In rotation: 2/3/22

Newton Abbot, UK | The vinyl countdown for record retailer: An independent record store owner is selling his store and hopes someone will take on his well established and popular business. It was with a heavy heart that Will Webster of Phoenix Sound listed his much-loved record store on the market as the industry veteran is set for retirement. ‘I have listed my beautiful shop for sale as it’s time to move on,’ he said. Located along Queen Street, Newton Abbot, Phoenix Sound is renowned across Teignbridge and further afield for its great and varied selection of reasonably priced CDs and vinyl. The independently owned record store has been built up over the past 20 years by Will who got his start in the industry some 40 years ago in Bristol working as a sales assistant at Virgin Records. Thanks to Will’s efforts, as well as those of his dedicated staff, Phoenix Sound is positively thriving and is often the first port of call for many a music lover in the market for either classic or contemporary records.

Portland, ME | If you’re feeling nostalgic, check out these second-hand record shops in Portland: The city lost its final first-run record store when Bull Moose shuttered its long-running subterranean music store on Middle Street in November 2020. Streaming services beaming music straight to folks’ smartphones, such as Spotify, Apple Music and Pandora, were the most obvious digital culprits behind the loss. But now, thanks to podcaster Joe Rogan’s controversial, coronavirus-denying comments and guests, there’s an online effort gaining ground to ditch Spotify in protest. Started by boomer music icon Neal Young, artists including Joni Mitchell and Nils Lofgren have pledged to pull their music from the service and like-minded Spotify users are canceling their subscriptions, making their point. Luckily for Portlanders, even though there are no first-run record stores left in town, there are many tasty, curated second-hand vinyl dealers where tune-lovers can get their non-streamed music fix. As a bonus, the shops are all within walking distance of each other, too.

UK | Wet Leg announce English record shop tour, share video for new single Oh No: Ahead of the release of their self-titled debut album on April 8, Isle Of Wight buzz band Wet Leg have shared details of a short tour of English record shops. Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers will be performing at Pryzm in Kingston upon Thames for Banquet Records on April 7, before heading off to Rough Trade East London, Brighton’s Chalk, Rough Trade Bristol, Rough Trade Nottingham and the HMV Vault in Birmingham across the subsequent days. Fans can attend the tour by purchasing an album/ticket bundle from Banquet Records from 11am GMT tomorrow (February 2). Post-record shop tour, the indie rock duo will undertake a UK headline tour on April 16, kicking off in Newcastle. Last month, Teasdale and Chambers released a rendition of Madonna’s 1985 hit single Material Girl. The release came following the pair’s live session at the Canadian radio station SiriusXMU to promote their self-titled debut album. Ahead of the performance being aired, the channel released the cover of Like A Virgin.

Dundee, UK | Dundee’s independent music scene is alive and kicking as vinyl record sales take off again: Bosses of the city’s three main shops – Assai, Thirteen and Le Freak – told Dundee Live that folk are returning through the doors ‘for a dig’ now lockdown is easing. Independent music is alive and kicking in Dundee according to owners of the city’s three main shops. Bosses at Assai Records, Thirteen and Le Freak said that everyone from school kids to pensioners are starting to head back through the doors ‘for a dig’. They gave Dundee Live the good news after taking time out to chat to us this week and tell us how business is going. They also gave us a sneak peak of some of the amazing live events and launches lined up for the next few months. The interviews followed a Dundee Live article last week described by one reader as ‘a waste of the alphabet.’ We claimed in a piece about 80s and 90s Dundee – completely incorrectly – that after the closure of the legendary Groucho’s on the Perth Road, the independent music scene was dead in the city. Dundee Live is never afraid of, er, putting the record straight so we contacted the three shops in question for a chat.

Robyn Raymond: owner of Red Spade Records and vinyl lathe cutter: Robyn Raymond is the owner of Red Spade Records, a super boutique specialty record production firm. Raymond’s interest in music began early with Raymond touring across Canada as the lead singer of rock band 40 Gun Flagship. She transitioned into an artist support role with The Union Ltd. touring with several acts including Motley Crue and Sam Smith. After a brief exit from the music industry to work with the Canadian Olympic Bobsled, Hockey and Skeleton teams, Raymond returned to the industry. Rather than going back on the road, she shifted her interest to vinyl records and the complex art of lathe cutting. Today Raymond works out of the famed Lacquer Channel Mastering in Toronto, the oldest mastering studio in Canada. She holds the distinction of being the only woman record cutter in the entire nation of Canada.

Legendary album covers: When comics met vinyl: Album covers are an art form on their own. An exhibition in the German city of Oberhausen reveals the perfect symbiosis between comic art and music. Music lovers know what it is like to walk into a record store and be lured by an album cover. It may be particularly beautiful, striking or even disturbing — an eye-catcher that makes people buy that particular album, which they might otherwise have passed over. It’s a known fact that album covers can be true works of art, at least since Aubrey Powell and Storm Thorgerson designed covers for bands including Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin at Hipgnosis, their legendary photo design studio. Since 1968, the British designers have created about 350 record covers, which contributed to the respective records’ cult status. The 1960s cultural revolution was evident in album cover designs. Linking the world of comics and the world of (rock) music was really only a matter of time — in 1965, the Californian city of San Francisco was not only a place many musicians and hippies longed for, but also home to well-known underground artists.

How to Tell If Your Vinyl Collection Is Actually Worth Cash: Let’s figure out if you can retire on all that vinyl. No matter how hard they tried, the killjoys and technophiles of the world simply could not kill off vinyl records. Every time a new audio technology hit the market, predictions of the Death of Vinyl would follow—and when Compact Discs arrived 40 years ago, it seemed like that death had finally come. Who wouldn’t want perfect digital clarity over the fussy, pop-and-hiss-prone sound of vinyl? Plenty of people, as it turns out. 2021 saw record sales of vinyl albums—a whopping 41.7 million. Vinyl is actually the best-selling physical music format going right now. And it’s not just curmudgeonly middle-aged music fans—Gen Zers and millennials buy a lot of vinyl albums. Vinyl’s evergreen popularity means that a lot of people have amassed huge record collections—and some of those collections are worth a lot of money. If you’re sitting in a home bursting with vinyl albums, you might wonder if you’re also sitting on a goldmine, if you could commit to streaming and sell off your records and retire. The answer is: maybe?

Detroit, MI | Learn the secrets of self-improvement with vintage instructional records: Jon Moshier takes us on a tour of the more offbeat section of his vinyl collection with a look at the mysterious and eccentric world of vintage instructional records. Back before the internet became a one-stop shop for DIY tutorials, instructional records could teach you everything from square dancing to astrology. If you’re a collector of vintage vinyl records, chances are you’ve seen a few strange ones. There truly was a period when just about anything could make it onto a pressing. And there’s a mysterious and eccentric world of releases that came out roughly during the ’50s through the ’80s that exemplify this – generally classified as the instructional record. For decades relegated to moldy cardboard boxes stuffed beneath more desirable products at used record stores, these albums can still be found lurking on a shelf at a flea market or at an estate sale next to that ancient Hi-Fi set. Whether you wish to master the art of ventriloquism or teach your kid about sex education (without your ventriloquist skills), these dusty old records hold the key. And who knows, they might even be able to help you launch a career in radio.

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