In rotation: 7/21/22

Chicago, IL | Meteor Gem opens its doors to Chicagoland’s trve metalheads: Chicago’s newest record store specializes in all things metal. Meteor Gem occupies a garden-level boutique at 3082 N. Elston, and its stock is so laser-focused on extreme music—including death, doom, black, post-, and progressive metal—that the records in just one subgenre outnumber the entire metal inventory of many local shops. Owner Mikhail Fedyukov has been involved in Chicago’s heavy underground for about a decade, booking and occasionally performing at DIY shows. He began selling records online about five years ago, and when the pandemic hit, he decided to devote all his working hours to that pursuit. “I had a small vinyl warehouse in my one-bedroom apartment,” he says. Fedyukov launched Meteor Gem’s website in January 2021, signed the lease for the Avondale brick-and-mortar location in February 2022, and opened the store on July 1.

Guelph, CA | A ‘love letter’ to Guelph: Royal Cat Records releases new zine: It’s in Guelph, and it’s about records, punk and junk: meet Grunk, Royal Cat Record’s long-awaited zine. After “many personality crises and a worldwide pandemic,” Royal Cat Records is finally launching their long-awaited zine, Grunk. The 21-page, self-published, small-batch magazine is “a loveletter to our dumb little city from a couple of record-collecting junk lovers,” featuring comics, playlists, album picks, an interview with a renowned cartoonist, and tidbits of trivia about the Guelph music scene. Bryan Munn, who owns Royal Cat Records with his wife Kara, has been toying with zine making since he was a child, making little comic books with the help of his dad’s photocopier. He was just as captivated by zine culture when he met Kara in the 90s. Together, the two punk rockers started making small zines, manually binding them together and giving them out to anyone who would read them.

Klamath Falls, OR | For the record: Klamath record store holds rock trivia night: A local business in Klamath Falls has set the bar exceptionally high when it comes to musical entertainment here in the Basin with its monthly trivia night. The brainchild of Kurt Liedtke, as well as owners and founders, Jimmy and Sarah Turner, Rock Trivia is an event that is certain to satisfy even the most fastidious music critics. In a cozy theater room located in the back of the store, a score of Klamathians volunteered as tributes to compete for the title of Rock-n-Roll Historian of the month. Liedtke organizes the questions in the form of a slide show, playing clips from music videos for each of the songs and artists in question. This month, the game was broken up into three rounds: Oneders, Gibberish Lyrics and Rip-Offs. The Oneders category consists of popular songs by one-hit-wonders, artists who are known for only having one hit single. Songs such as “Mambo No. 5” and “What Does the Fox Say” were reasonably popular upon their release; yet no one in attendance could recall the artists that recorded them.

Newcastle, UK | Hunter Record Fair has vinyl lovers in a spin: Vinyl lovers will be in a spin this weekend. The Hunter Record Fair is back on the calendar, after a COVID-enforced hiatus, with a huge array of bargains, rarities, LPs, 45s and more set to adorn the Kotara High School auditorium, between 9am and 4pm, on Saturday 23 July. There, devotees face the enviable choice of thousands of albums across all genres of music, including country, rock, soul, metal, punk, pop, hip-hop, jazz, blues, reggae, rockabilly, folk, R&B, ska, alternative, house, hardcore punk, electro, indie, new wave and noise. “We’re really looking forward to it,” organiser Dan Phelan said. “I think 2019 was the last time we staged the event. “So, hopefully, it’ll make a positive return. “Stallholders from around the country will offer a massive range of both new and second-hand vinyls and CDs.”

This Marilyn Monroe-esque vinyl music system is everything I want and more: The gloriously-named Donut i5 Monroe isn’t even available outside of China – and I don’t care: As Norma Jeane Mortenson (otherwise known as the incomparable Marilyn Monroe) once said, “A wise girl knows her limits, a smart girl knows that she has none” – and that’s how I feel about the all-in-one, high-end Bluetooth record player you’re looking at. If I could but hear it for just a few fleeting moments, I’m quite sure it would find its way onto my shortlist for the best turntables currently on the market – and it would not be low on that list. The limitations I might mention include the fact that Fennessy, the gifted Chinese manufacturer that has created this thoroughly modern and somehow minimalist gramophone (yes, I consider that bright red ‘bugle’ horn minimalist) is a hard company to reach – and it doesn’t currently sell its products in the US. Although I’m based in the UK, I’m struggling to find the British hi-fi dealership able to source me one.

SG | 9 music bars in Singapore for live musicians and performances: At these nine music bars in Singapore, music share the stage with the food and drinks. No Spotify playlists are in sight here. Instead, it’s live music at Maduro, Blu Jaz, and Astor Bar, which feature crooners belting out jazz and blues. For Singapore’s next generation of stars, Stage gives them a platform to play in front of an audience, while bands at Timbre X S.E.A offer bands by the Singapore River. The warm melodies of a saxophone syncs with electronic beats at Club 5 every Friday, as a mix of funk, soul, house, and other genres take precedence at Offtrack. For the rich and comforting sound of vinyl, the sound systems at Vertigo26 and RPM by Dbespoke bring justice to old school records.

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