In rotation: 5/10/22

London, UK | London’s Rat Records Set to Close in June: Beloved London record store Rat Records is set to close on Saturday, June 18th. “It is with regret that we need to tell you that the Rat Records shop will close in the third week of June,” store owners wrote on their website. “After June, Tom [Fisher, the store’s record buyer] will continue buying as normal and will sell online and direct to the trade.” The Camberwell, U.K. store has made a name for itself as a hub for vinyl lovers to buy, sell and trade. The store specializes in second-hand releases with an emphasis on reggae, funk, soul and punk. Fisher began buying, selling, and trading them at a street market beginning in 1988. Since then, he estimates that he has sold over 850,000 used records. Philippe Giron, the store’s manager, is in charge of pricing the inventory brought in by Fisher. He is known for his tough bargaining process, having brought “seasoned record dealers to tears” according to Rat Records’ website.

Reading, UK | Reading record stores that were forced out by iconic Virgin Megastore: Competition between High Street music stores was fierce, with HMV and Our Price threatened by the entertainment retailing giants. Virgin Megastore was truly epic. The massive store was sprawled across the corner of Broad Street Mall, providing a magical haven for music lovers from across the town. While now a Metro Bank, this shiny, modern building, in Reading town centre, was once a must-visit spot – now most people walk past without a backwards glance. Next to it, Taco Bell, an American Mexican takeaway that was one of the first in the UK, can be found. Both of these services have undoubtedly been good additions to this part of Reading, but what they took over was far more exciting. The Virgin Megastore was a joyous visit for many ‘90s children. The huge superstore sold all things music-related, with the exception of instruments which were instead provided by Modern Music in the Broad Street Mall. They really optimised the Nineties CD boom, while also selling a great variety of heavy metal T-shirts and enormous posters of the bands of that time.

Chicago, IL | Chicago Vinyl Connection: Shop for records and listen to deep tracks from DJs at the Chicago Vinyl Connection, noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, May 22, 2022, at Marz Community Brewing Co., 3630 S. Iron St., Chicago. Presented by Miyagi Records and South Rhodes Records, Chicago Vinyl Connection is a new record show with a mission from old — connecting discerning diggers of Chicagoland to the best records and to one another. Miyagi Records and South Rhodes Records have come together along with several other vendors and DJs offering thousands of new and vintage vinyl albums. Expect to find the classics you know and need, plus the genres and artists not typically available at record shows. The show will feature thousands of records, new and used, in all formats and genres, from local, independent record dealers like Miyagi Records, South Rhodes Records, A1 Records & CDs, Aadam Jacobs, Beverly Phono Mart, Groove Thang DJs, Jaytoo, Mississippi Records, and Shady Rest Vintage & Vinyl.

San Antonio, TX | The 21 best San Antonio-area stores to shop for vinyl records: For music fans and obsessive collectors, nothing beats the thrill of scoring a rare album after a serious session of crate digging. Whether you’re scouring for hidden gems or looking to pick up that brand new release available in a beautiful marbled swirl, good thing San Antonio has got plenty of spots to help you with your vinyl fix.

MusicWatch Offers In-Depth Look at Vinyl Music Market and Customers: …The MusicWatch findings offer a number of insights concerning the overall awareness of vinyl and its effect on music fans across the buying spectrum. For example, an estimated 18 million consumers aged 13 and older purchased vinyl during 2021, which is a 27% increase over a significantly COVID-19-impacted 2020. Among buyers of vinyl over the past two years, 71% purchased new records and 67% bought used ones. And, 95% of vinyl buyers expect to continue purchasing the format in the coming year. The MusicWatch survey also found that more than one in three buyers (38%) have been purchasing vinyl for more than 10 years and value the authenticity and “warmth” that vinyl records deliver. Those who began buying more recently also appreciate vinyl’s sound quality, along with the packaging, features, and artwork that are part of the vinyl experience. Plus, the number of artists embracing vinyl influences these newer buyers as well.

Nairobi, KE | World record Store Day: These Kenyan DJs are keeping the art of vinyl alive in the digital age: DJ Adrian is one of Kenya’s veteran deejays and vinyl collectors. World Record Store Day is an annual event that began in 2017 and is held on one Saturday every April. Originally created to celebrate the culture of independently owned record stores, the concept has been reimagined by Kenya’s vinyl collectors community as the day they come together to share in the joy of buying, collecting, and listening to all manner of vinyl records. Every year, Nairobians gather at Stall 570 in Nairobi’s Kenyatta Market — one of the country’s most popular record stores — to mark the event. This year, the ritual continued as vinyl collectors, DJs, music lovers, and first-time buyers seeking to start their own collection met at the store to share rare eclectic songs as various DJs played some of their most treasured LPs. Kenya is experiencing a vinyl revival. Heralded, in large part by the growing interest in East African music both at home and globally, there is a resurgence of interest, especially among a younger generation of music lovers eager to reconnect with their vinyl musical heritage.

Kevin Gray: Vinyl-Mastering Master: …Today, Kevin Gray’s name is very well-known, especially among vinyl-record fans, as is his reputation for excellent sonics. I—a member of that clan—look forward to listening to albums he has remastered: “Tone Poet” reissues of classic Blue Note records, the earlier, similar series from Music Matters, and LP reissues from Craft Recordings, Intervention Records, Resonance Records, Rhino Records, Speaker’s Corner, and others. The odds are very good that any LP he’s involved with is going to sound fabulous, or at least as good as the source material (often recorded on aging analog tape) allows. Not all the recordings he works on are reissues. Indeed, in 2016, I had the pleasure of sitting with Gray in his mastering room as he worked his magic, cutting an LP lacquer for my own record, Tight Lines. Recently, I took time to catch up with Kevin, learn about his approach to mastering and cutting LPs, and hear about the new, all-tube recording studio he built from scratch and installed next door to his mastering studio.

Uncut announce special ‘Sounds Of The New West’ limited vinyl release: Uncut are releasing a special collector’s vinyl edition called ‘Sounds Of The New West’, to complement their long-running CD series and to celebrate their 25th anniversary. The compilation contains a total of 18 tracks from the five existing ‘Sounds Of The New West’ compilation and includes artists such as Lambchop, The Handsome Family, Jason Isbell and more. A statement from Uncut said: “For this bespoke, highly collectable double album, we’ve gathered together 18 of the finest tracks from the five existing Sounds Of The New West compilations – including songs from veteran favourites like Lambchop, The Handsome Family and Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy alongside relative upstarts such as Courtney Marie Andrews, Frazey Ford and Joan Shelley.” Limited to only 1000 copies, disc one is pressed on a special ‘Purple Rain’ vinyl while the second is pressed on ‘Blue Suede Shoes’ vinyl.

Put Your Records On & Store Them Safely With These 5 Record Cabinets: …Record cabinets are an essential vinyl record storage hack every record player owner should have. In addition, most record cabinets provide some stellar space on top to keep your Bluetooth record player and, of course, your best speakers. Record cabinets really have a way of blending nicely into the furniture of your home’s interior, too. They are relative to the facade of most media consoles, so you won’t even have to stress about it looking visually awkward in your home. Because you’re storing records, record cabinets offer tons of room to ensure all of your favorites can fit. If you weren’t already aware, records should be stored standing up, not laying flat. This is because laying and stacking records on top of one another could lead to disc damage, which is never any fun. Record cabinets keep that in mind with just enough room to perfectly store your records in a standing formation. So, let’s get storing, shall we? Check out the best record cabinets you can find online below.

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