In rotation: 7/13/21

Kitchener, CA | A forty year encore: local record store continues to thrive during pandemic: The pandemic has seen Encore Records embrace e-commerce, establishing regulars across Canada for the first time. Around since 1981, Encore Records has been through it all, from the downloading frenzy of the 2000s to a ruthless pandemic that has forced thousands of businesses to close their doors for good. But despite being repeatedly closed throughout the year and having an extremely limited capacity due to lockdowns and restrictions, owner Mark Logan is pretty confident they will make it to their 41st year. “Business has been great. It’s been busy the last six or seven years for vinyl, but the pandemic really opened our website up to people who live across the country,” Logan said. When everything initially shut down at the start of the pandemic, he figured they could be shut down from March to July 2020 and still be able to pay the bills. Beyond that, he wasn’t sure what they would do.

London, UK | Independent Label Market hosting new record fair in London: With 4AD, Mute, Rhythm Section, Touching Bass, Soul Jazz, and more. Independent Label Market has unveiled a new one-day fair, held in London’s famed Carnaby Street this July. The fair will feature labels including 4AD, Bella Union, Domino, Mute, Rhythm Section, Soul Jazz, Touching Bass, Woman in CTRL, and Circadian Rhythms selling a curated array of limited edition records. As part of the event, Soho Radio will be broadcasting live, with a lineup including Simone Marie and DJ Kobayashi. It follows the release of The Vinyl Factory and Soho Radio’s new compilation of live performances cut direct-to-lathe, titled Together: Heart n Soul. The Independent Label Market will be take over Carnaby Street on Saturday 18th July from 12pm — 6pm.

Andover, UK | A record shop that kept Andover on the ‘Threshold’ of music: This striking colour photograph shows a celebration window for the Andover Carnival’s 50th anniversary and is a real explosion of musical tastes and artefacts from that 50-year period. Threshold’s first shop was in Cobham in Surrey and was connected to The Moody Blues, whose 1969 album ‘On the Threshold of a Dream’ gave the shop its name. Andover’s was the second branch of the company and Phil tells me that he was ‘poached’ from K L W (Ken) Cook whose shop was in The Broadway by a representative from Phonogram who put him in touch with the Threshold company. The opening day in 1972 saw a large crowd outside waiting to be let in, possibly helped by some members of The Moody Blues, including Justin Hayward, being on hand to sign autographs. That said, the evidently young audience were able to access the largest stock of all music genres then available in Andover.

UK | Aldi’s £49.99 record player is putting vinyl fans in a spin: The Maginon is a vinyl turntable with a difference: actually, several differences. Currently an online exclusive Special Buy from Aldi priced at £49.99, this deck could have you rekindling your love affair with vinyl records. Even in these days of streaming music services, vinyl still holds a special place in our heart. Pundits tried to write it off in the eighties, when CDs made their debut, but it’s still exciting buyers today. According to the BPI, the industry body that compiles sales charts, the appropriately named Disco by Kylie Minogue, was the most purchased 2020 release on vinyl. Sales are booming. But then so are smart speakers. The fact is we like convenience, which is where this Maginon Turntable comes in. Not only is this a fully functional record deck, able to play albums, singles and 78s, it also has stereo speakers and amplification built-in, making it a retro-style all-in-one.

‘Aim for stars’: Richard Branson’s journey from record store to space trip: …Branson started his career by interviewing several famous personalities, especially from the music industry, for his magazine named Student. Soon, he opened a record store which faced trouble as he was questioned for selling of records that had declared export stock. However, while the matter was settled out of court, his family had to re-mortgage the house to help pay the settlement. In 1972, he used the money from his record store to set up a record label, Virgin Records. This was his first shot to success. His record label signed on British musician Mike Oldfield who sold millions of copies of his famous album “Tubular Bells”, making Branson’s label a hit.

British Columbia, CA | Painful Truth: Magic in a record’s spin: Owning recorded music is still a magical thing. I’m thinking of getting a record player. Yeah, like the kind a lot of us had back when we were kids. Heck, I remember the old family stereo that still had an eight-track slot in it. And our cars, the later ones, had tape decks. Not my dad’s old pickup, it had holes rusted straight through the floor where you could watch the pavement go by, and that was excitement enough for one vehicle. Yes, I know I can get music anywhere, any time, from a wider variety of artists, genres, and eras than ever before in history. Streaming music services are everywhere. But I miss owning things. Do you ever think about what it was like before recorded music existed? It wasn’t that long ago, historically speaking, but it’s now beyond living memory. Our oldest seniors grew up with radio and phonographs.

Tucson, AZ | Record returned to library nearly five decades late: Better late than never? “I was surprised that we had records in the system, if I’m being completely honest,” said Shawn Moser, with Woods Memorial Library. Moser and Shivam Patel, who also works at the library, were taken back almost 50 years while working in circulation. After just talking about the oldest returns they’d seen, a record return was about to walk in. “A couple (of) hours before I just checked in an item that was 361 days old,” Patel said. “We’ve seen some 10 years, some 20 years,” Moser said. “I would say usually a year or two.” When a man strolled in holding a Bessie Smith record, returning it nearly 50 years after it was due back, they couldn’t believe it. “We were just gawking at each other,” said Patel. The man told the two workers he had been going through some of his records and personal items, when he spotted the unreturned album. It was due back Nov. 13, 1973.

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