In rotation: 11/17/21

Middletown, NY | Hudson Valley Record Shop Celebrating 36 years: With about $2500 cash and the blessing of his parents, Stephen Keeler, a lover of hard rock and heavy metal, opened his hard rock/heavy metal concert shop back in 1985. Now if you wanna go back even further, Keeler actually opened a shop called Rock and Roll Fantasy in 1979 on rt 211 in Middletown. That shop would last a few months before a robbery would shut the business down which nowadays is a Wendy’s fast food restaurant. Rock Fantasy was the idea of Keeler, who wanted to open a shop that would be a place for heavy metal fans to get hard to find releases from band’s like Metallica, Slayer, Venom, who weren’t really main stream in 1985. After years of doing the flea market circuit selling records, t-shirts, pins and such, a heatstroke would sideline Keeler and would eventually motivate him to open the physical store at 79 West Main St. Rock Fantasy Hard Rock and Heavy Metal Concert Shop would be successful at the location for many years, eventually moving next door to 75 West Main St. where the store would remain…

San Francisco, CA | Omg: Happy 24th Birthday, Amoeba Music in San Francisco: On November 15, 1997, a San Francisco landmark opened: the Amoeba Music store on Haight Street. Over the ensuing two-plus decades, the record store existed as a balm — a source for audiophiles to find polished studio recordings; where cassette collectors could build their sets; when DVD and CD devotees began coming in droves later on — for vinyl enthusiasts and those who consume media in more analog fashions. Even though COVID-19 threatened the establishment’s future physical presence in the city, Amoeba Music at 1855 Haight Street saw those financial hardships through; they’re still, obviously, around today. And doing what appears to be quite well, as a matter of fact. The past 24 years have seen Amoeba Music become a touchstone in San Francisco. The Bold Italic, too, has waxed our love for the Haight-Ashbury’s bastion of yesteryear media on many, many occasions.

McKinney, TX | Red Zeppelin record store in McKinney to expand with more retail space, music venue: Woman-owned music shop Red Zeppelin Records has plans to expand its store and offer more to its customers. Owner Katie Scott recently took over the space next door to the shop and is looking to expand its floor plan. This will allow her to add more records, CDs and cassette tapes, as well as a music venue. The first phase of the expansion is tentatively slated to open in late November, store manager Bayleigh Cheek said. Next year the expansion will also be home to a bar with beer and wine, Cheek said. The business is located at 206 E. Lousiana St., in downtown McKinney and offers vinyl records of all genres, both old and new, in a punk-rock environment. The store also carries some music gift items.

Nashville, TN | Help Keep The Groove in Place: Donate to the fundraiser to help the owners of the much-loved East Side record store buy their building. It’s a story you know all too well: Several years or even several decades after a small business has become widely loved, the owners and/or operators of the business learn that their landlords are getting ready to sell the property. Several variations on this theme have come into play just this year. The team that runs the Mercy Lounge suite of venues is not signing a lease with the new owner of its longtime home on Cannery Row and plans to move elsewhere in the summer; beloved dive bar and karaoke spot Fran’s East Side is looking for a spot to relocate to; Exit/In’s Chris and Telisha Cobb continue their campaign to buy the land that the club resides on from the development firm that bought it earlier this year.

Boise, ID | Bank of Idaho Helps Iconic Record Store With Succession: Bank of Idaho has helped the Record Exchange, a landmark business in downtown Boise since 1977, remain the fixture that locals know and love. Bank of Idaho commercial bankers Machele DuBois and Saul Hernandez worked to help a trio of Record Exchange employees purchase the business from retiring owners Michael Bunnell and Jil Sevy. ‘Maintaining continuity was important to everybody,’ DuBois said. ‘The Record Exchange is practically a civic treasure, so we wanted to do everything we could to make this as seamless as possible.’ With more than 40 years combined experience working the aisles at Record Exchange, the new owners are Catherine Merrick, Glenn Newkirk and Chad Dryden, plus Dryden’s wife, Erica Sparlin Dryden. ‘All of us in our ownership group were brand new to this process. So we were essentially starting from scratch with our knowledge base,’ Chad Dryden said. ‘Bank of Idaho was really good about walking us through the process step-by-step so we understood everything that we were seeing. We felt we were taken care of very well.’

Oxford, UK | As HMV bounces back in Oxford we remember star appearances: Music chain HMV has recently reopened a branch in Cornmarket after closing its store in 2014. Now the stars, including Ronan Keating, are returning, we look back at photos of previous celebrity appearances over the years. Today’s pop music fans probably haven’t heard of Brother Beyond. But the boy band had a strong following in the late 1980s and a number two hit with The Harder I Try. It was groups like these who would cause a stir when they turned up for in store signings in record stores like HMV in Cornmarket Street in Oxford. Jennifer Lafton, 18, was a big fan and she waited four hours to meet lead singer Nathan Moore back in 1986. There were lots of in store performances for fans over the years and local bands like Foals and Young Knives took the opportunity to turn up and play their latest singles. Sadly the fun didn’t last forever and after the chain went into administration in 2013 it closed its doors in the city centre the following year.

The 10 best audiophile bars around the world: Audiophile bars – or listening bars if you prefer – have their origins in Japan following the Second World War. Back then, the novelty of combining high-quality sound systems and low-level lighting with cafe culture began as an exercise in mindfulness, the mantra of which was “talk less, listen more”. But in recent years, the concept has been adopted by industrious music heads all over the world, and today you can find audiophile bars everywhere from London to India. Back in 2019, when the craze was just beginning to kick off, Colleen Murphy, a DJ and producer, was interviewed by Nohsheen Iqbal about the surging popularity of audiophile Bars: “I think it’s part of a larger movement, like slow food and mindfulness,” Murphy began, explaining how listening bars have become especially popular amongst young people, many of whom, she says, have never experienced listening to music on the high-end sound systems that make places like London’s Brilliant Corners such an important spot for music lovers.

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