a live concert is to hear music on vinyl records. It may be outdated to most people, but vinyl possesses a more “real” sound than CDs or digital downloads. The recent announcement by Chinese pop singer Jay Chou that he will release vinyl versions of all his 14 albums has put a renewed spotlight on the old format of music recording. Rather coincidentally, Shanghai Vinyl Records Association also announced its formation last month, dedicated to promoting vinyl recordings and looking for new innovations in the development of the format. Are we witnessing a revival of vinyl in China? According to Xu Bing, president and founder of the new Shanghai Vinyl Records Association, listening to vinyl records is a retro trend, especially for the younger generation. Vinyl is carving out a niche market.

Shelbyville, TN | Most Expensive Motown Vinyl Record Ever Sold Comes To American Airwaves For First Time, Courtesy Of Uncle Nearest: …Only 250 demo copies of the 7″ vinyl record were ever pressed. As few as two are reported to have survived with the rest being intentionally destroyed when Wilson made the decision to be a Motown producer rather than a singer. It is believed that one of those two vinyls are in the private collection of Motown Records founder Berry Gordy, while the other landed at a famous English Northern soul nightclub in Wigan, England, where the song became a cult classic in the ’60s and ’70s. Due to its enormous popularity, the album was officially released in the UK in 1979. It is arguably the most popular Northern Soul record of all time and remained No. 1 on the Northern Soul charts as late as 2015.

Glasgow, UK | Divine! Inspiration: We speak to the man behind Glasgow’s longest running club night as it turns 30. Divine! was established in July 1990 by DJ Andrew Divine ‘as an excuse to play my favourite records up loud’, and it’s been anything but a heartache ever since… Glasgow’s longest running club night, Divine!, is hosting a special live stream DJ set to celebrate it’s 30th birthday this weekend – and everyone is invited to roll up the rug and join the party. Divine! was established in July 1990 by DJ Andrew Divine “as an excuse to play my favourite records up loud” in the Victoria Café at Glasgow School of Art while he was studying there. Since then it has established a solid-gold reputation via its unique 60s & 70s vinyl soundtrack, featuring a mix of northern soul, deep funk, dynamite ska, garage punk, psychedelia, latin beats, funky soundtracks – with the nights akin to ten retro club nights rolled into one. The night has since shifted online to keep the tunes sounding and the party going amid the coronavirus pandemic, with ‘Divine!-at-a-Distance’ being broadcasting live from Andrew’s attic in Glasgow’s southside twice a month to new fans and old regulars all over the globe.

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In rotation: 8/5/20

Phoenix, AZ | Six Phoenix Record Shops Talk Business Amid COVID: As a rule, the music industry is subject to regular upheaval. But after threats like streaming music and economic downturn, the one posed by COVID-19 has proven especially challenging. So, how have record stores weathered the storm and found ways to keep music essential as consumers weight every single purchase? Well, we asked around, and what follows is some essential insight into what stores are selling, how they’re doing financially, and what lessons COVID has taught retailers. …Our sales remained pretty consistent. They went down a little during the week, but we’re in the summertime now and that’s expected. But then they more than make up for it during the weekend. Once we opened back up, it was like, okay, we went right back to normal. Yeah, you’ve got to wear a mask, but it was still the same old stuff. We saw a lot of cheap, mostly $1 to $3 records being sold. Again, mostly cheap classics.”

Sarnia, CA | Record Store Day adjusting to pandemic: The owners of Sarnia’s Cheeky Monkey record shop hope the third time is the charm for this year’s Record Store Day. The annual day celebrating independent record stories has already been postponed twice this year because of COVID-19 restrictions, so the current plan calls for the event to be held on three Saturdays spread over three months. Normally, the event’s release of hundreds of special-edition – and mostly vinyl – music releases happens on a single day but, this year, will be spread over Aug. 29, Sept. 26 and Oct. 24 to reduce crowds and lineups that make physical distancing a challenge. Roland Peloza, who owns the downtown Sarnia record store with his wife, Mary Anne Peloza, said Cheeky Monkey has been part of Record Store Day since it began in 2008. “This is the first one that is in pandemic mode,” he said. Most of the hundreds of releases had already been manufactured by the record companies by the time the pandemic and its restrictions arrived in North America, Peloza said.

Melbourne, AU | A comprehensive list of Melbourne record stores you can support this lockdown: From head to toe, here are all the local record stores you can support during lockdown. It’s been a thrill checking in with Melbourne’s record stores as they navigate these peculiar times. Many of these businesses flaunt age-old, tried and tested business techniques that capitalise on relationships and loyalty. Greville Records owner Warwick Brown has enjoyed delivering vinyl door-to-door as a way of evading the postal gridlock while also catching up with his customers, many of whom he regards as friends rather than shoppers. Suzanne Bennett from CBD record store, The Basement Discs, has been similarly creative during the crisis, gazing laterally to online sales, social media and email newsletters as ways of communicating with their record-lovers. While for Dutch Vinyl’s Mark Reuten, online sales have taken a jump as the Dutch expat made a swift transition once the regular stream of punters were cut off from his store.

Nashville, TN | Egon Alapatt, BA’00, offers tips on how to collect vinyl records: Eothen “Egon” Alapatt, BA’00, discovered his career path when studying at Vanderbilt, working as a DJ at the WRVU radio station, and promoting local hip-hop shows. “When I realized that reissuing and licensing of music, and procuring music for samples for hip-hop producers, could be a profession, I knew that’s what I wanted to do.” The term “vinyl enthusiast” doesn’t do justice to Alapatt’s work. He has released dozens of new and almost-lost-to-history singles and albums through Now Again Records, launched in 2002 while he was general manager for the influential independent hip-hop label Stones Throw Records. More releases come through the Madlib Invazion label, a partnership with rapper Madlib and the vaults of the late J. Dilla, a wildly influential hip-hop producer. Rappcats is the online and brick-and-mortar hub for Alapatt’s output. But the Now Again releases, ranging from the 1970 Dallas Pop Festival to Vietnam-era funk music from Florida, most closely resemble Alapatt’s passion for unearthing gems.

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In rotation: 8/4/20

Madison, WI | Local Music Shop Hits a High Note with Madison Music Lovers: At a time when Wisconsinites are looking for an escape, Strictly Discs in Madison is hitting a high note. “Music has never been more popular than it is right now and it’s very accessible,” says Angie Roloff, owner of Strictly Discs. Music is especially popular during the pandemic as people are longing for connection. Music holds a different weigh for everyone. For some, it’s all in the family. “(Music is) everything. When I got out of the army, I became a mason just to support my music habit,” says customer Mike Winget. Winglet loves music so much, he named his 11-year-old son, “Lyric.” “I’m here for my son today, trying to find some stuff to give him some culture instead of him listening to the stuff on the radio,” says Winget. “Music is a whole world of rhythm,” says Lyric Winget.

New York, NY | These Businesses Lasted Decades. The Virus Closed Them for Good. The pandemic has wiped out the longstanding anchors of New York neighborhoods. Before the pandemic, Record Mart was a fixture of the Times Square subway station for more than 60 years, known for carrying vinyl recordings of Latin and jazz music. Lou Moskowitz left his job in real estate in 2006 to work full-time at the shop, which was owned by his father. Sales at independent record stores were on the decline nationwide, and many were shutting down throughout New York. Mr. Moskowitz’s friends had questioned why he had chosen to move into the industry. “I know it doesn’t make any sense,” Mr. Moskowitz said, “but I did it anyway because I wanted to work with my dad.” After his father died in 2012, Mr. Moskowitz took over the business. For years, Record Mart survived by selling electronics and headphones and drawing in passers-by to explore its extensive vinyl collection. The shop was not thriving, but revenue trickled in.

Dublin, IE | Barry joins band giving Dublin Vinyl a spin: Isee that new New Ireland Assurance chairman and former Canada Life boss Tom Barry is getting into the music business. Barry is one of the backers of Hugh Scully and Donagh Molloy’s rapidly expanding record music conglomerate Dublin Vinyl. Scully set up a vinyl-pressing plant in Glasnevin to meet demand from music purists. LP sales rose last year for the 14th consecutive year, with 18.8 million records sold in America alone. Scully’s Dublin Vinyl has pressed everything from Joy Division to Robbie Williams to Amy Winehouse. As the music industry changes dramatically, Dublin Vinyl has moved into the direct-to-consumer space, helping artists and labels to manage e-commerce and fulfilment. It also has its own Love Vinyl club.

Toledo, OH | Culture Clash leaving west Toledo to take its tunes downtown: The longtime west Toledo staple for music fans is now set to bring the hits to historic location at former spot of The Paula Brown Shop. Boogie Records shut its doors just before, in 2004, before rising from the ashes as Culture Clash at Secor and Sylvania. Culture Clash was hard to miss on Secor. O’Connor lined the roof with vinyl records, creating a visual icon that matched the quirky, fun atmosphere of the record shop that was uniquely “Toledo”. It caused a stir at one point, but remained long enough for the lasting impression… O’Connor continued on the spirit of spinning vinyl in an era when mediums changed from records to digital and he and his store were deeply woven into the community. After his death in 2016, Tim Friedman took over. Even more live music resonated throughout the shop on Secor, with over 100 artists from locally and well beyond holding shows over the past three years. But now, the future is bright, bold and downtown, according to today’s announcement.

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In rotation: 8/3/20

Dayton, OH | New record store to open this weekend (8/1) in Belmont neighborhood: A children’s librarian, musician and music aficionado is set to open a new record store this weekend. James Downing-Groth, a children’s librarian for Dayton Public Schools, will debut his latest project, Blind Rage Records, to the public on Saturday, Aug. 1, at noon. The record store will carry both new and used records in the punk, hardcore, metal and indie rock genres and every genre in between. Customers will be able to find new vinyl from labels including Dischord, Revelation, Drastic Plastic, Rad Girlfriend, Night Animal, King of the Monsters and Havoc. The record store also shares a name with Downing-Groth’s record label, which has recorded albums for 15 different bands from around the world, including Internal, Locked Up, Wounded Paw and Gel… “It was kind of perfect for opening a store, and I have been sitting on just boxes and boxes of records from selling at record fairs. So it just kind of fell into place.”

Lansing, MI | The vinyl stacks keep spinning at Flat, Black & Circular: East Lansing record shop Flat, Black & Circular has been open for retail since the start of June, and manager Jon Howard said that business has practically returned to normal. “It’s kinda slower foot traffic, but people are buying a lot,” Howard said. “A lot of people traveling through town, people who used to live here, some regulars.” He noted that some regulars haven’t come back around yet, but he acknowledged that they may just be afraid of catching COVID-19. When news broke about the outbreak at Harper’s Bar, East Lansing gained an unfortunate association with the virus. “I’ve had regulars that I usually see daily or weekly, and they have not come out yet,” he said. “There’s one guy that I’ve only seen once since the news about Harper’s was revealed.” Despite the pandemic, Howard said that it basically feels like a typical summer at the shop.

Lincolnshire, UK | ‘It’s no fun if you can’t flick through records’ – Lincoln music shop boss reveals steps he’s taken so people can still browse: The boss of a popular independent record shop in Lincoln says that coronavirus has not stopped the music. Jim Penistan, 49, reopened Back to Mono in Guildhall Street on Monday, June 15, with restrictions for customers including 2m distancing and no more than five or six people in the shop at any one time limited. But what about the best thing about record shops – rifling through rows and rows of albums to discover some real gems? Well, that’s something that hasn’t changed as music fans are invited to hand sanitise on entry and exit and can also wear gloves. Mr Penistan, also known as Jim Sonic, who has continued his Back to Mono 1960s music club nights on Facebook Live, said: “It’s going well since we’ve reopened.

Cleveland, OH | Support Black-Owned Business Month With These Spots: From a record shop to a nail salon and more, these businesses are great places to start supporting for Black-Owned Business Month: Brittany’s Record Shop. Brittany Benton’s Slavic Village music store does more than just sell soul, reggae, hip-hop and Black-inspired records from the Fugees, Lenny Kravitz, Jay-Z and more. The unassuming shop, which is packed with vinyls thoughtfully organized in milk crates, is a gathering place for artists. Beatmakers, singers, rappers and producers — like Benton who is a DJ — come to display their talents and make connections. “I don’t get offended when people say it’s the Black record shop,” says Benton. “I just wanted to be a celebration of the culture because there’s a lot of independent shops in Cleveland, but none of them specialized in this niche. It was always underserved.”

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In rotation: 7/24/20

Asheville, NC | Citizen Vinyl Record Pressing Plant to Open in Asheville Citizen-Times Building: A full circle revival is underway for Asheville’s Citizen-Times building. Once home to the daily paper’s printing facility and offices, the historic site will soon be unveiled with a new identity as a boutique vinyl pressing plant, record store and bar/cafe. Founded by veteran music producer Gar Ragland and supported by a dream team of industry professionals and craftsmen, Citizen Vinyl is slated to become North Carolina’s first on-site pressing plant, though its mission goes beyond just manufacturing great quality records. With a craft-first approach that prioritizes quality and superior customer service, Citizen Vinyl hopes to make record production more manageable and accessible for both first-time vinyl clients and major label customers alike. With all shipping and manufacturing kept in-house, Citizen Vinyl will be able to fulfill low-volume orders at a budget friendly price and still maintain the bandwidth to execute large scale label projects.

Apparently people are loving cassettes again in 2020: Over the years, the music industry has seen a massive resurgence in physical music sales. Despite the age of streaming we’re currently in, vinyl and cassette sales have skyrocketed in recent years. In 2019, cassette tape sales saw one of its biggest years yet. Now, it looks like 2020 is set to be an even bigger year for cassette tapes. According to the Official Charts Company, cassette tape sales have more than doubled in 2020. This week, the Official Charts Company released new figures on cassette tape sales. The company describes the cassette as “the unlikely comeback kid of music formats” as it reveals there was a 103 percent increase in sales in the first half of 2020. This data is in comparison to the sales figures during the first half of 2019. According to the data, 65,000 cassettes were purchased in the first half of 2020. This means that sales are set to surpass 100,000 for the first time since 2003. The data also shows that pop music has played a big part in cassette sales this year.

UK | Opinion: Digital age no match for the tracks of my years: It’s the start of another day in lockdown land. You log-on to your hastily assembled work station in the “office” (previously known as the spare room, kitchen table or shed) and decide to listen to a little soothing background music. So, what will it be: the radio, CD, vinyl record or stream some music online? The answer is obvious. It has to be the latter, doesn’t it? With just a simple click of the mouse or a tap of the screen, you have all the music you could ever wish for. From the rise of Iggy to the fall of Ziggy, the delta blues to Delius, the millions of songs streaming offers is mind-boggling. But there’s a problem. What song, artist, album, playlist or genre do you listen to? And here lies the rub. As the title of US psychologist Barry Schwartz’s 2004 book The Paradox of Choice – Why More Is Less suggests: too much choice is a bad thing.

Don’t forget the joker: Motörhead releasing massive 40th anniversary ‘Ace of Spades’ box set: A massive box set edition of Motörhead’s 1980 album Ace of Spades will be released this fall to celebrate the record’s 40th anniversary. The expanded collection, which includes 42 previously unreleased tracks, is due out October 30. Inside the package you’ll find a new master of the original Ace of Spades, two live albums, a 10-inch vinyl EP featuring a collection of instrumentals from 1980, a double album of B-sides, outtakes and rarities, and a DVD compilation consisting of Motörhead TV appearances between 1980 and 1981. Also included is a host of memorabilia, such as a 40-page book, a tour program, and poker dice. For a tiny preview of the box set, you can download a 1981 live version of the song “Ace of Spades” now via digital outlets. You can pre-order the Ace of Spades 40th anniversary edition in various forms and bundles now.

Slipknot’s debut album has been repressed on vinyl: After celebrating its 21st anniversary at the end of June, Slipknot’s legendary self-titled debut album is getting the vinyl reissue treatment via SRCVINYL. The band’s iconic 1999 full-length is available for pre-order now, with the release coming on July 31. Unsurprisingly, vinyl editions of the album have always been a must-have for Maggots, with most fans these days having to resort to getting copies second-hand. On Slipknot’s 10th anniversary, a special edition of the record was released as part of a box set including 25 songs, music videos, a live set and the Sic: Your Nightmares, Our Dreams DVD. Recently, frontman Corey Taylor looked back at the ’Knot’s breakthrough release, revealing that his favourite song “by far” from the debut – and, in fact, out of the entirety of the band’s back-catalogue – is Scissors. “I love it because every time we would play it, the whole second half was improvised,” he said.

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In rotation: 7/23/20

Dublin, IE | Girl Band release limited-edition 7″ to support Covid-hit Dublin record shop: Given how hardcore a following they have it isn’t going to be hanging around for long! In a wonderful display of rock ‘n’ roll solidarity, Girl Band are releasing a live version of ‘Amygdala’ recorded at Vicar St. in support of The RAGE, the excellent Fade Street, Dublin 2 record shop, which has experienced a slump in sales during the pandemic and is currently looking for new premises while it continues to operate online. “We are releasing a limited run of 500 7” picture discs with all proceeds going to The RAGE,” the band reveal. “It will be a live version of ‘Amygdala’ taken from our Record Store Day release scheduled for August. The shop formally shut down its physical store on Fade Street last month due to complications that Covid 19 presented. Their online store is still operating and they’re looking for a new permanent location. The shop means a lot to us. Both Daniel and Adam worked in the store and we played our first ever gig in the basement. We want to raise a bit of money for them.”

Montreal, CA | The best record stores in Montreal with choice vinyl, CDs, tapes and more: Take your collection to the next level with new releases and hidden treasures from the best record stores in Montreal. Any self-respecting music lover knows where the best record stores in Montreal can be found, and those in the know like to keep their collections on point by checking them out regularly. This city is one of the more important music meccas on this big blue marble of ours, so it follows that our town should be home to more than a few great record stores—and it is, with selections that are only rivalled by the curators of vintage goods from the best thrift stores in Montreal (coincidentally also an occasional good source of records). Whether you’re looking for new things, old things, or things in between (or just, like, concert tickets), Montreal’s got you covered from Mile-Ex to the Mile-End and the Plateau—even out west in sleepy No Damn Good (Notre-Dame-de-Grace). Here’s where to find the best record stores in Montreal:

Watch Sound Of Vinyl Curator Henry Rollins Reveal How To Prolong The Life Of An Album: Formerly the frontman with legendary outfits Black Flag and Rollins Band, Rollins is a confirmed champion of vinyl. With curation from punk rock icon and accomplished author Henry Rollins, and audio engineer and DJ Gimel “Young Guru” Keaton, The Sound Of Vinyl first launched in the US in October 2017, providing a first-of-its-kind music service that provides an innovative new personalized and curated platform for music fans to discover and buy vinyl records via text messaging. Rollins has since used the platform to recommend his favorite albums, share stories from his life in punk rock, and interview music veterans like producer Don Was and legendary Capitol Studios vinyl mastering engineer Ron McMaster. Aside from being a confirmed vinyl addict himself, the former Black Flag and Rollins Band also values the science behind caring for his records. In an exclusive new video for uDiscover Music, he shares some essential tips which will prolong the life of everyone’s favorite records.

Victoria, TX | Record store owner and DJ dies of coronavirus: Ruben Flores, known as “Midnite Rambler” during a long radio DJ career in Victoria, died of complications of coronavirus at 73 after fighting Parkinson’s disease for a number of years. He also owned a vinyl record shop by the same name at 503 E. North Street for more than three decades. “He was great. He was my best friend and raised me by himself with help from my grandmother and aunt sometimes. He was always there for me, and he was a really good person,” said Ramona Flores, Ruben Flores’ daughter. “I remember growing up, when things were going well, people would come into the store to talk to him, not to buy anything. They just liked to listen to his stories. Whenever people were down on their luck, he was always helping. He said if you have the means to help someone, you should.”

New Orleans, LA | Delfeayo Marsalis Kicks Off KEEP NOLA MUSIC ALIVE With Virtual Concert: “…My dad dedicated his life to growing and promoting New Orleans musicians,” said Marsalis the legendary New Orleans pianist Ellis Marsalis who succumbed to Covid-19 on April 1, 2020 at the age of 85. “Today, the global health pandemic presents a threat to New Orleans’ culture bearers like none before. No less than our centuries-old musical heritage is at risk. With all performance venues shut down indefinitely and the musical tourism industry boarded up, our artists are struggling with both professional and financial uncertainty. Keep NOLA Music Alive was organized to fill a huge void.” …The idea to start the KNOMA initiative arose from a local record store’s tribute to Marsalis’ father. “Peaches Records in Uptown New Orleans, for decades a supporter of local artists and New Orleans music, posted a sign that read, ‘Thank you Ellis Marsalis for Keeping NOLA Music Alive!’ the day after my dad’s passing,” Marsalis said. He developed a plan, assembled a board of directors, and secured lead funding for KNOMA, assuring that 100 percent of all donations go directly to New Orleans musicians and culture bearers.

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In rotation: 7/22/20

Cassette sales have more than doubled in 2020: New figures from the Official Charts company have revealed that cassette sales have more than doubled in 2020. Describing the cassette as “the unlikely comeback kid of music formats”, the Official Charts Company said there was a 103% increase on cassette sales in the first half of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. 65,000 cassettes were purchased in the first half of 2020 and the figures are on course to top 100,000 for the first time since 2003. The best selling cassettes of 2020 were largely in the pop genre, with 5 Seconds of Summer, Lady Gaga, The 1975, Selena Gomez and Dua Lipa taking the top five spots. 5 Seconds of Summer’s ‘CALM’ sold 12,000 in the first week making it the fastest selling cassette in 18 years. Last month (June 22), it was revealed that vinyl sales soared after record stores re-opened for the first time since lockdown. According to data from the Official Charts Company, sales in the first week since re-opening reached the highs of pre-COVID-19. Vinyl sales surged by 27.57% week-on-week to a total of 88,486 units, while CDs also experienced a rise of 11.09% to 253,779 units.

Columbus, OH | Vinyl record store Spoonful still rocking after a decade Downtown: The record shop opened during the vinyl resurgence, and has maintained a loyal customer base — even amid the pandemic. Owners Brett Ruland and Amy Kesting are celebrating with a 10% off sale on Sunday. You could say Brett Ruland and Amy Kesting opened Spoonful Records at the right time and place. In the year 2010, the vinyl resurgence was already underway, and there was no competing record store Downtown. Still, Ruland said he was “terrified” on opening day in July at their Long Street location. “I was afraid to look up to see if anybody was even picking anything up,” said Ruland, 48, who lives in Olde Towne East with Kesting, 45. The couple married in 2014. But he didn’t need to worry; customers lined up with records in their arms, and a local DJ showed up to film the event for his YouTube channel. “We were just like, ‘OK, these are the record people,’” Kesting recalled. ”‘The record people are here now.’”

Manawatu, NZ | Vinyl and music at the Hokowhitu Bowling Club: Bent Horseshoe has a big day at the Hokowhitu Bowling Club on July 25. The day will start at 11am with a record fair and at 7.30pm Pip Payne and The Strum Troopers will entertain. Payne has been a leading light of the music scene in Wellington for many years. Originally from Britain, Payne gained experience playing around Europe before coming to New Zealand. He formed and was president of the Capital Blues Club for many years and ran their Jam Nights. Payne has toured New Zealand many times as a solo artist and with bands and is well-known for taking well-known songs and reinterpreting them to give them a different feel. Warwick Murray and Dougal Spiers are the Strum Troopers. Steve Tolley ran the Bent Horseshoe Cafe a few years a ago. “I used to like inviting different musicians to come and play together and one of these was Dougal.

Sarnia, ON | Cheeky Monkey to host stripped-down, safer Record Store Day: In the immortal words of Canadian musician Neil Young, rock and roll can never die. Nor, it seems, can International Record Store Day which, in spite of a global pandemic and a halt to virtually all live music performances, will once again be taking place this year at Sarnia’s downtown record store Cheeky Monkey, though in a significantly different format from previous years. An annual celebration and tribute to North America’s fiercely autonomous and culturally significant independent record stores, International Record Day features hundreds upon hundreds of new, rare and limited edition vinyl releases from both contemporary and classic artists ranging from Billie Eilish to Paul McCartney to Steve Earle. While it typically happens in the spring, COVID-19 crashed this year’s iteration of the music shop shindig, forcing organizers to rearrange the jubilee until later in the year. Now, instead of one day-long celebration there are going to be three Record Store Day Drops

Of Course You Can Get the Bugsnax Theme Song on Vinyl Now: Kinda bug and kinda snack, cop this summer’s hottest track. After becoming a surprise hit during Sony’s PS5 reveal event, the Bugsnax theme song — “ooOoo! Talkin’ ’bout Bugsnax” — will be released on vinyl later this year. Performed by the British indie pop group Kero Kero Bonito, “It’s Bugsnax!” comes on a custom seven-inch vinyl record in a strawberry-scented scratch-n-sniff jacket. Preorders cost $12 USD on iam8bit, with shipments going out in Q4 2020. The earworm of a theme song debuted alongside Bugsnax during the PS5 event in June. Developed by Young Horses (Octodad), Bugsnax takes players to Snaktooth Island, home to bug-snack hybrid creatures, like the googly-eyed strawberry seen on the album art above. The game itself is a first-person adventure in which you study the behaviors of various Bugsnax, according to Young Horses president Philip Tibitoski. The developer has yet to show off gameplay, though Kevin Geisler, a programmer on Bugsnax, lists Ape Escape, Viva Piñata, Pokemon Snap, and Dark Cloud among its inspirations.

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In rotation: 7/21/20

Chattanooga, TN | Yellow Racket Records offer a tactile and aural experience: Ben VanderHart describes himself as “kind of stubborn,” so when the coronavirus pandemic hit just about a week or two after he’d signed a lease on a building on Main Street, he dove head first into opening the Yellow Racket Records store he has dreamed of owning for several years. Like everyone else, he has had to adapt his original vision, so the coffeeshop and live music aspects of the store are on hold, and customers can’t actually enter the store to browse his inventory. Instead, they can go online at and shop. They can either have the product shipped to them, or they can drive up to the front door, text him and get the item brought out to the vehicle. He hopes to open the doors later this month or in early August, but is weary of opening only to have to close because the case numbers keep rising. …”It’s always growing, and it’s just been from word of mouth really. I’m almost out of cash,” he joked. People have also been buying, he said, noting that he did about $3,000 in sales in the first three weeks.

Springfield, IL | Dumb Records, Arlington’s open arcades: Three weeks ago, there were no arcades in downtown Springfield. Now, there’s two. Dumb Records, 418 E. Monroe St., unveiled “Dumb Arcade” earlier this month. A few days later, Arlington’s opened their arcade bar. The “Dumb Arcade” is hidden away in the back of the record store’s live event space in a dark room. Once there, customers are greeted with the sight and sounds of 10 machines, including a sit down racing game, 4 stand up classic arcade games, and 5 pinball machines. Dumb Records owner Brian Galecki said the concept came from business partner Jeff Black. Black formerly operated The Radon Lounge, a live entertainment venue, out of his basement. A key part of the experience was arcade games. With the end of The Radon Lounge last year, Black was looking to get his games “out of the basement” to where they could be enjoyed. Dumb Records became an obvious partner. “He was he was looking to bring what he was doing more out of the basement in terms of putting on shows and having an arcade,” Galecki said. After a brainstorm, they decided to put it in the back room.

Parry Sound, ON | Bee-Sides Radio is not just music from the vinyl era – it’s the actual vinyl record: The resurgence of vinyl records in the last decade has created a lot of new media and programming touting itself as ‘Vinyl ….this’ and ‘Vinyl…that.’ What makes the vinyl sound so unique is not how perfect it is, but how imperfect it is. In my opinion, unlike its digital counterpart, vinyl lets some of the source’s (a turntable) own tonal qualities seep into the music much like a concert hall’s acoustics affect how an orchestra sounds. Digital takes all those imperfections out of the equation creating a sound which many refer to as ‘sterile’ and ‘without character.’ While these imperfections on paper are not ideal, such a cartridge creating its own sound with harmonic and inter-modulation distortion (not to be confused with clipping that causes distorted buzz), that sound is now desirable. Nothing can compare to actually listening to a record through a vintage receiver or amplifier, however, Bee-Sides Radio tries to achieve the next best thing.

Kuala Lumpur, MY | Still rocking it old school: The market for vinyl records and CDs may be dying but to audiophiles, nothing beats the sensory experience these formats deliver. Music shop owner Joey Tan, 40, said vinyl records and CDs, which are still sought after by serious audiophiles, provide a different experience. “From the richness of the tune to the beats and to the rhythm of the music, these formats offer a fantastic experience. “The songs and music pressed into these formats are of excellent quality. “Through a good vinyl record, for example, you can hear the richness, the details in the instruments and truly feel the mood of the song. “This is why even after all these years some people are still adding to their collection,” he said when met at his shop in Komtar yesterday. He added that no matter how top-notch your sound system might be, digital formats were no match for the classics. …“Although I do not make big money, it makes me happy and content as I always come across music lovers who patronise my shop and I can chat or share my interests…”

Beethoven Graphic Novel Celebrates Composer’s 250th Birthday: A new Beethoven graphic novel reimagining the life of the legendary composer through striking new visuals will be published in November. Z2 Comics and Deutsche Grammophon have announced a new Beethoven graphic novel, The Final Symphony: A Beethoven Anthology, will be published in November, a month before the 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth in December. The Final Symphony: A Beethoven Anthology reimagines the life of the legendary composer through striking new visuals created by world-class artists. The deluxe edition of the Beethoven graphic novel will be accompanied by an exclusive double vinyl LP following the story through the composer’s own works. Ludwig van Beethoven is one of the most influential and significant composers of all time. Beyond his prolific output Beethoven faced many struggles in his personal life, including tumultuous relationships and the loss of hearing which affected him profoundly, however his music is a testament to the human spirit in the face of cruel misfortune.

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In rotation: 7/20/20

New Brunswick, NJ | NJ Record Shop Is Home to Many Classic Gems: Darren Revilla is an avid collector of vinyl LPs and vintage audio gear. If you’re looking for an album from an obscure band no one (except collectors) has ever heard of, he’s the guy you ask. He’s also the owner of Revilla Grooves and Gear, the retro-cool shop specializing in vinyl LPs and vintage audio gear he opened five years ago in the heart of Milltown, New Jersey, 15 minutes from the main campus of Rutgers University in neighboring New Brunswick. …Two years ago Revilla moved into a more spacious location just down the block. Apart from accommodating twice as many record bins (for a total of around 15,000 records), the new spot has more wall space for highlighting special finds like a near-mint copy of the 1958 Miles Davis classic Milestones (yours for a hundred bucks), and a lot more room for showcasing vintage gear that runs the gamut from classic receivers, preamps, and power amps to open-reel tape decks, turntables, and speakers.

Asheville, NC | Citizen Vinyl record pressing plant to open in Asheville, NC this September. Record store, bar/cafe among plans for downtown Citizen-Times building. A full circle revival is underway for Asheville, NC’s Citizen-Times building. While still home to the daily paper’s printing facility and offices, the historic site will soon be unveiled with a new identity as a boutique vinyl pressing plant, record store and bar/cafe (and a new name): Citizen Vinyl. Founded by veteran music producer Gar Ragland and supported by a dream team of industry professionals and craftsmen, Citizen Vinyl is slated to become North Carolina’s first on site pressing plant, though its mission goes beyond just manufacturing great quality records. With a craft-first approach that prioritizes quality and superior customer service, Citizen Vinyl hopes to make record production more manageable and accessible for both first-time vinyl clients and major label customers alike. With all shipping and manufacturing kept in-house, Citizen Vinyl will be able to fulfill low-volume orders at a budget friendly price and still maintain the bandwidth to execute large scale projects. Citizen Vinyl’s vision extends past vinyl manufacturing to embrace a role as a community hub and center for creative collaboration.

Wilkes-Barre Township, PA | Gallery of Sound: Raising money for the arts in Luzerne County. All of the proceeds from “Come Together To Raise Money For The Arts” will go to local theaters and art departments. About a dozen bands were set to hit the stage tonight for a community benefit concert called “Come Together To Raise Money For The Arts.” “Music is such a big part of everybody’s lives here,” said Cat Havrilla of Rockology Americans. “Without them, it would kind of be really difficult its really nice to be able to give back to everybody who gives us the opportunities that we have.” The idea for the benefit came from Joe Nardone, owner of the Gallery of Sound record store. He said that while the stage is up for other events this weekend, he thought it would be a good way to give back to the organizations that are hurting right now. “Every band in fact on this bill has played in my store once or twice,” Nardone said. “These guys aren’t working and all the places guys play in are shutdown and were just trying to do the best we can to give these people a little bit of money.”

Nursing home residents re-create iconic album covers while in lockdown: Rock on, Nana! Music and art have become two popular pastimes during the long months of coronavirus lockdown, and one nursing home in the U.K. found the perfect way to combine the two. Residents at Sydmar Lodge Care Home in Edgware, outside London, took photographs re-creating famous album covers, from makeup to the perfect pose. The re-creations cross genres and decades, including covers by David Bowie, Taylor Swift, Elvis Presley, Madonna and more. The staff member who headed up the project, activities coordinator Robert Speker, told TODAY that he tries to keep his residents entertained with “topical” ideas and that they got on board with his plan “pretty quickly.” He wanted to achieve a mix of current and classic albums that were “well-known,” he explained. After he’d chosen the albums, he then had to decide which artist best suited which resident. “When I was matching the residents up, I had a quick think. Who would like to participate, and which would best suit them? Who wouldn’t mind having tattoos drawn on their arms or zigzags painted on their faces?” Speker said. “I wanted the resident’s personality to shine through. I feel I managed that, unbelievably,” he continued. “The reaction they had was so lovely.”

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In rotation: 7/17/20

UK | BPI’s Geoff Taylor on the ‘heroic effort’ of the physical music sector: Amid the disruption from Covid-19, the UK recorded music industry is still growing. As revealed in the latest issue of Music Week and our analysis of the Official Charts Company data, the rate of overall market growth slowed during Q2 but remained steady. Geoff Taylor, BPI and BRIT Awards chief executive, has told Music Week that the increasing dominance of streaming protected the industry. The AES figure (Album Equivalent Sales) for the first half of 2020 was 73.3 million, a year-on-year increase of 6.8%. Even for the Q2 period when the lockdown set in, AES still increased by 5.8% year-on-year. “The fact that streaming accounts for the majority of our consumption has obviously insulated us to some degree,” said Taylor… Physical music has now bounced back to above 20% of the share of album sales. But Taylor acknowledged it had been tough during recent months.

Raleigh, NC | The Triangle’s vinyl record scene: Hey, Raleigh. RALtoday intern Phoenix here. With consumers choosing the appeal of old-school vinyl records over contemporary music technologies — indicated by the first recorded peak of vinyl album sales since 1991 — you may be wondering how to start or broaden your own vinyl collection. Lucky for you, the Triangle is host to a myriad of record stores each with its own history + offerings. We’ve compiled a list of eight shops in the area we recommend for your next vinyl hunt. The shops on our list go beyond offering their standard collections of new and used records by venturing into music production, magazine publication, podcasts, books, beverages + works by local makers. In the age of digitization, picking up a record is a great way to unplug and find new ways to experience your favorite music all while shopping local.

Peter Gabriel’s live albums set for vinyl reissue: Peter Gabriel’s Plays Live, Live In Athens 1987, Secret World Live and Growing Up Live are to be released over a four-month span. Four of Peter Gabriel’s live albums are to be reissued later this year on vinyl. Plays Live, Live In Athens 1987, Secret World Live and Growing Up Live have all been remastered at half-speed and cut to lacquers at 33RPM by Matt Colton at Alchemy Mastering. All four have been mastered by Tony Cousins at Metropolis and overseen by Peter Gabriel’s sound engineer Richard Chappell. Each album will also come with a hi-resolution download code and will be released through Real World/Caroline International/ADA. The first in the series will be 1983’s Plays Live which will be released on August 28 on double vinyl. That’ll be followed on September 25 by another double vinyl: Live In Athens 1987, which was recorded in the Greek capital on Gabriel’s tour in support of his fifth solo album, So. October 23 will see 1993’s Secret World arrive on 2LP, while Growing Up Live from 2003 will be reissued as a triple album pressing. Earlier this year, Gabriel released his album Rated PG, which was originally launched for Record Store Day 2019.

How Third Man Records Unearthed a Great Lost Johnny Cash Live Album: “It was exactly what we were looking for, and it’s unheard,” says Third Man’s Ben Blackwell of the 1973 concert. …Part of Third Man’s mail-order business is the Vault series, which lets fans pay to receive a quarterly surprise release in the mail. The 40-plus Vault releases have included rare albums by the White Stripes, the Raconteurs, and the Dead Weather, plus limited-edition releases by Pearl Jam, Sleep, Margo Price and more. Now, the Vault is about to release one of its most interesting archival finds yet: a lost Johnny Cash live album. The show was recorded on April 29th, 1973, at Los Angeles’ Ahmanson Theatre. The occasion was A Week to Remember, six nights of music organized by Clive Davis to celebrate Columbia Records’ legendary roster. Miles Davis, the Staples Singers, Bruce Springsteen, and Earth, Wind and Fire all performed. Cash brought his road show, which included wife June Carter Cash and guitarist Carl Perkins, his friend going back to their Sun Records days, for a set full of classics: The night opens with a stomping “Big River,” which leads to Kris Kristofferson’s “Sunday Morning Coming Down.” There’s a wild medley of “Folsom Prison Blues / Wreck of the Old 97 / Orange Blossom Special,” plus “Jackson.”

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In rotation: 7/16/20

26 Essential Albums You Might Have Missed in 2020: From Anz to Yaya Bey, these under-the-radar releases deserve more love than they got. We all had big plans for 2020. But instead of gathering with your friends and taking in live music, you’re on the couch watching reruns of Frasier, trying out weird new hobbies, and eating way too many hot dogs. You’d be forgiven if you’re not checking out as much music as you would be in normal times, but we’re here to help. Things are bleak, but they aren’t totally hopeless. Music is still happening even as the world seemed to have temporarily stopped. Without the physical music community of shows, band practices, and regular recording sessions, people have been scrappy in finding connections in the digital space through live streams, fundraisers, and supporting artists directly. If any of these acts give you a sense of comfort in their songs, consider returning the favor on Bandcamp or at your own independent record store.

St. Petersburg’, FL | St. Pete’s Bananas Records says they didn’t know they violated city’s mask mandate: Bananas was listed in other media outlets’ coverage over the weekend. Michelle Allen is pissed. Much to her dismay, St. Pete’s Bananas Records is a part of the City of St. Petersburg’s list of small and major businesses that needed to be inspected twice by local code enforcement. The list surfaced in full via local Fox affiliate WVTV a few weeks ago. The Tampa Bay Times also listed Bananas among several local businesses that were fined. But Allen recently wrote that her record store, located at 2887 22nd Ave. N, was never fined, never warned verbally or in writing and never told it was in violation of any mask ordinance. Allen also told Creative Loafing Tampa Bay that code enforcers said nothing to anyone in the establishment about a violation. She also said that inspectors were told that they were not obligated to say anything to owners or employees, which probably means that there most likely wasn’t even a violation to begin with.

Cambridge, MA | Planet Records owner in Cambridge among others accusing bookkeeper of fraud: A record store owner in Cambridge is claiming he’s been defrauded by a bookkeeper who is facing charges for allegedly stealing tens of thousands of dollars from two other small businesses through her payroll services firm. Patricia Lindau, 60, Newburgh, Maine, is facing two counts of larceny and embezzlement by a tax preparer, the Essex District Attorney’s Office said in a press release. Lindau allegedly stole $60,300 from companies in Danvers and Haverhill by failing to pay their state taxes through her company Northeast Abacus Inc. She faces up to five years in state prison for larceny, three years for embezzlement, and a fine of up to $100,000, according to the release. The investigation into her alleged crimes is ongoing and more charges are possible. John Damroth, owner of Planet Records in Cambridge, said Lindau handled his payroll for more than 30 years and they had a cordial relationship over the phone. “She knew the name of my kid and would ask after him and stuff like that,” Damroth said. “So, basically in retrospect, maybe that was a way of getting my guard down.”

Vinyl record collecting has come full circle: The world of recorded music evolves in a circle, a small black one. Much like the vinyl records that have made a huge resurgence over the past few years. It all began in 1901 when the Victor Company released its Red Seal line, which played 10-inch, 78-rpm records. The technology was bare and they could only play for a few minutes but the seed was planted. You could now enjoy music that was previously recorded in the comfort of your own home. The 1940’s saw the first Long Play records that could hold 22 1/2 minutes of music per side this was a game changer that saw an explosion of recorded music and artists to record it. With the release of Compact Discs in the 1980’s there was a steady decline in vinyl sales. Online streaming would take it even further away from owning vinyl records. Computer convenience overtook the beauty of listening to music in a warm analog style. The world wanted to move forward with technology but forgot the heart and soul of music.

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In rotation: 7/15/20

US vinyl album sales celebrate double-digit growth in the first half of 2020: Midyear stats prove record sales soared during lockdown. The mid-year figures are in and the big surprise (given the current climate) is that vinyl remains very much alive and kicking in the States. According to the new Nielsen Music/MRC Data midyear report, the U.S. music industry posted a 9.4 per cent increase, despite the very real COVID-19 economic downturn elsewhere. What’s interesting, however, is that music-lovers aren’t buying across the board. With some record stores shuttered for months due to lockdown restrictions across the US, CD sales actually fell a whopping 30.2 per cent, to just 18.5 million copies from the 26.53 million copies sold in the prior year. Meanwhile, digital album downloads declined 14.3 percent too, to 17.65 million from the 20.6 million album downloads in the first six months of 2019. Thus, with almost all independent stores closed (and with most consumers sheltering at home) CD sales dwindled – even as shoppers turned to Amazon and other online retailers for their physical music fixes.

Los Angeles, CA | First gentrification, now a pandemic. Can Highland Park’s fabled music scene survive? On March 7, Ryan Pollie threw the inaugural Highland Park Folk Festival, a free concert and comedy show held under the winsome tree canopy at Tierra de la Culebra Park. The show from the singer-songwriter (a resident of next-door Eagle Rock, and signed to powerhouse L.A. indie ANTI- Records) drew around 300 people to see more than a dozen local acts and comedians. It was, as the 31-year-old Pollie described, “one of the best days of my life, that a show like that could be feasible in one of the most beautiful places to live in the world.” Just four days later though, COVID-19 hit and local music got walloped. “There was no sense of what was coming. We had no idea of the effect it would have on our lives,” Pollie said. …the neighborhood, once Redfin’s hottest in the county, has also been ransacked by gentrification and real-estate speculation, much of it sold on the promise of one arts community at the expense of another that’s been around for decades.

Minneapolis, MN | Rock, Paper, Scissors finds new home at 24th & Lyndale: South Minneapolis gift and record store Rock, Paper, Scissors is finally getting settled in its new Whittier home after moving plans were disrupted by the pandemic. Couple Tes de Luna and Jason Hughes opened their first Minneapolis store at 48th & Chicago in 2018, but when their lease was ending and they saw the former Cliche space being advertised at 24th & Lyndale, they jumped at the opportunity to be closer to their home. The plan had been to open their new location in mid-March, but coronavirus-related retail closures statewide put a hold on that. The shop opened on May 27, only to board up its windows two days later as civil unrest swept over the city following the killing of George Floyd. In its first week back, Rock, Paper, Scissors donated 10% of all sales to local nonprofit Black Table Arts. So far, business has been better than expected, Hughes said, with people coming by to browse around and check out records and other goods. Locals have been supportive, and some have remarked how happy they are to be able to browse through a store again.

Waxing Poetic About the Majesty of Vinyl Records with Benmont Tench: Walk into Benmont Tench’s home and you’ll immediately know you’ve entered the dwelling of a musician. In the expansive living room belonging to the co-founder of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, flanked by walls of books, vinyl records and various instruments — acoustic and electric guitars, an Epiphone bass, a ukelele, Wurlitzer piano and a grand piano once owned by keyboard legend Nicky Hopkins — resides the soul and heartbeat of the room, his turntable. Benmont Tench is a devoted vinyl enthusiast, and we spoke at length about his appreciation of the medium. …Amoeba Records in Hollywood has always been great. I also really like Second Hand Rose Music in Manhattan because I spend a lot of time in Manhattan. It’s fantastic. The section of vinyl is really good. CD Trader is really good, but by virtue of its size Amoeba has masses of stuff so it’s the record store I go to in L.A. But I know there are tons of other record stores in L.A. that I haven’t gotten to.

Industry insider: Om Records label manager/partner Gunnar Hissam: We chat with Gunnar Hissam about putting together Om’s 25 year compilation and the constantly evolving music business. Om Records– one of America’s longest running independent music labels, is celebrating 25 years in the business this summer. While the celebration was supposed to be bigger, bolder and grander with parties and other events, which has obviously been derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic, they are still looking to mark the occasion. They have released a new compilation Om Records, 25 Years that features 26 new tracks, unreleased material and Om classics. There are tunes from across genres by Kaskade, Mark Farina, People Under The Stairs, Groove Armada, Soulstice and others. However there is more to the label than just this compilation and struggling through a summer where the music business has been throttled by a pandemic. It has been a stalwart of independent music for 25 years, helping to launching careers like of artists Kaskade, while also pushing underrated underground releases across house, funk & hip-hop.

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In rotation: 7/14/20

Wellington, NZ | NZ’s longest-running record store in Wellington lives on with change of ownership: New Zealand’s longest running independent record store, Slow Boat in Wellington has survived recessions, the advent of the internet and so far, the pandemic. Now after 35 years its owner has sold the shop to two long time workers keeping the music alive for the next generation. It’s a music collector’s heaven with around 100,000 records and CDs spanning all tastes. Founder, Dennis O’Brien bought the Cuba Street building, an old bank in the 1980s. The shop has hosted concerts and has gained a celebrity following, Mr O’Brien saying that actor Martin Freeman used to come in “a lot”. But the store has also had its challenges. “There were halcyon days when CDs came in and everything just roared along, records fine and dandy. and then came downloading and we lost a generation or two perhaps,” says Mr O’Brien. Vinyl has struggled for years but Slow Boat has stuck by the old LP and caught the resurgence.

Herne Bay, UK | Herne Bay record shop B’side the C’side set to close: Scores of people have been queueing up outside a popular record shop after the owners announced it is set to close. Martin Eastman and wife Chris have been running B’side the C’side in Herne Bay High Street since 2013. But they have decided to relocate to Essex and sold the store after it was put on the market last year. They have now launched a closing down sale where “everything must go.” Martin, 65, has been living his boyhood fantasy of owning a record store ever since he bought his first vinyl in 1962. His wife Chris described how they had to make the difficult decision to sell the shop to be closer to family. “It was my husband’s dream so I thought ‘OK, let’s get it out of his system’,” the 63-year-old said. “So we moved down here and opened the shop. “It is a shame to move really because if our family was down here, we wouldn’t be leaving. We have had a great time – people are so friendly and lovely.”

Brooklyn, NY | Record Store Recs: Salt Cathedral Talk Favorite Brooklyn Indie Shops & How To Support Artists Of Color: With the unprecedented global disruption of 2020, it’s important to support the music community however we can. With our series Record Store Recs, checks in with vinyl-loving artists to learn more about their favorite record stores and the gems they’ve found there. Finding inspiration from tropical, danceable rhythms of their native Colombia, Bogotá-born, Brooklyn-based electropop duo Salt Cathedral create breezy, joyful music that’s impossible to not dance to. The band, consisting of Juliana Ronderos and Nicolas Losada, first met in the U.S. while attending Berklee College of Music. They first released music as Salt Cathedral in 2013 and were signed to the legendary electronic label Ultra Music in 2018. Their name is a nod to their shared hometown, inspired by the Catedral de Sal in Zipaquirá, an underground church built 200 meters underground in a former salt mine in the small town outside of Colombia’s capital.

Michigan City, IN | Tom Lounges opens second record store in Michigan City: Northwest Indiana music legend Tom Lounges — a journalist, DJ, radio host, emcee and promoter who’s been a vital part of the Region music scene for decades — has opened a second record shop in Michigan City. Lounges, the longtime publisher of Midwest Beat magazine, host of the “Midwest Beat” show on Lakeshore Public Radio and writer of a weekly column for The Times of Northwest Indiana, opened Tom Lounges’ Record Bin in downtown Hobart three years ago to sell off some of his massive record collection. Now he has opened a second location at 1601 Franklin St. in Michigan City. The new record shop will sell vinyl records, CDs, cassettes, vintage Star Plaza concert posters, tie dye shirts, clothing, mugs, turntables, CBD and many other items in a space about twice as large as the downtown Hobart store at 218 Main St. The new store also will host music lessons, have an art nook featuring the work of local artists, and run a live 24/7 online radio station at and on the Region Radio app, as the Hobart stores does.

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