Archive for March, 2012
18 of my 20 picks are now sorted. I have simply picked the bands and the albums that I think represent what Avalanche’s support for Scottish music has been about over the last couple of years. A couple I couldn’t pick because of stock problems and I’m still hopeful I’ll be able to add a few more as there were certainly more than 20 on my list. I’ve been getting asked a lot so here they are in no particular order. As you would expect there are no surprises.
Withered Hand + Jenny Soep postcards, Star Wheel Press, There Will Be Fireworks, The Savings and Loan, Bill Wells and Aidan Moffat , Meursault, Frightened Rabbit, The Twilight Sad, Saint Jude’s Infirmary, Kid Canaveral, Edinburgh School for the Deaf, Emily Scott, Pictish Trail, Rob St John, The Last Battle and Bwani Junction + gig train tickets. I also picked the Midsummer CD and the Inheritance DVD.
I chose The Twilight Sad’s album as my favourite album of the year so far and Meursault’s new album as the one I was most looking forward to. There was lots of footage shot for a documentary including our neighbours Red Dog and Armstrongs but I’ve no idea what will end up in the final edit. They will also be publicising our in-stores especially all our Record Store Day activities. It lasts for 3 months so there will be more to follow after RSD. With 2 million+ visitors a month it will hopefully bring all these artists to a much wider audience. It might even bring the FRabbits a few extra fans !
RSD quantities are normally based on a shop’s orders over the year from a record company which is something I whole heartedly agree with. However given how few new CDs we sell now I imagine that will impact on the quantities we receive of the really limited stuff. All shops figures are down so it is all relative but we are hit particularly hard these days by having to compete with both HMV and FOPP.
I’ve had a spate of people asking me to put up posters in the shop for album/single launches. Some intend to bring the release into the shop afterwards, a few before and some haven’t even considered it. Even bringing the release in before unfortunately doesn’t work as folk still just wait for the launch. Avalanche has a large number of visitors in a year looking for releases from Scottish bands as well as contributing to various media charts. The more successful a band is with their launch and selling from bandcamp etc after the initial press and radio the quicker they kill the album dead. Bands are coming in all the time once this has happened wondering if I can help.
As has been well documented recently there aren’t enough hours in the day for me so I’m afraid that with limited resources I can only work with bands who choose to sell to their fans through the shop. We are of course always happy to host launches. For most bands it makes perfect sense to go down the gig launch route but for those with real ambition and well placed confidence in their music we will sell dozens and sometimes several hundred of an album. We also promote our best sellers in national papers and on national radio stations as well as contributing to several websites. Exceptional albums we recommend to other key shops in the UK.
It is a similar story with those who use the pledge system. They have sold to their established fan base so that leaves nothing for shops. Promoting and recommending music to visitors is not a cost effective use of time but it is what we are famous for. People do come from all over the world having read about bands on our website and know what they want but even they normally look for further suggestions. I’m very proud of our reputation but it is essentially flawed in the time it takes up. Even listening posts don’t have the same interaction. Regular customers do of course often take recommendations on faith as today when a customer who had enjoyed Star Wheel Press and King Creosote and Jon Hopkins bought Rob St John.
We are always looking for the next Withered Hand , There Will Be Fireworks or Star Wheel Press to promote. Our track record speaks for itself.
Not had a lot of feedback this year about titles wanted apart from the obvious. Understandable in a way given the huge amount this year. Lots of questions about price and how limited releases really are. All shops can do is pass on what we are told. As many of you will know shops are strictly limited to what they can charge and all we can do is repeat the numbers we are given for availability. After last year I do share people’s concerns that bands and labels may offer the same product cheaper at a later date but please don’t blame that on shops.
I’ve always said that running the shop was like playing space invaders and one day I’d be overrun by the constant bombardment of emails (on top of everything else) the way I never quite got to the end of space invaders once those men started off at the bottom. That day has come. Losing my internet connection for a few days and hotmail playing up hasn’t helped but really it is clear that there isn’t even time most days to prioritise emails and deal with the most important. I suspect other shops have reached this point some time ago.
Way behind but will post regular updates now I have finished curating the items for the farfetch.com website. For those wondering they gave the OK to post the news but then received so many enquiries when they weren’t ready to make a formal announcement they asked me to take it down. It has taken up a lot of time but hopefully should be good not only for Avalanche but Scottish music and the Grassmarket. In turn that delayed the album club which I’m now putting together along with the following one.
I’m looking to do something different again for RSD 2012 as people seem understandably a little fed up with overpriced or stupidly limited releases. Our focus has always been beyond that with our in-stores but expect a far broader range of activities this year. Much to be announced but I can reveal we will have Ryan from Star Wheel Press showing how people can make their own sleeves on a press and we have booked the Electric Circus for an after RSD party. With our best selling album of last year we will have the Star Wheel Press guys playing of course but we will also have friends of Avalanche playing in both the shop and later on. Should have some Good News about that soon.
No guarantees but good if customers can let me know what they would like.
Once again we’ll be participating in Record Store Day, releasing a number of special records, exclusively through independent shops on Saturday the 21st of April 2012.
Here’s what we have in store:
Smugglers Way Flexi Zine
Smugglers Way is Domino and Ribbon’s first ever zine featuring five individual, multi-colored flexi discs of exclusive, unreleased songs from Dirty Projectors, Real Estate, Cass McCombs, John Maus and Villagers + a 24 page zine with exclusive art and writings from the world of Domino.
Animal Collective – Tranverse Temporal Gyrus 12”
A aural collage consisting of the original tracks and live recordings made for and at a unique performance as part of an installation by Animal Collective and Danny Perez at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City in March 2010. The 12” comes with an exclusive 24 x 36 foldout poster.
Arctic Monkeys – R U Mine?
Limited heavyweight purple vinyl 7” featuring new song “R U Mine?” b/w brand new track Electricity.
Caitlin Rose – Piledriver Waltz / Love Is A Laserquest 7”
One of our favorite contemporary singers records a couple of our favorite contemporary songwriters’ compositions. This limited 7” comes with an exclusive jukebox sticker. The pleasure is all yours.
Hot Chip – Night and Day (Daphni mix) 12″
Francois And The Atlas Mountains/Slow Club split 7″
She And Him – Volume 1 coloured vinyl
King Creosote and Jon Hopkins – Third Swan ltd 7″
James Yorkston – Moving Up Country 10th Anniversary Edition vinyl
John Cale – Remix 12″
Update : now Wednesday !
My phone line at home is down until at least Tuesday so I can only access emails etc in the shop which means I’ll be even further behind than normal as I do most of my work at home before and after work. Couldn’t have happened at a worse time as I’ve loads of stuff on so please bear with me. Anything really important phone the shop. In a good Sod’s law kinda way the shop has been really busy today (Sunday) no time to answer emails at all.
If anyone’s going past Falkirk Municipal Building car park, could you look for my hat please? Seriously, this one:
. seriously, if anyone can find my hat , I’ll write you a song / buy you some drinks / whatever …
I really love(d?) that hat, and I think I dropped in the car park when we stopped there today. I’m quite distressed about it.
So: Falkirk Municipal Building car park, find this hat: and I’ll do anything you ask (within reason).