Twilight Sad LP
Life Without Buildings LP
The Fall LP
Dead Kennedys box
Both Stones 7″s
Pet Shop Boys 12″
Tame Impala LP
Twin Atlantic 7″
Steve Mason 12″
Camera Obscura 12″
Plus of course loads more
The most common comment from new customers when visiting the shop was that we had “so much amazing stuff”. Often followed by “it would take me at least two days to look through everything”. Only now though having been through everything myself do I actually realise how much “stuff” there was.
Of course we have new vinyl and CDs but then there is all the second hand vinyl and CDs as well as a small but interesting collection of DVDs. A wall of local band’s releases meant customers understandably looked for guidance to find the albums that they might like. We’ve never had too many t-shirts but customers normally found something they wanted and of course the Avalanche t-shirts were a must have for many. Magazines and books may have just been in piles on the floor but many a customer found an article on a band they had been looking for or a book they didn’t even know existed.
The revelation though has been the posters. Posters were always going to be a bigger part of the plan after we moved to the Grassmarket but I never imagined how popular they would be. The badges we have are always popular but customers and in particular younger customers love the posters. They are amazing posters but there is more to it than that. In these days of searching online there is no equivalent to carefully looking through a huge pile of posters one by one never knowing what the next one will be but with the anticipation that it might be something special.
We once had two families in from New York and the parents bought a selection of CDs. Their kids five in all were still looking through the posters so they went for a coffee. They returned an hour later but still the kids wanted to stay and look through more. If you don’t mind they said we’ll go and do some shopping. They returned 90 minutes later just as the kids had finally been through every poster and amassed a fair pile which their parents gladly bought explaining that the shop could double as a teenage creche as they’d had a great time wandering around “kids free” while at the same time returning to some very happy children. This scenario was repeated regularly.
English parents in Edinburgh on business would go home with presents for their kids from the shop and stories of posters “you can’t find in London” and fantastic Scottish bands unheard of elsewhere. They would tell me what their children liked and I would recommend a Scottish equivalent. This was an even more common occurrence with American customers. On many occasions we actually had these customers bring their children with them while in Edinburgh on business so they could visit for themselves. Mostly it was for the posters and local bands but more and more recently for the vinyl too. You can’t find a selection like this in ……………….
There is however a problem with all this. While people were buying things they didn’t even know existed or had never seen they weren’t buying the things they knew they wanted. Whether they were buying from Amazon, the bands/labels directly or the now fully stocked HMV/FOPP they definitely were no longer buying them from Avalanche. Big releases started only selling ten copies. We would cover a release with three copies and sell one or none. We might get asked for something we would like to have stocked but could easily have sold none at all so didn’t have.
While we were selling hundreds of Bright Eyes albums we could afford time to promote less well known bands. While we were selling large amounts of the big selling local bands we could spend time promoting the smaller ones. However these are changed times and only the occasional release still does very well. Frightened Rabbit, Nick Cave, The National, Boards of Canada, Mogwai and of course Withered Hand all come to mind. Dead Flowers, There Will Be Fireworks and Quickbeam led the way for releases without distribution. These albums all showed how things might be they were few are often far between.
So what will the new Avalanche look like ? Great as all this was it was clearly unsustainable and the break in the lease helped me make that decision. The truth is while I know the things I would like to keep nothing yet is set in stone. It will to some extent depend on where we move and also how the shop fits into the bigger jigsaw that now involves a revitalised label and the commissioning of posters and prints among other things. It is also clear that for a shop of Avalanche’s stature and reputation to continue it needs revenue outwith that of a stand alone retail shop and that simply selling online is not the answer.
One of the few things I don’t enjoy when chatting to customers is when they tell me that their local record shop closed or maybe even worse that it is still open but “a shadow of what it used to be”. Another comment more recent is that a new shop has opened but “it is nearly all second hand and a bit disappointing”. Whenever there is change not everybody will be happy but I’m confident that whatever we do next will not disappoint.
Fly posters 60″ x 40″
Mostly in ones and twos – prices and quantities to follow
Delgados – The Great Eastern
Emma Pollock – Watch The Fireworks
Phantom Band – The Wants
White Stripes – Get Thee Behind Me Satan
Nirvana – In Utero 20th Anniversary
Foo Fighters – Skin and Bones
King Creosote – bombshell
Fratellis – Henrietta
Fratellis – Whistle For The Choir
Fratellis – Chelsea Dagger
Jake Bugg – Shangrila
Paolo Nutini – Scream
Oasis – the Importance of Being Idle
Oasis – Stop The Clocks
Kasabian – West Ryder Lunatic Pauper Asylum
Them Crooked Vultures
Primal Scream – Glasgow SECC
The Family Rain – Under The Volcano
Pixies – Field Day (text only)
Kings of Leon – Mechanical Bull
Stranglers – In Celebration of 40 Years Apollo gig poster
Metronomy – Love Letters
Paul McCartney – Ram reissue
Band of Skulls – Sweet Sour
You Me At Six – Sinners Never Sleep
East India Youth – Total Strife Forever
Kodaline – album cover
Elbow – The Take Off and Landing of Everything
The Civil Wars – album poster
REM – Monster
Deaf Havana – London Clapham Grand
Franz Ferdinand – Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action
Bruce Springsteen – High Hopes
Bombay Bicycle Club – So Long, See You Tomorrow
Stereophonics – Glasgow Hydro Arena
Calvin Harris – Ready For The Weekend
Mark Ronson – The Bike Song
Faithless – The Dance
Seasick Steve – Man From Another Time
A bumper weekend for Avalanche as we say goodbye to no.5 in style with a four day bonanza as part of the Ceilidh Culture Street Fair. We’ll be joined by a host of stalls celebrating all that is best in Scottish craft and food.
The organisers are looking to support local artists and have several slots each day for acoustic sets. Cheerful upbeat music preferred so nobody I know ! Just get in touch if you are interested using the shop email or twitter.
On the Saturday for Record Store Day we will have Star Wheel Press with their new EP and the first Scottish appearance of Avalanche favourites The Dead Flowers.
More news to come of what you can expect and who will be there but I know many will be glad to see that the good folks of Thistly Cross Cider will be in attendance. Castle Street’s loss is the Grassmarket’s gain and it will be a fantastic weekend for music fans and families alike.
- This is the most valuable record in our store. Ultra rare cult classic UK The Nails AGAP 007T pressing in almost collectors condition, never played, stored from 1984. No other copy for sale worldwide as far as we know.
|Condition||Seller Information||Price||Buy It|
||€1,999.00 (about £1,652.63) + shipping|
Sometimes I despair of the media. Last time I announced we would be closing in January but reopening in February but nobody in the media seemed to have read the whole blog or in some cases any of it ! This time I thought I’d got it right but we seem now to be getting the sensational closing down headlines again despite what I’ve said. I’ve just had it explained to me that the headlines are written by different people hence the positive piece in the Evening News and the negative headline.
I chose to take the break we had in our lease and I’ll choose again where we move to and when the time is right. Due to a variety of circumstances picking a permanent location just now would not be a wise decision but I’m certainly considering testing out locations. Whatever there will be an Avalanche for people to visit very soon indeed. I hear too many shops described as “a bit sad” or “not what they used to be” and I’ve no intention of letting that happen to Avalanche.
There is only so much I can do and with so many strings now to the Avalanche bow I need to clearly prioritise. With a label, posters and prints, an online shop and the offer of various pop-ups and regular events all to be taken into account exactly how the shop fits in needs careful consideration. Then again given the competition where that shop is and what we stock needs to be got right and not rushed into as well. The Saturday market has been a useful tester for future pop-ups and I have to say I’ve enjoyed it and look forward to doing more.
I didn’t have a closing down sale because we weren’t closing down. People always said the shop had a lot of stuff and only now it has become apparent to me just how much good stuff we have. With so much stock I will need to clear some of it and there is a plan.
When I first started in this business I soon realised that nearly everybody I came into contact with was 10+ years older than me and knew so much more. I quickly decided then that I knew far too little about the business to have a sensible opinion about most things and learned to “shut the fuck up”. Maybe now it is their turn to realise the same thing.
As ever thanks to everybody for all the support and I’ll update things as and when I can.
I’ll monitor sales and delete as stock runs out
Payment by PayPal firstname.lastname@example.org
P+P for LP/12″ £3, 2xLP £4, box sets £7, CD £1, posters £4
Multiple orders take most expensive p+p and then add half of p+p for other items. If in doubt just ask !
All second hand vinyl in great condition (ask if you need more details)
Frightened Rabbit / Manchester Orchestra / Grouplove RSD13 12″ £4
AGARR Fun While It Lasted II red vinyl LP £3
Beirut – Gulag Orkestar LP £12
White Stripes – S/T, De Stijl + White Blood Cells £16 each
Boards of Cnada – Music Has The Right To Children 2xLP £18 + The Campfire Headphase 2xLP £16
Maximo Park – Too Much Information LP £15
The National – Trouble Will Find Me box set £35
The National – Boxer, Alligator + The Virginia EP £15 each
Mogwai – Rave Tapes box set £55
The Postal Service – Give Up box set £25
Low – Christmas LP £10
Neutral Milk Hotel – In The Aeroplane Over The Sea CD £5
Biffy Clyro – Blackened Sky 2xLP £20
Pixies – Wave of Mutilation (best of) 2xLP £18
Radiohead – The King of Limbs £15
Second hand vinyl
The Beatles – 1967 – 1970 2xLP blue vinyl £20
The Beatles – 1967 – 1970 2xLP black vinyl £15
The Beatles – 1962 – 1966 2xLP black vinyl £15
The Beatles – Live! at the Star Club in Hamburg 2xLP £15
Aphex Twin – Donkey Rhubarb 12″ + Digeridoo 12″ £12 each
Nirvana – In Uturo 20th anniversary 60″ x 40″ promo fly poster £20
Metronomy – Love Letters 60″ x 40″ promo fly poster £10
And as they say you weren’t expecting that ! I’ve always maintained that RSD was about celebrating with record shops and the product really should be secondary. We have had some amazing performances while we have been in the Grassmarket and frankly I didn’t feel we could top it. I wanted a celebration and something a little different. Luckily being in a constant state of flux at the moment gave me the opportunity to do something different.
We will settle down I promise you but for the four days around RSD we will be based at the Ceilidh Culture Street Fair on Castle Street / Princes Street. The location could not be more central and hopefully we can bring the Avalanche way to a new audience and not just those queueing for whatever their favourite artist is and then politely leaving never to return until the next RSD.
There is a stage and slots for five bands and Avalanche will be curating the whole day’s entertainment. Those who want a pre RSD look around can come along on the Friday and of course there will be plenty of time to come along on the Sunday and Monday if you can’t make it on Saturday. There will be music every day and stalls promoting the very best of Scottish crafts, fashion, jewellery, food and drink. We aren’t looking to top what we have done before but I’m confident we will achieve something different.
Unlike other years when folk have just turned up, got their limited editions and then disappeared I’m really hoping people will take the opportunity to look through not only the fantastic selection of vinyl and posters we carry every day but also spend time seeing what else is on offer in the marquee. We have always been lucky with plenty of people coming along for the bands and a browse and I’m sure that will continue.
Hopefully this year the RSD vinyl will be cheap enough that kids can afford one each but if not we wil have plenty of great albums starting from £1.
Also in clearing the shop I’ve found some amazing posters covering all genres that will be on sale on the day. As this was literally only finalised yesterday, and thanks to handupmedia for all their help with that, there are no bands yet to announce. Before you ask Dan is somewhere between Manchester and Cardiff on the day so will not be reprising his Lana Del Rey cover.
All those tweets in one place.
Whenever you see official figures saying how well “indie stores” are doing you think it means independent high street shops don’t you ?
Actually “indie stores” include the “indie” labels + their distributors + online sellers who sell releases for artists.
So when “indie stores” are doing so well now it is because artists, labels + distributors are doing a great job selling direct to customers.
Shops are in fact selling less + less + in many cases none at all as they are not allowed stock.
Of course once a year this all changes for RSD. But for those selling exclusive releases directly for the rest of the year every day is RSD
So Avalanche’s focus will be shifting considerably and things are well in hand. While I will indeed be tidying up and adding to the website I also needed this time off to finalise our label and merchandise plans. With announcements very close I won’t give you a series of ifs and buts now but wait for things to be finalised. We do indeed have a worldwide label deal agreed for the Avalanche label founded in 1989 but my focus for the last three years has been to get our best new bands to a far wider audience and while I am close that side of things is by no means as yet a done deal.
We still get many visitors to the shop based purely on our reputation for releasing some seminal New Zealand music and 80′s and 90s Scottish bands. I have no idea if this discogs list is definitive http://www.discogs.com/label/43917-Avalanche-Records-2 but it will introduce those unaware of Avalanche’s history to those artists we supported. Believe me everything about running a label today is easier given today’s technology and in particular email and mobile phones. However now there are new challenges to actually get great music out to those who want to hear it and this is my focus.
I have had some very generous financial offers to help with the shop and they will be considered in due course given the current situation with HMV and FOPP already well documented. I really had every intention of being open for Record Store Day and still do but one more list of ridiculous releases or the announcement of a Boyzone/Westlife split single and I may change my mind.
Given Saturday was by far our busiest day I’m very pleased to announce we will in the meantime have a stall at the Grassmarket market selling our usual range of new vinyl, our best second hand vinyl along with some bargain boxes and of course a selection of our best posters. There will even be the odd CD and DVD.
Many, many thanks for all the kind words and apologies to those I haven’t acknowledged yet. Also a big thank you to those who have sent often very helpful advice with regards to the website and social media. Again I do hope to find time for more personal replies.
As I have said already as a label I will never underestimate the value of the support of the remaining shops in the UK and of course Avalanche’s many friends worldwide. There will hopefully be more label news and indeed more news too on our ever expanding range of posters and prints very soon. There may even be news on those 30th anniversary celebrations !