Music updates around town: Rabbitfoot Records, R’ n’ R Record Shop, Smartpunk, WORJ 

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Photo by Ashley Belanger

If you're the type who likes to keep up with area record stores, there are two stops you might want to consider making in the near future. The first is the recently expanded Rabbitfoot Records in Sanford (307 E. Second St.), which is now located next door to bar-venue West End Trading Co., a pretty hip little pairing that makes the Sanford strip super-appealing for music fans. Their record collection does not look notably expanded, but there's plenty of space for growth for all of the inventive owners' future aspirations, including bringing back affordable walk-in vinyl record-cutting for anyone looking for cheap options or to create a vinyl version of your quirky one-off recordings.

You don't have to go to Sanford to find a new record source if you've exhausted resources closer to the heart of Orlando (Park Ave. CDs, Retro Records, Rock-n-Roll Heaven), but you might want to go to Artegon. There you'll find R' n' R Record Shop, which has been operating in the tourist sector for more than seven years but escaped my notice until I finally made it out to the unique market on International Drive. Owner Anthony Venturini presents an immaculate collection of rock, jazz, soul and country – all cleaned, organized and easy to sort through – and he tosses in bonus 45s to sweeten the deal in many cases, a smart way to keep those overlooked rounds rotating (in my opinion). FYI: R' n' R Record Shop is about to move into a much bigger stall, so if you have made it by already, you might want to check back this fall when Venturini will have 2,000 more records in stock from his storage space.

Speaking of records (because I never shut up about them), I was intrigued to see Smartpunk resurrected this month with a pop-up shop at Atlanta's Wrecking Ball as their big reintroduction as a distro. Based out of Florida, their goal is to re-press (or press for the first time ever!) albums they consider essential listening, as well as release new music by current bands that they approve of just as wholeheartedly. Currently in the store, they've got Alkaline Trio, Lemuria, Against Me!, Hot Water Music and the like, alongside current artists Suck Brick Kid, Teen Agers and Gameface. Check them out at smartpunk.com if you're all about it.

I had a suspicion that the documenters at the Orange County Regional History Museum were just a bunch of music nerds after they launched the exhibit Long Way to the Top: Hard Rock in Orlando 1977-1985 back in April/May this year. Now it's pretty much confirmed since they're re-launching the exhibit with a special addition – at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 20, the museum is bringing back influential radio DJs who flipped the radio industry on its head by rejecting the Top 40 default format and playing more obscure artists, deeper album cuts and live concerts on WORJ-FM between 1972 and 1977. They'll host a panel discussion about the station's role in radio history called "WORJ: Town Hall for the Counterculture," which features DJs from the era Lee Arnold, Doug Van Allen and Neal Mirsky, among others. Cost is $8 in advance or $10 at the door.

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