In rotation: 1/9/23

Kalispell, MT | Spinning vinyl and building community: For Bernard Jones, Slow Burn Records is more than just a place to buy music: it’s a hub for Northwest Montana’s vibrant music scene. “As much as it’s about the vinyl records, it’s more about having a safe haven for artists,” Jones said. “People are excited about it.” Jones is the general manager of the record store in Whitefish, which replaced local favorite Spanky’s and Gus after the shop closed its doors in 2021. When Slow Burn’s owners Mike and Dyan Colby heard Spanky’s planned on closing, the couple purchased the storefront and set out on revamping the space. Records of all genres line the bright storefront, which is decorated with bespoke furniture, instruments and neon signs. Customers can pop in a record at one of the store’s six listening stations, which allows music lovers to explore the wide-ranging collection. Jones said he has seen a renewed interest from young people in the old-fashioned way of listening.

Bristol, UK | Get to know: Collector Cave. Its true that vinyl is still an alive and kicking musical medium. Whether you’re a casual listener or a DJ, chances are that you or someone you know simply can’t get enough of those black waxy 12 inch discs. Yet, somehow, record stores themselves aren’t having the best luck of late. When Collector Cave was forced to close its doors in the Vintage Market at the bottom of Stokes Croft last year, it was a massive blow for the vinyl community. Easily one of Bristol’s top digging spots, you could guarantee with almost 100% certainty that you could go in there with a tenner and, with a keen ear, come out with two or three scorchers. However, all was not lost. The start of a new year brings with it new beginnings for the cave, as they open their new store, just a touch further up from the previous stomping ground, on Cheltenham Road, next to the Cloak and Dagger. I managed to grab them for a chat as they enter their first full month of business in the new gaff. We reminisced on the old store, looked into the future, and talked ice cream flavours.

AU | ‘So sad:” Aussies react to closure of iconic music retailer Sanity: The closure of iconic Aussie retailer Sanity has prompted a debate about whether physical stores are still needed in the streaming era. Iconic Australian music and entertainment retailer Sanity was there for vinyl records and cassette tapes, and for CDs and DVDs, but despite hanging on for so long, its stores have been unable to survive the streaming era. Earlier this week the company announced it was closing its physical doors and moving to become an online-only store. In response, Australians saddened by the news are sharing their fond memories of the chain, which opened its first Sanity-branded store in 1992 in Doncaster, Melbourne, but has a history that dates back to 1980. “This was the place I’d buy my CDs and CD singles from when I was a teenager,” one man from Canberra said. “I loved going in and seeing the top 20 albums of the week and the option of putting on the headphones to listen to an album before buying it. Thank you Sanity.”

Middlesbrough, UK | Turning tables: the UK’s new vinyl manufacturer riding the music revival: For the past year a Middlesbrough pressing plant has been helping artists make records, and there is no sign of demand slowing down. It only received its first pressing machines on Christmas Eve last year, but Press On Vinyl is well on its way to becoming the biggest manufacturer of vinyl records in the UK, already churning out about 3,000 a day and hoping to double that next year. The popularity of vinyl has soared in recent years – 2022 is expected to be yet another year with the highest sales since the early 1990s – and manufacturers have been unable to cope with demand. Taylor Swift’s Midnights has sold 80,000 copies on vinyl, more than any other album this century, helping to increase vinyl sales above those of CDs for the first time since the 1980s. “The demand for vinyls has increased dramatically in the last eight years, and existing plants haven’t managed to grow in tandem with it and new plants haven’t been able to set up in time,” said David Todd, who co-founded Press On Vinyl, in Middlesbrough, with Danny Lowe.

Norwich, UK | VIP Record Fairs hosting pop-up event at the Halls: Vinyl fans rejoice. One of the UK’s biggest record fairs is coming to Norwich for a pop-up event. VIP Record Fairs promises to bring top dealers from around the world to the city. There will be a range of genres available for all tastes. Some of the collections will be going on sale for the very first time. The fair also offers CDs, books and memorabilia. It is taking place at the Halls in St Andrews on January 14 from 9am to 3.30pm. Early bird tickets from 9am are £6, regular entry from 10am is £3.

Audio-Technica is bringing back the Sound Burger this spring: Take your records on the go. Audio-Technica has shared plans to bring back the Sound Burger later this year. Back in November, Audio-Technica released a limited edition AT-SB2022 portable turntable to celebrate its 6oth anniversary. The turntable sold out in a matter of days, inspiring the audio brand to reintroduce the Sound Burger for a wider audience this spring. “The response to the 60th-anniversary limited-edition model of the Sound Burger portable turntable was nothing less than extraordinary,” said Gary Boss, Director of Marketing, Audio-Technica US. “We heard loud and clear the frustration of those who hoped to buy one of these turntables but were unable to do so. While the new model coming in the spring will not feature the 60th anniversary numbered badge, colour and packaging of the limited-edition version, it will be more widely accessible. We hope Sound Burger fans will be just as excited about this new model and that it will inspire the next generation of analogue enthusiasts.”

Dallas, TX | The Deep Ellum Community Center Will Let Artists Record Just Like Blind Lemon Jefferson: Deep Ellum is entering its 150th year, and the occasion calls for a new recording facility. A new studio making its way to the musical neighborhood will let artists record songs the old-fashioned away. The Deep Ellum Community Center — under construction by the Deep Ellum Foundation in honor of the neighborhood’s historic milestone — will house an authentic 1930s recording studio that will allow visiting artists to record and press albums on black lacquer vinyl. The recordings and other releases will be part of a new label called Deep Analog Records. Stephanie Hudiburg, the executive director of the Deep Ellum Foundation, says the historic collection and recording studio will be a “keystone” for the new facility. “For us at the Foundation, we’re focusing on preservation and cultural initiatives,” Hudiburg says.

Saturn Records: The DIY Cosmic Cover Art of Sun Ra: For the 45 years he was on the music scene, the keyboardist, composer, and bandleader known as Sun Ra (1914-93) was one of the most original and iconoclastic Black artists of the 20th century. And if his musical legacy isn’t enough, Sun Ra was also a visual artist, which is the subject of the new book Sun Ra: Art on Saturn: The Album Cover Art of Sun Ra’s Saturn Label co-edited by Chris Reisman and Irwin Chusid. The book is out now from Fantagraphics. …An independent artist for his whole career, Sun Ra controlled every aspect of his business, which included creating his own art for LP album covers and record labels (including artwork by members of his band, the Arkestra), which over the years have become valuable sought-after artifacts by record collectors and art enthusiasts.

Record Store Day announces 2023 event: RSD will take place on Saturday, April 22, 2023. Organizers of Record Store Day (RSD) have shared that this year’s event will be held on Saturday, April 22, 2023. The event is the largest single-day music event in the world and celebrates brick-and-mortar indie record stores worldwide. “We’re really looking forward to celebrating record stores with a big party on April 22!” organizers share. The List of exclusive and limited edition titles available only via indie record stores is expected to be released soon. The 2023 Record Store Day Global Ambassador will also be unveiled within the next couple of months. Last year, RSD celebrated its 15th birthday as it returned to a regular single-day event following the launch of RSD Drops in 2020 which saw the releases spread out over three months to follow social distancing guidelines put forth during COVID-19. It continued for 2021 where The List was spread out over two months to avoid excessive gathering due to social distancing mandates. Some titles in 2022 were released as designated RSD Drops in June because they weren’t ready by April due to production delays.

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