In rotation: 12/10/19

Indie Music Retailers Have Strong Black Friday Weekend Despite Ongoing Shipping Problems: Reports coming in from independent music retailers point to strong Black Friday and Black Friday weekend sales despite ongoing shipments problems from the major record labels. Retail members of the Coalition of Independent Music Stores (CIMS) are reporting an average sales increase of 12% for this year’s Black Friday over 2018. Individual reports ranged from a low of -26% to a high of +66%, with only three stores reporting minus numbers and those appeared to have external issues like weather problems Small Business Saturday sales, which have been growing steadily over the last three years, were up an average of 9%. The range here was a low of -22% to a high of +65%. The overall weekend numbers looked good, with a 7% average increase and a range of -22% to a high of +24%. “When I asked about issues affecting sales this year, I really got an earful, which I fully expected given the current status of retail music distribution,” wrote CIMS Executive Director Michael Burnell in his weekly newsletter to the industry. Burnell also shared these comments about shipments last week from the major labels and Direct Shot Distribution which is used by all three majors to distribute to indie retailers.

Brisbane, AU | A definitive guide to Brisbane’s 5 best record stores: While Brisbane isn’t necessarily a hotspot for Australian vinyl consumption with a total of 20 record stores against Sydney’s 33 and 70 in Melbourne, there is a few gems to be uncovered. If you’ve been following the stats over the last decade you will have noticed a significant and frankly surprising rise in vinyl sales around the world and we couldn’t be happier. To celebrate the return to music’s most efficient format it’s time to shout out the top 5 record stores in Brisbane that are keeping the dream alive. In 2007, annual vinyl sales in the US was sitting at 2 million which has risen significantly to 16 million in 2017. …While skeptics would argue this is still a far cry from the early 1980s when vinyl hit its peak at $2 billion in the US moving 300 million units, we are shouting out the 5 best record stores in Brisbane to get your liquorice disc fix.

Seattle, WA | Vintage vinyl collection worth thousands stolen from Seattle apartment: A collection of vintage vinyl forty years in the making was stolen in a matter of seconds. Andee Mefferd says not only is she out upwards of $4,000 but priceless memories are gone, too. “I was on my way to work and I was notified [by] my apartment manager that it appeared there had been someone in my storage unit,” Mefferd said. “We opened the door and everything was gone,” she added. Mefferd says the break-in happened sometime last week at Lowell Apartments in First Hill, and the intrusion has left her feeling violated. She tells KOMO News the collection was a financial buffer of sorts. “If life falls apart and I lose my job, at least I can pay my rent for a couple of months with that, so it’s really disappointing,” Mefferd said. Part of her inventory included first pressings, colored and numbered Nirvana, Beastie Boys and PJ Harvey vinyl. “And records my dad gave me which were Beatles records and they were still in the original packaging and had never been played…”

Wollongong, AU | Wollongong’s last record store, Music Farmers, turns 15: While other Wollongong record stores have fallen by the wayside, Music Farmers is celebrating 15 years of turning people onto new sounds and inspiring them to do their own thing. Back in 2004, if you were placing bets as to which record store in the Wollongong CBD would be the only one left standing today, you probably wouldn’t be putting your money on Music Farmers. Jeb Taylor and Simon Dalla Pozza had opened up a tiny store in 2004, upstairs in Central Chambers. Not the most well-known location; there would still be people today who wouldn’t have a clue where that was. For the record, it’s in the mall, the same place as all the other record stores – all of which were much easier to find. “There was a lot of record stores around at that time,” Taylor says. “Redback was still there, Rock Factory was still there. I think Wilson’s was there and Sanity still existed.” Today they’re all gone, but that small shop with the weird name that started out upstairs in the mall is still going today.

Tempe, AZ | How You Can Save Pink Elephant Records: There is a bulldog inside Pink Elephant Records on this early Friday evening, and owner Danielle Frazier isn’t batting an eye. She flashes a smile and states that her store is canine-friendly, then continues to help the dog’s owner find the soundtrack he’s looking for. You can feel Frazier’s love of music and humans throughout the pink walls of the vinyl and vintage shop, which celebrated a year in business in October. The Clash and New York Dolls are playing on the speakers. A Siouxsie and the Banshees poster hangs on the wall. If you didn’t know her before you walked into the store, you’re going to be best friends with the businesswoman when you leave. “If you’re a young person who’s curious and wants to get into collecting, some record stores can be intimidating,” she says. “I don’t want to be that way. I want to be your first record store.”

Corvallis, OR | 3 New Corvallis Businesses: Pre-Atomic Records deals in used vinyl, tapes, and CDs. While their name and atomic-diagram logo are clearly retrofuturistic “TransistorPunk” references, Pre-Atomic Records is an entirely new enterprise. The store uses light fixtures and display tables in Art Moderne style (think “boomerang”), and old posters and album covers to create a sense of visiting a shop that might have existed in the 1950s, ‘60s, or ‘70s. The resemblance to an old-school record shop isn’t quite as authentic as all that, since smoking is no longer allowed in retail businesses, and managers now insist on vacuuming the floors regularly. Still, the hairpin table legs definitely help.

Like the sound of mechanical keyboards? Now you can own it on vinyl. ASMR is pretty big right now. You know what that is, right? Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response is a strange sensation that some people get when they listen to certain amplified sounds. The most common ASMR trigger is usually someone whispering or making other…sounds, I guess, into a high-quality microphone. That’s at least what I’ve been able to determine with a quick search through YouTube. Now, maybe mouth sounds just don’t do it for you. Maybe you think listening to someone whispering sensually is…kinda weird. You’re a traditionalist, you like the analogue rather than the digital. If that’s the case, then I have good news for you. Released by Trunk Records, Mechanical Keyboard Sounds is a vinyl LP collection of, you guessed it, high quality recordings of the clickity-clackity of 13 different mechanical keyboards. Each keyboard has been captured in high-fidelity audio for four whole minutes of sweet analogue typing bliss, if you’re into that sort of thing.

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