In rotation: 6/10/21

Portland, ME | Vinyl records surge during pandemic, keeping sales spinning: Vinyl record sales surged during the pandemic as music lovers fattened their collections, and audio cassettes began a comeback as well, keeping business spinning at record stores. Easing restrictions on indoor shopping and continued interest in vinyl records provide stores — and shoppers — something to cheer on Saturday, the first of two Record Store Day dates. Although many stores were closed during the early part of the pandemic, people were listening to records at home and boosting online and curbside pickup sales of vinyl. Will Emanuel, a University of Maine student stuck at home outside Portland, bought about 50 to 55 albums during the pandemic. “I was absolutely itching to build a collection,” said Emanuel. “I fell in the rabbit hole and now it seems I can’t escape.” At 20, Emanuel is part of a new generation drawn to the warm sound, album art and retro vibe of vinyl records, joining with older Americans who grew up with the format to increase sales.

Tucson, AZ | Tucson record collector comes home, opens shop in antiques malls: It’s National Record Store Day on Saturday, June 12, and Tucson has a few record stores that you can shower with love, including Hurricane Records on North Fourth Avenue, Wooden Tooth Records on East Seventh Street downtown and Zia Records on East Speedway. This spring, Bob Lambert joined them when he launched Desert Vinyl, offering often pristine and somewhat rare records for sale from two Tucson antique stores — 22nd Street Antique Mall and Speedway Antique Mall. “The quality of inventory that I have will rival any of the used stuff here in town,” Lambert said, then ticked off some titles to prove his point: Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Were Made for Walkin,” Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ “Damn the Torpedoes,” Miles Davis’ “Four & More” live album and the Beatles’ “Rubber Soul” are a few of the thousands of records he has collected over a 30-plus-year span. “When I got out of college, I opened a store in Tucson outside of the (University of Arizona); it lasted 13 months,” he recounted of his journey from novice music fan to discophile.

Margate, UK | Record store Transmission in Cliftonville, Margate, to open for final time for Record Store Day: Record store Transmission in Cliftonville, Margate, is to shut up shop for good – opening for the final time for shoppers to snap up the latest Record Store Day releases. The store, first opened in 2014 by Spencer Hickman and his partner Kimberley Dunne, was once named one of the top record stores in the world. Mr Hickman, who formerly ran the world-renowned Rough Trade record shop in east London and co-founded Record Store Day in the UK, 13 years ago, says the pandemic has made them “reassess” their lives. The business, which has operated a mail-order service only over recent months while the store has been closed, will relocate to Cornwall. It specialises in rare Japanese vinyl and soundtracks. But it will go out with a bang as it opens on Saturday for in-person sales again with a raft of the special limited edition Record Store Day releases – an annual event designed to get people back into record shops…

Dublin, IE | Made In Dublin: How Freebird Records are helping to keep vinyl alive: The shop is taking part in Record Store Day this Saturday (12th). Musical trends come and go, record formats change and once-hot bands are soon forgotten, but for Dublin’s music fans, one record shop has been a reliable and reassuring presence for more than 40 years. Now established in an atmospheric back room off Wicklow Street, Freebird Records first opened in an upstairs premises on Grafton Street in 1978, when punk was the thing and U2 were fresh-faced youngsters making a name for themselves around town. In later years, the shop moved to Eden Quay, and then in the mid-2000s it moved in with The Secret Bookstore at 15A Wicklow Street, replacing a previous record shop that occupied the same space. “It’s a boon to us to be in the same space as the bookshop,” says Freebird employee Sean Nolan. “There’s quite a large crossover in terms of the customer base.” Like the bookshop, Freebird sells a combination of new and used items – in this case vinyl records and CDs.

Los Angeles, CA | Former Amoeba Music building to house Immersive Van Gogh exhibit: Music is making way for art at the former Amoeba Music building in Hollywood. The “Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit” is set to open at 6400 Sunset Blvd. on July 31. A new block of tickets goes on sale on Saturday, June 12. Tickets start at $30 for children and $40 for adults. Since premiering in July 2020, more than 2 million tickets have been sold to the attraction in cities including Toronto, San Francisco and Chicago, noted the exhibit’s producers Lighthouse Immersive and Impact Museums. “Immersive Van Gogh’s” arrival in Los Angeles was first announced in February with a May 27 opening at a secret location. That launch was delayed by Covid-19-related issues, reported Los Angeles Daily News. Designed by Italian film producer Massimiliano Siccardi with music by Italian multimedia composer Luca Longobardi, the exhibit uses state-of-the-art technology, theatrical storytelling and animation to present the titular artist’s masterpieces…

Whittier, CA | 10 Record Store Day 2021 releases to seek including Prince, Beck, the Police and more: Like everything else fun in 2020, the annual tradition of Record Store Day got walloped in the spring by COVID-19. And sure, they held a pair of makeup dates in the fall, but amid the pandemic and lockdowns, it just wasn’t quite the same. Now, thanks to needles in arms making headway against COVID-19, the needles in the arms of our turntables are going to get a treat, too. Record Store Day 2021 returns for the first of two dates on Saturday, June 21. It comes back around on Saturday, July 17, with each date featuring different special releases. We scoured the lists of new releases for RSD to pick 10 of the best things you’ll find at your local indie record store. Because 10 is the correct number of tracks to make a perfect album, even if we could have picked twice that many terrific RSD releases here.

Indianapolis, IN | Fountain Square business raising money to return art to Graffiti Alley: Fountain Square businesses are looking for artists to bring their work to the alley between Shelby Street and Woodlawn Avenue. This comes after residents expressed their frustration over a property owner painting over Graffiti Alley in the Fountain Square Cultural Art District. Square Cat Vinyl says a landlord had the walls painted over where the commissioned art had been. The owner’s attorney says it was all just a big mistake that the artwork was covered over. “The main thing is what happened back there happened, we’re just trying to facilitate giving the funds to artists so we can get the alley painted as soon as possible,” said Mike Angel, co-owner of Square Cat Vinyl. “I’m not sure why they got painted over but we’re just trying to get money in the hands of artists to make it right.” Now Square Cat Vinyl is raising money to replace the lost art and add some new murals to the mix. The record shop set up a GoFundMe page to raise $10,000 to go directly to artists.

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