In rotation: 11/15/22

London, UK | Three friends who quit their jobs to run a Walthamstow record shop out of a shipping container: Three friends who set up a vinyl shop are still going strong despite moving to a new location just before Covid hit in 2020. East London is full of hidden gems and independent shops, but if you’re a music fan, you’re sure to have checked out some of the record shops it has to offer. One of the most popular in the area is Vinyl Vanguard Records. Based in St James Street in Walthamstow, and set up by three friends, it can be found in a tiny shipping container in CRATE, just a stone’s throw from the station. The passion project was set up by ex-journalist Mike Gerber in 2016, before he got his partner Ruth Lukom and friend Simon Lynn on board later on. It all began when Mike – a lifelong vinyl collector, decided to flog some records on a kitchen table in a local summer market. This turned into more pop ups, before moving to Wood Street market and their eventual St James’ Street location in 2020.

Miami, FL | Pizza and Vinyl Bar SimplyGood Preserves New York City Hip-Hop and Funk: Silver lamps dangle above the cozy, dimly lit space. The industrial cement walls are lined with record sleeves from the Grateful Dead to A Tribe Called Quest. The aroma of New York-style pizza blends naturally with the warm, homey furniture and patrons gathered at SimplyGood Miami. The man behind the space is Max Pierre, who cultivated his New York City roots and love for hip-hop into an incubator for local creatives. “I started a pizza shop because I would make pizza for kids on the block. They’d call me pizza man,” Pierre says. “Then I was like hip-hop is my culture. Let me just create a space where I can do all the things that I like and see how people interact with it.” The 48 year old owns more than 30,000 records, too many to sell in the shop. Instead, it evolved into a one-stop shop for vinyl, merch, drinks, pizza, and entertainment.

Tijuana, MX | Tijuana goes back to the past! Vinyl Record Fair returns in November: The 10th edition of “Feria del Vinilo Tijuana” will take place on Saturday, November 26 and Sunday, November 27. As usual, great offers in the world of vinyl records will multiply on Saturday, November 26 and Sunday, November 27 from 10 AM to 8 PM, as the 10ma Feria del Vinilo Tijuana (Tijuana’s Vinyl Record Fair) takes place at Pasaje Rodríguez (Rodríguez Alley). Besides selling records and other music-related products, the 10th Vinyl Record Fair of Tijuana will offer several different activities during the weekend, such as musical live performances. Access will be through Constitución Avenue, Revolución Avenue, and 3rd Street. Entry to the premises is free. The event is open to all ages and pet friendly, so bring your furry friend with you.

Tokyo, JP | Vinyl production finds groove in Japan, thanks to social media: Sales soar, spurring artists to release new music on records. As “city pop,” a type of Japanese pop music produced in the 1970s and ’80s, wins a new generation of fans around the world, production of phonograph records, the principal medium for recorded music at the time, has more than quadrupled over the past decade in Japan. As city pop gains more exposure through TikTok and other video hosting apps, it has drawn young people to vinyl records, which offer a listening experience that differs from digital music. More artists these days are also releasing new music on records. City pop was fueled by Japanese artists including Mariya Takeuchi, Tatsuro Yamashita, Miki Matsubara, and Kiyotaka Sugiyama & Omega Tribe 40 to 50 years ago. Those artists, in turn, were strongly influenced by Western music. The urban-themed, lighthearted melody lines of the era, and devotion to high production value, are drawing a fresh cohort of younger listeners.

Paul McCartney recalls discovering a reggae record “scam” while crate-digging in Jamaica: “…Some of my happiest memories of buying 7-inch singles come from the Jamaican record shop that we used to go to when we were on holiday in Montego Bay …There were records [that] you didn’t know what they were, they weren’t established artists,” he calls. “So it was kind of a great adventure, just asking the guy behind the counter, ‘What’s this like? Is it any good?'” He recalls one in particular called “Poison Pressure” by Byron Lee and The Dragonaires, which was credited to Lennon & McCartney. He writes, “I had to buy that one. Had they just recorded one of our songs? No. It was something completely different and we all presumed it might be a couple of guys called Tony Lennon and Bill McCartney. Either that, or it was a total scam.”

Aural Robert: The Tipitina’s Record Club: Professor Longhair in his living room! Etta James—live—at Tipitina’s!! Previously unknown James Booker recordings!!! All of it unreleased and unheard??? In the music world, spare time spurred by COVID closures led to many good ideas and side projects. Few have been better than Tipitina’s Record Club (TRC). …Contentwise, the club’s releases have been spectacular. In addition to Fess at Home, highlights from the club’s first year and a half include Kung Pow!! Live at Tipitina’s, a live set by the Radiators, longtime Tip’s favorites, and the double-LP set Coolin’ Off, Galactic’s 1996 debut, which had never been released before on vinyl. For deep NOLA collectors, there’s a live recording by that rarest of New Orleans piano professors, the miraculous James Booker. The most recent entry is from singer Johnny Adams, After All the Good Is Gone, a reissue of a 1978 release.

The best-selling album of the 21st Century: In a world of streaming, fewer people are buying physical records compared to 20-years-ago. However, a select few artists are still managing to sell an obscene quantity of albums and continue operating at a level that defies logic. Due to how the music industry has changed, the majority of the albums that dominate the highest-selling list of the 21st century were released before 2010. Although illegal streaming was rife throughout the early part of the century, most people still built their record collection by visiting a shop and paying for CDs. Only four albums released post-2010 have sold over 12 million copies, compared with 23 from the decade prior. There’s been a sharp decline in record sales across the board, but Adele has managed to circumvent the crisis, astonishingly, two of her albums have sold over 20 million copies.

Ride reissue early EPs and albums for 30th anniversary: Take a walk down memory lane with Ride. Ride have reissued their early EPs and albums to celebrate 30 years of the band. The slowcore legends have made Nowhere and Going Blank Again, released in 1990 and 1992 respectively, available on vinyl. Their first four EPs, Ride, Play, Fall and Today Forever, have been brought together under a compilation called 4 EPs. You can now order Nowhere on transparent curacao vinyl, Going Blank Again on transparent orange vinyl and 4 EPs on white vinyl, all via Wichita Records.

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