Archive for March, 2011

Imandra Lake – Shoegaze Indie Folk ?

Had some very nice people in the shop buying varying amounts of CDs and vinyl and one of them returned with their own CD. I thought I recognised the cover though I have no idea how as it turns out to be on an Estonian label Seksound. Only been able to have a quick listen but their label says it is shoegaze and their myspace indie/folk. Could be a new genre now the folk/folk folk have all adopted nu-folk and gone all Mumford and Sons. Broken Records to cover Ride ? The Last Battle to adopt a My Bloody Valentine element? I shall investigate further and get some in the shop.

It’s My Birthday and I’ll Moan If I Want to

Being signed up to various social networking sites and forums means that instead of my birthday passing by relatively unnoticed by even my wife and kids I’ve received a plethora of happy birthday emails. I’m just pleased I realised quickly how to take my year of birth off Facebook. I’m not complaining I’m just not used to it. As a birthday present to myself I did intend to have a good moan, maybe even a rant but I’m going to save that treat for the weekend.

That is by the way a genuine cake as made by the London Cake Company. I didn’t get anything quite so fancy.

Record Store Day update

Bands will be playing both in the shop and next door at Red Dog on both the Saturday and Sunday. There will also be other events and offers during all the following week finishing the following weekend. Frightened Rabbit are playing in the shop on RSD early afternoon and Broken Records will be in-store on the Sunday at 3pm. Glasvegas will complete the festivities the following Sunday with a meet and greet and signing session. Avalanche will also be giving one young band a chance to play on RSD too. More news about this and other band appearances soon.

Amoriste in-store @ 2pm this Saturday 26th to promote single

Amoriste will be in-store @ 2pm this Saturday 26th to promote their new single “The Mascot”

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart free tote bag with preorders

Product DetailsWe have some rather nice tote bags to give away to anybody who preorders the new Pains Of Being Pure at Heart album on CD or vinyl.

Elbow – Build A Rocket Boys! vinyl – an apology

Sorry to everybody I swore there was no vinyl to. It seems there is vinyl available exclusively from the Universal store something I hadn’t heard of before but seems to sell product, merchandise etc from Universal artists. I also see that Amazon now have it too I’m guessing after kicking up a fuss or maybe it is an import as it seems expensive.

Extending Our Vinyl Section

We are looking to extend our vinyl section to twice its current size with a larger selection of second hand vinyl along with some more new vinyl. If customers have any boxes of old or not so old vinyl they would like to turn into cash we would be very pleased to hear from you.

Avalanche Manifesto, Record Store Day and SXSW

As part of the manifesto I promised to look into wider distribution for Scottish bands. There is no doubt that most bands and labels are keen to get their releases into the remaining record shops in Scotland and further afield but most also expect to compete with those shops for customers. Especially in Scotland where towns are relatively small while they may be big enough to support an “indie” community supporting indie music and Scottish bands in particular if most of these potential sales go directly to the bands/label then what is left is simply not a viable proposition for a shop. Whereas before independent shops would be the first port of call for fans of a band now shops are largely expected to forego those sales while still being expected to promote their music to the wider public. Listening posts would be great in letting people hear Scottish artists they may otherwise not come across but again there is now no guarantee a shop will see any sales and a customer won’t simply go and listen to more on Spotify etc. 90% of the customers who came to the counter asking what we were playing would two years ago have bought the CD. Now it is 30% with most customers saying they will go away and listen to more.

Certainly shops supporting an artist by playing their music, having releases visible and by recommendation can still make a big difference to the awareness of the public to an artist but without sales it literally means they are simply a free “shop window” for bands. At the moment I simply don’t have an answer. Shops have far greater visibility than websites but are expensive to run. Three years ago it was treated as obvious that shops had to be given better terms and deals to acknowledge this but now they are instead constantly put at a disadvantage with competing online sellers. With a loyal customer base and so many visitors to Edinburgh Avalanche will hopefully thrive in our new location but I have to accept that it is not a model that would work in many other places.

For Record Store Day we are concentrating very much this year on our in-stores as you will have seen. There are a lot of “exclusives” this year and I completely understand customers’ comments that they are not as exciting a bunch of releases as we all might have wished for but the list is not yet complete so hopefully there will be some more titles added that will not only be more exciting but will be available in quantities that give customers a reasonable chance of buying them. The message of supporting shops has to some extent been lost as record companies and labels simply see RSD as another marketing opportunity. At Avalanche we will certainly be trying to keep the original spirit of the idea alive.

Talking of indie ideals being taken over by corporate marketing South By South West is receiving as much publicity as ever both good and bad. It is certainly a hot topic in the shop and I genuinely do not understand the thinking and aims behind it. I had always thought it was for bands doing well in Scotland/UK to get deals in America and though that is still mentioned it can clearly not just be that given the bands chosen to go. There is definitely more than a suspicion that deals already in place or nothing to do with SXSW are announced to show how successful it has been but to be fair all that can be done is to judge this year’s SXSW on the results it achieves. As a fan/friend of several of the bands over there this year I will hopefully hear first hand exactly how it all went.

I see in the Herald today that Creative Scotland spends between £45K and £60K on SXSW ( ) but I assume that does not include the time of Creative Scotland’s employees which must be considerable. As part of the manifesto we have looked at helping the many young bands that come in the shop looking for advice, we have looked at making Scottish bands music more available in Scotland the UK and worldwide and we have looked into the logistics of Scottish Festivals we have been asked to organise in Rome and Paris. Unfortunately despite being pointed in the direction of Creative Scotland over all these things I’ve only managed to secure one meeting in 6 months and even that was almost postponed because of SXSW. I’ve now been asked to help with a music festival in the Grassmarket and again at the meeting I attended this week I was presented with a whole load of forms for Creative Scotland ! Hopefully now that SXSW is almost over there will be time to explore these ideas to help and support the far wider community of musicians in Scotland more fully.



One of the things we will be looking at is sponsorship. Avalanche as a brand is highly sought after as a partner for all sorts of campaigns and events but we do very few as we are rarely offered any money just prizes, facebook friends, magic beans etc. There is an enormous amount of goodwill towards record shops and anybody seen helping with the cause would do themselves no harm at all in helping both the shop and the Scottish music scene we support. I’ve set our more famous customers the task of looking for sponsors but any offers or suggestions would be very welcome.