Record Shopping Rematch: Grimey’s In Nashville

Grimeys has changed a lot since 2010

Grimeys has changed a lot since 2010

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!

The CD racks here were highly un-browsable, and lots of floor space was taken up by… books?!

The CD racks here were highly un-browsable [back], and lots of floor space was taken up by… books?! [foreground]

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.

70s vinyl from Hell: Pablo Cruise

70s vinyl from Hell: Pablo Cruise

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.

eurythmics - youhaveplacedachillinmyheartUK7A90% 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.

Foxx

Evidence of Foxx @ Grimey’s

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?

– 30 –

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | media design • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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20 Responses to Record Shopping Rematch: Grimey’s In Nashville

  1. Tim says:

    I’m really fussy with the Divine Comedy. I don’t think that I could help you much exploring them as I really like “Regeneration.”
    I am not fond of anything from 2004 going forward by them. If you like the hyper-literate stuff I suggest the earliest albums, either that or buy a copy of “A Secret History” (the hits collection for the earlier years) and see what grabs you. My favorite is “Fin de Siecle” but YMMV.
    I find TDC to be very much like the Tindersticks, there are two distinct eras and if you wind up liking them I suspect that you’re going to find yourself gravitating toward one of the two periods.

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  2. Taffy says:

    I’m a massive Divine Comedy fan, and my go-to opus of theirs (er…his) is and will probably always be Casanova. Regeneration-era was the one time I saw the band live, but that remains my least fave of all the albums. Agree with Tim that A Secret History is a welcome compilation, but I really enjoy the latter stuff, and if you’re hip to Absent Friends I think you’d also groove to Bang Goes the Knighthood. There’s a new one I’ve already paid for on pledgemusic…I figure it just has to be worth it!

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  3. Echorich says:

    The Divine Comedy find even more support here Monk. I think Hannon is a brilliant songwriter and his particular sardonic humor and view of everyday life in song appeals to me greatly. Casanova is the go to album, but I have a special fondness for Bang Goes The Knighthood. Chamber Pop at its best I would venture to offer.
    Hannon is also a master of the cover song. I would venture to say his toy glockenspiel version Life On Mars is my favorite after the original. He also acquits himself quite well on Brel’s Jackie, Associates Party Fears Two, Ride’s Vapour Trail, Kraftwerk’s The Model and is known to cover Word Up! by Cameo and Wuthering Heights by Kate Bush as well.

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    • Tim says:

      Yup, there’s scads of Divine Comedy covers out there; the singles often have b-sides that feature covers.

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      • postpunkmonk says:

        Tim – Sounds like I should hit the previews in iTunes to get a feel for what I want from this band. I suspect it won’t be a collection thing due to my profound distaste for “Regeneration,” which sounded like a completely different artist to these ears.

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      Echorich – I have er, obtained the Bowie Proms Concert where Hannon performed a superb “Stationtostation.” Goosebumps. I need to make a DVD of that one!

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  4. Brian says:

    I love your record store visits. Have to say this one was depressing. Striking out when in another city really hurts. Your excitement level is always so high when walking through the door. So the fall is worse. Here’s another vote for Divine Comedy. I’ll mention Absent Friends since nobody else has… great album!

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  5. SimonH says:

    Also love the record shopping posts, but agree very sad how things are going with the modern vinyl take over. I get sick of reading of endless ‘new’ reissues that are just over priced coloured vinyl editions for people to stamp collect. Boring. Makes me very nostalgic for the old days of record shopping which I probably thought would never end….

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      SimonH – The record shopping posts act as checkups on the state of collecting music from the era cogent to PPM , and I agree that the prognosis doesn’t look good. Music buying in the 21st century, apart from online shopping, does not encourage.

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  6. SimonH says:

    Can’t beat the enjoyment of being in a bricks and mortar shop and coming across something you’ve searched for or didn’t even know existed…as convenient as the online experience is, it will never beat that! I’m down to charity shops pretty much now!

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    • tim says:

      This weekend I ducked into a brick and mortar here in Madison, WI. that I had not been in for several years. I had limited time, this was not to be a “High Fidelity’ shop and so I skipped the new release material and discovered that since I was last there they had turned the basement into a used vinyl department (and I’m telling you it was YUGE).

      I found a few items that had good prices, bought nothing but the stock was interesting. They had a lot of sheer quantity but in acts that I follow the depth was pretty thin. I couldn’t find anything by most artists that I still buy whereas in past years it hasn’t been that much of a void.

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      • postpunkmonk says:

        tim – Searching and not seeing acts you follow is so dispiriting, but it happens when you’re getting older me. I can’t even find modern work by acts that actually sold a few million albums [say, ABC] much less the fringe-dwellers who excite the most.

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        • Tim says:

          I was going to cite ABC as an example. I bought the digital download of LoL II via Amazon (since then they pulled it from Amazon US so I guess that one you had to get the mp3’s while the getting was good). I didn’t even bother to look for the cd, which I actually would like to buy and if I could support local brick and mortar all the better. The funny thing is that LoL II charted reasonably well in the UK. Oh well, the physical release is not to be over here. They did have the Ryan Adams Heartbreaker deluxe which turned my head but back to school and a growing kid is straining the budget these days.

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          • postpunkmonk says:

            Tim – It particularly sticks in my craw that any ABC album aprés “Abracadabra” is as scarce as hen’s teeth on this side of the Atlantic and I consider ABC a “popular band.”

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            • Tim says:

              That’s about the time that their state side distribution went south. They’re not even making singles for the new album. Like…..there’s singles….Viva Love and now my favorite, The Flames of Desire….but just a video to promote it. No 12”, no CD5, no glorious extended mixes or instrumentals. What a bummer.

              I see the Deluxicon made an mp3 download on Amazon right around the time LoL II came out. That’s what….12 years after the UK release?

              I like my ABC more than the average music nutter and even I had some trepidation about buying Traffic….and honestly I don’t listen to it often.

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