Archive for January, 2013

Frightened Rabbit – Pedestrian Verse LP with limited etched 7″, print and badge

FRabbits - Pedestrian VerseCan be ordered here

Randolph’s Leap @ Avalanche Sunday 20th January 7pm for 7.30pm start

Very pleased to announce our first gig in the shop with artists from our best selling albums of 2012. From time to time we will also pay tribute to our best selling artists of all time and we have a cracker to start. Randolph’s Leap will be playing songs from their top selling album but also covering songs from Avalanche’s best selling band of all time Belle and Sebastian. 

randolph's leap - introducing

Surely enough to whet anybody’s appetite but there is more. Not one but two artists from our top 30 as Jo Mango will be along to not only play a few songs from her album but also pay tribute to the band that has taken the top three places in our all time Scottish album chart.  

All these gigs will be ticketed and of course tickets will be limited. Tickets will be a bargain at £5 but there is more. There will be an opportunity to buy a t-shirt and print featuring the Randolph’s Leap album cover made to order and to be collected (or sent out if necessary) a week after the gig. A very limited number will be available for those who can not make the gig but would like what will be a great souvenir.

Places can be ordered tomorrow in the shop and will be available online from Sunday. A ticket and t-shirt will be £15 and with a print too £20. A ticket and a print will be £10. I hope this will be a great way for customers to have a unique experience while helping to support the shop. It goes without saying we couldn’t do any of this without the support of the artists involved.

Neutral Milk Hotel poster and print

NMH A3 Poster

Link for the new online shop

Until the link is integrated with our new blog (don’t worry it will just be the same) this is the link for the new online shop

Reboot Refit Rethink

Avalanche logo - useI haven’t said anything more concrete before as plans were changing on a daily basis. At one point I was way behind in just about every area but a good last week in several ways has helped a lot. I always get several emails each week from those travelling to Edinburgh for the weekend making sure exactly when we will be open and these last few weeks were no exception. With Saturday being by far our busiest day it started to make sense to be open if possible on that day. The plan therefore is to be closed this Monday to Thursday and then open Friday and Saturday. I should be able to get a fair amount done and still have the place in shape in time. We will then be closed for five more days and open again the following Friday and Saturday. By then I should have a better idea of how things stand.

We’ll be relocating to the old coffee shop counter and may or may not take down the current counter depending on my joiner’s back ! As for the rest I won’t spoil the surprise partly if I’m honest because I’m still not entirely sure myself. I’m still planning to have some gigs in the shop and will try to firm things up this week. It will of course depend on whether we can fit things in around moving stuff about. Everything to do with the posters, prints and  other merchandise is going very well indeed. We will have posters and prints on offer within the week. We will be focusing on our best sellers in 2012, our best selling Scottish bands and albums since “Tigermilk” was first released and on some of the classic albums we have become well known for over the years.

People understandably thought I was referring to a new website when I said about possibly concentrating more online and could certainly be forgiven for thinking so when the new site appeared. However that is not actually the case. I doubt I will ever sell that much from the site though between the blog and the shop site and the shop they will work well together with sales more and more coming through the shop because of the online and social media presence. I am considering other online offers more of which later and it was these offers I was originally referring to.  

There is the very serious issue of the impact the record companies relentless backing for HMV and FOPP has on our own business and I think there will be some resolution to that by the end of the month. Whatever the outcome it will offer new opportunities for Avalanche.

Plans may change and I’ve no idea as yet exactly what part the shop will play in the big picture that also includes online sales and merchandise along with other opportunities. I do have to thank those who have come forward, both customers and fellow local businesses, offering help and support. Again much more later. 


Well worth reading all the way through.

Dope Jams to close

Legendary New York record store Dope Jams will close at the end of January 2013.

Proprietors Francis Englehardt and Paul Nickerson made the announcement via their e-newsletter earlier today. The store, which was founded seven years ago and has its premises at 580 Myrtle Avenue in Brooklyn, was an oasis of quality house and techno in the Big Apple, prided itself on calling out producers for their shortcomings and below-par releases, and had no time for sacred cows – their recent “best and worst of 2012″ mail-out, for instance, had this to say about Carl Craig and his remix of Recloose’s ‘Magic’:

“Carl Craig has sunk to a new low this year. He has gone from making lazy tracks that make rich spaniards feel that Detroit vibe in Ibiza to literally catering to this crowd. This record sounds like dance music you would hear in H&M, Urban Outfitters or some other shitty clothing store. You can just see Soul Clap sitting around talking about how they wish they could make a track like this one day.”

Crucially, though, they were champions of the good as much as they were declaimers of the bad, and their piss-taking was simply a product of their concern for the health and integrity of underground dance music, and of the surrounding culture.

Nickerson and Englehardt released the following statementabout the closure:

At the end of this month, 7 years to the day since it opened, Dope Jams will be closing its doors for good.

Rattling off a bunch of positive hyperbole or sentimental cliches without taking a good, hard look at the past would be a mistake. The truth is, we’ve made a lot of mistakes. Opening and holding down Dope Jams, however, was definitely not one of them. When we started working on the space at 580 Myrtle Avenue, well before it was the polished and finished form that you all know, dance music record shops were already jumping ship like the fucking Titanic. We knew exactly what kind of a logistical and financial shitstorm we were getting into. But ultimately, we wanted to devote ourselves, to put every ounce of energy and every dime saved into the perpetuation and expansion of dope music. We threw ourselves into installing the sound and the aesthetics to situate our project and our philosophy, and with that set in place, we proceeded to push music we thought was worthwhile, music that was beautiful and pure and capable of wading past the massive expanses of mediocrity and opportunism that we saw as gaining the upper hand. And along the way we did a lot of things that set us back, whether out of economics, ignorance, or idealism. We did our best to push past that, because we truly believed in what we were doing, we believed in the music we were championing, and we believed in creating a space and a community to allow that music to flourish. We gave enough of a shit then, and have continued to give a shit for 7 long years struggling through dwindling sales, personal loss, and daily disappointments. If only for the barage of weirdos, freaks and outcasts walking through that door every day, it was absolutely worth it.

There has always been a siege mentality here. Dope Jams was predestined to become a barracks where we held up and waited for the ensuing cultural apocalypse, making sure that we could at least control, and hopefully maybe even modestly disseminate, the little world we saw as still worthy of praise, adoration, and work. We did that by creating a culture of complete, total and brutal honesty. We called things exactly as we saw them, regardless of who’s panties we got in a twist, because there’s really no point in caring about music or art or culture if you don’t give a shit enough to say what you feel when you feel it to whomever you feel. We get it. Saying the things we say without thinking twice on a weekly basis (or daily if you’re in the shop), leaves us totally open. It leaves us wide open to be called mean, a bunch of dicks, hipsters, rich kids, hillbillies, arrogant pricks, hypocrites, etc. A lot of the time, all we had to do was sit back and let the wave of fad and popularity take its course, and just ride that into the sunset like a cheap whore. Or, to phrase it more politically, just issue “respectful critiques” and have “respectful opinions” and make sure not to hurt anyone’s feelings. We’d have a lot more friends, a lot more customers, and fewer enemies if we had played it that way. But, ultimately, operating in that way is exactly how dance music has gotten to the point that it is now—no one is holding anyone else accountable, and the result is a veritable free-for-all of total and unabashed bullshit. Plus, what’s the fun in holding back? At least we have a sense of humor when we do it. We don’t really have a problem with being called names or being trashed. This isn’t a Christ-complex where we feel like we’re being sacrificed to repent for the sins of a world we’ve been operating on the periphery of for years now. The truth is there’s no point for us if we can’t tell the truth about the music and the culture we love—whether that’s telling ourselves (most important), or whomever happens to be standing in front of us looking for the DFA section (still important).

But alas, our journey, at least in a brick and mortar manifestation, is finally coming to a close. Honestly, it’s really heartbreaking. Despite all the suffering for us that has been inextricably linked with this project, a lot of incredible things have come out of it, too. A lot of special people and dope music have graced our presence because of this shop. A lot of chaotic, cathartic, ultimately redemptive parties were thrown here. Ultimately, we love what we do, since adolescence we’ve devoted every ounce of energy and resource to music, DJ and vinyl culture, and Dope Jams was overall an incredible experience. No, the mean police are not shutting us down, nor did the forces of our shop’s demise originate anywhere within the dance music community (or its financial pitfalls). The truth is there are forces much bigger than our little universe: our rent has been raised threefold, and sadly our imaginary trustifarian benefactors just can’t swing it anymore. And while we’re sure a few diehards would make it to East New York to visit our new location, we’re not confident that will be enough for a fighting chance. Don’t worry: we’re going to keep the website open, just in case you thought that special Dope Jams touch would be lost in the void forever.

It wouldn’t be right to close up shop without throwing one last final in-store hurrah for the ages. So this January 26th, 2013, we invite you to our last in-store party ever. To the Dope Jams faithful, we can only express our gratitude in the best way we know how, so make the trip one last time to 580 Myrtle Avenue in Brooklyn, and celebrate with us 7 years of gargantuan dreams and unrepentant attitudes.

In closing, here are some songs that will forever remind us of 580 Myrtle Ave…

1. Analogous Doom – Living In A Zome
2. Alva Noto & Ryuichi Sakamoto – Ax Mr. L
3. Fever Ray – I’m Not Done
4. Chicago Shags – Live By The Sword
5. Theo Parrish – Can’t Keep
6. The Laughing Light Of Plenty – The Pulse
7. A Broken Consort – Something Fell
8. Paul Watkins and Brooks Poston – Young Girl
9. Nine Horses – Atom & Cell
10. Chelsea Wolfe – Movie Screen
11. Bvdub – The Art Of Dying Alone
12. Burial – Distant Lights
13. Convextion – Solum Ferrum
14. Chasing Voices – Acidbathory
15. The Djoon Experience feat. Kenny Bobien – Old Landmark

Thank You.

Francis Englehardt & Paul Nickerson
DOPE JAMS NYC : 2006-2013

Godspeed You! Black Emperor / Leonard Cohen mash up

Godspeed - Allelujah


I’m hoping to do something with everybody in our top 10 be it an appearance or some exclusive merchandise but obviously Godspeed and Mr Cohen are unlikely to be available. I was wondering if there were any mash up experts (or amateurs) out there who fancied doing a mash up.



I’m thinking Godspeed with some spoken words from LC so not a million miles from Godspeed stuff anyway. If I get a few I’ll make the best ones available. On the other hand nobody may bother. I do hope  somebody has a go though  as done well it could be very good indeed.

Mash up wouldn’t necessarily have to use stuff from these albums. Any Godspeed or LC would be good.

Avalanche – Future Plans and HMV/FOPP

Understandably I’ve been getting asked a lot if I still intend to close on the 6th and if I still intend to reopen. The short answer is currently still yes. Business before Christmas was poor and I just didn’t take anything like the kind of money that was needed given the stock we have. Since Christmas Eve which unusually was our best day of Christmas trading things have been as I would have hoped. Quite simply the difference has been the number of visitors, many having been to Avalanche before and very keen to show their support. There has as well been a reasonable if not fantastic amount of passing trade.

It has become very clear that our new music sales are very much in the hands of others. Last Christmas as HMV/FOPP struggled they stocked up on Scottish indie releases as others denied them stock and we were left with a lot of our best selling stock unsold. Customers would come in with a bag full of CDs looking for the couple they hadn’t been able to get at FOPP. This year the opposite happened and with their usual poor selection I had customers with lists looking for James Yorkston, Admiral Fallow, Malcolm Middleton etc and soon I was cleaned out of titles myself. Similarly after Christmas customers started to comment how poor the selection of vinyl was at FOPP and a quick visit confirmed they had obviously done well before Christmas but not restocked meaning again more business for us.

As has been well documented recently HMV and FOPP under any normal circumstances would have been closed down by now but to quote the CMU website “Incredibly favourable supplier terms from major music and DVD companies is currently helping HMV to continue operating”. Meanwhile if we don’t pay our bills on time we go on stop at one minute passed midnight on the first of the month. At the same time no matter how careful I am I constantly get caught with stock as it simply isn’t possible to predict the sales of everything from Animal Collective to Muse. Again HMV have regulary been given consignment over the last year and were given a 40 million pound lifeline in consignment stock just before Christmas which they only pay for if they sell. 

Sensibly we simply can’t compete with FOPP in particular if they are given such advantages. Understandably most customers especially at Christmas are simply looking to buy what they need and are not thinking of supporting an independent versus the corporate HMV. Most indeed are unaware HMV owns FOPP. Many vinyl customers are more concerned with supporting the format than any particular shop but even so it still amazes me when customers turn up with a bag of vinyl from FOPP, all titles we stock and often have cheaper, and then buy a single or cheap second hand album only to tell me they hope I stay open.

There have been glimpses of support from record companies and distributors and more positive help from some labels and bands but mostly distributors prefer the easy sales of online sellers who mainly only order once they have a firm sale but of course do nothing to promote the music they sell. Several years ago it was universally agreed that high street shops would need hugely preferential terms if they were to pay for their expensive locations and spend time supporting the music they stocked but now that is all forgotten.

So on the high street shops have to compete with an HMV backed by the record companies and if they are really unlucky a FOPP too. Against this backdrop it is very difficult for me to make decisions. At least the record companies will need to make their own decision this month if as expected HMV default on payments again. It has only become clear what a big part of the picture this now is over the last couple of months. If core fans continue to buy directly from the bands and casual fans from FOPP then the decision in terms of stocking new music becomes easy.

The difference of course is that for others that would entail shutting down while for Avalanche it will involve a change of direction. Exactly the form that direction will take is still undecided.

Avalanche Top 30 best selling albums for 2012

twilightsadnoonecaneverknowmeursault - somethingGodspeed - Allelujah









1.   The Twilight Sad – No One Can Ever Know

2.   Meursault – Something for The Weakened

3.   Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Allelujah Don’t Bend Ascend

4.   Leonard Cohen – Old Ideas

5.   Admiral Fallow – Tree Bursts In Snow

6.   Olympic Swimmers – No Flags Will Fly

7.   Randolph’s Leap – Introducing …..

8.   Kevin MacNeil & Willie Campbell – Visible From Space

9.   Paul Buchanan – Mid Air

10.  Rob St John – Weald

11.  The XX – Coexist

12.  Jack White – Blunderbus

13.  Cancel The Astronauts – Animal Love Match

14.  Trapped Mice – Winter Sun

15.  Unwinding Hours – Afterlives

16.  Django Django – Django Django

17.  Human Don’t Be Angry – Human Don’t Be Angry

18.  Grizzly Bear – Shields

19.  RM Hubbert – Thirteen Lost & Found

20.  James Yorkston – I Was A Cat From A Book

21.  Cat Power – Sun

22.  Errors – Have Some Faith In Magic

23.  Tango In The Attic – Sellotape

24.  Vaccines – Come Of Age

25.  Jo Mango – Murmuration

26.  Errors – New Relics

27.  Mogwai – A Wrenched Virile Lore 

28.  Dinosaur Jr – I Bet On Sky

29.  PAWS – Cokefloat! 

30.  Flying Lotus – Until The Quiet Comes


So Twilight Sad held onto the number one spot. Delivery of more Meursault and Godspeed on the Saturday before Christmas meant we just had enough stock as the last Meursault CD was sold late on 31st. Quite a few visitors bought the top 2 simply because they were our best sellers. Godspeed caught up Leonard Cohen which of course has been out almost a year now.

Biggest gains were for Cancel The Astronauts and Trapped Mice who benefited from the many customers we get this time of year stocking up on local bands. I was surprised just how many people had seen the chart before coming to the shop particularly visitors. Apart from Unwinding Hours swapping places with Django Django everything else was as you were. 

I’ve decided against a top 40 or indeed 50 as I don’t think anybody really needs to know the exact order for Sigur Ros, The Shins, Spiritualized, Tindersticks, Lambchop. Mark Lanegan etc. I will however extend the best selling back catalogue to a top 20 in the next day or so.

15 of the Top 20 and 21 of the Top 30 are Scottish artists. 3 of the Top 10 and 6 of the top 30 are releases we get directly from the bands or labels. With albums due this year from Frightened Rabbit, Withered Hand, There Will Be Fireworks, Broken Records, Star Wheel Press, Kid Canaveral,  Pictish Trail, eagleowl, Biffy Clyro and Roddy Woomble (plus more I’m sure to have missed) 2013 should be a great year for Scottish music. From the shop’s viewpoint it may very well be our work is done and it is time to move on.