In rotation: 6/15/22

Ottawa, CA | Eyes on Enterprise: Prairie Fox Books in Ottawa partners with record store: Bookstore will carry new, used vinyl records. An independent bookstore is partnering with an independent music store. Val’s Halla Records, of Oak Park, is selling new and used vinyl records at Prairie Fox Books, 719 La Salle St., Ottawa. “We had been discussing the possibility of carrying vinyl shortly before being approached by Trevor Toppen of Val’s. He and his wife have a place at Heritage Harbor and were visiting the bookstore when they thought that Prairie Fox, with its special style and ambiance, had a feel to it that made it a great option for a Val’s halla Ottawa,” said Dylan Conmy, Prairie Fox Books manager. Prairie Fox will carry vinyl and turntable setups, plus bits of history scattered about from Val’s. Vinyls will be replenished weekly. Val’s halla Records, 239 Harrison St., Oak Park, was established in 1972 by Val Camiletti, who opened the independent store after the demise of a chain record store in the same location. Val died in 2018 and her business partner, Shane Blakeley, has carried the torch with the help of new partner, Toppen.

Bakersfield, CA | Bakersfield Concert Venue Beats Ticketmaster At Its Own Game: I know that not everyone sees the light the first time they encounter a poster of Robert Smith, sullen and seductive through his spidery tangle of bangs. Or wants to two-step right into another dimension when they spy Debbie Harry beckoning you onto the dance floor of all space and time from the grand disco of the great beyond. But there it was for me, all right there on the wall, within reach. It was everything all at once that I never thought possible and too much for me to figure out. The year was 1982. The record shop: World Records in Bakersfield, California. And no, it wasn’t all neon sheen and candy-coated ’80s fever dream. It was four walls, rows of wax, and a rotating cast of metal guy, punk rock girl and once in a while a little kid who’d been dropped there while Mom ran errands. I told the story of what first-grader me took in to Pat Evans, who will celebrate the 40th anniversary of his shop opening today. “I get a lot of folks who came in those first days,” he eventually says.

Berlin, DE | Berlin record store Sound Metaphors starts sublabel dedicated to Spiral Tribe: The first two releases, reissues of R-Zac and Unit Moebius, are out now. Sound Metaphors has started a sublabel to platform the music of legendary UK rave collective Spiral Tribe and the free party scene. Sound Metaphors 23, named after the Spiral Tribe label Network 23, is the latest in a series of sublabels surrounding the Sound Metaphors record shop, label, distribution and parties. The first two releases, both out now, are a reissue of a 1994 R-Zac (AKA Simon Carter and Sebastian Vaughan) EP and a 1995 EP from Unit Moebius. Spiral Tribe cofounder Mark Angelo Harrison is due to release a book about the collective’s history. “Very proud to announce we’ve started a new imprint dedicated to the work of Spiral Tribe,” the shop’s founders Castro & Nemo wrote on Instagram.

UK | HMV unveils Vinyl Week plans as it launches own Now That’s What I Call compilation: HMV to launch 20 new records for ‘Exclusives Day’ in time for Vinyl Week. The retailer has also launched its own Now That’s What I Call HMV compilation to celebrate its 100 years on the high street. HMV is set to launch 20 new records for ‘Exclusives Day’, which kicks off Vinyl Week, where music lovers are encouraged to buy new records. The music retailer is also set to release a special edition of Now That’s What I Call HMV, a compilation of some of the tracks released since the retailer first launched 100 years ago. Vinyl Week is a bumper sales event for HMV. Last year, the entertainment retailer saw queues outside its stores across the UK. HMV managing director Phil Halliday said the retailer continues to see vinyl grow and the format is drawing younger collectors. “Vinyl is the best way to hear a record how the artist intended, and for true music fans that’s an experience that can’t be beaten,” he said.

Everett, WA | Funko Acquires High-End Collectible Company Mondo: Funko, a leading pop culture lifestyle brand, today announced it has acquired Mondo, a high-end pop culture company that creates vinyl records, posters, soundtracks, toys, apparel, books, games and other collectibles. Mondo was founded in 2001 by Rob Jones and Tim League and was a subsidiary of Alamo Drafthouse Cinema prior to the acquisition by Funko. “Mondo’s devoted fan base and high-end pop culture collectibles make it the perfect complement to Funko’s current portfolio of brands. By leveraging our international distribution and licensing network, we feel well-positioned to expedite the growth of the Mondo brand,” said Chief Executive Officer Andrew Perlmutter. “It’s an exciting opportunity to couple Mondo’s already stellar product assortment and aesthetic with Funko’s massive property library.” Based in Austin, Texas, Mondo is best known for its limited-edition vinyl records and screen-printed posters, which focus on bringing art back to music and cinema through collaborations with acclaimed artists.

Can CDs Make A Comeback? Reevaluating The CD At 40: The CD was first commercially released 40 years ago and may be having a whole new coming-of-age. With sales on the rise and collectors showcasing their pride across social media, the format might rewind to its glory years. For decades, a CD was something you could hold in your hand or carry with you in a semi-sleek binder that might move from your home to your car. Once you got past the surprisingly difficult shrink wrap, you proudly displayed your collection with the spines facing out. And when your favorite CD got scratched, it was the worst day ever. …To think that there was a period of time where artists routinely sold millions of albums on compact disc is almost unbelievable in 2022. Today, No. 1 album sales are generally the result of streams, only a small portion of physical sales accounting for hits. Although CDs have primarily been replaced by all-you-can-consume music streaming services, something interesting happened in 2021: CD sales rose for the first time in almost two decades, driving over $580 million in revenue for the music industry. While that pales in comparison to the $12.3 billion earned from streaming, the figure is still significant.

The 10 best hidden tracks on albums: In the days before MP3 downloads and music streaming platforms, artists had the pleasure of flogging masses of plastic and cardboard to bow our shelves. Early on, vinyl records were the weapon of choice. The 12” card sleeves offer a giant canvas for visual marketing, something that wasn’t fully appreciated until the 1960s. Bands soon came to realise that sales stood a higher chance of skyrocketing if they lost the boring black and white photographs of band members and opted for sleek images of refracting prisms and flying pigs. These avant-garde ideas morphed through the years with countless gimmicks intending to shock, pleasure and entice potential listeners. By the 1990s, hidden tracks became an increasingly common feature of albums – the latest swindle. These tracks were placed on records or CDs in a position where the average listener might overlook their existence.

Nashville, TN | Plating Vinyl Records is Blast from the Past Again: The wife and husband team of Yoli and Chris Mara always dreamed of owning a recording studio, and having the ability to create masters was just icing on the cake. But owning Welcome to 1979 studios in Nashville, Tennessee, also came with a byproduct: becoming electroplaters, too. The 13,000 square-foot Welcome to 1979 facility has become an integral part of the recording industry in the Music City, where artists such as The Who’s Pete Townshend, ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons, Jason Isbell, Blackberry Smoke, Chris Stapleton, John Prine, Alison Krauss, Keb Mo, Jamey Johnson, and many others have laid down tracks. Founded in 2008, the facility later added in-house vinyl mastering capabilities that can prepare metal stampers for the artists to have their music made into records at various pressing plants, and that’s where the electroplating process comes into play.

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