In rotation: 9/6/22

Orange, CT | ‘People cherish their records.’ Merle’s Record Rack celebrates 60 years this weekend: A record store in Orange is marking 60 years in business this weekend. Merle’s Record Rack first opened in Connecticut back in 1962, when vinyl was king. Owner Michael Papa started working at the store as a teenager in 1977. “I still answer to Merle. My name is Mike, but I still answer to Merle because I been around here so long people assume I’m Merle,” said Papa. Over the decades, The Record Rack has weathered changes that rocked the music industry. “The transition over from cassette and LP over to compact disc, and then the demise of the compact disc into full streaming digital,” he said. Even with vinyl back making a comeback over the last few years. “People cherish their records, you know? And they know when there’s going to be a little pop or a tick in the record, and it’s almost become part of the music,” said Papa. Merle’s Record Rack has become a hangout place for people across generations.

Boulder, CO | Boulder gets ready to say goodbye to Albums on The Hill — a decades-long staple so very close in many ways to CU: A longtime stalwart of Boulder’s vinyl record scene is closing. This long holiday weekend is billed as the last hurrah for Albums on the Hill. Come Labor Day, it will close for good. For generations, Albums on The Hill has been an anchor on The Hill in Boulder, just across the street from the University of Colorado. It’s seen shops, restaurants — you name it — come and go with the decades. But some have stayed. Steven Morris has known owner Andy Schneidkraut for 45 years. On Thursday, Morris remembered the store as a music Mecca in the 1970s. “Andy had his finger on the pulse of all that. And, you know, with the midnight record releases and all the other things that he used to do to support local music and regional music.” Morris said. He also described Schneidkraut as a huge supporter of the artists that came out of the area.

Catskill, NY | Popular Hudson Valley record shop re-opening: A popular Hudson Valley record shop is set to host a special grand re-opening event. There are some great record shops throughout the Hudson Valley area that I have frequented over the years whether I’m looking for some new music from some favorite artists or just looking to build up my record collection. Living in the City of Poughkeepsie, we are lucky to have Darkside Records nearby. When I’m across the river, it’s over to Rock Fantasy in Middletown, NY to see Steve Keeler at his shop that is celebrating 36 years in the Hudson Valley. Spike’s Record Rack is a brick-and-mortar record store that opened in 2018 in the Village of Catskill, NY, specializing in used vintage vinyl records, cassettes and CDs. They also buy record, tape and cd collections. According to a social media posting back in April, “the coolest record store in Upstate New York” moved across the street from its original location right down the block from Foreland Catskill.

Frederick, MD | A fire wiped out this record store’s vinyls. Then fans banded together. Record stores are meant for listening: the crinkling of plastic sleeves as customers thumb through record crates, the oohs and aahs induced by a rare find, the tunes beaming from the speakers. But when owner Sam Lock got to the Record Exchange in Frederick one night late last month, the first sense that flared was the smell: smoke, billowing out of the three-story building that had housed the shop on North Market Street since 2010. “When I got off [Interstate] 270 … I could smell it, like, that far away,” Lock said of the fire, which he was told blazed from about 9:30 p.m. until around 4:30 a.m. “And I could see the smoke, and I was like, ‘Holy [crap].’ That’s not just a small fire on the ground.” The front door was already busted open, and firefighters were pouring torrents of water to extinguish the fire on the top floor. Lock saw it all flowing out the Record Exchange’s ground-level doorway, taking a couple records out with it. In a single night, the shop “lost pretty much everything,” he said. About 20 percent of its stock was left, most of it CDs.

Detroit, MI | The Lost Art Of The Record Store Signing: Ozzy’s new album, Patient #9 drops next Friday, and he’s doing a lot to promote it. You may’ve seen the giant Ozzy blow up at the LCA last Friday before the WWE event. He’s also going to be signing copies of it at a California record store the day after it’s release. Right about now you might be asking yourself, why I’d write a post about Ozzy doing an in-store on the other side of the country. Well, it’s because it’s become a lost art. I instantly recall Black Sabbath signing copies of their live album in 1999 at the Harmony House in Taylor. The line was wrapped around the building. Here was a chance for people to be inches away from their idols! For some, a once-in-a-lifetime chance. I’ve heard countless stories of fans meeting bands at Rock Of Ages in Westland years ago.

Bowling Green, KY | Finders, keepers: Iconic BG music store is for sale: A hub of musical culture for more than 50 years, Finders Records is for sale and ready for a new owner. Greg Halamay founded Finders in 1971, as a 19-year-old Bowling Green State University student. Now he’s ready for retirement. His father, Ross Halamay, was his partner, who held several positions in the record distribution industry. “I counted records for my dad when I was 10 years old. Everything was counted in 25s back then, a stack of 25 and then you criss-cross them, and another stack of 25,” Halamay said, reliving those heady days with fresh 45 rpm records. “I was raised around the records.” Halamay is still fond of the industry. “The music industry is just plain fun,” Halamay said. “The product is continually changing and dealing with the public is very rewarding.”

Easthampton, MA | Maintaining a lost artform: Platterpus Records turns 40: Five decades ago, when David Witthaus was 15, he would hang out at his local record store in New York. But one Friday, the owner kicked him out of the store right at 5 p.m. Witthaus was perplexed, asking why. The owner told him that he couldn’t find anybody to work at that time, so Witthaus came up with the answer on the spot: “Hire me.” It was Witthaus’ first job in a record store — he lied and said he was 16 so that he could take the gig — and he hasn’t looked back since. Now the owner of his own record store, Platterpus Records in Easthampton, Witthaus, 65, has seen the record business evolve over many years. He purchased the several year-old business on Sept. 1, 1982, meaning that this year marks 40 years since Platterpus Records first opened its doors in Westfield. The building has been located in Easthampton at 28 Cottage St. for the past 12 years. “I don’t really feel like I’ve ever gone to work,” he joked on a recent afternoon, sitting at his usual perch behind the store’s front counter.

Madison, WI | Boneset Records opens and offers up coziness and diverse music: To reach the city’s newest record shop, customers step on patio stones laid across the grass between the sidewalk and a door propped open on East Johnson Street, about 15 yards west of North Street. Follow the string of lights and take two flights down. This is where, in a windowless space, Maggie Denman has created a sanctuary for virtually all ages and musical tastes. The bins and shelves at her Boneset Records are filled with vinyl records, cassette tapes and compact discs that hold the music of, among others, Steve Winwood, Percy Faith, Johannes Brahms, Motley Crue, flugelhorn player Chuck Mangione and Kitten Forever, a Minneapolis-based feminist punk trio. There are also movies on VHS tape and DVD, and an L-shaped couch with a stuffed Gizmo from the 1984 movie “Gremlins.” On Sunday, Denman had a brat punk album on the turntable but followed that up with “John Denver’s Greatest Hits” while the movie “High Fidelity” flickered silently on the TV above the cash register.

SonoNix Nixie tube record player combines old and new: SonoNix is a new retro style vinyl record player equipped with the latest technology combining both old and new into one sleek minimalistic turntable. Launched via Kickstarter the record player has raised over $100,000 thanks to over 370 backers with still nine days remaining. The addition of Nixie tubes provide a handy time function and the record player is capable of playing 33⅓ rpm, 45 rpm, and 78 rpm speeds. Early bird pledges are now available for the creative project from roughly $229 or £196 (depending on current exchange rates). “A vintage record player harbors an emotion, a quest for music, and a flow of life. But technology alone is not enough to make a product special. Instead, a unique style that combines modern and retro creates a futuristic beauty that is undeniable. As times change, ingenious designers blend style and technology. SonoNix combines these elements with minimalist beauty and stunning design to define a new technical aesthetic.”

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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