Vancouver and San Francisco sure have some amazing independent music stores and I made the most of them, as while I was away, I heard the news that Brisbane’s last bastion of independent music, Rocking Horse Records was in trouble.
These three stores blew my mind and my budget:
Located out on the very cool Main St. drag, Red Cat is locally owned and run by artists and has a mighty fine catalogue of independent CD’s & vinyl, both new and second hand. While I was there I picked up a copy of Dark Developments by Vic Chesnutt & Elf Power with Amorphous Strums, Gone, a collection of Mono’s early EP’s & David Bazan’s self-titled album, none of which are easy to come by on these shores!
Here’s Vic with Elf Power blowing off some live steam:
Zulu have been flying the independent music flag in Vancouver since 1981. After discovering the wonders of their vast second hand catalogue in 2008 on my last visit to Vancouver, I couldn’t wait to get back and make my slow trawl through every CD. Nothing over $6 and boy did I pull out some gems… Vic Chesnutt – North Star Deserter, Tindersticks – Curtains and Simple Pleasure and Jack Kerouac’s Readings on The Beat Generation (deluxe little fold out postcard packaging). For mine, the best independent music store in Vancouver.
This place is like nothing I have ever seen… picture walking into a warehouse filled with every CD imaginable and you are pretty close to the mark. And the staff… incredibly knowledgeable and delightfully friendly. They even remove overly feisty customers (aka as aggressive & disorderly) in the most gentle manner. It is touted to be the World’s Largest Independent Music Store and I am a firm believer! If you have not yet found this place (they have a great mail order service as well), then prepare your wallet. I can’t even begin to list all of the discs we bought, but a couple of the real gems were Efrim Manuel Menuck Plays High Gospel, Tarentel’s (San Franciscan Instrumental Legends) Paper White and We Move Through Weather and the most amazing 4xCD box set, Howls, Raps & Roars, featuring Ginsberg, McClure, Meltzer, Ferlinghetti, Rexroth, Whalen, Welch & Lenny Bruce.
And speaking of David Meltzer, here he is reading at the launch of his latest book, When I Was A Poet at City Lights. It’s a pretty amazing 23minutes… we only just missed being able to be there, but more on City Lights in another post.
Needless to say, our stereo has a fine supply of music and poetry to get us through the winter (and then some!).