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10 record store owners from New England talk about vinyl’s resurgence



Over the past few years there has been a resurgence in vinyl records sales throughout North America. Hipsters are credited with bringing the trend back in the hopes of preserving the authenticity of vinyl. Now, this trend has become part of popular culture again.

In 2015, sales of vinyl records were up 32 percent to $416 million, their highest level since 1988, according to the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America). Unlike the 1980’s, records are now sold practically everywhere, not just in record stores but in places such as Urban Outfitters, Barnes and Noble and even Whole Foods Market. Businesses make decent money selling vinyl and continue to stock and advertise them.

Since people still appreciate the authentic, sweet sound of vinyl and hope to preserve it for generations to come, Limelight Magazine recently spoke with 10 record store owners throughout New England about the rise in vinyl record sales and why they believe this is happening.

Burlington Records (170 Bank Street, Burlington, VT 05401)

Jacob Grossi, owner of Burlington Records in Burlington, VT, believes that there has always been an interest in vinyl but it has recently risen due to the substitute not being good enough. Vinyl was replaced by CDs so that music could be more mobile but not everyone is looking for a mobile way to listen to music. Many people still love vinyl records and hope to savor their originality.

Grossi has personally seen an increase in vinyl sales at Burlington Records and talked to Limelight about what he has experienced.

“We’ve had a vinyl only store for ten years. The change over the last ten years though was that we got more new releases,” Grossi said.

He explained that people not only want vinyl records as collectables but they want new and upcoming albums to be available in vinyl format.

Grossi’s favorite album to listen to on vinyl is (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay by soul singer Otis Redding. Grossi also made sure to also specify that he’s talking about the original cut.

Cheapo Records (538 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02139)

Allen Bay has owned Cheapo Records since the ‘70’s. Over the past few years he has seen a sudden increase in vinyl records sales.

“A few years ago I realized that we’re actually selling more vinyl than CD’s and now we’re selling a lot more,” he said.

Bay talked about the value vinyl records have and how this has changed over the years.

“Records were something you had to have 50 years ago or even 40 years ago. Now, I think it’s more of the fact there are so many young people with disposable incomes. It’s a great hobby. It’s not addictive and it doesn’t put people out on the streets. I think vinyl is great. Young people who are into analog sound, buying old used records, get to hear things the way they should have been,” he said.

Bay also gave his opinion of why he thinks vinyl sales have increased.

“It’s a fad,” he said. “50 years ago everybody who listened to music had to have records. Now it’s an upper middle class, mostly white male, trend. Although I do have some dieheard female customers.”

Bay also talked about another different between vinyl records now compared to what they used to be.

“Not too many people are just buying everything,” he said. ”They’re getting into this, they’re getting into that. I think the internet drives both the interest and the titles.”

Bay mentioned some of his favorite records to listen to on vinyl.

“I grew up as a teenager in the ‘50’s so I like what we called rock ‘n roll,” he said while giving examples, “Ladders, [The] Flamingos, and The Black Keys.”

In Your Ear Records (462 Main St., Warren, RI 02885)

Reed Lapplin, co-owner of In Your Ear Records spoke briefly about why he believes people are interested in vinyl again.

“They’re all bored with their computers,” he said. “They’ve all been staring at their screens too long.”

Lapplin said that he has noticed this rise in popularity within his store.

“Well it’s been going on for a while,” he said. “It’s not the first vinyl revival. It’s happened four or five times already.”

Joe’s Albums  (317 Main St., Worcester, MA 01608)

Limelight Magazine spoke with Joe Demers, owner of Joe’s Albums, about the increase in vinyl record sales. He said that he has seen an increase, “Definitely over the last couple of years, especially the last year. There’s been significant increase that’s coupled with the customer age rang getting a lot broader than it used to be.”

Demers gave his opinion on why he thinks this resurgence in vinyl is happening.

“It might be a push back against downloading music and not physically having anything,” he said. “Vinyl is a bit more of a tangible experience to hold something, put it on the table itself, and maybe sit and read the record sleeve while you’re listening to it. Also, I think you listen a lot more rather than just having music as background noise if you’re streaming or just have something on shuffle.”

Demers had two more possible reasons for the increase in vinyl record sales and interest.

“People in their 40s and those age ranges who grew up with vinyl are now getting back into it,” he said. “Honestly, I also think that the industry is behind it a little bit and pushing it because I don’t believe they make much off a 99-cent or less download and vinyl records are kind of pricey.”

Demers said that his favorite record to listen to on vinyl is Dark Side Of The Moon by Pink Floyd.

Music Connection (1711 S Willow St., Manchester, NH 03103)

John Benedict, owner of Music Connection in Manchester, NH, has seen “a steady increase” in vinyl sales and he talked to Limelight Magazine about why he thinks this is happening.

“I think it’s the physicality,” he said. “I think the other reason is that it’s a way to get away from your device. It provides a comfort and solace away from all the other things that take up your time. It’s a getaway.”

Benedict believes that although CD’s once replaced vinyl, streaming music is becoming the most common way to listen now. With devices such as Pandora and Spotify, anyone can listen to a variety of music for free. Benedict talked about why experiencing vinyl is better than streaming music.

“You literally have to physically place it on the machine and be an active participant,” he said.” I think that’s something that’s a novelty to a younger generation. It’s a conscious decision. I mean, there’s the cool aspect but also if you’re on Snapchat or Instagram or any of those things you need a break and I think vinyl provides that break.”

Benedict talked about the relationship that vinyl creates between the musician and the listener that he believes can’t be replicated with streaming music.

“The other thing is, if you’re dealing with a larger graphic platform you have a 12 by 12 inch place to put artwork,” he said. “You can put little trinkets or extras. You can make the vinyl a different color. You can do glow in the dark covers. There are just so many things you just can’t do with a stream or a download that make it a little more special and make a statement from the artist to the listener.”

Benedict talked about his favorite albums to listen to on vinyl and why.

“It’s Revolver by The Beatles,” he said. “To me, it’s one really great listen. I never get tired of it. I always hear something new and fresh. I hear attention to detail. The songwriting is strong. There’s experimentation. The cover’s black and white and it’s a pen and ink drawing with photos. I just think it’s pretty amazing.”

Nuggets Records (486 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA 02215)

Stewart Freedman, owner of Nuggets Records in Boston, MA, spoke with Limelight Magazine about why he thinks vinyl has had a sudden comeback. While he has definitely noticed this trend, he isn’t sure why this is happening. Here are his thoughts.

“It could be the movie High Fidelity,” Freedman said. “Also, some customers think that it might be Jack White the guy from The White Stripes because he has his own record store and really pushed it. I thought that was a little far-fetched but maybe. Also, a lot of kids come in here and tell me that a few years ago they were finding their parents albums in the attic or something.”

Freedman talked about his personal connection with vinyl records.

“I don’t know specifically why but I always thought they were cooler than CD’s,” he said. “When I was a kid you’d have your friends over to look at an album and you would pass around the cover and play the record. I don’t know if people really did that with CD’s. I don’t think they would pass around the booklet because they are so small you can’t really read them.”

When asked what he favorite vinyl album was, he answered, “I like the older stuff like [The] Beatles, [The Rolling] Stones, [Bob] Dylan and there are a lot of good bands out now too that I like such as The Decemberists.”

Round Again Records (278 Wickenden St., Providence, RI 02903)

Limelight Magazine spoke with Steven Kotler who has owned Round Again Records for 36 years. His store has had great success, although he described it as, “a little 600 foot mom and pop store.”

Kotler doesn’t know exactly why people are suddenly interested in vinyl right now but he has a clear idea about why vinyl has lasted as long as it has.

“Vinyl records sound better,” he said. “They’re tactile. It’s something you can actually hold in your hand. It’s got a great cover.”

Skeletone Records (50 N Main St., Rochester, NH 03867)

Todd Radict, the owner of Skeletone Records, talked to Limelight Magazine about the rise in vinyl popularity and why he thinks this is happening.

“Because it sounds better,” he said. “CD’s always have a high tone pitch that to me is very irritating. Vinyl has a warmer feel. It’s also that you can see the artwork. With CD’s you can’t really see what’s going on. It’s more of a luxury than a CD is. You have to take care of it. If you don’t take care of the record you might not be able to get another one because it might sell out.”

Radict explained the rise he has been in vinyl sales at Skeletone.

“That’s our biggest seller in the store. We have over 100,000 records in the store,” he said.

Spun Records (6 Grove St., Dover, NH 03820)

Mark Matarozzo owner of Spun Records, spoke about his opinion on why there has been a sudden interest in vinyl records again. Matarozzo said that he has seen both an increase in vinyl sales and an interest in vinyl again at Spun records

“I think there’s a couple different levels of it,” he began. “There’s an interest through the kids that are hearing about it more and then there’s an older generation that hears ‘oh, the thing that I liked when I was younger is back’. I’ve actually have people here in their mid-forties getting back into vinyl.”

Matarozzo explained a common reason why people prefer vinyl: it’s physical qualities.

“I also think that part of it is that people like to have something tangible,” he said. “Something you can actually hold and unless you get into buying new records, the price for used records is actually pretty reasonable. You can come in with twenty bucks and walk out with six or eight records.”

Matarozzo also talked about his favorite album to listen to on vinyl.

“I usually go with something like Tom Waits’ Rain Dogs. I really enjoy that record and also some of the stuff I listened to when I was in school and younger. I’ve always liked Tool too.”

Sunset Records (1232 Wilbur Ave., Somerset, MA 02725)

Bob Boyer, owner of Sunset Records, spoke about the current resurgence in vinyl sales. He talked about how this sudden vinyl popularity is within many different generations. Because of this, he gets many young people experiencing vinyl for the first time instead of older generations revisiting vinyl.

“A lot of my customers are kids so it’s new to them,” he said. “They’re listening to things that were pre-digital like Led Zeppelin and The Beatles.”

Boyer’s personal favorite vinyl record is an acoustic album by the late Sandy Bull titled Inventions. Bull is a folk singer who Boyer believes has created some amazing music even though he was never very well known. Although he wasn’t a big act, Boyer explained that his music sells well to this day, possibly due to the quality of the acoustic sound on vinyl.

10 Nail Art Designs for Halloween


You know Katie Botelho-Bielatowicz as the co-owner of JKB Entertainment Group and Limelight Magazine, but you may not know that she also does amazing nail art.

Botelho-Bielatowicz went to UMass Dartmouth to pursue a degree in marketing and recently went back to school at the Kay Harvey LaBaron Hairdressing Academy to get her nail technician license. She now has her license and has even pursued some possible careers within the field.

Botelho-Bielatowicz spoke with me about what first sparked her passion for nail art.

“I remember seeing a design that looked nearly impossible, so I decided to try it,” she said. “I was pleasantly surprised at how good it came out and from there on out I’ve been intrigued by trying different things!”

Botelho-Bielatowicz has been painting nails for eight years now but she wasn’t always interested in this art form.

“I used to get acrylics done and decided that I had enough with artificial nails,” Botelho-Bielatowicz said. “I started a job at a beauty supply store and bought my first salon brand polish. I was hooked from there. I now have my own little room that’s dedicated to my nail polish, so you can only imagine how many I own!”

Botelho-Bielatowicz talked about what has inspired her as an artist and what nail art means to her. Although Botelho-Bielatowicz has worked at a nail spa, she now enjoys nail art for recreational use only.

“My love for nail art simply stemmed from other people’s nail art,” Botelho-Bielatowicz said. “I wanted my nails to look like that so I decided to try it for myself. It’s my hobby and my way from stepping aside from reality for a while.”

Although Botelho-Bielatowicz has been painting nails for a while, just over the past few years she began to challenge herself and work on more integrated designs.

“I started faithfully painting my nails about eight years ago and probably a few years after that is when I added nail art to the mix,” Botelho-Bielatowicz said.

“Because of my love for nails, I decided to get my nail technician license,” Botelho-Bielatowicz   said. “There I was taught to do acrylics, although I never do them at home. Every so often I’ll do a gel manicure on myself, but I like to switch my colors so frequently that it’s not worth it for me.”

Botelho-Bielatowicz decided to get her nail technician license just for fun, yet she has also learned a lot from practice and research.

“I’m just a self-taught enthusiast, with the help of YouTube and Pinterest,” she said.

Botelho-Bielatowicz combined her self-taught skills with a variety of techniques she learned at the academy to practice this fine art. Check out her nail art Facebook page HERE which is appropriately called “Confessions of a Nailaholic.”

Seen within the pictures on her page, Botelho-Bielatowicz explores many themes and techniques within her artwork. She talked about the tools she typically uses.

“I mainly use a nail cleaning brush, dotting tools and a small paint brush from the craft store to draw intricate designs,” she said.

Botelho-Bielatowicz enjoys exploring many themes of nail art. She does some simple nail styles but her nail art is also inspired by Tim Burton, moon phases, pineapples, popcorn, nature, The Cookie Monster, The Corpse Bride, Star Wars, cats, flowers, ice cream, sports, The Little Mermaid —  you name it, she’ll paint it.

It’s obvious that Botelho-Bielatowicz enjoys exploring many different nail art themes but she definitely has her favorite.

“My favorite time to do nail art is from October to December,” she said. “There are so many different designs with the holidays that there’s always something to do. I love festive nails!”

Botelho-Bielatowicz especially likes Halloween themed nails.

“Halloween is my favorite time of the year so naturally I love everything about it,” she said. “There are just so many great designs you can do for Halloween and I love the reaction I get when people see my nails and they’re all horror themed. For the most part, most of my artwork is related to Halloween/Tim Burton films. It just makes me happy.”

To coincide with Limelight Magazine‘s 10th anniversary, here are 10 nail art designs done by  Botelho-Bielatowicz  that are perfect for the Halloween season.


beetlejuice-nailsWILLY WONKA


















10 of the most read stories on Limelight Magazine’s website

To coincide with our 10th anniversary, we wanted to see what the top 10 most read stories on our website were for the past decade (October 2006 – October 2016). Here’s the list of artists with a clickable link to their feature story. (Please click on artist name to be directed to the story).

  1. Jillian Jensen
  2. Paul Bielatowicz
  3. Megadeth
  4. Ayla Brown
  5. Orianthi
  6. Ed Kowalczyk
  7. Audrey Landers
  8. Hurtsmile (featuring Gary Cherone)
  9. Lisa Guyer
  10. Metal Church

Nikki Coogan: The Tattooed Devil’s Twin


The Devil’s Twins released their debut album Handsome Devils in 2012. Since then, they have released two underground albums. The first they released later in 2013 titled Old Fashioned Mischief, and the second was released in 2015, titled Consequences. Influenced by acts such as Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Amy Winehouse, Johnny Cash, Social Distortion, Local H and Iron Maiden, this trio has had giant success within the underground cult party.

The band consists of Nicole “Nikki” Marie Coogan and Jeremiah “J”  Louf who founded the band in 2010. They later added Matt Young to their auxiliary of live drummers and Shaqed Druyan, who began to drum in new recordings.

Nicole Coogan Tattoo Artist
Besides being a musician, Nicole Coogan is also a tattoo artist. (PHOTO BY JULIA CIRIGNANO)

Although Coogan is very passionate about her music, her other love and creative outlet has always been her work as a tattoo artist. While some girls dream of rose scented futures, Coogan dreamt of being a tattoo artist before she even got her first tattoo. Limelight Magazine sat down with Coogan while she tattooed one of the co-owners of Limelight on Sept.28th to ask her about both her music and her life as a tattoo artist.

“I’ve always been a painter and artist,” Coogan said. “I’ve been really interested in tattooing for as long as I can remember. When I was young I starting noticing them on people and when my dad would get tattooed sometimes he would let me come along. I was hooked”.

Coogan got her first tattoo when she was 18 and started her apprenticeship at Inflicting Ink Tattoo in Portsmouth, R.I., during her senior year at Massachusetts College of Art and Design. She graduated and got her tattoo license the same year and has been working at Inflicting Ink for five years now.

Coogan loves the artistic elements to being a tattoo artist and also the social experiences. She loves to talk to people, hear the stories behind their tattoos, and when they see the end result. She also enjoys the process of getting to know the person she is permanently tattooing.

“I like working with my customers on their ideas,” she said. “I have a couple of favorite parts in each appointment. The first being when I get to meet the person I’ll be working with and hear their ideas. Sometimes they don’t necessarily know exactly what they’re looking for but when I come back down from the drawing table with their ideas put together visually it’s really satisfying to see the excitement they get in seeing it come to life. My second and truly favorite part is when they look in the mirror and see themselves and the tattoo for the first time. I watch for their facial expressions. It makes it all worth it to see themselves become more of who they want to be”.

“It’s interesting,” she continued. “Being tattooed is a vulnerable time for a person because they’re trusting me with their body and we’re very close. It’s like, ‘nice to meet you. I’m going to hold your arm for four hours’ but when I’m tattooing someone they really open up to me and that’s really cool.”

Coogan spoke about the ways in which being a tattoo artist has affected her.

“Both of these parts of my life have really made me a lot more confident. I used to be quieter,” she said. “As a tattoo artist, I get to make people happy all day. I get to talk to them and learn so much. That’s made me so much more comfortable in my own skin.”

Working at a tattoo parlor, Coogan has met a variety of interesting people. She has done some crazy and humorous tattoos. One of her favorite moments was when a nervous chef came to her asking for a tattoo.

“It took her a while to tell me what she wanted,” Coogan said. “What she ended up getting was two sunny side up eggs and a piece of bacon as a smiley face on her bum.”

Another crazy moment was when an older gentleman who Coogan has tattooed showed her a tattoo that surprised even her.

“His body is completely covered in tattoos,” Coogan began. “There’s this myth that he had a totem pole on his weiner and sperm whales on his balls. So one day I got really nervy and asked him and he told me it was true. I just had to know. It definitely was.”

One of Nicole Coogan's favorite tattoos was the (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Pictured above is one of Coogan’s favorite tattoos that she did for a friend. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

Coogan talked about one her favorite tattoos she has ever done which she did on her friend Kacey Ellis.

“She has distant ancestors to Lizzy Borden so she wanted to get a Lizzy Borden tattoo,” Coogan said. “We did a lot of research on the story so we could keep it pretty historically accurate. The two of us live in Fall River so it’s pretty common folklore in town. We did a lace doily with the broken axe on it with a couple of peaches with bites taken out of them. The peaches were part of her alibi. We rounded it all up with ‘Daddy Issues’ written around it. It was a pretty sassy tattoo.”

Pictured above is a tattoo of Amy Winhouse by Corey Goyette that Coogan got on her leg after Winehouse died.
Pictured above is a tattoo of Amy Winhouse by Corey Goyette that Coogan got on her leg after Winehouse died.

Coogan herself is covered in tattoos that instantly draw your attention when she walks into a room. She talked about her personal favorite tattoo: a portrait of Amy Winehouse on her thigh.

“I got it the year she died,” Coogan said. “I remember when I heard Amy Winehouse for the first time it woke me up inside. She has this really unique voice. When I was first trying to find my voice, I feel like I tried to sing like a lot of other people but when I started listening to her, I realized that I didn’t have a bad voice. It was just really different.”

When she started singing like herself and not anyone else, Coogan became a far better vocalist. She found her sound, herself, and friends like her.

“If you own it, that’s it. It only takes one person to say something’s cool, before everyone else joins in,” Coogan said.

Coogan talked about her perspective on the way people with tattoos are stereotyped.

“It’s too bad the way some people judge others based only on the way they look,” Coogan said. “I do find that as time has passed things have gotten a lot better as far as tattoos go in means of judgement. Fear and judgment really do just come from people not understanding. It’s too bad that so many people decide that they know you right away rather than just asking questions.”

Coogan talked about one experience she had a few years back.

“I was working at my last job in retail at a tennis place,” she began. “It was when I had started getting a little more tattooed and an older woman came up to me at a tennis tournament and said, with a super straight face, ‘does your mother still talk to you?’”

Coogan understands that most judgement towards tattoos comes from fear of the unknown. She wishes that everyone could enjoy tattoos or at least try to understand them. She said that getting tattoos makes her happy and said, “When I get a tattoo I feel so much more like myself.”

Coogan said stereotyping has changed over the past couple of years. She explained that she now tattoos people of all ages and professions, including teachers and elderly people.

“Tattoos have been a lot more prevalent in the media, newspapers, and TV. Reality TV has really brought the industry way more into the spotlight. In some ways it’s good because it makes it a little easier to digest and understand but at the same time it gives people this preconceived notion of what the job actually entails and means. It’s not all like a show where you walk in and can get a back piece in a few hours.”

Besides being a tattoo artist, Coogan is also a member of The Devil’s Twins. She explained the natural progression to which she and Louf started making music together.

“J and I have obviously known each other for a long long time.” Coogan said.

Although their styles in music differed growing up, they came together in The Devil’s Twins. “In college J had started writing some music with a drummer from Berklee named Jesse Hangen. They were in the studio at MassArt writing ‘I Can’t Stop Sinning’ and they got stuck at a part where J really wanted a soul singer. He came up to my studio floor and brought me down there to lay it down. I think it was a kind of ah-ha moment where we all looked at each other and realized we had really started something.”

The band’s music can be found on Spotify, but Coogan explained why they chose to release these last two albums underground, after releasing their debut album in a more mainstream fashion.

“In the last year or so we’ve definitely made a change in how we want to do move forward together as a band,” she said. “What we’ve really worked for and what has made us successful in the last year or so is totally changing our format. We play less shows so they’re a bit fewer and far between and are more selective to how often we’ll play an area in a concentrated time. For Boston, we’ll plan four or five big events a year and really work sell them out and release something at each one of those.”

Coogan explained why being an underground artist attracted her and Louf and why they have stuck with it.

“We’ve also found that with these more formal releases and special events, we’ve grown so much closer to our fan base and it’s all be so much more special. They’re the reason we can do what we do,” she said.

Many of The Devil’s Twins’ fans come from an underground cult following. Coogan explained how these dedicated fans helped propel the band and how unique and special their relationship is with the band.

“They’re all crazy. They do ridiculous things,” she said. “We have this attitude with them, we’ll never stop playing this music with you and we’re going to support you and make you part of our family but what you do to support us is in your hands. They’re all really in the public eye with their support. So many of them have come to me to get the ‘2’ tattooed which is crazy. So many of them have made patches and pins and merch for our table. They’ll go to other shows and hand shit out and like tag walls and graffiti things. They’re extremely extremely supportive.”

Not only are The Devil’s Twins close to their fans, they’re also close to their crew.

“We try to keep our crew close. The 2 crew are our core fan base. The ones who are always there no matter what.” she said. “They’re like a family that has developed over the past years. They have their own Facebook group where they’ll make plans and share videos and talk. They all have the tattoos and they’re all out of their damn minds. They definitely all feel included and they know we couldn’t do it without them. It’s all felt a lot more special since we started treating things like that.”

The Devil’s Twins are currently working on new music. They’re experimenting with new sounds and collaborating with other musicians.

“We’re working on some new material now that we’re really excited about,” Coogan said. “We just finished a song with the Boston rapper, Slaine which has always been a dream of ours. We’ll be releasing that soon and I’m so excited to have everyone hear it. We’ll be releasing it as a single in the very near future.”

Coogan explained that The Devil’s Twins’ new music will sound like them but with a new twist. They are exploring new instruments and sounds to create what they think will be the band’s best album so far.

“I feel like we’re melding into a new era where we’re less afraid to use more auxiliary sounds,” she said. “We have so many options open because right now it’s just J and I making all of those decisions and we’re both so into just kind of getting free with our music now. I’m really into our lyrics being very wordy and almost tripping over themselves. I love making music that has a real narrative storyline to make people think.”

Recently, The Devil’s Twins have been nominated for two Boston Music Awards: Best Rock/Indie Band and Best Live Artist of the Year. Cast your vote HERE!

Nicole "Nikki" Marie Coogan shines on stage at a recent performance with The Devil's Twins. (PHOTO BY
Nicole Coogan shines on stage at a performance with The Devil’s Twins. (PHOTO BY ROGER GORDY, SUBMITTED BY NICOLE COOGAN)