In rotation: 3/9/21

Kent, UK | Vinyl revival surges on as Kent’s independent record stores find new and innovative ways to engage with music lovers: Putting on a record may seem like a blast from the past, but increased sales, even through a pandemic, has ensured the vinyl revival rolls on. Nostalgia or not, a total of nearly 5 million LPs were purchased in the UK last year alone, with many consumed in Kent. Throughout the pandemic the county’s record shops, like many other high street retailers, have vied for trade with online traders amid the debilitating impact of tiered restrictions and national lockdowns. Despite the challenges many independent stores have managed to find creative ways to engage with the music lovers in their community. From switching their operations online to door-to door deliveries and staging listening parties and radio talk shows, each has found their own unique way to stay in touch. We speak to some of Kent’s passionate independent record store bosses to get their spin on events ahead of their anticipated return on April 12. The Record Store in Park Mall, Ashford, started trading in 2016 inside an old newspaper kiosk.

Munster, IN | Region Records expands to four locations: Classic rock fan and longtime record collector Josh Becerra founded Region Records in downtown Griffith more than a half decade ago, and business has been rocking. His record store has grown so much, especially as the coronavirus pandemic motivated more record collectors to pursue the hobby, that the business has expanded to four locations across Northwest Indiana. Region Records recently moved its main location to 2720 Highway Ave. in downtown Highland and converted its original spot at 208 E. Main St. in downtown Griffith to have more of a focus on vintage collectibles, including novelty vinyl records. It also opened the Indiana Dunes Record Company at 108 Lincoln St. in Porter and is selling a selection of thousands of records at the Crown Antique Mall at 545 E. 110th Ave. in Crown Point. “The Highland store is a lot bigger than Griffith, like three or four times bigger,” he said. “We have a lot of high-end stereo equipment and a lot of records. Our stereo equipment is nice. I think more and more about people getting serious into vinyl records and then getting a cheap player at Target or Walmart that doesn’t sound any better than a CD on a boom box, which defeats the whole point of vinyl…”

Vernon, NJ | See Inside: Vinyl Record & Antique Shop Opens In Sussex County: Vinyl lovers in Vernon now have a new spot to shop for elusive yet coveted records and antiques. Valley Records & Antiques opened its doors on Omega Drive last week. In addition to offering a huge variety of vinyl records, the one-of-a-kind startup sells all types of posters, albums and other memorabilia “for all crowds,” its Facebook page says. The shop was opened by Tom Wilson Jr., 56, who grew up in Vernon. His son, Peter, helps out on social media. Valley Records is open Thursday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, follow the shop on Facebook and Instagram.

Winchester, VA | Online vinyl auctions power Back to the Media through COVID-19: When the COVID-19 pandemic hit a year ago, Mark and Dani Canoles decided they weren’t going to let it shut down their Back to the Media shop on the Loudoun Street Mall. Located at 141 S. Loudoun St., the store sells vinyl records, video games, DVDs and more. The business stayed open during shutdowns, but not through traditional means. The couple moved their business to Facebook, streaming virtual auctions at 7 p.m. on Saturdays. “We didn’t know if it would take off. We had people, even before we started doing this, that would ask us if we would ship our records. At the time, with being in the store, it was kind of something that we didn’t look at,” Dani Canoles said. “Once the pandemic started, we wanted to find a way to keep getting records into the hands of people if they’re not physically able to come in our store and shop.” The test run was successful. So successful that they’ve continued it nearly every Saturday night since, minus a few here and there.

Woodland Hills, CA | How a Montebello DJ spent years tracking down rare Armenian music of the ’70s and ’80s: Now collecting his finds in the compilation “Silk Road,” Darone Sassounian is sharing his collection with the world. Darone Sassounian gasped when he finally found the record. For years, Sassounian had been on the hunt for “Sunrise,” a 1979 album from Armenian musician Avo Haroutiounian. The album was recorded and released through a local label, Parseghian Records, after Haroutiounian had settled in Los Angeles. But when Sassounian, a Montebello-based DJ, stumbled upon it, he was far from home. At the time, Sassounian was digging through records at a friend’s shop in Bourj Hammoud, a Lebanese town outside of Beirut known for its large ethnic Armenian population. “I’ve never even seen one online,” says Sassounian on a recent phone call. “I found that record that was made in Los Angeles about 7000 miles east of where it was produced.” Now Sassounian is sharing one of the songs from that album, the incomparably funky “Tears on My Eyes,” on the compilation “Silk Road: Journey of the Armenian Diaspora (1971-1982),” available now digitally and on vinyl via record label Terrestrial Funk. The album is a labor of love that brings together music recorded by Armenian diasporan artists between 1971 and 1982.

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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