In rotation: 6/23/22

The rise, rise … and rise of vinyl records: Who would have thought that vinyl records would make a such a big comeback over the last five years? By the late ’80s vinyl sales had fallen off a cliff and been pretty much dead and buried. Besides the collectors, who have always been, and will always be, champions of the black disc as well as the 7-inch single which still populated the jukeboxes of the world (this is before the advent of CD jukeboxes), the format that had been so dominant from the ’50s onwards was largely crushed under the weight of the digital revolution. Which ironically was the saving grace of the music industry that had been in decline in the earlier part of the ’80s. The masses rushed to embrace the compact disc format and it’s easy to understand why – it was pristine, ‘Perfect Sound Forever’ audio (albeit a tad too clinical), space saving storable and most of all, portable. Much like the Neanderthals and Homo Sapiens, they coexisted side by side for a period before the digital format came to dominate the musical landscape.

Melbourne, AU | Beloved record store given lifeline thanks to crowdfunding campaign: The co-owner of a long-standing record store in the CBD, which has been saved from closure thanks to a crowdfunding campaign, says she is “humbled beyond belief.” Basement Discs owners Suzanne Bennett and Rod Jacobs, whose store has occupied the basement of the Block Arcade for 28 years, had struggled to stay ahead following the effects of the pandemic and a drop in office workers returned to the city. “We’ve all limped through two-and-half years, anyone who has come out the other side is determined to keep sailing,” Ms Bennett said, whose trade plummeted by up to 80 percent. If their financial troubles were not already hard enough, Mr Jacobs is fighting leukemia. But that has not stopped him from keeping a positive attitude and helping in the store as much as he can. Ms Bennett said while her store’s landlord had been highly supportive, they had struggled to make ends meet.

Bradford, UK | How much record fair at Bradford’s Record Cafe raised for Age UK: A record fair at Bradford’s independent vinyl record shop, The Record Café, raised more than £250 for charity. Age UK Bradford District put together a collection of donated vinyl records, featuring anything from pop, rock and blues to funk, soul and vintage children’s TV show soundtracks. Speaking after the event, Age UK CEO Mark Rounding said: “Thanks to all that came to our first record fair at The Record Cafe, everyone had a good time and we raised over £250. “Our staff and volunteers pulled together to get the best stock of records for the event. With all proceeds going to Age UK Bradford District, I’d like to thank all staff at The Record Cafe for connecting with us to help us fundraise.”

A World Without Retailers: …To me, at least, that’s a chilling thought. I’ve always enjoyed the retail experience — the searching, the discovery — from the time I was a teen eagerly browsing the cut-out bins at Tower Records, The Wherehouse and Licorice Pizza (the store, not the movie) to the more recent days of Suncoast and the Virgin Megastore, with vast inventories of what seemed to be every movie ever made. Maybe that’s why a few years ago, I resurrected my vinyl record albums, bought a new turntable and had Chuck Berry (my sound man, not the late rock pioneer) hook everything up to my home theater system. I regularly visit used record stores and also spend at least an hour a day on Discogs and/or eBay. The philosophical question I ask myself is this: Do I visit these stores because I am a record collector, or am I a record collector so I can visit these stores and once again enjoy the retail experience? Hard to say.

Syracuse, NY | Radio trio unearths vinyl rarities and hits of yesteryear: Determined to recapture the magic of old school radio, a trio of rock ‘n’ roll aficionados reenter a hidden-away trailer in East Syracuse every Sunday night to broadcast their love of vinyl records. The second they hit the airwaves of WSIV, those three go by the names of Ronnie Dark, Mike “The Night Owl” Adams and John “The Commander” Walsh, otherwise known as the curators behind the turntable-driven program “The Wax Museum.” Now fresh off its 13th anniversary episode, the show started out with just Dark in the booth, but Walsh would soon fall into a co-hosting spot after a casual hangout at the studio. “I knew he’d be a great second foil,” said Dark, who had previously worked as a disc jockey for Classic Rock TK99. “Doing the show by myself just didn’t have the same appeal to me because I wanted it to be more fun.”

Frederick, MD | Serial Vinyl Record Thief Wanted After Robbing Frederick County Barnes & Noble: A serial thief is at large in Maryland and wanted after most recently being caught on camera robbing a Barnes & Noble location in Frederick County. An alert was issued by investigators with the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office as they attempt to identify and locate a woman who is wanted in connection to multiple thefts of vinyl records worth thousands of dollars. Investigators did not say how many records have been stolen in the region, though the merchandise has an estimated value of nearly $3,500, according to the sheriff’s office. The woman was described as being between 25 and 30 years old, between 5-foot-5 and 5-foot-8 weighing between 120 and 150 pounds with brown hair. It is alleged that the woman has been shown on multiple occasions stealing records, each time wearing a dark-colored baseball hat, eyeglasses, with a large light blue bag with a dark-colored strap.

Got vinyl? New turntable streams high-quality sound over Bluetooth. Cambridge Audio just released a new turntable that can play vinyl records the old-fashioned way or over Bluetooth, streaming audio wirelessly to speakers, headphones or amplifiers. The new Alva ST follows the company’s Alva TT, which the world’s first aptX HD Bluetooth turntable. And the Alva ST uses the same codec technology for high-quality sound — the kind that until recently could only be had through wires. The new Cambridge Audio Alva ST Belt-Drive Turntable with aptX HD Bluetooth plays your records over traditional hi-fi systems — via wires — but it can also stream vinyl wirelessly to Bluetooth headphones, speakers or amplifiers at 24-bit/48kHz. So you can put it anywhere and not have to worry about wires — unless you want to play it that way. It may be worth it to check if it sounds better wired or not.

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