In rotation: 11/12/19

Oak Park, IL | UPDATE: Chicago Institution Val’s Halla Records To Shutter: Val’s Halla Records, the longtime independent Chicago record store, announced that after 47 years, it is closing its doors. The record store, which first opened in 1972, is located on Harrison Street in the Chicago suburb of Oak Park, at least until the end of November. According to WBBM Radio, the store is closing down for economic reasons. Shayne Blakeley, a longtime employee, took over the store last year following the death of its longtime owner Val Camilletti, told WBBM that business has dropped off significantly in the past year. “I have not been able to recover. It’s insurmountable,” Blakeley told WBBM. Val’s Halla Records was one of the Chicago indie record stores featured in the 2012 documentary Re-Vinylized.

Brighton, UK | Watch a new film celebrating 30 years of record shop and label Mr Bongo: One of the most prolific purveyors of Brazilian, Latin, and African music. Mr Bongo is celebrating its 30th anniversary with a new short film, called Life In Music: 30 Years of Mr Bongo. Directed by Owen Tozer, Life In Music: 30 Years of Mr Bongo follows owner and founder David Buttle’s journey from selling records in his house, his first visit to Brazil, and opening Mr Bongo in Soho. Founded in 1989 and moving three times around Soho in the following years, and even opening a shop in Tokyo’s Shibuya ward, Mr Bongo entered into the label business full-time in 2003. Since launching the label, Mr Bongo have become a household name in reissuing Brazilian, Latin and African music, including singer and song-writer Akofa Akoussah’s self titled LP – one of our favourite reissues of early 2019. The label has also released new music from the likes of Kit Sebastian.

Houston, TX | ‘Vinyl revival’: Here are the best records stores across the Houston area, according to Yelp: A famous musician once said that vinyl would outlast CDs, and a recent report from the Recording Industry Association of America apparently now confirms the claim. Vinyl albums will outsell CDs for the first time ever since 1986, having grown 13 percent to $224 million outpacing CDs, which grew by less than 1 percent so far this year, the report showed. Streaming is still king, however, the report also showed. The trend is part of the “vinyl revival” movement led by many Grammy-award winning musicians, including Jack White of Detroit-based Third Man Records, an independent record label and vinyl record store. But you don’t have to travel to Michigan to get your favorite music on vinyl; compiled a list of the best record stores in the Houston area by their ratings on Yelp.

Oxford, UK | New record store opens in traffic-free Walton Street: There is no longer crosstown traffic in Walton Street but there is a new record shop. Store boss Andy Tucker, who is opening Riverman Records there in a former Threshers’ off-licence, is hoping there will be strong footfall even if vehicles can no longer use the route. The 59-year-old ran record stores in Henley for the past decade but has always wanted to open a shop in Oxford. Now he has left Henley and spent thousands of pounds renovating the former drink shop, taking out a five-year lease. Earlier this year the county council decided to close Walton Street to traffic on a trial basis for up to 18 months. Mr Tucker, whose shop selling mainly second-hand vinyl records opens this week, has no objection to the traffic ban. He said: “From an ecological point of view I think this is sound. “I would be quite happy if Walton Street never reopened to traffic – it used to get very clogged up.”

Banksy-Designed Record Cover Sells for $10,000, a New High Mark for Vinyl Marketplace: The elusive street artist Banksy has been smashing all kinds of records lately. His highest price at auction rose considerably in October with the sale of his 2009 painting Devolved Parliament (2009) for £9.88 million (about $12.2 million) at Sotheby’s in London. And now—at a slightly lesser scale—the online music database and marketplace Discogs has revealed that a limited-edition record cover created by Banksy sold for $10,256, the highest price ever paid on the favored site for music aficionados around the world. The rare record is one of 100 that Banksy spray-painted by hand for the Norwegian electronic duo Röyksopp in 2002. The sleeve (for the group’s album Melody A.M.) bears the duo’s name in bold green lettering, with abstract designs evocative of trees below. Other copies of the record had previously sold for $7,051 and $8,178.

Virgin Records Co-Founder Nik Powell Dies Aged 69: Virgin Records co-founder and childhood friend of Richard Branson, Nik Powell has died in Oxford from cancer at the age of 69. Powell had been receiving treatment for cancer and passed away on Thursday, 7 November, surrounded by his family. Along with Simon Draper and Tom Newman, Powell was one of the key figures during the birth of Virgin Records and Virgin Music Publishing, when the label launched in 1973 with their first signee, Mike Oldfield. “I met Nik in June 1969 when I applied for a job at Virgin,” Steve Lewis, former deputy MD at Virgin, told Music Week. “We remained friends for the rest of his life. Nik was then Richard Branson’s partner in their only business-mail order record retailing. Nik co-owned the Virgin label and publishing company, where he introduced discipline and accountability. But his main focus was the Virgin stores and he changed the retail record industry radically and for the better.

Back in the loop: why cassette tapes became fashionable again: Magnetic ribbon for format once the preserve of police interviews is in short supply. Forget the vinyl revival. The cassette tape will be back on Christmas lists this year as high-profile artists ranging from Coldplay to Robbie Williams and Liam Payne release albums on a format that has come back from the dead. The tape’s comeback has caught the industry off guard, with manufacturers struggling to get their hands on the magnetic tape needed for their production when demand suddenly picked up. The BPI, the record labels association, predicts music fans, many of them under 25, will buy 100,000 tapes in 2019, double the figure for 2018. The last time that number of cassettes were sold was 2004, when the biggest-selling albums were by Scissor Sisters and Keane. Karen Emanuel, the chief executive of the Key Production Group, which manufactures vinyl, cassettes and CDs, said it had been amazed by the revival. “We never stopped producing them, but demand had tailed off to tapes for police interviews.”

‘Rockologist’ vinyl enshrines the memory of late KISS drummer Eric Carr: Tom Shannon is widely known in the music world for his impressive books on KISS, most notably Goldmine KISS Collectibles Price Guide and his three-volume set, KISS MY Wax – The KISS LP Bible and work for Universal as Vinyl Catalog consultant. His deep love of vinyl and understanding of the collector’s world inspired him to start his own Rockologist label and since kicking into gear they’ve issued exclusive vinyl records by Ace Frehley and Bruce Kulick of KISS. His latest limited edition vinyl release is Rockology by late KISS drummer Eric Carr. We spoke with Tom who provided the back story behind his label and corresponding releases.

Bill Brewster: Why I sold my 13,000-strong record collection: A reformed vinyl addict tells his story. I am a record collector. If there’s one thing that’s defined me over the past 30 years, it’s been my collection. It’s through collecting records that I started to get bookings as a DJ. Most of the compilations I’ve put together over the last few decades have been inspired by messing about in my record room, searching through the endless lines of vinyl. And it was the tantalising glimpses of an artist’s musical life on an LP’s inner sleeve that made me want to write about music, too. In other words, I’m fairly sure that without my obsession for collecting vinyl, I wouldn’t have the career I enjoy today. So why, after all it’s given me, did I decide to sell the whole lot? Three months ago, my collection had reached 13,000 pieces and spilled out from my record room into an office, its messy sprawl beginning to touch every part of the house. Today, I have approximately 100 records. Somewhere in between I decided to sell everything and start anew.

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