In rotation: 1/25/22

Edinburgh, UK | Nine lost Edinburgh record stores that are still sorely missed today: Many of Edinburgh’s record stores have been sent to the history books, but at one point the city was filled with independent vinyl sellers perfect for an afternoon of browsing. Back when apple was just a fruit and YouTube sounded more like an insult, Edinburgh was stacked with record stores that kept the good times spinning. First came CDs, and eventually digital downloads, that effectively obliterated the need for a 45. Things have full circle in recent years with vinyl making an unlikely comeback and catapulting the format back into the mainstream for the first time in decades. However, despite the return of the record, our streets are still missing out on the fabulous dedicated stores from days gone by. More than just places to shop for the best new tunes, they were often hives of activity where like-minded souls would discuss their favourites, forge new friendships – and, in some cases, even form bands.

Auckland, NZ | Two friends, one dream, no holiday: inside NZ’s only vinyl pressing plant: It’s called Holiday Records, but for those working on the frontlines of the turntable resurgence, there’s barely been time for one. Behind a glass door on Auckland’s Wellesley Street, secrets are being kept. Like Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, a boiler gurgles mysteriously, steam hisses sporadically, and large machinery whizzes, whirs, pumps and pounds. At Holiday Records, they’re making magic: vinyl records, those sleek back discs that are suddenly in shockingly high demand. “We live it and breathe it,” says one staff member at New Zealand’s only vinyl pressing plant. He’s standing in front of a pile of freshly pressed records, holding each up to the light, checking it over for imperfections. Once it’s approved, it will be slipped into a protective sleeve, then a cover, shrinkwrapped and boxed, waiting to be purchased and played on a turntable at home.

UK | Bastille Add Oxford And Margate Shows To Indie Record Store Tour In February: Bastille have added two more shows to their Indie Record Store Tour. Following the February 4 arrival of ‘Give Me The Future’, the band will now also headline the O2 Academy Oxford on February 15 and Winter Gardens in Margate the next day. Tickets go on general sale at 3pm on January 21. The group will support the follow-up 2019’s ’Doom Days’ with the Give Me The Future Tour, which begins on March 31 in Bournemouth. Prior to that, they’ll play a Holmfirth gig as part of The National Lottery and Music Venue Trust Revive Live Tour, and perform as part of the BRITs Week celebrations in aid of War Child UK.

Phoenix, AZ | Sometimes, Album Cover Art Is the Thing: A handful of people I’ve told this to get it; usually they’re other record collectors. Eric Kohler certainly understood. In his groundbreaking survey of midcentury album cover art, In the Groove: Vintage Record Graphics 1940-1960, Kohler explains how in the late 1940s, when the LP medium was still new, record covers were considered blank canvases; a kind of collaboration with the music they housed. And so, in this era before LP jackets always depicted the artist whose record you were buying, a Ray Anthony or Sarah Vaughn album sleeve was more likely to feature a colorful abstract than a portrait of the performer. For a while, abstraction in the age of Pop Art was the rule. For Command Records, Bauhaus artist Joseph Albers did a series of covers with repeated shapes meant to describe the sound of percussion or what the bleat of a trumpet might look like. Closer to high art was David Stone Martin’s 1955 primitive watercolor portrait of Stan Getz on his At the Shrine sleeve. Occasionally the artist himself got involved, as when Jackie Gleason created the conceptual acrylic painting on the cover of his 1959 collection titled That Moment.

CD sales are rising for the first time in years: Believe it or not, CDs seem to be on their way back. According to a new report from Billboard, CD sales in the United States went up year-over-year last year for the first time since 2004. CDs have been difficult to come by, and in recent years, it has appeared if any physical format is on the way back, it’s vinyl. However, 2021 turned out to be a big year for CDs. Vinyl has enjoyed an uptick, too, with sales of vinyl records surging 51.4% in comparison to 2020. A few weeks ago, vinyl had its largest sales week since 1991, when Nielsen started tracking sales. For CDs, the rise in sales wasn’t as dramatic as vinyl, but it’s there. CD sales went up 1.1%, with 40.59 million CDs sold in 2021. In comparison, 40.16 million CDs were sold in 2020. Even if that seems insignificant, it could be a sign of things to come. The vinyl surge started slowly, too. Of course, online streaming platforms continue to be popular with music consumers, such as Spotify and Apple Music.

Debbie Gibson is going to buy vinyl records: …Ms. Gibson, who still holds the world record as the youngest person to write, produce and perform a Billboard No. 1 single (“Foolish Beat,” 1988), has loved vinyl since she was a child on Long Island. As a teenager, she used to win radio contests that asked her to name 30 favorite albums in 10 seconds. As a prize, the station would send him to nearby Tower Records and offer him each. “And then a year later my the music was in Tower,” she said. She’s since adapted to Apple Music, but still prefers records when she can get hold of them. At Rough Trade, his approach was quick and efficient, his demeanor relentlessly sunny. As a Lyme disease sufferer, Ms Gibson has struggled with her health and stamina at times. But as she shopped, she never lacked pep. She first turned to second-hand records, eyeing one by a singer-songwriter named Bonzie, which showed an androgynous face crowned with sequins (“That cover is gorgeous,” she said. declared), and then it went to pop. “I’ve never been ashamed to say I like a catchy pop song,” she said. “I think there’s such brilliance.”

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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