In rotation: 4/21/21

Los Angeles, CA | In a Former Church Downtown, a New Record Shop Is Celebrating L.A.’s Party Scene: With nightlife on pause, Rolando Alvarez and Eddie Vela of Chapter One created a space where vinyl lovers and DJs can connect in a different way. Rolando Alvarez and Eddie Vela had been thinking about opening a record store ever since they began renovating a former church set against the warehouses of downtown some three years ago. Alvarez had even bought furniture for the dream shop, but it sat tucked away in the building for about a year-and-a-half as the multi-use space became in-demand for music events, art shows, and even a few weddings. With the COVID-19 shutdown, though, the two decided to reboot their headquarters. Today, it’s a live-streaming studio and the record shop they had long imagined is now a reality. Chapter One is open (by appointment only) for vinyl lovers who want to dig through the collections of L.A.’s underground DJs. “It’s the beginning of a new story, if you will,” Alvarez says on a recent video call. “It’s a rebirth.” And, it’s one that they’ve been carefully plotting since the onset of the pandemic. “Like with any story, the first chapter is so important,” says Alvarez. “It’s very important for us to get that first chapter right.”

Seattle, WA | Everyday Music will close on Capitol Hill in May — But Almost Everyday Music could live on in Lower Queen Anne: You have even less time than you thought to enjoy Capitol Hill’s Everyday Music but the heart and soul of the CD and record shop might live on in Lower Queen Anne. In February, CHS reported the sad news that the 10th Ave location of the Portland-based tiny chain of stores would close by June as challenges of COVID-19 coincided with founder Scott Kuzma’s hopes to downsize his business. We now have a date for the last planned day of business: May 16th. But before one of the last record stores on Capitol Hill shutters, two of the store’s vital music experts are hoping to pick up the mantle and are beginning a $25,000 fundraiser to back the Almost Everyday Music venture to create a new shop in Seattle: “Because we are starting a new business, it will be easy to see your donations reflected around the store. Every dollar will help us acquire what we need to start again, including fresh product, a new point of sale system with gift cards, stickers, shirts, totes bags, and supplies for your collection. It will take our store front to the web and bring new life to old infrastructure. And last but not least, it will support local artists and labels who need our help as we move out from the pandemic.”

San Francisco, CA | ‘Incredibly surprised’: San Francisco’s Amoeba Music is experiencing a record-shopping renaissance: A year ago, Amoeba Music was in trouble. Though the 25,000-square-foot bowling alley-turned-vinyl collectors’ paradise on Haight Street had managed to withstand an economic recession, shifting listening formats and the rise in music streaming services, it was the first time the store would face an entirely new beast: the COVID-19 pandemic. Amid the shutdown of retail, the in-person transactions Amoeba heavily relied upon came to a standstill, and its once lively aisles filled with record enthusiasts digging through the bins and seeking out their latest auditory treasure grew eerily silent. The independent record store chain was forced to furlough most of its staff at all three locations, including its original storefront on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley as well as its outpost on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles. Their most popular event of the year, Record Store Day, came and went without the usual lines rounding the block in front of the store, and with no end in sight to the pandemic, co-founder Marc Weinstein started to worry. “We certainly had our dark days of wondering whether we would survive all of this,” he said. “There was a tremendous degree of uncertainty, especially not knowing what the government might be offering in terms of assistance or help.”

Shawnee, KS | How I Experience Music: Listening. Junior Avery Davis experiences music through listening to records. As soft notes created by just a small needle and grooves on a record form into the song “Vienna” by Billy Joel, junior Avery Davis experiences music through listening on her record player. Davis values the unique sound of a record player and believes it cannot be created by any other speaker or phone. “I use my record player because the music feels so real through it. I love how it makes the music crackle and imperfect,” Davis said. “Nothing compares to music from my record player.” With record players coming back in style, most stores have taken to selling records. However, Davis’ record player can only play old records, so she looks for albums in second-hand stores. “My favorite album is my Billy Joel album The Stranger because it has the song “Vienna” on it, which is one of my favorite songs. I got it at a used record store, so it works really good on my old record player and has a nice, vintage sound,” Davis said. “I love the unique sound that vinyl has; it’s really relaxing for me.”

Hays, KS | Students practice music appreciation through collecting vinyl records: The needle lowers after the glossy disc starts spinning. When the two finally meet the smooth sound of classic rocks fills the room. The perfect way to destress after a long day. “I like to listen to my vinyl records at night when I am gaming or cleaning and I can just relax,” senior Brendan Kershner said. Kershner, like many teenagers have found a new way to appreciate music in the form of vinyl records. This model of music storage where grooves are pressed into vinyl discs that have a needle pass over it to produce sound has been around since the early 1900s but experienced a surge in popularity in recent years. An interest in this old-fashioned method of enjoying music sparked when Kershner would visit his grandma throughout his childhood. “My grandmother has always had vinyl records and I personally have always enjoyed looking at the art and listening to the classic ones from when she was a kid,” Kershner said. As time has gone on Kershner’s collection has continued to grow.

North Bay, CA | Alexander Valley Film Festival Virtually Screens New Documentary ‘Vinyl Nation’ What was once called a revival is now hailed as a renaissance. The vinyl record has had its ups and downs over the last 100-plus years, but the classic method of musical enjoyment is still setting record sales numbers in the high-tech 21st century. During the pandemic, several North Bay record shops reported an uptick in business, even as social distancing forced stores to offer curbside pickup, delivery or extremely limited shopping opportunities. Filmmakers Kevin Smokler and Christopher Boone recently crisscrossed the country to document the record renaissance in the new documentary Vinyl Nation, which screens virtually as part of the seventh annual Alexander Valley Film Festival, which opens online on Friday, April 23. Vinyl Nation talks to record collectors, musicians, shop owners, manufacturers and others to find out what drives generations of collectors to collect, and how the latest vinyl craze is more inclusive and diverse than ever before.

Beggars Group and Ninja Tune Pledge to Become Carbon Negative: The label groups have outlined plans to reduce carbon emissions through product and supply changes. Beggars Group—the record label group that comprises 4AD, Matador, Rough Trade, XL Recordings, and Young—and Ninja Tune—which also incorporates Big Dada and Technicolour and works closely with Brainfeeder—have pledged to become carbon neutral. Beggars hopes its UK-managed operations will be carbon negative by the end of next year, while the group is aiming for carbon negativity for its U.S.-managed operations by 2024. Ninja Tune, meanwhile, is aiming to be carbon neutral by the end of 2021. Beggars Group is looking to half its total supply chain-related carbon emissions by 2030. According to the group, it will “identify and adopt lower-impact vinyl and CD production techniques.” In addition, Beggars plans to utilize sea freight for shipping, reduce business travel, and “drive engagement on sustainability topics with [its] staff.” To begin reduce its own emissions, Ninja Tune is changing the central gas heating system at its offices to electric air-source heat pumps, and offices in London, Los Angeles, and Berlin will get other eco-friendly upgrades.

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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