In rotation: 1/23/20

Corvallis, OR | Best of 2020: Corvallis music stores: First place: Happy Trails. Happy Trails is Corvallis, Ore.’s most beloved vintage music shop. Upon walking in, the walls are covered with posters and records, CD’s fill the narrow hallways and music is always playing. The store has been open since 1973 and the current owners bought it and 1988. The store offers 12-inch vinyl, cassettes, stickers, t-shirts, trades, collectables and more. Located on the corner of Third Street and Monroe Avenue. Dave Trenkel has worked at Happy Trails for decades and has seen the store change and become what it is today. He works a few evenings a week and enjoys picking out what record he’s going to throw on the record player each day. He was stumped when trying to come up with his top three favorite band of all time. “You have to understand, I’ve been an avid music collector for over 40 years, that’s kind of an impossible question,” Trenkel said. “Well I’m currently listening to Miles Davis, he’d probably be there, King Crimson, gosh I don’t know, it’s so hard. The Weather Report, maybe.”

Mankato, MN | Music Man: Carl Nordmeier gives customers more than music, he gives them an experience. On the corner of Rock Street and Riverfront Drive in Old Town Mankato sits the only shop in town dedicated to selling vinyl records. TuneTown’s owner, Carl Nordmeier, is a veteran of the music sales business, working in the music department at Target for years before the birth of the record store in his home town of Faribault, Minnesota, in 1993. It was his passion for music that inspired the now-26-year-old business. As many Americans do, Nordmeier saw an opportunity in the area and seized it. “What got me into the business, growing up in that area, there really wasn’t anything available for record stores,” says Nordmeier. “We had to go up to the Twin Cities if I wanted to go to a decent record store. Faribault only had a Walmart, and there was a music-instrument shop that sold CDs and tapes on the side, so there wasn’t a whole lot of competition.” Nordmeier capitalized on the wave of music censorship pushed by the Parents Music Resource Center during the mid-1980s and early ‘90s. He says Walmart’s decision to only carry “clean” albums opened a door for his store to sell music deemed “explicit” by advocates of a more “family-friendly” industry.

Lawrenceville, GA | Third annual Lawrenceville Record Show brings back memories for many: Brad Erbesfield has been buying records for four or five years now. The Athens resident said he collects so many, that the only furniture he buys from Ikea is for his records. On Saturday, despite some light rain, he took the opportunity while visiting family in the area to stop by the third annual Lawrenceville Record Show at Slow Pour Brewing Company. The record show was hosted by Slow Pour’s next-door neighbor, Depot Records, which is owned by Tony and Stacey Seminara. Depot Records opened in Lawrenceville about four years ago. “We do it partially to offer service for vinyl fans,” Tony said about the record show. “It’s basically a convenient place to shop, especially for more pricier records, harder to find records, and enjoy some fine craft beer.” Tony estimated there were about 10,000 albums for sale at the show on Saturday. They came from about seven local dealers in the Atlanta area, as well as one from South Carolina. “I hope that everybody here this evening gets to sit in their living room with a new piece of vinyl that they purchased today just enjoying the evening,” Tony said. “For me personally, and I believe a lot of people here would agree, there’s just a warmness to the music when you play it on vinyl.”

Bronx, NY | This Bronx Restaurant Pays Tribute to Hip-Hop & the Black and Latino Kids Who Created the Genre: When you first open the door at 135 Alexander Ave., you seemingly find yourself in a vinyl record shop. Filled with posters of Bob Marley, LL Cool J and Wu Tang Clan as well as a Casio keyboard with a missing key, it’s not unlike other record stores. But when you get to the tall red velvet curtain directly across the entrance, the muffled music playing behind it invites you to cross the threshold. Four MTV Cribs-esque chandeliers shed light on the scene: A crowd forms as the DJ dances to a Migos song. Beside them, a group of friends laughs hysterically as they pour a glass of mouth-watering sangria, reminiscing about the good old days while sharing plates of crispy chicken, perfectly melted mac ‘n’ cheese,locrio and tres golpes. This is Beatstro⁠ – the Bronx’s first hip-hop restaurant.

Dargaville, NZ | Final Blockbuster Video store remains after tiny NZ outpost closes: Chris Cucurullo cried when he told his customers he’d be closing down his video rental store at the end of January. His business in the small New Zealand town of Dargaville, which has a population of just 4250, had been in a death spiral for the best part of a decade. A victim of Netflix, a plethora of legal and illegal streaming services and pirated movies, Mr Cucurullo had fallen more than one year behind in his rent payments. Now, just days away from the doors closing forever, literally everything inside the store which Mr Cucurullo has owned since 2013 is up for sale. The video store’s iconic yellow and blue Blockbuster sign is listed on TradeMe, New Zealand’s local version of eBay. With a starting price of $1000 – and despite its cultural ties to a once mighty global empire now in extinction – the sign is yet to receive a single bid.

Jody Stephens Looks Back On Big Star, Celebrates Legacy Of Ardent As Craft Recordings Preps Reissue Of #1 Record And Radio City Albums: Big Star’s story is one often defined by irony. Over the course of its first two albums in 1972 and ‘74, the group became critical darlings… but label distribution issues largely kept the acclaimed albums from reaching store shelves, rendering #1 Record anything but and Radio City less than an FM staple. But a funny thing happened in the decades since, as artists like R.E.M., The Replacements, Evan Dando and The Posies began citing Big Star as an influence, lending the group a cult following long after its 1975 breakup. “Maybe it was Robyn Hitchcock that said, ‘Knowing about Big Star was like the secret handshake,’” said original drummer and lone surviving Big Star member Jody Stephens, referencing the group’s legacy as a favorite amongst musicians and music aficionados, one similar to that of the Velvet Underground. “When the internet hit, obviously you can share things faster. So it certainly makes it easier to spread.” While many musicians lament changes to the music industry following the rise of the internet, Big Star is one band that might be able to claim it as a positive. Label issues may have kept the group’s music out of fans’ hands initially but, today, all of it’s readily available online, easier to find than ever before.

Coil Set to Release 2 LP Reissue of Stolen & Contaminated Songs: Cold Spring label has announced the long-awaited reissue of Coil’s 1992 album Stolen & Contaminated Songs, presented on CD and, for the first time, on vinyl. “Stolen & Contaminated Songs” was recorded and produced by Coil in 1992 and is comprised of over 60 minutes of outtakes and unreleased songs, evolved during the recording sessions for their prior album, “Love’s Secret Domain”.”S&C Songs” walks a fine line between tradition and innovation, continually creating semi-abstract soundscapes with a cinematic quality, stated in a press release. The album received much critical acclaim, with Electronic Sound saying “The album saw Balance and Sleazy embrace sampling, oh, and huge quantities of drugs. With areas of the studio out of bounds due to hallucinations of, among other things, “larval shells rearing up like huge mummies”, Sleazy described the sessions as “pretty mad”… It’s a great record and this accompanying set is essential. The sinister title track, here in an alternate version, is typical of Coil’s greatness.”

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