Sunday, February 9, 2014

A Noble Experiment

Friday night me and the missus went down to Georgetown for the grand opening of Hill & Dale Records. It is a very nice, modern looking shop. They had drinks and appetizers for the crowd. We were amongst the first folks there and I was somewhat surprised there was no line. Happily for the store it filled up pretty quickly making it a challenge to maneuver through the racks.

Unlike most record stores, which are uniformly used shops, Hill & Dale carries only new releases and reissues. This is an interesting gambit. They did not have an incredible amount of inventory but it did take about 30 minutes to peruse what they had. They and plenty of classic rock and jazz reissues. Tons of Floyd and The Who and Beatles and Coltrane and Miles Davis. Surprisingly there were no Zeppelin records, but that must be because they have not been reissued yet. Unfortunately for me, it was pretty much the usual major label stuff. Going through the stacks, I got the feeling of going through the records available at Urban Outfitters. I don't know the ins-and-outs of how the business works, but it would have been nice to see more boutique label stuff.

Jodi wound up buying two records: the reissue of Beggars Banquet by The Rolling Stones and a lovely double LP of Ryan Adams' best solo record Gold. She got me Jeff Buckley's Grace (which I figure will be great through the headphones), the first William Tyler record Behold The Spirit and the recent reissue of Townes Van Zandt's High Low and In Between.

In addition to records they have posters and have photography exhibits on the walls. It makes for a nice touch. It feels more like a gallery than a record shop. It feels kind of fancy.

Starting up a brand new brick-and-mortar record shop seems like a silly idea. Vinyl is making a comeback but is it enough to warrant a store dedicated to new vinyl? The location is interesting. Georgetown is a high rent area and the store is set back sort of hidden away back in One Canal Square or whatever it is called. How much foot traffic are they going to get from folks wandering around? Will they even know it is there?

I wish them a lot of luck. I hope it goes well and is a success. It is a noble experiment. I would probably drop in if I was down in Georgetown, but it will not be a destination place for getting records. The internet is still too great a convenience.

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