It had been six years since my previous trip to Nashville, Tennessee, and of course I tried to hit some record stores while there last. Foremost of these was Grimey’s; the type of store that regularly got on lists of the great record stores in you-know-which types of publications. Rolling Stone cited them in its September 16, 2010 issue, only a week after I had visited and waxed rhapsodic. With my wife and I traveling to Nashvegas for the recent Bryan Ferry concert, I was fairly chomping at the bit to get some more shopping done there.
My friend Mr. Ware had been there recently and had told me that next door was their addition; Grimey’s Too. When a store outgrows its original site, that can only be good, right? We hit the city and went straight to Grimey’s even before checking into our lodgings. Grimey’s Too which was adjacent to the original location was the first place I stopped, since it was where the used stuff now dwelled. This budget-conscious Monk had set aside $100 to spend, and used pricing goes much further. Besides; the new releases I want are all but impossible to find in stores!There did not seem to be a great deal of used CD action awaiting me, and worse, the racks had product stacked on them 6-8 discs deep, facing outward. Making flipping through the stock slow and difficult. I was not seeing much of interest. My wife looked briefly and handed me Dex Romweber Duo’s 2014 release “Images 13.” Well, that was a keeper. She got quickly bored and went off by herself since the vibe here was decidedly blasé. I gave a perfunctory glance at the CDs which were in actual bins where one could view the spines quickly. Not much to see. I decamped to the room in the converted house where the vinyl was waiting. The last time there were amazing 7″ singles that came home with me.
The LP room was surprisingly small. What stock there was some of the most tired and pathetic used rock music that I had seen in a decade or so! Look at that photo: Pablo Cruise at the left! Pablo Cruise! I just heard a track of their inhuman yacht rock on the sound system at the gym last week and I marveled to my wife how there were some songs that one had not heard since they were released 38 years ago for a good reason. Since my wife had the car, I looked at every LP in the room. Ghastly! I eventually found out that this was where all 7″ single were now hiding, and that was the operative word, as the 7″ merch was in boxes under the tables holding the LP bins.
90% of the dozen 7″ boxes there were marked “indie rock” meaning nothing to interest me. Modern hateful 7″ vinyl. When here last time, there were substantial UK import 7″ singles from the New Wave period, but not this time. Older rock vinyl was relegated to two almost empty boxes of merch. Shabby! But I did manage to find a single 7″ers; Eurythmics “You Have Placed A Chill In My Heart.” I have this on two different 12″ singles formats as well as CD-5, but for the 50¢ asking price, I simply buy it for the sake of doing so! The acoustic version on the B-side may be on records I already have but – see the previous sentence.
I next decided to go over the used CDs with a fine toothed comb. My wife had the car on her own excursion, so I wasn’t leaving any time soon. I managed to find a few items of interest:
- The Humans – Sugar Rush
- The Divine Comedy – Regeneration
- The Divine Comedy – Absent Friends
- Suede – Bloodsports
And that was it. The Humans were the “new” Toyah Willcox band of the naughties with Fripp on lead guitar so sign me up there. This was the first new Toyah record I’d bought since “Velvet Lined Shell” in… [whistles] 2001. I’d loved Neil Crossley’s contributions to “International Blue,” the amazing album of walnut paneled, baritone male vocal pop from Stephen Emmer, so I was hot to hear Neil’s band The Divine Comedy. I had never seen this material in a used bin so I bought both. I had seen Suede’s reformation album whilst in Ameoba Records in 2013. I didn’t bite at that time since the used dollar went so radically far in that store I figured I could get it used later. By this time they have another one already in the bins!
I later discovered that my mind had confused Neil Crossley [of Furlined] with Neil Hannon, who was in fact the lead singer of The Divine Comedy, but instead of being disappointed, I found that “Absent Friends” delivered exactly the sort of richly orchestrated, baritone male, literate pop that I had been expecting, much to my surprise and delight! What are the odds?! Alas, the “Regeneration” album proved to be indigestible, making me a guarded fan of The Divine Comedy. Still… most impressive.
I then paid for the merch and went next door to the main store. My experience then dropped from mediocre to worse. When I visited Grimey’s for the first time in 2010, it was a very exciting store for me. Why? A great selection of new CDs. Many Japanese imports are indicative of a healthy environment for me to shop in. The main store only had new product now and CD coverage on the floor had been dramatically scaled back in favor of new vinyl, which is uninteresting to me. In other words, Grimey’s had been fully assimilated into the Modern Record Store Borg-nation. The floor space given to CD format was significantly less than six years ago due to the prevailing [ill] winds of music retail that have seen insanely priced vinyl becoming much more profitable to weasel dealers due to the manipulation of modern hipsters by the shapers of markets and the rise of Record Store Day. Of the CDs there, there were intriguing title cards with the names of artists that I was interested in, but in every case, examination of the bins revealed exactly zero titles by the artists whose names were used as Monk-bait. Serious demerits for this infraction.
I buy a lot of records and I am strictly interested in music which has never made the leap to digital formats. Modern vinyl is only of interest to me if the release is vinyl only – and even then, I resent this fact but sometimes buy through clenched teeth. To that end I did actually buy a Third Man Records [local] pressing of the Dex Romweber Duo live. It was very fairly priced at $9.98, but that was the only title in the store of any interest. Well not exactly. I looked in the “F” section and they actually had a copy of John Foxx + Steve D’Augstino’s “Evidence Of Time Travel” on LP for $22.99 [not bad], but as circumstance would have it, two copies already reside in my Record Cell [due to a temporal anomaly]. So I purchased the Dex Romweber album and went back to Grimey’s Too since I had time to kill before my wife returned with the car.
I did not find any further releases to buy while waiting but at least engaged in some conversation with the patrons and clerk. All were attending the Ferry concert and we discussed our histories with the artist. There were many first-timers and I assured them that Ferry crafted a great set-list, which was in fact borne out by events later that evening. When my wife showed up I had only managed to spend a small fraction of the money I had earmarked for Grimey’s. If I find myself in Music City once again, I’ll not be going out of my way to shop there again. It’s just not catering to my aging demographic. Maybe I’ll have better luck with Phonoluxe?
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