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

In rotation: 8/4/17

The Beautiful Secrets Behind Vinyl: Vinyl records are overtaking the world once again. Their popularity begins to rise from the ashes due to increased interest in retro style. Many people believe that vinyl does, in fact, sound better than any other sound medium. At this point, you may disagree, but if you give it a chance, you might be surprised. People usually fall in love with it on a first listening. Today we are here to offer you some insight on the history of vinyl, how does it work and what to do if you start getting addicted to its sound

Grammy-winning folk singer Gillian Welch sets the record straight on why analog is far superior to digital: “[Digital] never offered me anything,” Welch says. “People tout its convenience and its affordability. But I never wanted to hear something from an artist that they did in the most convenient or affordable way.” She compares manufacturing vinyl records to a painter choosing their materials. “Do I want to hear that a painter is using the most affordable paints?” Welch asks. “Or that it was more convenient? No. I want to know it was the best medium for the job.”

How Vinyl is Making a Comeback: What may be more surprising is the fact that almost half of those buying vinyl records are under the age of 25, and it’s not uncommon to see modern artists releasing vinyl versions of their newest albums – and selling well. Among the 40 best-selling vinyl albums so far in 2017 are Ed Sheeran’s “Divide,” the XX’s “I See You,” the Gorillaz’s “Humanz,” and the Arctic Monkey’s “AM.” Couple this with the nostalgia and huge fan base of bands like The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and Pink Floyd, and you find a diverse group of vinyl listeners.

The return of vinyl? The death of vinyl to me has always been overrated since Montreal has always offered vinyl for sale as well as record players. Vinyl music kind of became an old punk rocker, he won’t die but now stands in the back. Every move I ever did until I bought a house I usually owned a bed, some clothes, bicycle, computer and my six boxes of records. For many years I did not even have a player but the thought of getting rid of my collection was out of the question. I am glad my patience paid off because after securing a decent player that goes to 11, it has been amazing to relive some old memories and learn what kind of music is timeless and what kind was right for that time in your life.

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In rotation: 8/3/17

Vinyl record pop-ups pay off for ‘stunned’ retailer: Two years of vinyl record pop-ups for collectors have left retailer Nick Langford stunned by the level of interest in the vintage format. He started his business with a shipment of 10,000 LPs (long-playing records) in 2015, reports Post Magazine. “It’s all about vinyl,” says Langford, who holds the pop-up events each month at SoHo’s Culture Club Gallery. “Every genre from the ’50s onward is covered, including new issues from Hong Kong artists like Blood Wine or Teenage Riot,” says the English expat, who describes the demand as “quite extraordinary.”

Dubai record store is proving that there’s still an appetite for vinyl: The success of a new independent record store in Dubai proves that the emirate is truly a hipster hangout When, in the summer of 2014, Shadi Megallaa made the announcement from the cover of a now-deceased weekly local music magazine that he would open a specialist vinyl record store in Dubai, it sounded like a braver, more eccentric endeavor than it does now. This is in part because of a global vinyl rebirth, which last year unregistered sales at a 25-year high as 12-inch albums were readily stocked by Europe’s supermarket chains and clothing retailers. But this is partly, also, because Dubai’s cultural vogue has evolved at a phenomenal stage over the past three years.

The factory behind Jamaica’s reborn vinyl industry launches crowdfunding campaign: Florida-based SunPress Vinyl has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for the expansion of their factory and label. SunPress’ expansion efforts follow recent announcements that new pressing plants are due to open in Japan, Seoul, and Melbourne. The company is housed in the former Final Vinyl HQ, founded in the 1970s by pioneering Jamaican producer Joe Gibbs. In its previous incarnation the factory was responsible for pressing and distributing all of Studio One’s output, including records from Bob Marley, Toots and the Maytals and Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry.

Classic albums have become today’s coffee table books: Now, with the music industry irreversibly changing due to streaming via very inexpensive monthly subscriptions, a shortage of brick and mortar record stores with the closure of such stores as HMV in Canada and the U.S., and Virgin and Tower Records worldwide in recent years, the actual purchasing of a compact disc, or in some cases, vinyl and even cassettes to a very limited extent, has changed from a common phenomenon to a niche industry. Record companies have tried to find several ways to promote the actual purchase of a CD. In the case of new albums, regular and “deluxe” editions are released, which means one version with a couple of extra songs, at a somewhat higher price and with somewhat nicer packaging.

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In rotation: 8/2/17

Northwest Iowa music lovers also taking part in vinyl resurgence: “We’re seeing more and more of an interest in people collecting records. We’re getting all sorts of collectors, like those first-time people that are buying inexpensive stuff, the scratch and dent type stuff, just wanting to be able to spin records, but they’re collecting titles that they like. Then we also have the high-end collectors that are more fussy and want the premium stuff,” said Mark Carey, of Carey’s Electronics (you can find records on their upper level) in Spencer.

Still rockin’: Val’s Halla Records celebrates 45 years in Oak Park: For nearly half a century, those looking for records in Oak Park looked no further than Val’s Halla Records. Founded 45 years ago by Val Camilletti, Val’s Halla Records celebrated its anniversary with a two-day event July 29 and 30 inside its store at 239 Harrison St. The event featured sales, raffles, refreshments, food and live music, including performances by Matt Lenny, Bill Kavanagh & Friends, the Basement Bluegrass Band, Sails, The Beatleleles, Phil Angotti and The Get. “We had seven bands over two days and some surprise guests who came in and joined them on our stage,” Camilletti said. “It was wonderful.”

Fool’s Gold Records opens new flagship store in NYC: Fool’s Gold Records, founded by A-Trak and Nick Catchdubs, has celebrated their 10th birthday with the opening of a new permanent HQ in Brooklyn. Their previous incarnation, located on nearby Metropolitan Avenue, was a much smaller, low-key affair, selling merchandise and music from the label which you could listen to on iPods before buying. For the new shop, Fool’s Gold enlisted Family New York, known for their local NYC public installations and Kanye West’s Yeezus stage, to make it “unlike any record store…” said A-Trak speaking to Dezeen.

Record fair is back in Kendal: The Kendal vinyl record collectors fair returns to the parish rooms on Kirkland on Saturday August 5 from 9am until 3pm. There is free entry, with dealers from Manchester, Huddersfield, Burnley, Bolton, Glasgow and Barnsley in attendance. The popular event has been running in the parish rooms for a number of years, and this time sees dealers and record enthusiasts from as far away as London in attendance at the event. People can take along individual items or whole collections for free on site evaluation…

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In rotation: 8/1/17

The world’s best record shops #074: Revelation Time, Osaka: One of several must-visit shops in Osaka (make a bee-line for Rare Groove too), Eiji Tanaguchi’s Revelation Time is something of a sanctuary. As his deeply recumbent chill-out vocal mix for VF last year shows, Revelation Time is a superb source of Japanese pop, cosmic groove and crisp boogie-funk, an area Eiji’s increasingly supplementing with choice cuts from Korea, Hong Kong and further afield in Asia. Opened thirteen years ago as an online business, Revelation Time went physical in 2009 and specialises in a broad sweep of leftfield dance music, whether riding high on disco, new wave, afro, house, drum ‘n’ bass and UK garage, or slowing things down with with reggae, Balearic and new age rarities.

Selling the 1960s on vinyl: Weird Harold’s on Jefferson Street has been selling music since 1972, and a good portion of that has been classic rock from the 1960s. “We would have bands come into the store and take pictures and sign autographs, but you don’t see a lot of that anymore,” said Weird Harold’s owner Danny Bessine. Ironically enough, Bessine, 69, didn’t listen to a lot of music during the 1960s. He was in high school at the time, and had a lot of other things on his mind. But music is unavoidable at any age, and he remembers the soundtrack to his teenage life. “I listened to The Beatles, and the Bee Gees were another big one I listened to,” he said.

Toronto Public Library gets in on the rebirth of records, For librarian Beau Levitt, choosing 100 records to add to the old collection was a ‘dream come true.’ Vinyl is having a major comeback, and the Toronto Public Library is getting in on the trend by adding 100 new records to their collection. The collection of more than 15,000 records is the largest of any public library in Canada. And librarian Beau Levitt had the honour of adding the new albums to the shelves at the Toronto Reference Library. “This was kind of a dream come true to be asked to do the selection. It was a lot of fun,” Levitt said in an interview during his morning break at the library.

Gillian Welch’s new vinyl reissues are in good hands – her own: Several years ago, Americana artist Gillian Welch and musical partner David Rawlings got hold of an early vinyl copy of Van Morrison’s 1968 album “Astral Weeks.” As soon as Welch dropped the needle, she was taken aback. “It was an astounding experience because this is a record I would have told you I knew intimately,” she says…That led the duo to pursue putting their music (made under each of their names) on vinyl for the first time. Frustrated by the inferior quality of many modern-day pressings, they spent $100,000 on a record lathe in 2013 so they could cut LPs and release them on their label, Acony Records. On Friday, the pair releases a vinyl edition of Welch’s 2011 album “The Harrow & The Harvest.”

Lead by Your Samples: DJ Shadow on Collecting Vinyl, Scratching, and His New Tour: I have a giant mountain of stuff I purchased in the past and never had time to listen to. All formats—hundreds of cassettes and CDs, thousands and thousands of records I bought from trips 15 years ago in Hong Kong, Korea, the United States. When it comes time for me to make music, I just kind of grab stacks at random. It’s something I’ve been doing my whole life; I’ve always bought more than I can process. I saw the writing on the wall early when records were becoming fetishized things. I spent a lot of time in the 1990s and early 2000s buying records to protect myself from the eventual scarcity, which is where we’re at now.

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In rotation: 7/31/17

So long and thanks for all the noise: Permanent Records closing in September: Ukrainian Village just got way less cool. Permanent Records announced they’ll be closing their location at 1914 W. Chicago after 11 years. News like this is always depressing for vinyl lovers, but the silver lining as at least they aren’t going out of business. Permanent has three other locations in Los Angeles, which the owners will be focusing on full time…As their lease was coming to an end, the decision had to be made. They are considering any offers on the store if anyone with a bit of extra scratch is looking to own a record store. Otherwise, the remaining inventory will be finding its way to Hollywood.

Kindercore Vinyl brings innovation and sustainability to record pressing in Athens, GA: Kindercore Vinyl is taking advantage of recent technological advances in the industry with the cutting-edge WarmTone press from Canadian firm Viryl Technologies. The WarmTone incorporates automation and data science into the pressing process to ensure more consistent results, allowing KCV to modernize a process long plagued by bottlenecks and inconsistencies. The pressing plant’s commitment to modernizing record-pressing doesn’t stop there. Chief Technical Officer Dan Geller, a research engineer with experience in developing plant-based alternatives to fuels and other products, is working to revolutionize the materials of the records themselves.

The Ebow Gallery launch ‘Cassettes vs Vinyl’ exhibition: ‘Cassettes Vs Vinyl’ is a music-themed art exhibition with work by The Specials’ bass player, Horace Panter, and artist friends Morgan Howell and Chris Barton. A study of the transient nature of pop music culture, the Ebow Gallery takes on the look of a record store filled with paintings, prints and sculptures of supersized collectables and mixtapes evoking the analogue era and the musicians and songs who were a part of it. Goldenplec had the pleasure of a visit on the opening night and we can confirm, it’s a visual treat for music fans…This one is an immersive pleasure, we’d highly recommend a visit.

Grandmaster Flash admits much of his record collection came from ex-girlfriends: Grandmaster Flash has his ex-girlfriends to thank for helping him build the basis of his record collections, which helped inspire his legendary hip-hop career. In a recent interview with AM New York, Grandmaster Flash was discussing his early influences when he told a story about how he used to play with his father’s records and turntable after he left to go to work. At some point Flash decided he needed to accumulate his own records, which is when he tapped the families of his ex-girlfriends…Today Flash’s vinyl collection is vast, with an eclectic mix of rock, jazz, soul, funk and pop. It’s these very records that led to a string of DJ innovations that helped evolve the craft. Big up the exes for the crucial contribution to music history.

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In rotation: 7/28/17

Music Trader veteran opens La Mesa record shop: When you think of genius business moves in 2017, opening a used-record shop doesn’t immediately spring to mind. Since the advent of Napster in 1999, the general trend for record stores has been death as opposed to birth. But local shops such as Cow, M-Theory, and Lou’s have all found ways to survive. Now, La Mesa native Nicholas Friesen and his wife Lynn have decided the time is right to open Re-Animated Records. “I’ve been buying and selling collections online, but I’ve worked in stores, too. I know what kind of product just walks through the door and falls in your lap when you have an open door.

Sam the Record Man sign to shine over downtown Toronto square this fall: A restoration project is underway on a giant neon sign that once drew visitors to Toronto’s landmark Sam the Record Man store in the city’s downtown, with plans to have the flashy installation on display by the fall. The sign, composed of two enormous spinning discs on a red background, used to be a familiar sight near the city’s busy Yonge and Dundas square, flashing above the business owned by Sam Sniderman, who was a major promoter of Canadian music. Sniderman’s entire store received heritage status from Toronto in 2007 to preserve the cultural value of the signs.

Other Music Documentary Drops New Trailer Featuring Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig (Watch): For 21 years, independent New York record store Other Music was a mecca for left-leaning music fans and musicians, owned and staffed by hardcore music geeks who made the place into a definitive incarnation of the retail outlet as a tastemaker. And while the store managed to survive as most of its fellow outlets folded in the great post-Napster music-business recession — including the giant Tower Records that was formerly across the street from Other Music’s East 4th Street location — by 2016 its owners saw the writing on the wall and closed it down, prompting many mournful blog posts and even a New Orleans-style second line march from the store to a farewell concert at Bowery Ballroom several blocks away on its last day.

The Incredible Resurgence of Record Players and Vinyl: Don’t believe that vinyl is truly making a comeback? According to Nielsen’s Year-End Report released earlier this year, vinyl LP sales reached 13 million last year, an all-time high since Nielsen started keeping track back in 1991. An even crazier notion is that vinyl records are projected to sell 40 million units this year which could equal close to one billion dollar in sales. This past Christmas you could find LP’s of popular pop artist’s proudly displayed in the music section at Barnes & Noble stores. Even President Obama had a pretty cool turntable setup inside the White House.

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In rotation: 7/27/17

Vinyl Revolution – without pretence: The idea behind Vinyl Revolution is to make record buying a non-judgemental nor intimidating experience, Parker wants to make you feel at home when you set foot into their shop. Everyone knows the stereotype of the anoraky record shopkeeper, the one who insists it’s the B-side / earlier releases which are far superior to any of the newer stuff; not to say that Brighton’s record shops are on the whole not known for that, but it’s nice to have that intention re-instated for the newcomer ashamed of being caught out as a fraud (everyone’s a muso-fraud anyway, don’t worry).

Vinyl sales slump quality blamed: A move to making vinyl records from digital files instead of the original analogue recordings is causing concern in the industry with sales slumping in the first half of 2017. In the first half of 2015, sales of vinyl records jumped 38% compared to the same period the prior year, to 5.6 million units, Nielsen Music data show. A year later, growth slowed to 12%. This year, sales rose a modest 2%. “It’s flattening out,” says Steve Sheldon, president of Los Angeles pressing plant Rainbo Records. While he doesn’t see a bubble bursting—plants are busy—he believes vinyl is “getting close to plateauing.”

These two new record cleaning “turntables” can also show off your photography: Record cleaning experts Keith Monks Audio have announced the arrival of two new record cleaning machines, The discOveryOne Redux and discOverymicrOlight, reports VF tech guru The Audiophile Man. Resembling turntables, the arm removes dirt from the record’s surface like a tiny vinyl hoover, rather than playing the record. Given how much debris, mould, dust and oil can accumulate in the tiny grooves of vinyl, regularly cleaning your records is an essential for any collector.

‘The thrill of the hunt’: Vinyl enthusiasts drawn to ABC record sale: t was like something from a big city post-Christmas sale at the ABC South East record sale fundraiser in Bega last week, as shoppers swarmed towards milk crates loaded with over 50 years worth of musical history. With the popularity in vinyl making a comeback with the wider public, a variety of qualities caught the eye of record hunters. “There’s three different kinds of collectors, people who make a quid, people who enjoy the music, and people who enjoy the thrill of the hunt,” Milton’s Geoff Spawlding said. “For them it’s the thrill of finding something rare.”

Record fair returns to Harpenden Public Halls in Southdown Road with ‘music for all tastes’: The idea of hosting a record fair came out of a conversation between Public Halls manager Glenn Povey, who freely admits to spending far too much on vinyl records than is really necessary, and fellow collector and Halls patron Nick Turner. “The first record fair was a great leap of faith as we had no idea if there would be much interest,” says Glenn. “Nick spread the word about through his contacts and within a very short time I’d sold all of the tables – mostly to very reputable dealers but also to private individuals who were having a spring clean. Even Empire Records in St. Albans had a table, which was a great endorsement.”

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In rotation: 7/26/17

Permanent Records, One Of Chicago’s Great Record Stores, Is Closing: Permanent Records, one of our very favorite record stores in Chicago, is closing after more than ten years in business. The owners will focus their attention on their L.A. outpost, including relocating some key staff, said co-owner Lance Barresi in an email sent to list subscribers on Monday morning. The last day of operation at the Ukrainian Village shop (1914 W. Chicago Ave.) will be Sunday, Sept. 17. Two reasons for the closing were mentioned in the announcement: The rigors of travel between the West Coast and Chicago and the Chicago store’s expiring lease (at the end of September).

Check out this new illustrated guide to looking after your vinyl: What if every record came with a set of illustrations about how to store it? While, like a packet of crisps, you can’t go wrong with “store in a cool, dry place”, new label Float have gone one better and commissioned an illustrated 7-point guide to the broad strokes of keeping your records in good nick. Found on the inner sleeve of their debut release – a pulsing, percussive album of contemporary minimalism called Ore by Andrea Belfi – the guide references the designs of by-gone major label inner sleeves that would carry related records or further instructions as standard.

Waxahatchee, Legendary Shack Shakers to headline Dogfish Head’s Analog-A-Go-Go: When Dogfish Head’s annual beer and music extravaganza known as Analog-A-Go-Go returns to Sussex County this fall, Philadelphia-based indie rock breakout Waxahatchee will be there, organizers have revealed to The News Journal. After taking a one-year detour to Bellevue State Park in New Castle County in September, Analog will return to Dogfish Head’s Milton brewery and newly-opened Rehoboth Beach brewpub on Friday, Nov. 3, and Saturday, Nov. 4. In addition to Waxahatchee’s Nov. 4 performance at the expanded brewpub, Kentucky’s Legendary Shack Shakers will bring their wild brand of rockabilly to the same room on Nov. 3. Both shows are free.

CLASSIC VINYL: River Deep Mountain High is ‘one of the most instantly recognisable pop songs of the sixties’: This album, mostly produced by Phil Spector, began as a collaboration with Tina Turner without her husband, Ike. Spector had achieved legendary status as a producer with his technique of using musicians gathered together in a small studio, harnessing layers of percussion, strings and echo chambers, resulting in a lavish wave of rolling orchestration known as the ‘wall of sound’. Spector gave a payment of $20,000 dollars to Ike Turner to keep out of the studio but also agreed to give him a songwriting credit, so although RDMH is credited to Ike and Tina, Ike Turner never sang or played a note on the recording.

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In rotation: 7/25/17

Why Vinyl’s Boom Is Over, As purists complain about low quality and high prices, vinyl sales taper off; Gillian Welch and David Rawlings cut their own records: Old LPs were cut from analog tapes—that’s why they sound so high quality. But the majority of today’s new and re-issued vinyl albums—around 80% or more, several experts estimate—start from digital files, even lower-quality CDs. These digital files are often loud and harsh-sounding, optimized for ear-buds, not living rooms. So the new vinyl LP is sometimes inferior to what a consumer hears on a CD. “They’re re-issuing [old albums] and not using the original tapes” to save time and money, says Michael Fremer, editor of AnalogPlanet.com and one of America’s leading audio authorities. “They have the tapes. They could take them out and have it done right—by a good engineer. They don’t.”

Pasadena, Whittier bookstores, record sellers are enjoying a Millennial-led resurgence in sales: Young people are leading to the retro trend, experts say. David Sax, who wrote “The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter,” said millennials, who grew up on digital technology, crave products offering a tactile experience. They also might just be bored with looking at screens, Sax said. “For many of them, especially as they get younger, digital technology is not anything new and magical — it is kind of the norm,” Sax said. “Analog is a choice.”

Vinyl makes comeback in suburban Melbourne: Australia will again make vinyl music with the nation’s first modern record press on track to open after a production hiatus of more than 30 years. The new plant is due to start operations in the Melbourne’s northern suburbs early next year and will double as an event space, hosting launches and other musical acts. “We want to make great records, support the Australian music scene and have fun along the way,” Program Records spokesman Steve Lynch said.

Putting The Record Straight: Of all comebacks, none is as son­orous as this. Veteran ‘vinylhead’ Jaydeep Joy aka Jazzy Joe, hums a happy tune as his fingers flip through the scores of rec­ords lining the racks at Radio and Gramophone House, New Delhi. And one can imagine long-haired youths from long back dancing to the tune of Aao Twist Kare, as he lays the newly pressed record of Bhoot Bangla on the turntable, placing the needle gently into the groove. Jaydeep is not alone in being ent­hralled by the scratchy perfection of Long Playing or LP records.

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In rotation: 7/24/17

Australia to get first modern vinyl pressing plant in 30 years: Program Records is set to open in Melbourne in 2018 and will come fully equipped with WarmTone presses, with makers Viryl Technologies claiming them to be the fastest pressing time in the world. The Canadian company says its fully automated machines can press a record in just 30 seconds. The factory will initially be offering 12-inch pressed at 140 and 180 grams and plan to offer 7-inch and 10-inch pressing in 2019. Custom colour options will also be available. Founder Steve Lynch says: “Program Records will focus on supporting the local music scene backed by a data driven and highly efficient production facility. Australia has a great music scene that deserves to have affordable, good quality vinyl made here on time.”

Electric Fetus’ Bob Fuchs on the vinyl revival: Start being sorry you gave away all your vinyl records (if you ever had any), or didn’t want your parents’ or grandparents’ collection, or don’t have a turntable. Vinyl is back. In fact, vinyl records are so popular that Sony, the biggest of the Big Three record labels, recently announced that it will start pressing them again, as soon as March 2018, in a new factory near Tokyo. The last time Sony made a vinyl record was 1989. Bob Fuchs knows more about the music business locally than anyone. The general manager of the Electric Fetus, a longtime Minnesota mainstay, he has seen it all firsthand in his 30 years there (he started in the record department in December 1987).

Yesterday & Today: Early DC punks shopped, worked at record store: Almost 40 years ago, the door opened to an unassuming record store in a strip shopping center in Rockville and became a rallying point for music fans and members of D.C.’s fledgling punk and alternative scenes. In September 1977, Skip Groff opened the Yesterday & Today record shop at 1327 Rockville Pike. “The rent was remarkably cheap for what I considered to be a prime location,” said Groff, sitting in his living room in Montgomery County. “When I started in 1977 it was $450 a month.” As the punk music scene began to percolate, Groff, who had served stints as a disc jockey at WINX and WAVA, and had worked in the record industry doing promotions for RCA, opened his independent store. This was the year that bands including The Ramones, Blondie, and Talking Heads released American singles, which Groff couldn’t sell.

The Smiths announce deluxe The Queen is Dead vinyl box set with unreleased recordings: The Smiths are releasing a deluxe version of their 1986 album The Queen is Dead on 20 October 2017. The vinyl set includes the first take of ‘There Is a Light That Never Goes Out’, along with demos and b-sides taken from their third studio album. The news comes over a month after the band teased a possible reissue of the album on social media. Hopefully this release will go more smoothly than their ‘The Queen is Dead’ single reissue earlier this year, which drew the ire of Morrissey after HMV implemented a ‘limited to one per customer’ policy.

Nightmares of an Erstwhile Record Store Manager: I have a recurring nightmare. It isn’t always the same, but it always involves a last-minute, present-day reopening of Hollywood Records and Tapes, the record store I managed decades ago. Until one day when it was abruptly shuttered by the building owners following a bank foreclosure. In my dream, I’m freaking out — rushing around, un-boxing 8-tracks, installing LP racks, and trying to remember how to fill out an Ennis form. Because customers are coming any minute now and we’ve been closed for 32 years! Ancient history. But memories of losing “my” music shop came flooding back when I heard that the Roosevelt Row home of Revolver Records is for sale. Wide awake, that news brought a flood of my own long-ago panic when one day my record store was no longer there.

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007