Five of the Best : Record Store Reads

From stunning photographic essays to technical anthologies, vinyl collectors enjoy nothing more than putting their feet up and flicking through a good book, all whilst sampling the delights of a new, or old, record. Yes, nothing goes better with Vinyl records than books about Vinyl records … and Rum, don’t forget the rum.

Record Stores: A Tribute to Record Stores  

(Bernd Jonkmanns)

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Since 2009 the photographer Bernd Jonkmanns from Hamburg has been working on a photo documentation about the culture of record stores. When Jonkmanns started the project in 2009 he thought that there won t be many record stores left within a few years. Over the past decades many Record Stores have vanished, but vinyl records have made a rapid comeback among music lovers all over the world. Thus, new stores opened up in big cities like Berlin, Brussels, Paris, and Los Angeles, preserving the phenomenon record store as an expression of youth culture. Over the last six years he travelled all over the world to 30 cities on five continents to photograph over 160 record stores, the store owners, the buyers, and the people who work there. His photos show their love and passion for vinyl, cd, and buying music in a store. This is what they all share and what makes the specific atmosphere of such stores. Jonkmanns found great stores on all continents in cities like Los Angeles, New York, Boston, San Francisco, Paris, London, Brighton, Stockholm, Rio de Janeiro, Oslo, Amsterdam, Sydney and even in Hobart, Tasmania.

Vinyl: The Analogue Record in the Digital Age

(Dominik Bartmanski & Ian Woodward)

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Recent years have seen not just a revival, but a rebirth of the analogue record. More than merely a nostalgic craze, vinyl has become a cultural icon. As music consumption migrated to digital and online, this seemingly obsolete medium became the fastest-growing format in music sales. Whilst vinyl never ceased to be the favorite amongst many music lovers and DJs, from the late 1980s the recording industry regarded it as an outdated relic, consigned to dusty domestic corners and obscure record shops. So why is vinyl now experiencing a ‘rebirth of its cool’?

Dominik Bartmanski and Ian Woodward explore this question by combining a cultural sociological approach with insights from material culture studies. Presenting vinyl as a multifaceted cultural object, they investigate the reasons behind its persistence within our technologically accelerated culture. Informed by media analysis, urban ethnography and the authors’ interviews with musicians, DJs, sound engineers, record store owners, collectors and cutting-edge label chiefs from a range of metropolitan centres renowned for thriving music scenes including London, New York, Tokyo, Melbourne, and especially Berlin, what emerges is a story of a modern icon.

Dust & Grooves: Adventures in Record Collecting

(Elion Paz)

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Compelling photographic essays from photographer Eilon Paz are paired with in-depth and insightful interviews to illustrate what motivates these collectors to keep digging for more records. The reader gets an up close and personal look at a variety of well-known vinyl champions, including Gilles Peterson and King Britt, as well as a glimpse into the collections of known and unknown DJs, producers, record dealers, and everyday enthusiasts. Driven by his love for vinyl records, Paz takes us on a five-year journey unearthing the very soul of the vinyl community.

Vinyl: The Art of Making Records

(Mike Evans)

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In our increasingly digital world, audiophiles know that the real recording is on vinyl. That’s why sales of vinyl continue to soar. Mike Evans offers a sumptuous visual celebration of this medium’s fascinating history and triumphant rebirth. From weighty 78s to feisty 45s, from eccentric EPs to legendary LPs, he brings vinyl recordings off the shelves and out of the crates, spotlighting:

· The development of discs from shellac to vinyl
· Run-out groove messages, picture discs, limited editions, colored vinyl, and deluxe 180g reissues that make fans and collectors rejoice
· The records’ iconic packaging and art, including the work of Reid Miles, Roger Dean, Peter Saville, and Hipgnosis
· The history and development of various leading labels, such as Atlantic, Audio Fidelity, Casablanca, Decca, Def Jam, Motown, Verve, and more
· Groundbreaking artists and their game-changing releases, from the first 45, Eddy Arnold’s “Texarkana Baby,” to the vinyl revival as led by Jack White’s Lazaretto

Vinyl Junkies: Adventures in Record Collecting

(Brett Milano)

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Not too far away from the flea markets, dusty attics, cluttered used record stores and Ebay is the world of the vinyl junkies. Brett Milano dives deep into the piles of old vinyl to uncover the subculture of record collecting. A vinyl junkie is not the person who has a few old 45s shoved in the cuboard from their days in high school. Vinyl Junkies are the people who will travel over 3,000 miles to hear a rare b-side by a German band that has only recorded two songs since 1962, vinyl junkies are the people who own every copy of every record produced by the favorite artist from every pressing and printing in existance, vinyl junkies are the people who may just love that black plastic more than anything else in their lives. Brett Milano traveled the U.S. seeking out the most die-hard and fanatical collectors to capture all that it means to be a vinyl junkie. Includes interviews with Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth, Peter Buck from R.E.M and Robert Crumb, creator of Fritz the cat and many more underground comics.

 

Of course there are plenty of great books that haven’t made the cut, so feel free to make suggestions below.

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