In rotation: 1/7/22

Melbourne, AU | Vinyl vs Covid: How vinyl survived in Melbourne during the pandemic: It’s a pretty obvious statement that the music industry has been hit extremely hard by Covid, yet one section of the music industry that has been able to grow – and in some cases thrive – in these strange times has been the world of vinyl and vinyl collecting. During the pandemic I came out of vinyl collecting retirement and began buying physical music again. I was interested if others had felt the same urge to jump off the couch and head back towards the turntable. A common problem in the world of vinyl seems to be pressing times, with pressing plants facing huge backlogs due to the pandemic. In some cases, smaller labels were waiting six months to get a record pressing back. But Melbourne’s responded to supply and demand. The long running Zenith Records plant in Brunswick is the established name, with Program Records the first new vinyl pressing plant in Victoria in 30 years to open recently. Small Run offers lathe cut records for those looking for smaller quantities.

Portsmouth, NH | ‘We couldn’t ask for a better time’: Bull Moose music stores sold to employees: ‘We couldn’t ask for a better time’: Bull Moose music stores sold to employees: Bull Moose, which has been a leading seller of music, videos, games and popular culture items downtown since the era of compact discs, has been sold by its founder to its employees. Founder Brett Wickard announced the sale of the company to 140-plus employees through an employee stock ownership plan Tuesday. The Bull Moose store in Portsmouth was the fifth location opened in the chain that now has 11 stores in Maine and New Hampshire. Eligible employees will be granted stock ownership by Bull Moose’s ESOP Trust, which owns 100% of Bull Moose after buying out Wickard, according to a company press release. Employee owners will be represented by an ESOP Committee to whom the board of directors will report. Through the transition, Wickard will remain the Interim CEO and chair of the board.

Nashville, TN | Hot property market puts Nashville record shop, and other small businesses, at risk: The Groove is a small record shop nestled into a 1920s Craftsman-style house in east Nashville, Tennessee. “The whole personality of having the house is having a creaky door,” said co-owner Jesse Cartwright, “so we know when people come in.” Inside, racks of vinyl records lined the walls, which were plastered with band posters and black-and-white photos from punk shows. Cartwright straightened a few albums perched above the fireplace. “It’s just like being in your best friend’s house, looking through records,” he said. Beyond being homey, the Groove has built a reputation for being a community space. It puts on concerts with bands — often before they get big — like Alabama Shakes and the singer Yola. In the fall, it hosts scary movie nights with a projector in the backyard. But the Groove is in jeopardy; its landlord is selling the property.

Duluth, MN | Auction contents of defunct Duluth novelty, record and smoke shop are nostalgic, R-rated: Sale of items from the long-closed store is Jan. 8. The contents of Duluth’s embattled and long-shuttered Last Place on Earth are up for auction, and parents are advised to keep the children at home. Superior’s Sellers Auction is emptying a 24-foot storage container filled top to bottom with vintage records, incense, black light posters, the original, tattered storefront sign and “a ton of adult items.” “We’re calling it an adult auction date night,” said Christina Greene, co-owner of the auction house. “We’ll have a keg, champagne. We will sell the PG items first. … Then we’ll break into the R-rated items.” In 2013, U.S. marshals arrested Last Place owner Jim Carlson in a drug raid. The arrest occurred because Carlson was openly selling addictive synthetic drugs branded as bath salts and incense, drawing long lines of users and filling the city’s emergency rooms with those who used the drugs. Authorities seized the property in the summer of 2013, and Carlson was convicted on 51 counts and handed a 17.5-year prison sentence. The conviction was upheld by a federal appeals court in 2016.

Edinburgh, UK | Paul Draper will sign copies of his new album at Assai Records this January: On 28 January former Mansun lead singer Paul Draper will appear at Assai Records to sign copies of his second solo album. He will also perform an acoustic set in the record store. This album, Cult Leader Tactics, is the first since 2017 playing on the genre of self-help manuals in a bid to achieve your life goals. Paul plays the majority of the instruments on Cult Leader Tactics‘ 11-tracks, including guitars, drum machines and synthesisers, on an album produced with long-time collaborator and acclaimed producer Paul ‘P-Dub’ Walton at the latter’s Loft Studios, with additional engineering by Scott Knapper. The album also features guest appearances from revered musician and producer Steven Wilson, and Gamaliel ‘Gam’ Rendle Traynor from the band Sweat.

Fluance announces its RT85N turntable with Nagaoka MP-110 cartridge: Fluance introduces the RT85N turntable, featuring the Nagaoka MP-110 cartridge and an acrylic platter, to its popular Reference Series High Fidelity Turntable Line. The humble turntable has been back en vogue, and vinyl records continue to sell well. The RT85N with MP-110 cartridge brings a new level of radiance, resulting in exceptional dynamics with improved bass extension. With an increased output of 5mV, the tonal accuracy and balanced frequency response offer superior audio playback. Here are the key features Fluance provided on this turntable. Nagaoka MP-110 Cartridge for Warm and Dynamic Sound: High fidelity playback from the superfine polished elliptical diamond Nagaoka MP-110 cartridge featuring a more detailed, high precision, and authentic vinyl sound. Experience greater balanced tonal accuracy, resolution, and bass extension while accentuating every refined characteristic of your music.

Cambridge Audio expands Alva TT turntable range with cheaper aptX HD Bluetooth deck: The 2019-released Alva TT also gets a successor. It’s been three years, almost to the day, since Cambridge Audio launched the world’s first aptX HD Bluetooth turntable, the Alva TT (which went on to receive a solid review from us). And now, choosing the CES stage once again, the British hi-fi brand is launching a successor as well as a brand-new, more affordable deck. The fittingly named Alva TT V2 (£1700, $1999) you can see above is the next-generation model of the 2019-released record player. It retains the original’s direct-drive design, pre-installed Alva MC cartridge, and the aptX HD Bluetooth streaming that allows owners to stream their vinyl wirelessly to wireless headphones or speakers, but this time there’s also a new-and-improved tonearm, with a detachable headshell offering an upgrade path, a switchable phono stage, and the option to turn the Bluetooth transmitter off. Cambridge says both new features are in response to customer feedback.

Light In The Attic unveils new record bag: Made out of waterproof nylon and embellished with the label’s lightbulb logo. Light In The Attic has partnered with Tucker & Bloom on a functionally-monikered new record bag: the Light In The Attic Record Bag. The record bag is made out of waterproof ballistic nylon, and is embellished with Light In The Attic’s trademark yellow lightbulb. The bag fits around 30 records, and also boasts front and side pockets. Retailing for £166, the Light In The Attic Record Bag measures in at 5” x 13.5” x 6.5”, and is available in both green and black.

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