I used to hate Florida. The voting public of Florida are primarily responsible for pretty much every horrible thing that’s happened to America since the turn of the millennium after all. It’s fair to say that they started it.
But I’ve mellowed on my opinion of the sunshine state a very slight bit, thanks in part to my recent visit there, where I discovered a wonderful little record store by the name of Vatican City Vinyl. Located on 404 South Washington Blvd. in the heart of Sarasota, the store opened in 2013 and, as of this writing, remains the only record store in the entire city.
So yeah, no pressure for it to be awesome or anything. Continue reading
Tokyo’s original HMV, which opened in 1990 and closed in 2010, was more than just a record store. It was a scene spot where many up-and-coming Japanese bands were able to foster local popularity and grow into somewhat international stars. In fact, an entire genre of music, Shibuya-Kei, the jazz/pop hybrid made famous by acts like Cibo Matto and Pizzacato Five, became popular largely because of HMV’s heavy promotion.
But HMV’s Tokyo location was built during the tail-end of a bubble economy. And while its first few years were a hotbed of activity, everything I have read about it suggests that it spent the second half of its existence in a slow decline before finally shutting its doors four years ago.
But that was then! While international record sales are still on fire thanks to the digital revolution, if the insane abundance of record stores in Tokyo are any indication, Japanese people still love buying music on a physical format. And now that the vinyl and cassette tape resurgences are finally hitting Japan in full force, it seems that record stores are just doing better and better here.
So HMV is back! With an all new location, and new name (HMV Record Shop) and I went to check it out.
When I go out hunting for record stores in Tokyo, I usually know where I’m going and how to get there. I research the hell out of an area, make my own custom Google Map, and set out on a pretermined path to maximize shopping potential and minimize needless walking. But even with all my research and meticulous planning, even I sometimes wander across a record store that I would have never found if it hadn’t been for dumb random luck. Continue reading