In rotation: 7/13/22

Lafayette, IN | Black Wax Records finishes expansion of once-cramped downtown location: Before this recent expansion, Brian Ropes, the owner of Black Wax Records in downtown Lafayette, was bursting at the seams with inventory. For the past four years, Black Wax has been operating out of 666 1/3 Main Street, which was a relatively small location. And as the store’s collection grew and as more product found their way to the floor, the store began to feel a bit cramped. Ropes knew that this was an issue from the moment he opened. At the time, all he had for sale was his own record collection scattered throughout the store in bins. But even then, “I knew I wanted more space.” Earlier this year, Ropes found an opportunity to expand his store after the owner of a neighboring business, L.E. Originals and Friends, an affordable artisan jewelry, accessories and gifts store, announced that she would be closing her storefront.

Cincinnati, OH | Colemine Records and Rhinegeist Host Record Fair at the Brewery: The Taproom Record Fair will feature more than 10 Tri-State vinyl vendors and record stores. Loveland’s Colemine Records label is taking a day trip to Over-the-Rhine to host a Taproom Record Fair with Rhinegeist. From noon-5 p.m. July 23, more than 10 vinyl vendors from across the Tri-State — including Colemine and its associated shop, Plaid Room Records — will be set up in the brewery, slinging their wares. A release promises “niche record selections,” along with other entertainment. There will be a DJ spinning old-school records, a Jet Black Vintage pop-up, Mazunte tacos and plenty of draft beer. “(I’m excited) for everyone to come down and get to interact with all the other amazing local record stores. We’re so lucky to have such a wealth of amazing shops to choose from, so having them all together is really gonna be something else,” says Terry Cole, owner of Colemine, in a release. “Overall, I’m just so excited to bring people together over great soul music, great digs and just a great time.”

Greenville, KY | Small Town Coffee Shop, Big Personality: Sip & Spin: When traveling the Bluegrass, Blues, and BBQ Region of Western Kentucky, I highly recommend that you add Greenville to your itinerary. A part of Muhlenberg County, Greenville has a small town downtown that is as charming as it can be – and one of the businesses that adds to that charm is Sip and Spin. If you’re like me, you’re always on the hunt for a new coffee shop to try – and I’m so excited to introduce y’all to one of the best today! Sip and Spin offers a variety of coffee drinks and pastries for their guests; additionally, they feature new and used vinyl records, record players, live music, and record sharing events. This is not your average coffee shop, friends – it’s special.

Why does anyone buy cassettes? Meet the music fans who swear by tape: It all started for Soren Gray when he bought a new car in 2009. New to him. The car itself was a Ford Thunderbird from the 60s. Built in 1967, it exuded the classic muscle car charm, with one slight problem – it didn’t have a stereo. Unwilling to drive around the hipster Silver Lake neighbourhood of Los Angeles without some tunes playing out, Gray bought a boombox and headed to a Hollywood record shop to stock up on cassette tapes. “I love the fatter sound that tapes give,” Gray says. “I play them in my car when I drive, which you can’t do with records. And the lows are bassier and the highs are more crisp than when I play the same album through Spotify or iTunes,” he claims.

How to survive the inevitable CD revival: For better or worse, the compact disc could be making a comeback. In 1982, when the BBC’s prime-time technology show – Tomorrow’s World – did a segment on a new musical format called the “Compact Disc” the presenter skeptically asked “Whether there’s a market for this, remains to be seen”. We all know what happened next, but even in the early ‘80s the benefits of CDs should have been clear: high quality, non-degrading sound in a compact format. Oh, and you could even skip, shuffle and repeat tracks, which, in a pre-digital world, truly felt like the future The Compact Disc turns 40 this year, and there are already signals the format is primed for a mini revival. For the first time in 17 years, CD sales actually went up – and by almost 50 percent, according to the RIAA’s sales database. It’s still a long way from the format’s peak. In 2021, 46.6 million CDs were shipped in the US – compared to nearly a billion back in 2000. For context, that 46.6 million barely accounts for four percent of last year’s total music revenue. Vinyl albums, by contrast, sold fewer overall units (39.7M) but are more of a money spinner for artists (7% of total revenues).

Best Crates for Vinyl Records: Whether you’re moving your entire collection or simply prefer crate-digging to flicking through shelves, crates and boxes are an important part of vinyl record storage. Crates are arguably one of the most flexible ways to store records. They’re compact, easy to tuck away, and highly portable. Even if you already own a large cabinet or shelf for storing the bulk of your collection, a crate or two is perfect for storing overflow records or separating different record types or genres. We’ve collated our pick of the best crates for vinyl records to help fit the needs of all record collections, great or small.

A Spin Through Experimental Turntablism: The fundamental elements of turntablism are as old as the phonograph itself. Unlike a CD player or a cassette deck, the phonograph puts the sound-producing mechanism at the listener’s fingertips. Early hand-cranked phonographs left the turntable’s speed up to the listener’s skill and preference. Before 78 rpm became standard, records were printed with suggestions like “90-100 rpm” or “about 70 rpm.” Of course, even after playback speed was standardized, curious fans continued playing their favorites at the “wrong” speed, dropping the needle at random points on the vinyl and interrupting the record’s motion. Experimental turntablism is mainly conceptual, exploring the potentials and limitations of the physical elements of vinyl, turntable, and needle. Rather than honing the skills that hip-hop and techno DJs have perfected, like scratching and beat juggling, experimental turntablists focus on the medium itself by marring the vinyl and altering pieces of the phonograph or introducing foreign objects like tape, glue, and paint.

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