Archive for June, 2014

Pine Vinyl Vs The Hipsters

Hipsters demand record shop closes – “Is it because we didn’t have that Bright Eyes Christmas album or because we don’t have a bike rack ?” – very funny cartoon.

Avalanche @ Platform 2 Waverley Station Friday 27th June

Platform 2Our first appearance at the new Platform 2 market at Waverley station will focus on the things Avalanche is best known for so a wide selection of new indie vinyl, releases from dozens of local bands and a fantastic selection of posters of all sizes. There will of course still be a great selection of second hand vinyl both albums and 7″ singles and come July we will have a better idea as to the direction a new space like this should take.  Managing our space in Cafe Voltaire has been a steep learning curve and helped enormously in planning for this new venture.

Avalanche is always trying to move forward in what are testing times for all those in the music industry and as I’ve often said the bottom line for all concerned is people need to spend money on music or things can not continue as we know them. At the same time I’m very well aware of how virtually all music is now available at little or no cost at all. 

Luckily you can’t download a large Frightened Rabbit fly poster or replace the sound and physicality of vinyl so it is by no means a lost cause ! Add in the opportunity to browse lots of other stalls and grab something tasty to eat and hopefully the market will become a destination to more than those on the way to catch a train. Open from 11am to 7pm so plenty of time to pop along.

I’ve got in a lot of new indie vinyl especially for the launch so believe me you will be stuck for choice ! We will have the new CD from Avalanche favourites Broken Records for those of you who haven’t picked up a copy yet and I can highly recommend the new album from Hamish James Hawk which reminds me of Magnetic Fields and Belle and Sebastian at their best.

Must say I’m looking forward to this a lot


Theory of Everything

Hedron ColliderTime away from running the shop just about every waking hour has given me the time to think I was looking for. However I wasn’t just interested in market stalls,  pop-up shops and curated spaces but also all the options available to artists these days when trying to firstly reach the public with their music and then monetise this music. You will see the word monetise a lot ! It is a lot more complicated than simply selling your LP or CD these days and the irony is that artists often weren’t even well equipped to do just that.

Even though at the coalface I was still well aware I didn’t understand “the big picture” fully. The many industry experts I hear talking blatant rubbish do nothing but cause damage yet if enough of them repeat the same lie ………………….

I really wasn’t sure if there was a theory of everything that involved shops in any meaningful way. I was quite prepared to accept that all the developments meant that shops had become an irrelevance good for nothing except selling Bowie picture discs, second hand vinyl and if lucky, tickets.

For all the twitter talk the Specialists (mainly HMV and Amazon) outsold the indies almost 9 to 1 on this week’s Cerebral Ballzy album and that is before we get to exactly what the sales figures were. The entire profit from that album would barely pay one senior member of staff in one shop. Indies sold 1.6% of the new Lana Del Rey album and that is doing well. 1% is more common for a really big selling album.

Don’t get me wrong there are shops out there doing well just not many. My interest is whether there is any possible way forward for a shop that wants to support and actually sell new music rather than depend on other revenue streams and Led Zeppelin reissues. And even if there is a way forward does that opportunity exist in Edinburgh.

Anyway I’m almost there and the answers have surprised me. I certainly couldn’t be accused of coming up with the results I expected. Sad that I am I found the whole interaction between crowdfunding and streaming/Spotify and bandcamp fascinating and there is without doubt merit in all these platforms but they are not without their weaknesses and coincidentally , or maybe not, they were often a shop’s strengths.

So a “theory of everything” that involves artists, labels, distribution, record companies, shops,  online selling, bandcamp, streaming and crowdfunding. Not aiming too high then ! More Higgs boson than Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.



Avalanche Top 20 albums of the year so far

witheredhandnewgodscover The two big sellers of the year battling it out at the top ! 

1.  Withered Hand – New Gods 

2.  Mogwai – Rave Tapes

3.  PAWS – Youth Culture Forever

4.  Broken Records – Weights and Pulleys

5.  Jack White – Lazaretto

6.  Bruce Springsteen – High Hopes

7.  Hamish James Hawk – Aznavour

HJH8.  Temples – Sun Structure

9.  Warpaint – Warpaint

10. Young Fathers – Dead

11. Swans – To Be Kind

12. Phantom Band – Strange Friend

13. Conor Oberst – Upside Down Mountain

14. Beck – Morning Phase

15. Eels – The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett

phantom band strange friend16. The War On Drugs – Lost In The Dream

17. Bwani Junction – Tongue Of Bombie

18. Damien Jurado – Brothers + Sisters of Eternal Son 

19. Sun Kil Moon – Benji

20. The Black Keys – Turn Blue

Good to see a new Scottish artist can still sell well when we get behind a release with Hamish James Hawk at number 7 but generally there are no big surprises with established Scottish bands doing well followed by the “indie” big boys.


Avalanche @ Cafe Voltaire update

Cafe Voltaire, Blair Street, Edinburgh (exterior)As many of you will know Avalanche launched at Cafe Voltaire to coincide with their new opening hours and menu. However as some of you have commented there seems to have been a distinct lack of food ! Fear not the plans for food have not changed but have been delayed due to the classic “circumstances beyond our control”, Cafe Vol with have its own kitchen but therein lies the delay.

Consequently until everything is up and running the Cafe Vol staff will look after the shop leaving me free to deal with other stuff including the new Platform 2 market at Waverley station. You will still be able to pick up the new Broken Records CD, look through our promo posters and browse through the vinyl of course.

Depending on the timing we will reassess when the full menu is available. There would have been a rejig for the Festival anyway so it may be that that will coincide. I will of course keep customers informed as to what is available and orders will be able to be collected too. My thanks to the Cafe Vol staff and management for being so accommodating.