In rotation: 7/8/21

Hackensack, NJ | Record King in Hackensack to close after more than 50 years in business: Another New Jersey record store will be closing after being open for several decades. Craig Stepneski says that he walked in the door of Record King in Hackensack as a kid and stepped into a world of vinyl that he never wanted to leave. “I actually first walked in when I was 13, but they hired me when I was 14,” he says. Nearly 50 years passed and Stepneski never left. “I ended up buying the place in ’92,” he says. Record King is a favorite of music collectors. Many were surprised to learn that Stepneski will close the doors for good the end of July. The block on Main Street that the shop is located is now in line for redevelopment and Stepneski’s lease was terminated. Stepneski says he’ll miss the customers and the conversations the most. He estimates that he has 100,000 45s and thousands of albums and CDs.

Richmond, VA | A Matter of Records: As it celebrates 40 years in business, Plan 9 Music has evolved from a two-room consignment shop named for a Grade Z movie into a Richmond institution of music and culture: The 40-year history of Plan 9 Music involves startup woes, expansion, contraction, hopscotching locations, bankruptcy reorganization, shifts in technology, the dizzying fracturing of musical genres, economic crashes, distribution tangles — and now a pandemic. Bob Schick, a Plan 9 employee for 37 years, reflects on how the clientele kept the store operating during the past year. “Our loyal customers would call us up and have us walk their orders out to them,” he says. “I didn’t foresee that coming. They were saying, ‘We don’t want you to go away,’ and we are saying, ‘We don’t want to go away, let’s keep doing it.’” Through all the upheavals and downturns, Plan 9 has established itself as a center for the region’s culture — musical and otherwise — with its support for homegrown talent and its in-store events.

Ilwaco, WA | New record store hosts grand opening Saturday: Live music and barbecue will mark Saturday’s grand opening of Ship Wrecords and Moor, a used record store at 122 Lake Street, down the block from the post office in Ilwaco, next door to The Ebb Cafe. Clint Carter’s North Beach Blues Band will perform from 2-4 p.m., helping proprietor Michael Mathis introduce his venture to the public. Doors open at 11 a.m. The store offers an eclectic selection of old records, cassettes and equipment. In one corner are cushy, roomy sofas and chairs around a table where visitors can relax, lending the store an inviting, easygoing atmosphere. In another corner is a wide variety of equipment: stereos, an old philco radio and a jukebox, for instance. Like everything in the store, selection will depend on what Mathis gets his hands on at a particular time. Prices range from $50 to $250 for what Mathis describes as mostly mid-level stereo equipment, though he plans at some point to have higher-end receivers and other equipment…

Sarnia, CA | Cheeky Monkey sold to Toronto developer: The owners of a popular record store in downtown Sarnia are looking forward to retirement after selling Cheeky Monkey to a developer from Toronto. Mary Anne and Roland Peloza said July 6 marked the 22nd anniversary of the store, located on Christina Street North. The couple opened the business after closing a video rental and record store in Wallaceburg that operated for 17 years. “We’re at an age where we want to be able to travel and take it easy and still have our health,” said Roland. “We’re looking forward to the next chapter, the next phase of our lives.” He said the store has been up for sale for nearly two years. “I have no idea what they intend for the building but they made an offer and we accepted it,” said Roland. “The deal closes October 1.” Until then, Cheeky Monkey will remain open until mid to late September. “So right now, we’re running a promotion where we pay the tax on everything so everything is tax-free, which is a fairly significant saving,” he said.

UK | Spin machines: the curious history of video games on vinyl: During the early 80s home computing boom, flexi discs full of data were briefly all the rage, and Frank Sidebottom, the Thompson Twins and the Stranglers made their way to the ZX Spectrum. It’s almost unthinkable now, but from the 1970s until the early 1980s, vinyl records were explored as a means of storing computer data – including video games. Some magazines of the time tucked code-packed flexi disc inserts into their pages: paper-thin plastic records that could be fed into home computers from an ordinary turntable, magically manifesting a game on screen. Long before Travis Scott was attracting 12 million players to a gig hosted in Fortnite, there was a coming together of a British game developer, a magazine and a pop act that marked the beginning of the intersection between the music and games industries.

Bang & Olufsen celebrates Factory Records with limited edition speakers: Featuring iconic artwork from the label’s history. Bang & Olufsen has collaborated with Warner Music on a limited edition speaker, called Beoplay A9, that pays homage to legendary Manchester label Factory Records. The partnership features four versions of the Beoplay A9 wireless speaker, each of which is adorned with iconic Factory Records artwork, including Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures and New Order’s Power, Corruption & Lies. The collaboration marks the 40th anniversary of Factory Communications Limited, established in 1981 by Tony Wilson, Alan Erasmus, Peter Saville, Rob Gretton, and Martin Hannett. The label remains known for its work with artists including Joy Division, New Order, A Certain Ratio, and Happy Mondays. The limited edition Beoplay A9 speakers will retail at £3,500, and are available exclusively at Selfridges.

Martina McBride Will Bring Her Biggest Hits to Vinyl: The Country Music Hall of Fame will also debut an exhibit focused on McBride, beginning July 30. Martina McBride will celebrate three decades of hits with her upcoming Martina McBride Greatest Hits: The RCA Years double LP, which will released Aug. 20 exclusively on vinyl. McBride’s soaring, commanding vocals and her penchant for recording music that also carries messages of social consciousness have earned her hits including “A Broken Wing,” “Independence Day,” “Concrete Angel,” and more. She is also a four-time CMA Female Vocalist of the Year winner. “When I signed my record deal with RCA in 1991, vinyl was out and CD’s were in. Even though I’ve always been happy to have my name on any form of recorded music, I’ve always hoped to see my music on vinyl,” says McBride. “I’m SO THRILLED to share this double vinyl album of hits that I recorded during my time with RCA. This is a very special project to me and I’m excited that everyone will be able to add it to their vinyl collection.”

Brighton, UK | Chubby And The Gang announce record store tour: The Brighton & Hove News Music Team are very excited to note that west London quintet Chubby And The Gang, will be bringing their wonderful noise to half a dozen specially selected record stores in celebration of their forthcoming ‘The Mutts Nuts’ album, which will be released on 27th August 2021 on Partisan Records. ‘The Mutts Nuts’ album needs to be purchased in order to gain entry to the special instore concerts. It is available to purchase in several formats and options including limited edition orange vinyl, deluxe vinyl edition (which has gatefold sleeve, 3D glasses and 20 page lyric book), CD, translucent red cassette, and download. This tour will kick off with two dates in London on 27th and 28th August, followed by appearances in Bristol, Kingston-Upon-Thames, Nottingham and finally arriving at Resident music in Brighton on Sunday 5th September from 6pm.

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