In rotation: 4/18/19

AU | Around the world in 10 record stores: We all travel for different reasons. And everyone has a unique vision for what will come from their intrepid expeditions. But some passions are very much shared, and one thing everyone here at Double J is looking for when they get off the plane is a good record store… We have decided to look at ten of our favourite emporiums across the planet that we’ve been lucky enough to have a dig through over the years. These are not necessarily the best record stores in the world – that’s a very subjective call – but they are definitely worth calling into if your travels take you into these areas. What’s the most unique and exciting record store you’ve ever visited? Let us know! Seriously, please do, we are nerds and we love this stuff.

Shakopee, MN | New record store hits high notes in downtown Shakopee: I was excited to hear that a record store opened about a month ago in downtown Shakopee. When I visited it last week, I had an amazing experience. Vintage Neil Young was playing on the stereo, more than 5,000 vinyl albums (and counting) filled the bins, and authentic concert posters and other collectibles from the 60s and 70s from some of rock’s biggest names adorned the walls. The store’s atmosphere took me back to the record stores I remember as a teen—bin after bin of vinyl, music enthusiasts combing through records, great music filling the space, scented candles made by a local woman, stereo equipment, glass art, and smoking accessories on shelves and in cases. I told Steve Shanks, the store owner, I felt like I had traveled through time coming into his store. “Good,” he replied. “That’s the way I want people to feel.” The store, Ramble On Records, is located on First Avenue next to Munkabeans. It sells both new and used records.

Los Altos, CA | Foothill college radio station plays more than 100 straight hours of vinyl: When Jennifer Waits first heard about Vinylthon, an annual event that challenges college radio stations nationwide to play only vinyl records, she thought Foothill College’s radio station might be able to go for 24 hours straight. As soon as she started telling the other Foothill DJs about the idea, it quickly became clear that the station could go longer – much longer. Foothill’s KFJC 89.7 FM is aiming to play only vinyl records for seven straight days, ending at 11:59 p.m. Wednesday. As of the Town Crier’s Monday print deadline, the station was going strong. The challenge is a good way to mark the station’s 60th anniversary and bring attention to KFJC, according to Waits. “Vinyl is something that we celebrate every day, so it seemed like a perfect fit,” said Waits, also the station’s publicity director.

Santa Rosa, CA | Local latino DJ’s specialize in playing vinyl records at craft beer locations: For vinyl collectors, there is no sweeter sound than the slight scratch of a needle hitting the record. Listening to music on vinyl has made such a comeback that Record Store Day is a national event. For friends, Leslie Corral Cisneros (DJ Chiquita) and Gabriel Ferreira (DJ Chicano U Turn), their shared love of record collecting led them to form the Santa Rosa-based vinyl DJ collective, Cera Será. They met while working for AmeriCorps at Meadow View Elementary, and realized that they both loved listening to music on vinyl. Cisneros first discovered vinyl albums while attending college in San Diego. She befriended some DJs who introduced her to playing records. For Ferreira, it was an event called “Open Turntable” that sparked his interest in vinyl. “If it wasn’t for ‘Open Turntable,’ I would probably just be an album collector,” he said.

Toronto, CA | Vinyl resurgence strikes a chord at Ryerson: Michael Murphy’s RTA students collaborated to create their own record, inspired by the nationwide trend. …Halfway through 2018, Nielsen reported that in Canada, vinyl sales were up 25 per cent from the same halfway point in 2017. The week of Record Store Day (April 20-26) in 2018 alone saw a 96 per cent increase in vinyl sales compared to 2017. Whether it was collectors, vinyl enthusiasts or people just wanting to own a little piece of their favourite artist, it’s hard to ignore the steady climb of vinyl popularity. This “vinyl resurgence” inspired RTA School of Media professor Michael Murphy to work with his advanced audio theory students on something the program hadn’t tackled in 25 years – playing around with vinyl production theory and technology. But Murphy wanted to challenge his students to go one step further, encouraging them to make their own vinyl record.

Champaign-Urbana, IL | Record Swap, Leonards Pawn Shop moving out of spaces on University: Record Swap (114 E. University) and Leonards Pawn Shop (112 E. University) will both be vacating their respective locations in the coming months. Record Swap is about to turn 40 years old, and as of this moment, without a new home. Leonards will be moving out June 1st, and Record Swap will be leaving at the end of July. “Still haven’t found a place but I am looking.” owner Bob Denier mentioned in an email to us. “We are opening our back room on Record Store Day and selling a lot of stuff that we have stored over the years.” Denier mentioned Record Swap will have their “largest RSD order” and will open at 7 a.m. — their sale includes 20% off used and 10% off new (not including the new 2019 RSD stock and the back room items). The sale will cover the whole weekend, Friday to Sunday. While it appears that Leonards will find a new brick-and-mortar home, the future remains unclear for Record Swap. Denier has been in search of a new location, but hasn’t had much luck.

Vinyl jukeboxes are top of the pops for UK firm as sales rocket by 500%: A UK firm said it is experiencing a “vinyl boom” after reporting a 500% increase in sales over the past two years. Manufacturer Sound Leisure claims to be the only company in the world producing a 7in vinyl-playing jukebox which launched two years ago, attracting a wide range of customers from Hollywood A-listers to Premier League footballers. Managing director Chris Black, whose father Alan started the company 41 years ago, said: “We honestly thought with the launch of CD that would be it for us. “But, as we do now, we adapted immediately and found new ways to diversify. The CD jukebox was born and remains one of our bestsellers along with digital versions. “I believe this time the vinyl boom is here to stay. Artists are releasing their albums on vinyl and the machines are proving so popular we’ve got a 2-month waiting list.”

Hi-Fi Cocktail Bars Aren’t Just for Tokyo Anymore: A new breed of bar aims to please your ears as much as your taste buds. Walk into Bar Shiru, a cocktail lounge that opened three months ago in uptown Oakland, Calif., and the first thing you notice is the back wall, where about 1,000 vinyl records are lined on shelves 15 feet high. Most of them are jazz: Giants such as Miles Davis face outward alongside current stars like Kamasi Washington. A few albums from hip-hop and R&B artists, ranging from A Tribe Called Quest to Prince to Aretha Franklin, round out the mix. After ordering one of the bar’s signature highballs and finding a seat in the middle of the room, your attention will likely turn to the pair of Line Magnetic 812 speakers at the foot of this display. Their brass hardware, coarse-weave fabric screens, and top-mounted horns come off as relics from the 1950s. Nearby, the vacuum tubes of two LM-805IA amplifiers glow on either side of the DJ booth. But they’re not here as a piece of expensive design nostalgia: This old-school, high-tech equipment renders beats and blue notes in the bilevel room with a you-are-there clarity.

MWM offers alternative to turntable needles with new wireless DJ control technology, Phase: After much anticipation, Phase is now shipping to early customers. Phase, a new technology for playing vinyl wirelessly, is finally in the hands of the public. First presented back in 2018, Phase claims to remove the need for a stylus and timecode vinyl in digital DJing setups by capturing any record’s rotation and wirelessly sending the information to DJ software like rekordbox, Serato or Traktor. Two remotes with built-in sensors are placed on top of each record and communicate to a receiver, which then passes on your movements to the DJ software. Each remote lasts up to 10 hours after a two-hour charge and the basic package costs €299. Last year Shure announced it would discontinue its range of record cartridges and needles, including the industry standard M44-7. Watch Jazzy Jeff putting Phase through its paces.

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