In rotation: 10/22/21

Vinyl sells so well that it becomes difficult to sell vinyl: Joyful Noise Recordings, Indianapolis, a specialist label catering to vinyl-loving underground rock fans, has a corner that employees call the “Cave of Lathes.” There is a Presto 6N record lathe – a 1940s microwave-oven-sized machine that makes records by carving a groove on a blank vinyl disc. Unlike most standard inserts, which are pressed in the hundreds or thousands, each cut-and-turn wheel must be created individually. “It’s incredibly time consuming,” said Karl Hofstetter, founder of the label. “If a song is three minutes long, it takes three minutes for each song.” This ancient technology – worn and cracked, the lathe looks a bit like a WWII submarine – is a key part of Joyful Noise’s strategy to survive amid the record-fueled vinyl surge in popularity. Left to die with the advent of CDs in the 1980s, vinyl records are now the most popular and most profitable physical format in the music industry, and fans choose it for collectibility, sound quality, or simply tactile music in the digital ephemeral era. … After steadily growing for over a decade, LP sales have skyrocketed during the pandemic.

Dallas, TX | Dallas’ Oldest Record Store, Top Ten, Asking for $40,000 to Reinvent Itself as Music Library: Several local record shops that focus on vinyl, such as Josey, Good Records and Spinster, are managing to thrive in the age of streaming; meanwhile Dallas’ oldest store, which has specialized in CDs for the last two decades, is struggling to keep its doors open. But Top Ten Records on West Jefferson Boulevard in Oak Cliff, made famous by its connection to the Kennedy assassination, may receive a second chance at life thanks to its neighbors at the Texas Theatre. “I’ve been thinking that it was time to move on — to either close the store or sell it,” owner Mike Polk says. Top Ten opened in 1956 but it became infamous seven years later as the place where Dallas Police officer J.R. Tippit was last seen making a phone call before he was shot by Lee Harvey Oswald, who had shot and killed President John F. Kennedy earlier that day. But Top Ten Records also has a small but loyal customer base who enjoy its collection of heavy metal, gospel and Tejano, and so will miss the shop if it shutters for completely non-historical reasons.

Denver, CO | Record Store Chain Reaction Opens Today in Lakewood: Somewhere on West Colfax in Lakewood is a strip mall, virtually indistinguishable from all the others on any given stretch of the meandering 26-mile boulevard. The only thing that differentiates this particular strip mall — for music fans, anyhow — is that it is now the home of Chain Reaction Records, Denver’s newest record store. Co-owners Josh Lent and Val Landrum have been nurturing their mutual dream of opening up a record store with a focus on punk and heavy metal for a long time, but it wasn’t until recently that everything seemed to click. “We’d been thinking about it for years, since like 2007,” says Lent, “but it wasn’t the right time. Our bands had been touring to California, and every single town there seemed to have its own punk record store, so why not Denver?” “We actually started because we were just looking for a place for our bands to practice,” adds Landrum. “We kind of just stumbled into the right storefront at the right time.” With rents in Denver proper skyrocketing and seeing no end in sight, a store in suburban Lakewood seemed to make sense to the partners.

Gloucester, UK | New record store to open in Gloucester: Who remembers going into a record shop for a browse, a listen, a free cup of coffee and a chat with like-minded collectors? Vinyl Vital Signs in Eastgate market has always been such a place, and now it’s expanding into a shop. The store, which also sells CDs, cassettes, and other merchandise, is opening in Gloucester’s Eastgate Centre on Saturday, October 23. Owners Darren Franks and Mark Hatten hope to create the same community atmosphere they valued in the market, even creating ‘Malcolm’s Corner’ in homage to Darren’s father who inspired his love of vinyl. The story of Vinyl Vital Signs goes back to Darren Frank’s father Malcolm and his love for vinyl records. Mr Franks said: “I grew up surrounded by, and listening to vinyl records. On joining the forces, I had to give up my own collection, so when I left in 2012, I started to collect records again and found that before long I had too many.”

Chicago, IL | L-Stop Musts: Second-Hand Stores Edition: Reckless Records. If you’re fond of the subtle crackle of vinyl on a turntable or the aesthetic display of album covers as wall art, Reckless Records might be the music store of your dreams. Walking in, the vast collection of used and new records and CDs is apparent. The store is organized alphabetically within each genre — helpful for anyone who wastes no time when it comes to developing their record collection. The simple layout of the space makes navigating the shop’s extensive stock an exciting and straightforward experience. While the shop does offer brand new copies of records and CDs, Reckless Records’ second-hand collection is both inexpensive and comprehensive. From Little Feat to Clairo to Lizzo, Reckless Records offers a variety of options for anyone who is seeking to find anything from a 1970s classic rock CD to their favorite underground pop artist’s debut album.

Fargo, ND | Fargo Record Fair 2021 at Fargo Brewing Company: The annual celebration of music is looking to be bigger than ever. Calling music lovers of all genres far and wide: the annual celebration of everyone’s favorite hipster platform is back. The Fargo Record Fair will be returning for another year of celebrating the creation and success of vinyl records, while also supporting local vendors and lesser-known artists. Having started the Fargo Record Fair over a decade ago in 2009, it’s hard to believe that Dean Sime would be showcasing the popular event 12 years to music connoisseurs both younger and older. With the event being absent from 2020 due to the pandemic, locals are excited to discover new music and support small vendors once again in a safe environment. While they may have been restricted last year, efforts are being made for this to be their biggest year yet in both sales and turnout. The event is all-ages, with adult beverages being available to those of legal age. Furthermore, the cost of admission is $5 for those in attendance, along with extra costs for the records and drinks.

Clearwater, FL | Classic Albums Live Series returns to Clearwater with five performances: Remember when you used to listen to an entire album? Sliding the record out of the sleeve and dropping the LP onto the turntable? Lowering the tone arm and watching the needle as it connected with the vinyl? The musicians behind Classic Albums Live Series remember. The Classic Albums Live Series is set to make a return to Clearwater with five performances. The series will get underway with The Eagles’ “Hotel California,” presented Saturday, Nov. 6, 8 p.m., at Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater. …Classic Albums Live isn’t just some ordinary cover band. Like a symphony orchestra performing the works of Mozart, Classic Albums Live forgoes the gimmickry of costumes and impersonations, putting the music first. These world-class musicians tackle iconic music, concentrating solely on re-creating it as you remember it from the original recording. The attention to detail is staggering: Every sound from the album is re-created live on stage by world-class musicians assembled for each album presentation.

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