In rotation: 9/27/21

Los Angeles, CA | LA’s Rockaway Records Goes All In On Vinyl, Rare Tees and an Alternative Retail Strategy: During the pandemic, the famed record shop ditched its CD stock and focused on the booming vinyl and memorabilia markets. Wayne Johnson is announcing an unusual change today for Rockaway Records, the indie record store in Los Angeles’ Silver Lake neighborhood that he’s owned with brother and business partner Gary Johnson since 1982. Johnson is reopening the famed record shop, but no longer accepting walk-ins. Shoppers will need to call in advance and make an appointment. Second, the stacks and stacks of compact discs that used to fill the store are gone. In their place will be vintage vinyl, collectibles and high-end rock memorabilia. For the customers who spent hours hunting for cheap CDs at the indie record store — the largest in LA during the 1990s — these changes aren’t personal, Johnson, an easy-going extrovert and gifted communicator, will explain. Rockaway Records just isn’t making money selling CDs. The money these days is serving the online collectibles market and from now on, that will be Rockaway’s focus.

New York, NY | A Music Obsession That’s Adventurous and Soothing: ‘The trick to crate digging is to simply go at it: Dive into the sections, flip through the jackets and trust your gut.’ I was stuck trying to write in my Brooklyn apartment, overthinking a sentence as usual. In these moments I turn to my records. For inspiration, I tend to need music from some faraway place and time. Perhaps an underground spiritual jazz reissue from 1974 or an Afro-disco record from ’80. Something with noticeable ringwear and audible crackles. Maybe even a pop or two. I’ve learned that this is the music that people come back to decades later. These are the songs you hear in a bar or a film and try to Shazam before the final note fades. On this day I also needed some air, so that meant walking 15 minutes to Head Sounds Records in Fort Greene to plow through the stacks. I went right for the jazz section, and that’s when I saw it: Pharoah Sanders, “Live at the East,” released on Impulse! Records in 1972 — nine years before I was born. I had to snatch it before some other crate digger scooped it up.

Oklahoma City, OK | Still in the groove: After nearly 20 years, Guestroom Records still buying and selling vinyl: Justin Sowers and Travis Searle tossed around more than dough when they were working through college at a Norman fast-food staple. “At the Pizza Shuttle where Travis and I both worked, we (spent) many, many days making pizzas and subs, talking about what we’re going to do at our record store,” Sowers recalled. “We had a Rubbermaid tub full of records, and we had a list of people around Norman that liked records. … We would just call up people and see if they had any money, and we’d run over to their house and hang out for a while, maybe sell some records.” Almost 20 years later, they’ve turned their Guestroom Records into a music staple, with owner-operated, independent brick-and-mortar record stores in Norman since 2003, Oklahoma City since 2007 and Louisville, Kentucky, since 2013. “I don’t think either of us really had any clue that this would be our careers,” said Searle, who started the Louisville store when he and his partner, Kentucky native Lisa Foster, decided to relocate.

South Bend, IN | South Bend Record Show returns Oct. 3: The South Bend Record Show spins into the area once again on Oct. 3 from 11 am to 5 pm at the Ramada by Wyndham. Nearly 40 record dealers from the Midwest and beyond will be filling 87 tables with tens of thousands of items. While the most popular item for sale is pre-loved vinyl records, new releases, CDs, cassettes, posters, memorabilia and vintage stereo gear will also be up for sale. Records have an emphasis on rock, pop, metal and punk music from the 1960s to today. However, jazz, country and movie soundtracks are all set to be at the show too. Admission into the event is free at 11 am, but record lovers can get in at 9 am for $5. Door prizes will be held at noon, 1:30 pm and 3:00 pm. Food and beverages will be available to purchase from 11 am to 2 pm. Cash is the preferred method of payment by all vendors, but some are taking Venmo and credit cards.

NZ | Holiday Records Partners With Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles: Volkswagen New Zealand is excited to announce its latest brand ambassador, vinyl record pressers Holiday Records. Holiday Records is New Zealand’s only vinyl record pressing plant co-founded by Joel Woods and Ben Wallace, who brought the practice back to New Zealand for the first time since the 1980s and believe that ‘Music is better on vinyl. Life is better on Holiday.’ Head of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles Kevin Richards says they are thrilled to partner with Holiday Records to put a ‘spin’ on the Commercial Vehicles ambassador line-up. “Holiday Records epitomises Volkswagen’s love for quality, heritage, and the constant innovation of originality, making for a perfect partnership.” Much like their records do, the Holiday Records crew is ‘getting around’ in the 2021 Volkswagen Caddy Cargo – ideally nimble and practical for their inner city needs of a van that drives like a car with the storage capacity required for picking up record making supplies and delivering the finished records to shrink wrappers and clients.

Bristol, UK | Bristol DJs find ‘lost’ record collection – 10 years after losing the vinyl on way home from gig: The vinyl turned up in a city garage after a decade. Two Bristol DJs have been reunited with their record collection – 10 years after losing the rare vinyl on the way home from performing in a city pub. Under the name of The Kelly Twins, Sean Kelly and his brother Dan had been playing a mammoth eight-hour set of garage, disco and house at The Bell near Stokes Croft in 2011. After their show, they took a taxi home and only realised their loss once they got back to their house. Due to the length of their set, they had taken three bags of records to the pub that day but it was only they got home around 1am that they realised one was missing, containing around 80 records. Sean, 36, said: “We had cherry-picked our record collection for the choice cuts and that was the bag we lost so we were particularly gutted as it contained a lot of rare white labels which are hard to find. “When we realised we’d lost it, we started to phone around cab companies, retraced our steps back to The Bell and called friends. We had to accept they had gone for good.

Brooklyn, NY | ‘Inspirational person’: Community gathers to honor popular record store owner: New Yorkers paid tribute Friday to a man whose career in music and role in the community made him a beloved figure across the city. Community members gathered at Moodie’s Records on White Plains Road Friday to celebrate the life of the owner, Earl Moodie, who passed away last week at 69 years old after being sick for a few years. Friends, family and customers going back decades met outside of the store on Friday for a vigil and celebration of life, featuring plenty of music. Besides owning the store, Earl Moodie, also known as “Sir Moodie” and “Mister Moodie,” had a successful performing career as lead singer of The Stepping Stones, a group who picked up a small following in Bronx and Brooklyn reggae clubs in the ’70s. People remembered him as the man who had every album. Even if he didn’t, he could find it in a day or two. This drew customers from all five boroughs, Westchester, Connecticut and New Jersey to his store.

Brighton, UK | Brighton born Bess Atwell performs live in local record shop: Brighton born indie folk singer Bess Hildick Smith better known as Bess Atwell returned to her hometown as part of a short instore record store tour to promote her new album ‘Already, Always’ released today on fellow folk singer Lucy Roses’ Real Kind Records. The Guardian have called Bess “a gifted songwriter with a voice like slow, cool water” and a 5 star review of the new album was in yesterday’s Independent newspaper. I managed to listen to the album a couple of times before her Resident records show in Kensington Gardens in Brighton and have to agree with The Independent, it’s a really great album.

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