In rotation: 3/7/23

Glasgow, UK | Celebrating Glasgow independent record shops: Monorail Music. “Part of why we started Monorail was to reflect community.” Beneath the old railway track at Kings Court sits Monorail Music, an independent record shop opened in 2002 by Dep Downie and Stephen McRobbie (formerly of the Pastels). Dep previously worked at Missing Records (city centre and Byres Road) and Stephen at John Smiths (Byres Road), but as their employers’ business models evolved they grew detached from the product. “…Part of why we started Monorail was to reflect community,” said Dep. “In the 80s and 90s, there was a culture in record shops where they were quite male, quite DJ-orientated. Exclusive to a certain point. “We didn’t want that, we wanted to be very open and friendly. We wanted to be attractive to both males and females, we wanted kids to come in, we wanted families. We wanted to represent what we do.”

Austin, TX | Antone’s Record Shop remains hallmark of Austin’s live music scene with rich history, lively community: In 1975, after relishing in the beginnings of what promised to be a booming blues scene, Clifford Antone decided to open one of the first nightclubs on Sixth Street. Driven by his passion for blues, the now revered Austin icon uplifted musicians he loved, whether old blues legends or young artists new to the scene. Soon, the nightclub gained popularity and spurred the creation of the Antone’s Records label and eventually Antone’s Record Shop in 1987. Just a 10-minute walk from campus, Antone’s Records remains a staple in Austin’s music scene, withstanding the trials of a constantly evolving music industry, maintaining its rich history and staying true to its strong city ties. “There are people like Muddy Waters who have only been heard on record before and all these great blues legends who will come through town,” said Mike Buck, co-owner of Antone’s Record Shop. “We’ve had a lot of great people come here and perform. There’s been a lot of good music come through here.”

Watch the 1996 Deftones’ record store gig that got shut down for getting “way out of hand.” On October 10, 1996, Deftones played a free show at a HMV store in Philadelphia. They wouldn’t get to play for very long. “Guys, you’re getting way out of hand. The show’s over.” On October 10, 1996, the day after they supported Kiss at the 21,000-capacity CoreStates Center arena in Philadelphia, Deftones played a free in-store show at the city’s HMV record shop to promote their debut album Adrenaline. Unfortunately, such was the excitement among the lucky members of Pennsylvania’s metal community in attendance, that the Californian quartet wouldn’t get to perform for as long as they had hoped. Four songs in, following a thrilling Nosebleed, a store employee takes the microphone from frontman Chino Moreno, and announces that the gig is being shut down. A predictable chorus of booing and shouts of “Fuck you!” follows. “Hey, we’re very sorry man, it’s not our fault, you know what I’m saying,” Moreno tells the crowd.

Nairobi, KE | Grandpa tech: Down memory lane with vinyl records: When George Ouma decided to organise a vinyl music records exhibition at the Goethe Institut, he did not anticipate the curiosity his show would generate from millennials. “Young university students would come in and just stare at the record covers,” he says. “Some have never seen a vinyl record in their lives and are calling them big CDs. Even their parents might have had little interaction with the records and the players.” Ouma is in his early 60s and belongs to a generation that was weaned on the vinyl record player which met all entertainment needs of that era. This is a generation that saw cassette tapes come and go. Compact Discs came and are now on their way out, while MP3 players could hardly hold their own against the phones. That was the era when playing and listening to music was a ceremony. And the ceremony could not be hurried.

Southsea, UK | Steve Mason to perform instore at Pie and Vinyl in Southsea for new anti-Brexit, pro-immigration album Brothers and Sisters: ​Steve Mason has never been one to shy away from bringing politics into his music, but his new album carries a pro-immigration theme while also sticking two fingers up to Brexit. Always musically restless, the former Beta Band frontman and King Biscuit Time performer’s new album, Brothers & Sisters marries the personal and the political in an emotive and uplifting manner. Written against a global backdrop of fear and uncertainty, it includes Indian and Pakistani musicians as well as prominently featuring gospel singers – Brothers & Sisters is in fact an incredibly joyous listen. It will be his first album since 2019’s acclaimed About The Light. As Steve tells The Guide: ‘It’s been difficult because of two years of Covid screwing everyone over. I finished this record this time last year, but then because of the vinyl lead time at the moment—it’s about eight-to-12 months, you just can’t get anything out. Really you’ve got to knock three years off of that – in actual fact, I am quite prolific!’ he chuckles.

10 tips for buying second-hand vinyl: Judge your record by its cover. The sleeve of a record can be indicative of what you’re to find inside. Don’t put too much stock in bent corners or the odd minor tear – we all know how easy it is for that to happen – but a particularly battered cover should temper your expectations somewhat. Likewise, something well taken care of, especially if it’s been put in a plastic outer sleeve, is probably going to lead to a disc in similar nick. Inner sleeves have their own tells. If there are no tears here, it’s unlikely the record has been pulled out and put back all that many times, while the sleeve clinging to the vinyl as you withdraw it – especially if it leaves a few hair-like fibres on the disc – can also mean very few plays and a relatively dust-free LP.

San Diego, CA | Opinion: I’ll celebrate 40 years of the Sony CD player but I still miss records and turntables, too. I remember calling my boss at the radio station from a payphone, saying, “You’re not going to believe this. There aren’t anymore records at Tower Records.” To celebrate 40 years of the Sony CD player, you have to consider how radio was before the invention of the compact disc. Just close your eyes and I can take you back to the early ’80s and radio in San Diego. I was just a kid, a kid out of high school working at KBEST 95. I would drive my 1977 Ford Maverick from Chula Vista all the way up the 805 to University City to the La Jolla Gateway Building. Walking through that front door of the radio station and passing by the receptionist desk and down a long hallway full of production studios, I’d approach the studio at the very end on the right-hand side. It’s the studio with the big ON THE AIR sign that lights up when the disc jockey turns on the microphone. For me, it was a privilege to be able to go into that studio. As a young child, I would listen to the radio all day and all night. I would listen to “Shotgun Tom,” the Rich Brothers, Jim McInnes and all of those legends from the 1970s.

Album Covers with Masterpieces of Art: While streaming music has largely replaced music on physical media, the past few years have seen a strong resurgence of the vinyl record. One of vinyl’s best qualities is its large size and the expansive 12 square-inch jackets were missed when CDs became standard. The record jacket is the perfect canvas for musical artists to express themselves, not only aurally but visually. Most album cover art is a photo of the band or the creation of a contemporary graphic artist. However, many album covers feature famous works of art by world-renowned artists ranging from Jean-Michel Basquiat to William Turner. Vinyl records are not only a good way to listen to music, but also to enjoy masterpieces of art while you’re working on that 8-figure bank account. Here are some albums that have famous works of art on their covers.

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