Head to the Vinyl Beat website to check out extensive LP label guides and wild cover galleries!
I. Use 90% proof isopropyl alcohol, which can be bought at any drug store. Don’t get rubbing alcohol as it contains oil.
A. Fill a spray bottle with the isopropyl alcohol.
B. Spray alcohol on a soft washcloth or microfiber cloth.
II. View your record under a 100 watt desk lamp in an otherwise dark room to see the vinyl.
You don’t want any ambient light because it masks the true condition. Hold the record with one hand without touching the grooved surface and use your chest as the anchor.
III. Wipe the record and don’t be afraid to rub fairly hard to clean off fingerprints and smudges.
A. This works for vinyl LPs and 45s.
B. Don’t ever use alcohol on 78s, as they’re made from shellac. To clean 78s, use a damp soapy wash cloth, then rinse. Try to keep the water off the labels as much as possible. Stack in a dish rack to dry.
IV. What about record cleaning products?
A. Amoeba sells them and they’re fine, but not as thorough or as inexpensive as this method.
B. Record Washing Machines, such as the VPI, are definitely a step up, but are more for audiophiles. They are generally expensive, time consuming and cumbersome, but they do a better job of sucking dirt out of the grooves.
V. After cleaning, store your records in a plastic outer sleeve.
A. Regular sleeves are fine.
B. Japanese resealable mylar sleeves not only look great but they seal up. This protects your vinyl against one of its five natural enemies, which are:
2. Water – Resealable sleeves can protect against water
If you haven't already made your way to the ever-popular, Amoeba Music sponsored, excellent exhibit Vinyl: The Sound and Culture of Records at the Oakland Museum of California's (OMCA) which opened three months ago on April 19th (Record Store Day) at the downtown Oakland museum in its Great Hall exhibition area don't fret as you still have some time - well not much, but some - since it is open through tomorrow Sunday July 27th. To mark the end of this wonderful hands on exhibit, that paid homage the joys of analog and vinyl with lots of local Bay Area folks (including many Amoebites) offering their input on the subject, today Saturday July 26th will be the final weekly Talk & Play program of the three month long exhibit in which experts in specific areas of music/records informally chat to a museum audience while dropping the needle on the records that they are referencing in their talk/lecture.
Today - from 1:30 pm to 2:30 pm in the Great Hall - the Talk & Play session will be David Katznelson (record producer, and president of Birdman Recording Group) and friends who will be presenting a Talk & Play they call Every Record Has a Story. David's co-hosts will be Steven Baker (former president of Warner Brothers Records), Britt Govea (Folk Yeah Productions founder), and Josh Rosenthal (founder of Tompkins Square Records) - all of whom will share their favorite music/records and tell stories and secrets related to collecting said records. David Katznelson is among the many record collecting musicologists who have curated crates (that museum goers can personally play on provided turntables) at the Vinyl exhibit. For this final fourth installment in the Digging in the Crates of OMCA's "Vinyl: The Sound and Culture of Records" Amoeblog series I have included David's crate: The influence and genius of the Velvet Underground, along with those of two other contributors: Sylvie Simmons whose crate is Grrl Power - women in rock from pop to punk, 1960-1980, (she also curated Sylvie Simmons the Americana crate), and the museum's own Rachael Aguirre (Administrative Assistant & OMCA Lab - Curatorial and Experience Development) whose crate is titled Sound track for Dungeons and Dragons: Onyx Discs of Epic Sound: A Dungeons and Dragons Soundtrack. Meanwhile the photos in this blog are either provided by OMCA or James Mak of Joysco Photos who kindly shot this photos on behalf of the Amoeblog (thank-you James!).
It's already a few years old but since a lot of people might have missed it first time around, and even if not, thought it was time to now post here on the Amoeblog the short but most enjoyable 22 minute documentary film on Music Man Murray in the West Adams district of LA following many years in Hollywood. Like the record store that bore his name music man Murray Gershenz, a former opera singer, was truly a treasure. Sadly both are no longer with us. The store closed two years ago and Murray died last August of a heart attack at age 91. But in his rich lifetime Murray was a passionate lifelong record collector whose vast personal collection would have put many self-respecting crate diggers/collectors to shame. In fact it got so large that half a century ago, following 25 years of simply collecting records, when he counted approx half a million pieces of vinyl in his collection, he decided to open his record store to unload some of these records, as well as stay close to records. As well as running the store in more recent years he had a more lucrative second career as a bit-part character actor in TV shows and movies. As such Murray appeared in such recent film and television productions as The Hangover, I Love You, Man, Mad Men, The Sarah Silverman Program, and Modern Family. But in the film above, lovingly directed by Richard Parks, the ever likable Murray plays himself doing what he loved most in life- being surrounded by records and music.
Promoting one's logo and style has always been a concern if not a priority of any creative business, especially the music business. To have your record store or record label's graphic sensibility out in the world is like a tag, a notice that, "we exist righteously", and "take a look at us, we are cool and you want to be part of this!". What better way to do this than to attach your graphics onto the outside of an LP's inner sleeve living in eternity with the record snugly inside. Or, to have the store's bag carried out onto the street by your loyal customers with your logo beaming out at the universe. Now that's promotion, or perhaps simply an affirmation of being in the moment.
Here is a 10-year collection of various record store and record label's logo and graphic style across the eras, mostly committed to an LP's inner sleeve, and some retail shopping bags inclusive, logos singing raucously or whispering of the quality within. With trends and budgets shifting moment to moment, this collection becomes a small guide to the attraction of it for everyman's taste. What do folks think will look good? How will they remember our business? As I deal with old record collections and their ephemera daily, it's always a wonderful gift to have an exotic sleeve pop up from accross the country, or even the world. Records have always been a universally traded entertainment, and it's becoming more so by the month now.
So, this Record Store Day, sit back and find your favorites within the trove of typographical time. Just browsing these photos fills me with hope.
Amoeba Music is proud to support a museum exhibit like you've never seen (or heard) before! The Oakland Museum of California presents Vinyl: The Sound and Culture of Records from April 19th (hey, that's Record Store Day!) through July 27, in which they explore the social and cultural phenomenon of listening to, collecting, and sharing records.
Immerse yourself in this uniquely Californian take on vinyl with experiences ranging from individual and group listening stations to informal talks and live performances. The gallery will be transformed into an experimental listening environment, appealing to all the senses. View notable record collections, photographs of collectors in their homes, and watch and hear interviews as well as rarely-seen historic and archival film and video on the science of recording. Explore the history of album cover art with an exhibit of notable covers and a film on the topic. Peruse and listen to all kinds of records, spanning genres with a focus on the independent record industry that blossomed in California from the mid-1970s to now.
This is a particularly hands-on exhibit; use the listening stations' turntables and headphones to listen to boxes of records collected by Crate Curators—influential members of the record community such as collectors, DJs, independent record store owners, radio personalities, and others. Each crate contains 33 records chosen by the Crate Curators to tell a personal story. You can also dig through a variety of records (provided by Amoeba Berkeley) and curate your own thematic crate!