In rotation: 10/28/22

Jackson, MI | In the pre-holiday scramble, small businesses see a little bit of supply chain relief: Although inflation has been running persistently high — minus food and gas, it was 6.6% year over year in September, as measured by the consumer price index — there are signs that supply chain pressures might be easing. Small retailers are seeing some of that. Phillip Rollins, the owner of the record, comic and apparel store OffBeat in Jackson, Mississippi, said his costs have been stable recently. “As far as costs, there hasn’t been a big change per se,” Rollins said. “We’ve kind of minimized costs by switching to a new printer for our apparel line. Everything else has pretty much stayed kind of the same since last month.” Rollins chief concern has been moving his store to a new location in downtown Jackson. “I’m still kind of getting settled in at the new location,” he said. “We only been open a week now. I’m really looking forward to seeing what the future holds at this location.”

Bellefonte, PA | You Spin Me Round: Fez Records Opens Near Downtown Bellefonte: Calling all music junkies! Fez Records opened up near downtown Bellefonte earlier this month on October 1. Owned by Michael Fester, the shop buys and sells a variety of old and new records, so there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Fester moved to Pennsylvania a little over a year ago. Before moving to Bellefonte, Fester had traveled and lived all over the country. “I moved here from Arizona and before that I was in Las Vegas,” Fester said. “I lived my first eight years on this planet in the suburbs of Chicago and for the last 40-something years, I lived in the desert. Last year, the opportunity arose to move out here. My fiancée and I agreed that it was time for a change. When I visited here a few years prior, I was so enamored with the downtown Bellefonte area.” …“I have always loved going into record shops as a kid and as a young adult,” Fester said. “All my best memories revolved around music…”

Phoenix, AZ | Recordbar Radio Is Opening Central Records in Downtown Phoenix Later This Year: When the COVID-19 pandemic turned everything inside out for the better part of two years, the music world saw projects large and small alike sidetracked or completely upended. Just ask Jake Stellarwell and others involved with the Valley’s Recordbar Radio, who had their plans to open local music and cultural hub put on hold. Now, more than two years later, Stellarwell tells Phoenix New Times they’re finally getting things back on track with the project, which is now known as Central Records. The new business, which Stellarwell describes as a combination record store, radio studio, performance venue, art gallery, and cafe, is set to open later this fall along Central Avenue near Garfield Street. Its creation is a culmination of three years of work, which included a lot of what Stellarwell, a local promoter and DJ, calls “frustration, sacrifice, and compromise.”

Saint Paul, MN | Late Night Vinyl returns with introspection and groove: Long after classes were over for the day on Wednesday, Oct. 5, Mark Mandarano wheeled a turntable onto the Mairs Concert Hall stage. At 10:30 p.m., nearly 50 Macalester students gathered in the venue for Late Night Vinyl. Mandarano, the director of instrumental activities at Macalester, has held Late Night Vinyl three times a semester since 2013. Every session, he chooses an album to play on vinyl and invites students and faculty to attend. For the first late night spin of the semester, he chose Marvin Gaye’s 1971 album “What’s Going On,” a record that Mandarano has looked forward to featuring. “[‘What’s Going On’] is deep and rich, and is one of those albums that is a unit,” Mandarano said. “It works as a suite, as a progress from moment to moment. There’s a lot to be gained from listening attentively to this album.”

St. Charles, MO | The comeback of vinyl collecting at Joe’s Records: Joe’s Records store in the South County Mall in St. Louis is regaining its popularity, especially when it comes to vinyl collecting. The store’s owner Joe Smith has been in the music industry for 30 years and has seen it change from decade to decade. “It’s really interesting the last year or two and especially this store there’s been a real youth market that’s been missing for a long time,” Smith said. “It kind of got by with this niche thing of the old audiophiles and a very specific target demo audience but now there’s a lot of young people buying again.” Joe’s Records opened in the middle of the 2020 pandemic and has been successful ever since. Smith said he believes the pandemic helped to jumpstart and revive the hobby of collecting records. “We hear a lot of people come in saying they’re buying their first, and that’s always really exciting,” Smith said. “I’ve made a lot of regular customers here because of the boom in the pandemic and people wanting to experience their music in a different medium.”

Toronto, CA | Billy Corgan from Smashing Pumpkins surprises staff at Toronto record store: Perhaps it’s fitting that Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins would show up at a Toronto record shop during a time when everyone is sipping pumpkin spice lattes. The influential ’90s alt-rock band played at Scotiabank Arena for their Spirits on Fire Tour this week, and Corgan popped into Shortstack Records while he was here. “Corgan has been to the shop once before, the last time the Pumpkins played Toronto, in 2019. But the staff that was working then didn’t own a smartphone, so while they had a great conversation with Billy, there was no evidence he was ever there. He was like our own Great Pumpkin,” Shortstack Records owner Cal MacLean tells blogTO. This time, in 2022, they did manage to get a photo with staff that they posted to social media, as well as an autographed Smashing Pumpkins album. Lots of people commented saying it was awesome he stopped by, and there are a handful that want the signed album.

Columbus, OH | Joe Walsh’s group the James Gang schedules first in-store event in more than 50 years: Joe Walsh‘s recently reunited pre-Eagles band the James Gang will participate in their first in-store signing event in over 50 years on Tuesday, November 8, at Used Kids Records in Columbus, Ohio. During their appearance, Walsh, drummer Jim Fox and bassist Dale Peters will take part in an interview and then sign autographs at the store, which is located just a few blocks from Joe’s childhood home. …Since the in-store event is taking place on Election Day, attendees wearing an “I Voted” sticker will receive a coupon giving them $5 off on purchases of $25 or more at Used Kids Records. “Like many a music geek, I have spent a fair amount of my life in independent record stores and I owe a lot of my musical education to their existence,” says Walsh. “Thanks to Used Kids Records for hosting us and for hopefully blowing the mind of a little Joe Walsh who may be growing up just down the street like I did.”

NZ | Lil Chief Records: 20 Years of Not Being “The Next Flying Nun.” This month the NZ record label that produced viral musical talents Princess Chelsea and Jonathan Bree is turning 20 years old. One of the people behind the scenes at the label from the start was Gareth Shute and here he takes us through the ups and downs of two decades in the music industry. Lil Chief Records was founded by Jonathan Bree and Scott Mannion, initially just in order to release their own bands – The Brunettes and The Tokey Tones. Lawrence Mikkelsen came on board to help out and then I was brought in, mostly because I lived upstairs. The local indie scene in those days was still heavily influenced by the early decades of Flying Nun, though the label had merged with Mushroom Records in 2000 and was releasing only a handful of albums per year. There seemed to be an opening for ‘the next Flying Nun’ and every new indie label had to answer questions about how they might or might not fill that gap. It was inspiring to think that a local label had already made such an impact on the world of ‘alternative’ rock and it set a template to follow (or ignore).

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