In rotation: 2/22/21

Hermitage, PA | Stacks of wax, tons of toys and a multitude of memories: Flipside is somewhere between a store and a collection that got a little out of hand. Stepping inside the front door of Flipside Records and Collectibles, a quick glance around the room will reveal rows upon rows of records, CDs and other music memorabilia — and at the far end of the room, a door leads to yet another room of shelves and cabinets full of curiosities bound to evoke memories. With everything from rock ’n’ roll and country to rap and hip-hop, some shelves feature records of famous artists such as Frank Sinatra to seemingly random oddities such as holiday-themed records of DC heroes. Other shelves carry CDs with more modern artists such as Green Day, while cassette tapes feature everything in-between. Owned by husband-and-wife team Robert and Judy Johnson, the Hermitage business has something for everyone from hardcore collectors looking for that rare, 45 rpm record of an obscure musician to a young person who’s just discovering a new genre. “I think it’d be hard for a family to come in here and not find something that’s of to interest everyone,” Judy said.

Denver, CO | Good Baby Founder Queues Up Most Personal Pop-Up To Date With Larimer Records Cafe: Last October, Good Baby MGMT took on the rather Herculean task of refurbishing The Market at Larimer Square. For founder Josh Sampson — the man behind TheBigWonderful, Denver Bazaar, Yeah Baby and Neon Baby — the iconic space’s transformation was but one piece of the larger task of bringing fresh ideas and a younger demographic to a Larimer Square in crisis. Before formally launching Good Baby, Sampson acted as director of placemaking for the whole block — introducing an all-star roster of new tenants including Bao Brewhouse, Hidden Gems, Drunken Bakery and Ghost Coffee, alongside his original concepts Farmers Market LSQ and Garage Sale. On Tuesday, February 2, Sampson upped the ante with the opening of Larimer Records Cafe — once again dramatically refashioning The Market’s venerated multi-level interior. Sampson rightly describes the project — essentially a pop-up within a pop-up focusing on bourbon, wine, vinyl and beer — as the “hipster sax.”

Milwaukee, WI | Retro MKE: The Exclusive Company. Say it with me — the Exclusive Company!” Many Milwaukee radio listeners remember the iconic statement fondly — along with afternoons spent perusing Exclusive’s bins of LPs for treasures. The Exclusive Company, billed as “America’s Oldest Full-Line Independent Record Store,” originally opened on Main Street in West Bend in 1956 and sold all iterations of vinyl: 33, 45 and 78 rpms, expanding over the decades to include cassettes and CDs. In its heyday during the 1970s and 1980s, The Exclusive Company was the hub for vinyl and CD aficionados — album signings (and occasional performances in the store), tie-ins with Summerfest shows and local appearances, midnight record release sales, and solid cross section of music from rock to jazz, soul, country, experimental and classic. When the demand for physical albums boomed again in the 2000s, The Exclusive Company found a market for both new-release and pre-owned records, along with an expansion into novelty items and pop-culture collectibles. The West Bend store carries additional car and home audio electronics, TVs and DJ equipment.

Wappinger Falls, NY | Unique Hudson Valley business closing for months, moving: A very popular and unique business that sold beer, wine, food and records is closing. But will reopen in a few months at a new location. On Thursday, The Vinyl Room, the Hudson Valley’s first-ever taproom and record shop, announced Feb. 28 will be the company’s last day open for business at its Village of Wappinger Falls location. “We would also like to thank everyone for all the support the last four years in the Village of Wappingers Falls. We’ve built some wonderful friendships, enjoyed some amazing times together, and we will truly miss everyone visiting us in Wappingers.,” The Vinyl Room wrote on Facebook. The Vinyl Room offers its customers a wide range of items. The business opened on East Main Street in 2017. It sells vinyl records, wine, craft beer and pizza. The good news is the popular business isn’t closing for good, like so many eatery’s have been forced to do this pandemic. The Vinyl Room is moving to an undisclosed location in Beacon.

Baltimore, MD | Stephen Varanko III, The Man Who Introduced Me To Vinyl: Stephen Varanko III is around the same age as me yet growing up he always just seemed to be way ahead of the game. Stephen was the first to start his own business, he was the first to have a smartphone, and to be honest, almost everything that he did, I wanted to do as well. I appreciate that it is not healthy to wish to copy someone and that you should have your own thoughts and ideas, but there was one great benefit of wishing to copy all that Stephen did, and that was collecting vinyl. I have to say that this was certainly of my own volition, but here is how I fell into this beautiful trap. …I was a big punk fan when I was a kid and that is pretty much why Stephen and I started hanging out. Stephen had a friend who owned this record store and so we went in there on a Saturday, with no money of course, and just used to dig through those collections and see what cool albums there were. Because Stephen’s friend owned the store, he would let us play records if it was quiet and this is where I first fell in love with vinyl, and where I learned a lot about records.

Virgin record label to relaunch backed by Universal Music and Richard Branson: Established by the entrepreneur in 1972, Virgin Records challenged the established major labels, scoring global hits by the likes of Mike Oldfield and Culture Club. The Virgin record label, once home to artists ranging from The Sex Pistols to The Spice Girls, is being relaunched with the backing of founder Sir Richard Branson. Established by the entrepreneur in 1972, Virgin Records challenged the established major labels, scoring global hits by the likes of Mike Oldfield and Culture Club. Its roster grew to encompass The Rolling Stones, Massive Attack, David Bowie and Janet Jackson. Branson sold the label to Thorn EMI in 1992 for £560m to raise capital for his Virgin Atlantic airline. Renamed Virgin Music Label & Artist Services, the “revitalised” brand will be part of Universal Music, which bought EMI’s assets in 2011. Its owners promise a “new global network delivering premium and flexible artist and label services to the industry’s most dynamic entrepreneurs and independent talent worldwide, inspired and influenced by the spirit and ethos of the iconic Virgin Records label.”

Astrophysicists Design World Map That Looks Like a Vinyl LP: The new map provides a less distorted look into the world. Flattening a sphere is nowhere an easy task. The third dimension of space needs to be sacrificed in some way which is why all map projections can be somewhat inaccurate and distorted. Mapmakers have suffered from this problem for ages; for example, while the Mercator projection, which you will recognize from classroom walls, is good at depicting local shapes, they actually distort surface areas so badly that Antarctica looks bigger than all other continents combined with Japan and Hawaii looking very far apart. So how do you actually flatten a sphere as perfectly as possible? Princeton University astrophysicists have re-imaged maps in a way that has resulted in the most accurate flat map ever made, according to a press release.

Todmorden, UK | Calderdale pub launches its own record label: A Todmorden pub is aiming to help local musicians and bands thrive in the music industry post covid-19 by launching a record label. Over the years The Golden Lion has survived mother nature’s flash floods and last year’s run in with Calderdale Council for painting their building yellow to brighten up their street in prep for the Tour de Yorkshire. Despite all these set backs, manager Gig Nilavongse remains optimistic conjuring the new chapter whilst flying the kindness banner from the heartbeat of this remarkable market town. Gig said: “After I had chat with friend Andrew Meecham a well-known name who’s hung out at The Golden Lion, DJ-ed and performed live as The Emperor Machine and Bizarre Inc, I was inspired to set up the venue’s very own independent record label Golden Lion Sounds.” The specialist record label plans to release a bi-monthly series of seven inch vinyl records, all limited and numbered featuring musicians and DJs who have played live or DJ-ed at The Golden Lion since its inception. So far Working Men’s Club, Goa Express, W H Lung, The Lounge Society, David Holmes, Jarvis Cocker, The Emperor Machine, Jane Weaver, Andy Votel, Crazy P, Nucleus Roots, Zion Train have all contributed tracks which will be mastered by local solo artist and engineer Andrew Liles.

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