Top 5 YouTube Music & Vinyl Channels

5. Noble Records

Noble Records is actually an awesome record store in North Carolina. I’ve never been there, but it’s at the top of my “must-visit” record store list—especially after subscribing to and watching videos on this channel by the store co-owner, Dillon (he and his wife own the store together). Not only does he cover all of the typical vinyl channel topics, like top 10 lists, identifying record pressings, and latest finds, he also chronicles his life as a record buyer for his store. He goes through some of the amazing collections he has found throughout his time as a store owner, as well as does unboxing videos as new vinyl comes into his shop. It’s a great YouTube channel from the perspective of the owner of a killer record store.



4. Professor Of Rock

The Professor of Rock is none other than Adam Reader, a music scholar, and a guy who has no musical pretensions at all. This is reflected in his show. I love this quote from Adam: “I respect Toto in the same sentence as I respect The Clash, and for different reasons. I don’t believe in guilty pleasures. And that’s how I approach the show.” The Professor has interviewed a who’s who of rock royalty, including Brian Wilson, Eric Burdon, Paul Rodgers, and many more. The Professor of Rock channel celebrates the power of music featuring the stories behind the greatest songs and artists of the rock era.



3. Infectious Groove Vinyl

The Infectious Groove Vinyl channel is a spinoff of the Infectious Groove Podcast and the brainchild of Mr. Russ Robinson. Russ has been a music junkie and vinyl collector for many many years. The podcast is fantastic and covers a wide span of different musical genres and topics, but for my money, you can’t beat the Infectious Groove Vinyl channel. Videos cover a wide range of topics, such as rare pressings, top 5 lists, opinion pieces, and vinyl product reviews. Russ is a great guy who is very down-to-earth, easy to relate to, and most importantly has no pretensions about him whatsoever.



2. Jamel AKA Jamal

Jamel AKA Jamal is a music lover through and through. His channel is full of great reactions to a huge variety of songs, many of which are recommended to him by his YouTube community of subscribers. What I love most about this channel is the overwhelming sense of positivity that radiates from Jamel as he takes viewers on his journey of musical discovery. A typical video starts out with Jamel talking about how he was recommended a particular song, and then he jumps right in. It’s a joy to see him discover songs for the first time, especially those that I love. Occasionally it takes me back to the first time I ever heard the song too.



1. Early Morning Sunday Show with Steve Carlson + Kat

Steve Carlson is the host of the Early Morning Sunday Show, a YouTube channel that chronicles Steve’s adventures in vinyl collecting. Steve has been posting videos for nearly 4 years now, but he has been a dedicated music enthusiast for decades. What I like most about Steve’s channel is the DIY aesthetic and Steve’s positive outlook on collecting and life in general. Steve is a staple of the Michigan vinyl community and his story made local history when his basement flooded and he lost his entire collection (see the video below)—a collection any dedicated vinyl connoisseur would be envious of. This devastating situation was all documented on his channel, and his new videos are all about rethinking his collection and putting it all back together again in the name of good music.


Kiwanuka and COVID-19

I don’t have the greatest memory. But when I connect a memory with music, which I often do, I can recall details that I thought were lost. Some songs are so connected with a certain person or experience that I even have a hard time listening to them. In an effort to avoid the feeling of loss or heartbreak I know to stay away from certain songs—that is unless I feel emotionally prepared to revisit those memories. It works in the opposite way as well with happy and joyous memories. That’s why certain songs will always find a place in my rotation sooner or later.

What we are experiencing with this COVID-19 pandemic is something none of us have ever experienced before. The situation is touching people’s lives in many different ways. Some won’t survive it, while others will live to tell the stories to their grandkids. People will lose precious things that they have worked really hard for—small businesses, family homes, mental health, and precious experiences. Some people will create really great memories of spending time with family. We live in a fast-paced world and hopefully, there will be some positive that comes from a forced slowdown.

Personally, I’ve been enjoying my time at home with my wife and kids. Before this situation took hold, I was feeling a bit burned out by the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life. But no matter how much I enjoy this slower pace of life, I am still uneasy. I’ve got parents and loved ones that I am concerned about, and I don’t like seeing people suffer—no matter to what degree. One constant in my life that always helps me cope with uneasy situations is music. I know the music I’ve been listening to since this whole thing started will stick with me. I can already identify certain songs that will remind me of the pandemic of 2020 in twenty years from now.

One album that has been in constant rotation during this trying time is Kiwanuka, by British singer-songwriter Michael Kiwanuka. The album was released in November of 2019, but I had just discovered it in January or February. It’s one of those albums that grew on me—and by the time I was directed to work from home, it had really started to sink into my psyche. It’s been in daily rotation since being quarantined and I am thankful for it. It embodies a lot of how I’ve been feeling. Many of the lyrics fit into this point in time so well. There is a level of seriousness, but also a lot of hope and positivity in the lyrics and music.

I use music to cope. I also use it to escape. At the same time, I use it as a source of joy and positivity. It’s my medicine. Another thing I find enjoyable with music is making compilations. In my day, they were called mixtapes—now they’re more commonly known as playlists. For fun and distraction, I created a COVID-19 playlist. It’s got a wide range of songs for all the people with emotions as mixed as mine are at the moment. I hope you enjoy.


New Wave Nation

Flipping through the mounds of vinyl during a recent trip my local Salvation Army store, a couple of records caught my eye. These were two albums I had never seen or heard of before, and they didn’t seem to meet the standard criteria for thrift store record bin finds (i.e. Barbara Streisand, 101 Strings Orchestra, Herb Alpert, Perry Como etc.).Just by looking at the covers I safely assumed they were from the 1980’s. The bold colors, geometric shapes, and angular division of space displayed on both covers are all graphic elements typical of not only 1980’s design, but of New Wave music in particular. I listen to a lot of music from this era and I’ve spent a lot of time sifting through dusty piles of records, and I didn’t know either of these albums. So after determining that both were in good, playable condition, I paid the cashier my $2 and eagerly took them home.

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Music and Setting

For me there is no better way to experience music than in a live setting. I have seen some incredible live shows since I started going to concerts almost 20 years ago. Being a very visual person who is also completely addicted to music, I started going to see bands as soon as I had the means to do so. My first real concert was Pink Floyd at the age of 16. Anyone familiar with Pink Floyd knows their visual identity is completely inseparable from their music, mostly due to their live performances. This experience left an impression on me that will last until my dying day.

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The Rip Tide

I am a child of the 80’s. I have vivid memories of when my family first got cable television. I can’t recall the exact year it was when that magical box suddenly appeared atop our living room television set, but I know it was sometime in the early 80’s. From that day forward and all through my early-teenage years I dedicated hours of my life to vegging out in front of the tube watching music videos on MTV and eventually VH-1.

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