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Record Store Day: in Support of Our Local, Independent Music Shops

Sunday 15th, April 2018 / 07:20


For music lovers, there’s nothing quite like the thrill of buying music that has been pressed onto vinyl. This April 21, independent record stores all over Vancouver will once again be bustling with vinyl aficionados chasing the excitement. Before the hustle begins, we caught up with some of the city’s main hot spots for record shopping to talk about surviving in the digital era, this year’s special releases, and the advent of the 11th annual Record Store Day.

RED CAT RECORDS

Voted one of the top 10 independent record stores in Canada and now with two locations, one on Main Street and the other in Hastings-Sunrise, Red Cat has plenty for the vinyl seeker’s soul.
WHAT DOES IT TAKE FOR A RECORD STORE TO SURVIVE TODAY?
DAVE GOWANS, RED CAT RECORDS: Being open to carrying every type of music.

WHAT IS THE FIRST RECORD YOU SOLD AT THE SHOP?
If I can remember correctly, the first CD we sold would have been a Junior Wells CD.

RECOMMENDATIONS ON WHAT TO BUY ON RECORD STORE DAY?
Spacemen 3 re-issues, A Wire 7-inch box set, and there’s some rare David Bowie stuff that looks interesting.

NEPTOON RECORDS

Vancouver’s oldest record store, Neptoon is a staple within the city. There’s also plenty of CDs, concert posters, and memorabilia in addition to all their new and used records.

WHAT DOES IT TAKE FOR A RECORD STORE TO SURVIVE TODAY?
BEN FIRTH, NEPTOON RECORDS: It would be very tough to start a store now. I think all the stores in Vancouver are known well enough that we’re all pretty established and people will come to us.

WHAT IS THE FIRST RECORD YOU SOLD AT THE SHOP?
I can’t remember. I’ve been working here since I was a little kid. My dad opened the store in ’81, and I was born in ’87.

RECOMMENDATIONS ON WHAT TO BUY ON RECORD STORE DAY?
I’m really excited about the deluxe version of the Baby Huey record. It’s an amazing ’70s soul funk record.

AUDIOPILE RECORDS

Audiopile is one of the main spots to hit up when out hunting for new and/or used records, cassettes, and CDs on Commercial Drive. Established in 2001, Audiopile has a wide selection for everyone.

WHAT DOES IT TAKE FOR A RECORD STORE TO SURVIVE TODAY?
MARK RICHARDSON, AUDIOPILE RECORDS: I think a knowledgeable, approachable staff is key. A lot of people come into physical stores for the interaction, which you just can’t get when you’re buying records online.

WHAT IS THE FIRST RECORD YOU SOLD AT THE SHOP?
This is what the owner [Geoff Barton] passed on to me: “New Bomb Turks, At Rope’s End. It was before I even opened the doors. A delivery guy heard me playing it, asked about it, and I sold it to him.”

RECOMMENDATIONS ON WHAT TO BUY ON RECORD STORE DAY?
Shiho Yabuki, The Body Is A Message of the Universe.

DANDELION RECORDS AND EMPORIUM


Dandelion Records and Emporium is a unique little store located on Main Street, just north of Broadway. In addition to rare and special finds on vinyl, Dandelion also sells handcrafted items such as greeting cards and kitchenware.

WHAT DOES IT TAKE FOR A RECORD STORE TO SURVIVE TODAY?
JEFF KNOWLTON AND LAURA FREDERICK, DANDELION RECORDS AND EMPORIUM: I think being flexible and having a store with records as well as gifts works well for us. We also have a great community and a lot of support from our customers so that really helps too.

HIGHLIFE RECORDS

Highlife is another important focal point for music shopping on Commercial Drive. Not only is there plenty of music to purchase on both vinyl and CD, they also sell DVDs, concert tickets, books, and musical instruments.

WHAT DOES IT TAKE FOR A RECORD STORE TO SURVIVE TODAY?
KEVIN FINSETH, HIGHLIFE RECORDS: For Highlife, survival required a strong belief in the value of what we do, showing up for work, creating a strongly curated selection, [and] paying attention to the folks who come in the store.

WHAT IS THE FIRST RECORD YOU SOLD AT THE SHOP?
Muddy Waters, The Real Folk Blues.

BEAT STREET RECORDS

What was once a shop dedicated to selling items such as skateboards and clothing eventually became dominated by records. With now over 50,000 new and used records in stock, it still maintains the sale of urban lifestyle goods on the side such as graffiti art supplies, DJ equipment, and more.

WHAT DOES IT TAKE FOR A RECORD STORE TO SURVIVE TODAY?
AVI SHACK, BEAT STREET RECORDS: Being a part of the community that supports us. Great customer support. Bringing in records that make people happy.

WHAT IS THE FIRST RECORD YOU SOLD AT THE SHOP?
I wish I knew. 22 years is a long time ago. I still have the first $2 bill that was spent here though.

RECOMMENDATIONS ON WHAT TO BUY ON RECORD STORE DAY?
So many releases to choose from. Demon Fuzz, Czarface, and Too Short are some of our favourites.