In rotation: 5/22/23

White Bear Lake, MN | Records for peace benefits war-torn Ukraine: When Chris Valenty spotted colorful notecards made by a Ukrainian artist at the White Bear Center for the Arts, it touched something deep. The White Bear Record Store co-owner is sympathetic to the plight of Ukrainians in their war with Russia and knew he wanted and needed to do something to help. So Valenty contacted the artist, Diana Smyk, who was living in the Lviv region of Ukraine at the time, and asked if she’d provide the artwork for a flyer promoting the store’s upcoming fundraiser. Smyk agreed and suggested he contact her sponsor, Caroline Cardozo, who happens to live in White Bear Lake. Cardozo, a well-traveled humanitarian and artist herself, was the one who made the cards featuring Smyk’s art. She learned of the young artist last September while on a personal mission to bring clothing, food and medicine to Ukrainian refugees living with very little just across the border with Poland.

Dublin, IE | HMV takes another spin on Dublin’s high street seven years after closing: Music retailer to return with a new flagship store on Henry Street, as record store looks to take advantage of vinyl revival. HMV’s rollercoaster ride in Irish retail will restart this summer with new owners hoping it is a case of third time lucky. The music retailer is opening a flagship store in Dublin city centre where two previous incarnations faltered in the face of rapidly changing consumer habits. HMV are optimistic there is life in the old dog listening to his master’s gramophone yet as it returns to the Henry Street it disappeared from for what most people might have thought was the last time in 2016. But just as vinyl records, for generations HMV’s bread and butter, have proved resilient – outselling CDs globally for the first time in 35 years in 2022 – some record stores have avoided being swamped by the digital wave in recent years. HMV is hoping to join them.

Alexandria, VA | Crooked Beat Records to reopen in new Del Ray location in June: Crooked Beat Records will reopen in Del Ray in the first week in June, owner Bill Daly tells ALXnow. The record shop closed at 802 N. Fairfax Street in Old Town on April 29, a week after Record Store Day. Daly signed a five-year lease for the 1,200-square-foot basement in 2417 Mount Vernon Avenue — in the same building that houses Cheesetique, the Del Ray School Of Music and Piece Out Del Ray. “We’re looking forward to reopening,” Daly said. “We’re getting there, but it’s a huge move. There’s a lot of stuff. We were hoping to open on Memorial Day weekend, but it’s likely to be the first week in June.” Daly said he got more than enough volunteers to help with the move, which he says is 90% complete. The new store is about 200 square feet bigger than the Old Town location, and Daly said the new space will be used to sell more used records. Incidentally, the store isn’t buying used records at the moment—Daly just bought 6,000-to-8,000 old records from estate sales.

Derbyshire, UK | What’s in my shop: We take a look inside popular Chesterfield music shop Tallbird Records: Tallbird Records, on Chesterfield’s Soresby Street, is a haven for music lovers and vinyl junkies. Run by Maria Harris, the shop opened in 2013 and will celebrate it’s tenth birthday in October, with the very first item sold being a second-hand vinyl copy of David Bowie’s “The Man Who Sold The World.” Maria said: “I took this as a good omen – the people of Chesterfield obviously have great taste in music!” Today, the most popular items sold at the store are recordings by the likes of The Arctic Monkeys, Lana Del Rey and Taylor Swift. Maria added: “We take great pride in offering a friendly, approachable and knowledgeable service, together with a carefully chosen range of the best new releases and most sought-after second-hand titles and collectables at reasonable prices. And, if it’s not already in stock we will always do our best to find you a copy of the title you’re looking for.”

Liverpool, UK | Famous Liverpool record store was ‘still going strong’ till the 90s: For many, they were “sad to see it go.” A famous Liverpool record store that remains ingrained in the city’s history was “still going strong” until the 1990s. For decades, NEMS – North End Music Stores – was a popular record retailer that attracted thousands of music lovers from Merseyside and beyond. Established by Brian Epstein’s family, The North End Music Stores was originally the name of an annexe to the Epstein furniture store. According to Liverpool Museums, when Epstein’s father decided to expand his business into the centre of Liverpool, he opened a branch in Great Charlotte Street. Epstein and his brother, Clive, were placed in charge of this new outlet, with Epstein handling the ground floor record section. In 1950, at the age of 16, Epstein worked at the family’s Walton Road store and the ECHO previously reported how at 18, Epstein was conscripted to the army, but was discharged after ten months for being emotionally and mentally unfit. He returned to work for his parents until 1955, when at the age of 21, he was made a director of NEMS.

Pinball Machine Soundtracks Are Coming to Vinyl: Two compilations collect the music traditionally emanating from the speakers of 1980s and 1990s–era machines. If you’re the sort of person who wants your stereo system to suddenly sound like an arcade from the early 1990s, two new compilations have you covered. Jackpot Plays Pinball is a two-volume series that collects the music featured in popular pinball machines from the 1980s and ’90s, and specifically those manufactured by Bally and Williams. They’re out June 23. The first volume features music from the games Black Knight 2000, Tales of the Arabian Nights, Attack From Mars, Taxi, and Pinbot. The second volume collects the songs you’d hear in Funhouse, Medieval Madness, Theatre of Magic, Banzai Run, and Fish Tales.

Rhino Launches Audiophile Vinyl Series With Albums by the Cars and John Coltrane, Cut From Analog Tapes by Kevin Gray: Rhino Records is launching a quarterly series of limited-edition vinyl releases intended to appeal to LP-loving audiophiles, with records that are cut directly from analog sources by one of the most revered names in the mastering business, Kevin Gray. The first two releases in the Rhino High Fidelity series, both out today, are the Cars’ self-titled debut album from 1978 and John Coltrane’s 1964 album “Coltrane’s Sound.” It won’t be a high-volume series: The releases will be limited to 5,000 numbered copies, with only two new titles issued per quarter. Each catalog album will have lacquers cut by Gray from the original analog tapes, pressed on 180-gram vinyl, with glossy, fold-out, “tip-on” jackets in the old-school style and supplemental printed inserts with modern essays or interviews.

UK | The Beatles: Rare first edition White Album given to charity: An original copy of The Beatles’ 1968 White Album has been donated to a charity shop. The British Heart Foundation said the album, complete with original inserts and a foldout poster, was handed over at its Sutton Coldfield branch. It is thought to be incredibly rare, featuring a misprint unique to the first version of the record of which there are only 10,000 copies. The charity has listed it on its eBay account, with bids starting at £999.99. “Our music and vinyl experts were thrilled when this valuable piece of music history was donated to the BHF,” said Richard Pallier, from the charity. Despite being more than 50 years old, he said the album was “in good condition.”

Wilmington, NC | How the couple behind a growing record label is putting Wilmington music on the map: Over the past five years, arguably no one has done more for Wilmington’s indie music scene than Tracy Shedd and James Tritten. A regular presence at area concerts and other happenings — they share a DJ set every Tuesday evening at the Satellite Bar & Lounge on Greenfield Street, during which they spin, on vinyl, everything from classic hits to obscure bangers — the married couple has helped highlight Wilmington music in a way few others have. Since moving to town in 2018 with Fort Lowell Records, the independent label they started in Tucson, Arizona, in 2009, the couple has released a steady and diverse stream of music by Wilmington acts, from indie rock and dream pop to punk and hip-hop. Consider this stat: Since October of 2020, when Fort Lowell released the Wilmington music compendium “GROW: A Compilation in Solidarity with Black Lives Matter,” the label has issued nearly 30 albums and singles, over half of them by Wilmington acts.

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