In rotation: 6/4/21

Bury, UK | Record shop lives on as ‘groovy’ T-shirt design: “…“I have been turning old and long gone record shop bag graphics into modern and groovy T-shirts,” said Jonny. “It started with Woolworths Record Dept, then on to Our Price, and the journey has continued around the British provinces, with independent defunct shops from Chelmsford to Kings Lynn and beyond, but Save Records is possibly my favourite so far. “What’s really lovely is you start getting all these reactions from record buyers who remember the shop and they start swapping stories and memories.” The Bury branch of Save Records opened in the market in 1974 and lasted over 40 years until its closure which came, rather ironically, at a time when vinyl began a revival in sales. Jonny added: “I tracked down the last owners of Save Records and Simon has given permission to use his logo on the shirts. I love everything about the logo including the fact that it mixes two reasonably incongruous elements – soccer and record buying.

London, UK | London record store De Underground awarded heritage plaque: The legendary store and recording studio has been recognised as “instrumental in the development of UK hardcore, jungle and drum & bass music” London’s De Underground record store has received a blue heritage plaque for its contributions to several underground music scenes in the ’90s. Owned by Mike De Underground, Cool Hand Flex, Uncle 22 and DJ Randall, the hugely influential store only ran for five years between 1991 and 1996, but has now been officially recognised by the London Borough of Newham Heritage Project as “instrumental in the development of UK hardcore, jungle and drum & bass music”. As well as being a well-respected record store, De Underground also operated as a recording studio, responsible for a number of seminal releases including De Underground Crew’s ‘Melody Madness’ and the heavily sampled ‘Six Million Ways To Die’. … “Massive respect and thanks to all involved with De Underground, it’s been a privilege and delighted to see @newhamlondon and @newhamheritagemonth recognising your contribution to UK culture, our lives are richer for it.”

Hutchinson, KS | Randall: Record swap this weekend: Are you ‘vinyl curious’? Been on the fence about collecting and playing records? Thinking about how much you used to enjoy flipping through the record bins? I have endless memories of record stores while living in Los Angeles. Going to record stores along Melrose Ave in the late 1980s was a regular part of my weekend schedule. On my list were finding foreign independent releases, groups like Bauhaus and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, and also some side notes of ’50s Tiki Music from Martin Denny, or an old Patsy Cline record. Sometimes I would try an album, solely based on the cover. I discovered so many treasures by giving something unknown a chance. The albums were the best. I would analyze the cover art direction and devour any information given in the inserts. I could quickly sing along as many of the artists would list the lyrics on the sleeve insert. Record stores also offered concerts of lesser-known artists who were traveling through town. It was a gathering place, somewhere I felt welcome and valued because we were all just interested in music.

Alicia Keys to release special 20th anniversary edition of debut album: Alicia Keys is to release a 20th anniversary edition of her debut album. The ‘No One’ hitmaker released ‘Songs In A Minor’ – which went on to win a Grammy – two decades ago and she will celebrate all her achievements with a special new edition of the LP. ‘Songs in A Minor (20th Anniversary Edition)’ will feature two bonus tracks, which are previously unreleased and have been taken from the original album recording sessions. ‘Foolish Heart’ and ‘Crazy (Mi Corazon)’, as part of the album, will be available digitally and on vinyl. A special edition of the new anniversary album will be available through Alicia’s official store, including a 2LP packaged vinyl. This limited edition will be pressed on black and green blended colour vinyl and will be complimented by pop-up imagery and deluxe packaging. The album will be made available digitally on Friday June 4 and will feature ‘Fallin’ – ALI Soundtrack Version’ as well as ‘I Won’t (Crazy World)’ which was also available on the 10th Anniversary Physical Deluxe, and will now be available to stream for the first time.

OMD’s ‘Liberator’ & ‘Universal’ Set For Vinyl Reissue In August: Following on from their 40th anniversary celebrations last year which saw them release their greatest hits and anniversary box set, Souvenir, Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark (OMD) have announced further remastered reissues of their UK Top 20 album Liberator and their 1996 album Universal on vinyl on 6 August on UMC/Liberator. Frontman Andy McCluskey’s fascination with WWII bombers influenced the title of the UK Top 20 album Liberator named after the B-24 Liberator aircraft. Peaking at number 14 in the UK album charts, the record features singles “Stand Above Me” and “Dream Of Me” as well as a cover version of the Velvet Underground’s classic 1967 track, “Sunday Morning”. Universal, the band’s tenth album released in 1996, also had chart success with single “Walking On The Milky Way” entering in the Top 20 in the UK singles charts and saw the band make their 29th and final appearance on Top of the Pops. Both albums, which haven’t been available on vinyl since their first release, will be reissued on 180g black vinyl and were remastered at the iconic Abbey Road studios.

Andersonville, IL | Compilation Album From Chicago Artists Will Benefit Out-Of-Work Performers, Staff: “Situation Chicago 2” includes artists like Umphrey’s McGee, Bela Fleck, V.V. Lightbody and Jeff Parker of Tortoise. An Andersonville arts and music nonprofit is teaming with Chicago musicians to help fellow performers and venue employees still reeling from the pandemic. Quiet Pterodactyl has released “Situation Chicago 2,” a compilation album featuring 10 Chicago-area musicians, including Jeff Parker, Umphrey’s McGee and V.V. Lightbody. Proceeds from the album will go to the Chicago Independent Venue League’s emergency relief fund, which is offering grants to local performers and venue workers who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic. “Situation Chicago 2” follows Quiet Pterodactyl’s first compilation album, which raised $35,000 for venues that have been closed for more than a year. When the first album was a success, Quiet Pterodactyl decided to do another benefiting venue performers and workers, label founder Trey Elder said.

The Best Vinyl Accessories to Jazz Up Your Analog Audio: From record cleaners to slip mats, these extras are for budding enthusiasts and die-hard collectors alike. Whether you’ve just started spinning analog audio or you’ve been building a collection for years, good vinyl accessories can take your enjoyment—and your records’ longevity—to the next level. I’ve spent the better part of the past decade messing with some of the most lauded tools for cleaning, setting up, and maintaining record players, and these are my favorites. Plenty of these accessories are affordable, and they make great gifts too! Before you dive deeper, I recommend watching this video on proper turntable setup. Many of the accessories below are meant to aid you in making sure you’re getting the most out of your gear. For more, check out our Best Turntables guide and our how-to article on upgrading your home audio.

Audio-Technica AT-LP60X review: Budding vinyl enthusiasts start here: This affordable record player should be the first port of call for anyone looking to get into vinyl. Records can make great wall art, which is the reason some people buy them, but there’s a great way to free the music within the sleeves without spending a bundle. The Audio-Technica AT-LP60X is a budget record player which offers a bunch of excellent features and surprisingly good performance. It’s perfect for people who just want a turntable without having to think too hard. Despite its affordable $120 price this is no cheap, suitcase-shaped toy but a stereo component which will work well with systems from $100 to $1000 and up. The AT-LP60X is super-simple to set up and just as easy to use. Sure it’s constructed from plastic and it doesn’t offer Bluetooth or even a headphone out, but it does what it needs to well: play records.

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