In rotation: 12/17/21

Seattle, WA | An Interview with Mikel Orsborn of Mighty Vinyl Records: Prog rock superfan Mikel Orsborn, AKA Mighty Vinyl, is a bit of an OG when it comes to selling records online, having set up his first store, “Supper’s Ready Collectibles” (named after this favorite Genesis song), in the early ‘90s. He was kind enough to tell us about his earlier days as a seller on a pre-Discogs internet. “In the late ’70s, I began reading Goldmine Magazine and Record Collector and discovered a whole WORLD of cool, unique releases out there that weren’t carried in my local Tower Records store. Working in a record store from 1980-1984, I’d been able to obtain a slug of promotional records, which I augmented with my purchases from new and used record stores, thrift shops, and estate sales. I had amassed something like 4,000 records and told my girlfriend at the time that it was all an investment. She said, ‘if it’s an investment, that means at some point you have to start selling stuff.’”

Memphis, TN | One and 100: John Miller, Shangri La Records owner: This story is part of the special project “One and 100: One pandemic uprooted our lives. One hundred stories tell its impact on the South.” Some days, life feels almost normal inside Shangri-La Records in Memphis. For John Miller, co-owner of the venerable record shop — which exudes the unique smell of vinyl LPs, a combination of old cardboard mixed with PVC, it’s a comforting feeling. “When there’s people in the store browsing and buying, sometimes I’ll be thinking, ‘Wow, this feels like the pandemic isn’t happening — other than folks have masks on,” says Miller. “We’re still missing all the international customers, the ones who would visit Sun and Stax and then come here and buy a piece of that history. So, no, it doesn’t feel quite like it did before, but hopefully, we’ll get back to that.” Over Shangri-La’s 32 years in business, music-buying tastes and trends have shifted, but in the last few years, the store has witnessed a full-blown renaissance in sales of vinyl records —something it never stopped selling.

Londonderry, VT | Luminous Crush to drop new album at new record store: Lovingly known as “purveyors of dream pop since 2015,” Southern Vermont’s Luminous Crush will publicly release its fifth collection of original music, titled “Incandescent” at 6 p.m. Saturday. The site of the album drop is to be the newly opened, independent record store, In the Moment Records, owned by Teresa and Sujay Patel, at the Mountain Marketplace in Londonderry. The store was previously on Main street in Brattleboro, but the Patels had always dreamed of bringing this vinyl paradise to the local community scene where they live. They opened doors early this November. The event will take place in the store from 6 to 8 p.m. with Luminous Crush (Ben Campbell and Laura Molinelli, also featuring Christian Heins on bass and Bill Conley on pedal steel and dobro) performing an acoustic set of original material. There will be giveaways as well as the opportunity to take home a CD with purchase of $5 or more from In the Moment Records.

Boston, MA | Streaming rules, but vinyl still grooves: Record stores see new generation of shoppers: There was a time when Jack Woker wasn’t sure his business would survive. It was the early 2000s, when CD sales were beginning to decline in the U.S. His store, Stereo Jack’s Records in Cambridge, had been selling vinyl records since 1982. By the ’90s, he mostly depended on CDs as vinyl and cassette tapes went by the wayside. But if there’s anything Woker has learned over his four decades in the retail music business, it’s that consumer habits can be unpredictable — and at times, mind-boggling. “Suddenly there was this swell of interest in vinyl, and it was mostly coming from young people,” Woker said. “It was puzzling to us, but we went along with it.” According to Woker, a lot of his young customers tend to prefer classic rock albums their parents might have bought as CDs in the ’80s and ’90s. Some of his big vinyl sellers include Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and The Beatles.

Op ed: The music industry needs to make eco-friendly changes, starting now: The climate crisis is happening now. So, how have we gotten here, and what are we going to do about it, asks Greg Cochrane, host of music and climate action podcast ‘Sounds Like A Plan.’ A couple of months ago, I was fortunate to interview the legendary musician, producer and climate-campaigner Brian Eno at his famous London studio. “Are we treating the climate as a crisis? No, we aren’t really,” he said. “And I think it’s partly because it’s so difficult to countenance the complexity and blackness of the whole situation.” To me, that comment summed up how many people feel about our current climate and ecological emergency: confused, overwhelmed and hopeless. And, honestly, that’s totally understandable. We’ve reached a point in our Earth’s history that scientists are calling “code red for humanity,” yet some people are only just finding out about the climate crisis. And those who are up to speed are exasperated that very little has been done.

Is the Vinyl Revival Near its End? With over a decade of consistent growth, vinyl is yet again the physical format of choice for music aficionados. But now with horror stories of ever-diminishing stocks of PVC, Covid complications and major labels pushing aside the independents for access to the handful of factories pressing records, we ponder if the the vinyl revival is dangerously close to its end… “I’ve always felt like, until you buy the vinyl record, you don’t really own the album.” Evangelised Jack White on NPR’s All Things Considered. “It’s not just me or a little pet thing or some kind of retro romantic thing from the past. It is still alive.” White’s sentiments are clearly mirrored by a large proportion of music fans, as vinyl record sales have seen consistent growth for nearly a decade, reaching a major high in 2020 with 4.8 million discs flogged – finally over-taking the ailing CD market for the first time in 35 years.

Manila, PH | Vicor’s classic vinyl reissue back in a big way: Twenty-twenty-one is definitely a banner year for Vicor Records’ classic vinyl reissues. Whether or not it has something to do with the overstaying pandemic, this year saw OPM aficionados reconnect with vinyl once more. The bottom line is, the phenomenon is a testament that the vinyl record format is again the No. 1 physical music format of choice for music listeners after many long decades. It was no surprise that Vicor, with its steep listing of OPM hits, has reissued its catalog of hit albums on vinyl. Once hard-to-find records such as “Segreto” by the late Ric Segreto (whose stocks sold out twice), “VST & Company I,” Rico J. Puno’s “The Way We Were,” Rey Valera, Martin Nievera, Freddie Aguilar’s “Anak,” and Sharon Cuneta’s “Mr. DJ” albums are back in circulation. And that was only the beginning since Vicor has since released more sought-after titles such as “Batucada Sa Calesa” by Bong Penera, Basil Valdez’s “Ngayon At Kailanman,” “Kuh” by Kuh Ledesma, “Himig Natin” by Juan Dela Cruz Band and the self-titled debut of folk-rock heroes Asin.

Take a look at the Rega System One – Rega’s sleek all-in-one turntable package: The Rega System One comes with a Planar 1 turntable, io amp and the audio company’s Kyte speakers. Rega have lifted the lid on their Rega System One package – an all-in-one turntable bundle which has everything you need to start playing your vinyl collection ASAP. The Rega System One comes with the award winning Rega Planar 1 turntable – which is included in our roundup of the best record players – an io amplifier, a pair of Rega’s Kyte speakers, a mini remote and all the cables you’ll need. It also features a headphone socket so you can connect up to your favourite wired cans. The whole package is priced at £1199 with a US price still to be confirmed. Rega say: “The Rega System One is a unique, handmade analogue audio system designed to bring you the true Rega signature sound at an affordable price – a selection of our most acclaimed products carefully selected in one convenient package.

The Dave Clark Five Announce Vinyl Re-Issue of Debut Album: The legendary English rock and roll band, The Dave Clark Five (The DC5) will release a special limited-edition white vinyl for their seminal 1964 U.S. debut album ‘GLAD ALL OVER.’ Previously announced as a Black Friday release, the set will now be available via BMG tomorrow – December 17th – released on vinyl for the first time since 1964. Spectacularly remastered from the album’s original tapes by Dave Clark at Abbey Road Studios, the limited-edition white vinyl celebrates the groundbreaking album that went on to produce hit singles including ‘Bits and Pieces’, ‘Do You Love Me’ and fan favorite ‘Glad All Over’ – their first No.1 single which famously knocked The Beatles off the UK’s No.1 spot in 1964, as well as selling over 2.5 million records. The reissue also includes an updated track list and features reproduced original artwork.

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