In rotation: 8/4/22

Bristol, UK | Bristol record shop Idle Hands announces closure, launches crowdfunder for new location: According to a post by owner Chris Farrell, the shop has struggled since Christmas due to issues related to Brexit and the pandemic. Beloved Bristol record shop Idle Hands is shutting at the end of August, with the aim of moving to a more central location. The plan, according to a social media post by owner Chris Farrell, is to close the current City Road store “until something comes up” and in the meantime launch a crowdfunder to help with overheads and the move to a new premises. “Since Omicron hit just before Christmas the shop has struggled, with less people popping in and Brexit making EU trade pretty much unworkable for a business this small,” Farrell wrote. “These are tricky times, but I do believe Idle Hands still has a future.” He added: “When I decided not to renew our lease I had hoped to make a smooth transition to a new location—although there have been options I’ve been pursuing, the retail rental market is also in a bit of a state and that hasn’t been possible.”

Milwaukee, WI | Lilliput Records officially takes over for The Exclusive Company: After much anticipation — and some public anxiety — Lilliput Records will officially replace The Exclusive Company this Saturday at the store’s longstanding lower East Side location at 1669 N. Farwell Ave. Founded in 1956, The Exclusive Company made the sudden announcement in April that it would close all its stores, which encompassed locations in Green Bay, Appleton, Oshkosh, Greenfield and Milwaukee. The announcement on Facebook garnered thousands of comments and reactions. But plans were already in motion for Lilliput, spearheaded by former Exclusive Company employees Brian Kirk and Tanner Musgrove. They launched a GoFundMe in March to help launch the new endeavor, raising more than $22,000. “There is no way we would be at this point in Lilliput’s journey without everyone’s support, donations, words of encouragement and excitement for the new store,” Kirk and Musgrove shared in a social media post Friday. “Our goal is to continually grow and help support our community and we feel so grateful to be given the opportunity to do so!”

Madison, WI | Boneset Records plans to open August 21 on the East Side: Musician Maggie Denman aims to create a cozy basement space full of vinyl and VHS. Madison’s newest record store, Boneset Records, will open its doors at 222 North Street. Owner Maggie Denman plans to be open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays, “with the goal of opening more, but for now that’s what I can do.” Denman, a visual artist and Madison musician (she’s played in bands including No Question, Proud Parents, and her Margerat Dryer solo project), is setting up shop in a basement space in an office building at the corner of North and East Johnson Streets; customers will enter through a door on East Johnson. (Full disclosure: Denman has also contributed editorial illustrations to Tone Madison.) Boneset Records joins a tradition of charmingly tucked-away record stores, including The Door in Monona and the much-missed Resale Records and Ear Wax. Boneset began to take shape when Denman took over the remaining inventory at Atwood Avenue’s Sugar Shack Records, which closed in April. With that collection as her starting point, Denman says she plans to flesh out the store’s selection to encompass “the kind of music that I like, which is kind of all over the place.

Newport, UK | Newport record shop owner to leave Hey Jude’s after ‘incredible journey.’ A record shop owner whose business has been at the heart of the Newport community for more than 20 years is selling up next month after a ‘wonderful journey.’ Jude Paton started Hey Jude’s in Newport Indoor Market in 1999 before setting up in Stafford Street. But she confirmed plans to retire this week and revealed, as of September 1, the shop will be under the ownership of Frankie O’Connor. “It has been a wonderful 23-year journey for me,” said Jude. “I have met so many amazing and loyal customers and have made many new friends. “When I was 13 years old I wrote an English composition under the title, ‘What do you want to do when you grow up?’ “I said then that my dream was to own a record shop and it’s been an amazing experience to have a job like that. It has been an absolute joy and, of course, I love what I sell. “I have had an instant connection with customers and have loved to chat to every single one of them, finding out about their different tastes in music. It has opened my eyes to other music interests.” Jude says she’s thrilled to be leaving the shop in Frankie’s hands.

Kathmandu, NE | For the love of vinyl records: After losing out to modern formats like CDs and digital recordings, vinyl records are seeing a resurgence in popularity. Nitesh Gupta was only 10 when he first listened to a vinyl record. It was in the late 80s, and the most common way to listen to music in the country was by tuning to Radio Nepal. But Nitesh’s maternal uncle was one of the few people in the country that owned a vinyl record player. The sight of the slow-moving vinyl record and the distinct sound the turntable produced left Gupta fascinated by the technology. Three decades later, that fascination, says Gupta, has not waned. “The word vinyl means soft plastic. The songs on the vinyl records are literally engraved in those soft plastic discs. The moment the pin or the needle hits the vinyl recording, it is actually the scratch formed on the vinyl recording that comes in the form of music. Isn’t that fascinating to know?” exclaims Gupta, who is now 48 and possesses around 500 vinyl records. In the last few years, vinyl’s popularity has seen a resurgence in several countries. In Nepal, the format, after losing out to more technologically advanced ones like CDs and digital recordings, is witnessing renewed interest from audiophiles and vintage enthusiasts.

How Audio Engineer Jessica Thompson Restores, Preserves & Masters Records That Snap, Crackle & Pop: “My Job Is To Get The Noise Out Of The Way.” Jessica Thompson, a Bay Area Based audio professional and President of the San Francisco Chapter of the Recording Academy, has a keen ear — and many tools — for improving audio quality. You can’t hear Jessica Thompson’s work — and that’s the point. The GRAMMY-nominated audio professional operates in between beats and strings, deftly removing the hisses, pops and skips in vintage vinyl for a new audience. “I think most of us try to be invisible in what we do. We try to let the music speak for itself,” Thompson says. “It’s a huge range of sonic problems for extraction, and I am trying to repair those with the most elegance so that my work is essentially invisible or undetectable.” While Thompson — who is also President of the San Francisco Chapter of the Recording Academy — does all of the traditional work of a mastering engineer, her real passion and deepest skill set comes in the form of restoring old audio.

Review: Luxman’s New Phono Cartridge Adds a Fine Point to Your High Fidelity Turntable: Life is complicated enough already, so I like to keep things simple whenever I can. Take men’s clothes, for instance. Why mix brands when settling on a single design house like Isaia ensures that everything works together. If I look like a clown, at least it’s on purpose and not from my own sartorial ineptitude. After all, I’d rather spend time deciding between LPs than sport coats. Better to leave such stuff to the experts. Building an audio system is like that too, and it takes a bold visionary to mingle electronics from different brands, especially preamps and amps. Products designed by the same engineers, under one audio house, generally ensure system synergy, with everything from technical specs (input and output impedances and voltages, for instance) to sonic attributes (call it a house sound) complementing instead of compromising one another.

The Best Way to Store and Display Your Records, According to a Vinyl Expert: VICE spoke with Amoeba’s Chris Carmena about the best vinyl sleeves and storage tips for keeping your records happy. We’re trying to be better vinyl daddies. After years of collecting everything from John Denver and The Muppets to rare Kate Bush albums, we realized we can no longer sit idly by while the bong bubbles and the sun melts our precious LPs, which are starting to become our only form of viable financial collateral in these recession-edging times. A lot of my friends collect vinyl on a spectrum of intensity. I noticed that my friend Scott (a musician, coder, and vintage electronics/film equipment enthusiast) stores his medium-sized record collection in a sturdy trunk; my pal Caleb (who founded the label Sacred Bones) is a bit more intense with the storage situation for his room-sized collection, and told me he stores his albums “with the record and inner sleeve outside of the jacket, housed in a plastic sleeve.” And to think I’ve been leaving my albums in their OG packaging on my dresser? Straight to jail.

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