#RecordStore

On the Record: Cream Puff Records

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Welcome back to On The Record

A series about North Carolina Record Stores

 

In a world that grows more digital by the second, record stores remain vital community hubs for people interested in connecting in-person with fellow music-lovers. In college towns, cities large and small and creative downtowns across North Carolina, record stores offer space to talk music with fellow aficionados, engage physically with the media, and spend time “treasure hunting” for that forgotten gem in the used bin. We’ve invited record stores across the state to share their stories throughout the Come Hear North Carolina campaign. For the next installment in the series, we welcome Jay Kenney from Cream Puff Records in Charlotte.

What is the name of your store and where are you based? 

Cream Puff Records. 421 Providence Road, Charlotte, N.C.

How long have you been in operation?

Since 2014

Tell us a bit about your store. What is its mission and why is the community you serve a good place for your business?

The mission of Cream Puff Records is to promote the stellar musical heritage of North Carolina, but we’re pretty enamored with independent and experimental music from just about anywhere. We carry new and used vinyl, stocking as many records by North Carolina artists (Nina Simone, John Coltrane, Willie Lowery, Lee Fields) as we can. 

Charlotte is an amazing place to run a small music business, and our customers are steadfast in their support of us. From the casual music fans to the serious snobs (we mean that as a compliment), all of our customers are interested in new sounds and understand the important role local artists and businesses play in a creative community. Cream Puff Records shares space with a clothing store, an art gallery, a bookstore and a coffee shop, so a lot of our customers find themselves under our roof for reasons other than buying music. They come in for a cup of coffee or a new pair of shoes, but they often leave with a handful of records too. 

 

 

Tell us about your customers. Who is buying records? How has that changed over time? What do you think is driving the vinyl resurgence?

We also promote live music around town, so a lot of the folks buying records from us are live music fans who attend our shows. We do our best to nurture ties with the local music and the arts community, so I think people want to support a business that’s committed to being a part of Charlotte’s creative energy.

People are psyched (at least we think they’re psyched) that a place like Cream Puff Records exists, so they’ve been willing to support us – and by extension, the artists and labels we curate – by buying records. Furthermore, they like to invest in artists they like – and streaming just isn’t getting done. A record isn’t just something to listen to. It’s a story to tell, an artifact that captures an artist’s statement at a moment in time.

How people consume, and access music has changed dramatically in the last decade. What do record stores offer in this ever-growing digital/streaming music landscape?

More than anything else, record stores provide the thrill of the hunt. Streaming services are good at helping listeners discover new stuff. But they commoditize music. If you can listen to everything, does anything have value? In a record store, you don’t know what they have when you walk in. You can’t type in a band name and listen to it. Instead, you dig through the bins to see what’s there. You didn’t know what would be there when you walked in – you just had a sense there would be something of interest to you. Of all that record stores offer – a sense of community, a music education, lots of snarky jokes – we think the thrill of the hunt is the most important.

Thank you so much for participating in our giveaway, please tell us which record you are sharing and why you picked it.

Half Tight by The Loose Lugnuts. We picked this record because it represents the side of Charlotte we wish people would think of instead of big banks. Brothers Brian and Mark Wilson lead this Piedmont honky tonk band with a dynamite record collection. They also own The Thirsty Beaver (The Half Tight album cover depicts a scene from there). It’s Charlotte’s best bar and the scourge of apartment developers everywhere. 

Where can people find you online?

Website: www.CreamPuffRecords.com

Instagram: @CreamPuffRecords

Twitter: @CreamPRecords

Facebook: Cream Puff Records

Essential North Carolina albums according to Cream Puff Records

Benji Hughes - A Love Extreme

Lee Fields & the Expressions - Faithful Man

Kelsey Lu - Church 

Hiss Golden Messenger - Poor Moon

Mary Lattimore and Mac McCaughan - New Rain Duets

Patois Counselors - Proper Release

On the Record: Nit Nats Music

Wednesday, May 8, 2019
Welcome back to On The Record
A series about North Carolina Record Stores
 

In a world that grows more digital by the second, record stores remain vital community hubs for people interested in connecting in-person with fellow music-lovers. In college towns, cities large and small and creative downtowns across North Carolina, record stores offer space to talk music with fellow aficionados, engage physically with the media, and spend time “treasure hunting” for that forgotten gem in the used bin. We’ve invited record stores across the state to share their stories throughout the Come Hear North Carolina campaign. For the next installment in the series, we welcome William Harris, the owner of Nit Nats Music in Henderson, North Carolina.

 

What is the name of your store and where are you based? 

Nits Nats Music. 1680 Parham St., Henderson, N.C.

How long have you been in operation?

50 Years

Tell us a bit about your store. What is its mission and why is the community you serve a good place for your business?

Chery Hawkins, the original owner, opened the store in Oxford in 1969. By 1970, Nits Nats had a Henderson location as well. The Henderson store was more successful and the business stayed in Henderson while Cheryl and her husband, Phillip, owned it. I had been a customer since 1977 and when they decided to retire in 2015 they suggested I buy the store. I did and after a few months we moved the store to Louisburg. We stayed there for nine months and then returned to Henderson where we've been since. We try to provide a little of everything to our customers in terms of music. You'll find everything from the Sensational Nightingales to Frank Zappa. We sell new and used CDs, vinyl, dvds, books and more. Henderson and the four county area of Vance, Franklin, Warren and Granville don't have any other record stores in the area so we fill a need. Additionally, I feel Nits Nats Music gives the City of Henderson a bit of character. Small towns need small local businesses to remain vital. Nits Nats Music is, I hope, part of that vitality.

 

Tell us about your customers. Who is buying records? How has that changed over time? What do you think is driving the vinyl resurgence?

It used to be that the hard core crate diggers were buying vinyl. The original owners had gotten away from buying vinyl. Once I took over, I had fond memories of John Swain and the legendary Record Hole in Raleigh. I loved digging for records there and I decided to bring used vinyl back to Nits Nats. Slowly, over the last several years, more and more people came looking for vinyl. While I still have the hard core crate diggers that must know every copy of every record I have, I now see a lot of teenagers who are exploring vinyl for the first time. Sometimes they come in with mom and dad and sometimes on their own or with friends. I still have an older clientele that are looking for classic R&B, gospel and southern soul. They, usually but not always, opt for CDs while the younger customers who look for Led Zeppelin or The Beatles tend to be looking for vinyl. I think what's driving the return to vinyl is that the younger generation is looking for an authentic musical experience that cannot be obtained with a download or listening to a playlist on your phone. I won't say vinyl is better than CD but it's just different. Either format is certainly far superior than what you are going to hear off of your phone from a streaming service.

How people consume, and access music has changed dramatically in the last decade. What do record stores offer in this ever-growing digital/streaming music landscape?

Not only does purchasing physical copies support small business and the artists and producers, a record store presents the authentic shopping experience. Most, if not all, are staffed by people who love music. You aren't going to become rich working at or owning a record store so most do it because they love it. Reading a review on Amazon isn't the same from getting a human response from the person behind the counter. Record stores are a place to meet those with similar interests. It's more than just buying the latest Twenty One Pilots album. It's also about interaction and atmosphere.

Thank you so much for participating in our giveaway, please tell us which record you are sharing and why you picked it.

Beggars' Caravan - Take Me With You was released several years ago. Recorded by Ian Schreier at Osceola in Raleigh and mastered by Brent Lambert at the Kitchen in Carrboro, Beggar's Caravan mix solid songwriting with instrumentation that is just as solid. It's a rather straight forward rock album with a touch of pop that deserved more attention upon its release.

Where can people find you online?

Nits Nats-Music is our Facebook handle. I am afraid we aren't much in the way tweeting or using Instagram.

 

Essential North Carolina albums according to Nit Nats Music

Mandolin Orange - Tides of a Teardrop

John Coltrane - A Love Supreme

Nantucket - Nantucket

On the Record: Carrie Colliton of Record Store Day

Friday, April 5, 2019

Record Store Day was conceived in 2007 at a gathering of independent record store owners and employees as a way to celebrate and spread the word about the unique culture surrounding nearly 1400 independently owned record stores in the United States and thousands of similar stores internationally. The first Record Store Day took place on April 19, 2008. Today record stores on every continent except Antarctica particpiate in Record Store Day.

We invited Raleigh's own Carrie Colliton, one of the founders of Record Store Day, to tell us a little bit about the history of this incredible series. This year's record store day is on Saturday, April 13. Find a participating store near you here.

Give us the background on Record Store Day. When did it get started and why do you think it found success?

I’ve been working in or for independent record stores for almost my entire career, starting at The Record Exchange in college. Record Store Day started as an idea in 2007, at a gathering of indie record stores. We’d been bringing them together for a while, just because that makes good business sense for similar stores from around the country to get to know each other. The press at the time was full of stories about the death of record stores, stores like Tower Records and FYE were closing, but we knew that independent record stores, who were more nimble and could adapt to changing customer needs faster, were doing all right. We worked with them day in and day out. Someone brought up Free Comic Book Day, which celebrates and promotes indie comic book stores and we decided to throw our own party, call it Record Store Day and invite the press, the public and anyone else who wanted to be part of it to join us. That was in late September 2017. The first Record Store Day was April 19, 2008. No one, on that first Day, could have predicted what it would become. These days, we plan Record Store Day pretty much year-round. 

What type of retail stores participate in record store day?

No single record store is the same, so there all shapes and sizes and specialties participating in Record Store Day. Most sell new and “previously loved” Vinyl and CDs, and other physical media like DVDs or books. Some sell only new, some only “pre-loved.”  But we do have some criteria as to who can participate: They have to be independently owned. They have to be primarily a brick and mortar business, even if they have an online presence, their main focus has to be the physical store. And they have to think of themselves and promote themselves, as a record store, first and foremost. 

How did this event go viral? What did that look like on the ground? 

Looking back on things, we may have been a little naïve as to how much fun this could be, and who would want to be part of it. I mean, we love hanging out in record stores, why didn’t we realize how many other people love them too? The very first year we heard from stores in the UK and France and started getting calls from record stores around the U.S. asking how they could be involved. We had to teach ourselves how to grow it—and we’re still doing that! Little things were—and are—exciting: The first time we were on the Entertainment Weekly Must List. The first time Saturday Night Live made a joke about us (THRILLING!). The first time we trended #1 on Twitter. All these things are pinch-me moments, and they continue to come our way. 

What is the central mission of Record Store Day?

First and foremost, and at the heart of everything we do: We are here to shine a spotlight on the culture of the independent record store. We celebrate what they do for their communities, how they impact music and the arts creatively and help them be stronger, more successful businesses. 

 

Would you share any thoughts on what makes N.C.'s record store scene unique and special?

I’ve said this in other interviews, so it’s not just because I’m talking to you here in North Carolina that I say this: we are blessed in North Carolina when it comes to record stores. They are EVERYWHERE, and they are all so diverse, so distinctive from one another. One may focus on soul, one on punk, one on more mainstream titles. A very curated store may be near a store with a much-wider genre base, but they all find ways to work together and be complementary to each other. It’s a great state for music, obviously, and the best stores are run by people who just flat out love music, and we have those people in abundance here in North Carolina.  

Will you talk about any special initiatives? 

As I mentioned, we’re growing and adapting and looking for ways to help record stores year-round. One of the things we’re doing is holding the first-ever conference just for this special type of creative independent business. We’re bringing together musicians and artists and service providers, and anyone who has anything to do with a record store and acting as a dating service for the stores and people/things who might make them better. That’s on its fourth year, and we’ve grown to have over 400 attendees!

We’re also working on a project that is very North Carolina-centric and will be AMAZING, but I can’t quite talk about it publicly yet. But once it’s announced, I think it will become one of the coolest, most special things we’ve ever taken on. 

Tell us about your favorite special moment(s) you've witnessed in a N.C. record store on record store day?

Two things spring to mind. Backstory: I’m a female, and I’ve always worked in and shopped in record stores and loved it, but they’re sometimes seen as a “guy’s thing.” And collecting records can be seen as a “guy’s thing.” And some genres of music can get stereotyped as to what kinds of listeners it has. And since we’ve been doing Record Store Day we’ve had people assume that it’s old people who shop in record stores and celebrate Record Store Day. So, one year, I was in Nice Price here in Raleigh, about a week before Record Store Day, and a young Black woman walked up to the counter, with a record by a metal band in her hand, and asked, as she was checking out, what time they’d be open on Record Store Day. She blew almost every stereotype there was surrounding record stores and music and I wanted to run up and hug her and sign her up for a testimonial, but she had a new record to go listen to, so I just grinned ridiculously to myself for hours.

A few years ago, at Schoolkids Records, I was the last person that 300 or so young folks talked to before they went up to have their records signed by their favorite band, All Time Low, who had the #1 album in the country that week. They have a very young demographic, and they were SO EXCITED. There were tears, and I helped more than one person figure out the “perfect” thing to say – which was pretty much all variations of “I love your music, it means so much to me.” For most of them, this was a truly great, momentous experience, and a record store brought it to them. I didn’t even mind how many of them called me “ma’am”! 

What are some of the release you’re looking forward to this year?

I have a soft spot for releases that are recorded in or released by labels that have a connection to record stores. There are a ton of those this year, and a few of them are released by Schoolkids Records here in North Carolina, including a record from Kenny Roby’s band Six String Drag. I love him, and that one’s definitely on my list. 

About Carrie Colliton

Carrie Colliton is a co-founder of Record Store Day and serves as the day-to-day "Crew Chief", handling detail organization and the flow of information to stores and the public. She has worked for indie record stores since college, including as a staffer and manager and Marketing Coordinator for NC-based The Record Exchange. Her "day job is Director of Marketing for The Dept of Record Stores, a coalition of indie record stores, and she does it all from Raleigh, North Carolina. 

On The Record: Nice Price Books & Records

Wednesday, March 6, 2019
Welcome back to On The Record
A series about North Carolina Record Stores
 

In a world that grows more digital by the second, record stores remain vital community hubs for people interested in connecting in-person with fellow music-lovers. In college towns, cities large and small and creative downtowns across North Carolina, record stores offer space to talk music with fellow aficionados, engage physically with the media, and spend time “treasure hunting” for that forgotten gem in the used bin. We’ve invited record stores across the state to share their stories throughout the Come Hear North Carolina campaign. For the second installment in the series, we welcome Enoch from Nice Price Books & Records in Raleigh.

 

What is the name of your store and where are you based?

Nice Price Books & Records + Nice Price Jr, both based in Raleigh.

How long have you been in operation?

Originally opened in 1992, we have owned for 5 years.

Tell us a bit about your store. What is its mission and why is the community you serve a good place for your business?

We want to have as many interesting and odd and informative things as we can to serve the interesting and odd and informative people that surround us here in North Carolina.

Tell us about your customers. Who is buying records? How has that changed over time? What do you think is driving the vinyl resurgence?

All sorts of people are buying records. The ‘never stopped buying’ crowd, the ‘never owned a CD so vinyl is the only format they purchase’ crowd and the 'holy crap they re-pressed all my favorite albums' crowd. As people become more and more disconnected from their community with work and the internet some people seek out a more tactile experience and interaction. We try and be there for that.

How people consume, and access music has changed dramatically in the last decade. What do record stores offer in this ever-growing digital/streaming music landscape?

Conversation. Actually caring [about] what you like and might like. The internet does lots of great things, but it doesn't say "oh man I love this record too!" when you pick it up

Thank you so much for participating in our giveaway, please tell us which record you are sharing and why you picked it.

Future Islands - On the Water. Recorded by Eastern North Carolina natives, many of the songs deal with the issue of being from and loving somewhere [while] also having to leave that place. In this particular case, [that’s] Eastern North Carolina.

Where can people find you online?

Website: www.nicepricebooksandrecords.com/

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/nicepricebooks

Twitter: @NicePriceBooks

Instagram: @NicePriceBooks , @NicePriceBooksJr , @TheNicePricePodcast

Essential North Carolina albums according to Nice Price Books & Records

Future Islands - On the Water

Betty Davis - They Say I'm Different

Randy Travis - Old 8x10

On The Record: Schoolkids

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Introducing "On The Record," a series on North Carolina record stores. 

In a world that grows more digital by the second, record stores remain vital community hubs for people interested in connecting in-person with fellow music-lovers. In college towns, cities large and small and creative downtowns across North Carolina, record stores offer space to talk music with fellow aficionados, engage physically with the media, and spend time “treasure hunting” for that forgotten gem in the used bin. We’ve invited record stores across the state to share their stories throughout the Come Hear North Carolina campaign. First up in our Q&A series: Stephen H Judge, the owner of Schoolkids Records, the longest running independent record store in the state.

What is the name of your store and where are you based?

Schoolkids Records, Chapel Hill and Raleigh

How long have you been in operation?

44 years. We did close [our] Chapel Hill [location] for seven years.

Tell us about your store. What is its mission and why is the community you serve a good place for your business?

We are the longest running independent record store in North Carolina and one of the oldest in the United States. Chapel Hill is a great college town and community. It has a vast diversity of cultures (both domestic and international) and has been considered one of the 'best places to live' in the United States for over 25 years now. Having the University of North Carolina just a few blocks away and an incredible music history for such a small town, it makes it an ideal location. The number of 'famous' musicians that have walked through our doors and even worked at the shop over the years is too many to name. R.E.M.'s original manager worked at Schoolkids when he first discovered the Athens, G.A. legends. There is a strong connection with the local community and [with] bands from all over the world. It’s a staple of the community and I am proud that after seven years away I was able to bring the store back to town. It means a lot to me personally. We also have our own label and have a European office in Dublin, Ireland.

Essential North Carolina albums according to Schoolkids Records:

Superchunk - No Pocky For Kitty

Whiskeytown - Strangers Almanac

The Connells - Boylan Heights

Archers of Loaf - Icky Mettle

Hiss Golden Messenger - Haw

6 String Drag - High Hat

Tell us about your customers. Who is buying records? How has that changed over time? What do you think is driving the vinyl resurgence?

This has changed dramatically, it used to be heavily dominated by college students, mostly from UNC. Now it’s more 30+ somethings, local music community lovers, and a new era of younger vinyl crazy millennials. We also do a tremendous amount of business online, all over the world (Australia, Germany, UK, France, Ireland, etc.) so it’s very diverse. We love the vinyl resurgence, it’s amazing.

How people consume and access music has changed dramatically in the last decade. What do record stores offer in this ever-growing streaming music landscape?

In our Raleigh location we have a bar, and a stage. It’s just a 'hang out' [place] where people listen and talk about music. It’s a community, and people trade ideas and stories of the history of music and turn each other onto old and new things. You cannot get that online. It’s a different experience, one on one relationships. We do embrace the digital age as well. We have our own label and also offer streaming of music in the store to sample music they may potentially buy with our 'listening posts/iPads' on the wall.

We are so happy you’re participating in our giveaway! Tell us which record you are sharing and why you picked it.

6 String Drag's High Hat is a classic Americana album. Back in the early 90's when post-punk bands were breaking-up, many were starting country bands [like] Ryan Adams and Whiskeytown, The Backsliders, Trailer Bride, etc. This album stood out as a classic amongst many classics from our area. Steve Earle originally released it on his own label and [he] performs on the album. I reissued it on my label this past year.

What are your social media handles?

Website: www.schoolkidsrecords.com;

Facebook: www.facebook.com/SchoolkidsRecords and www.facebook.com/SchoolkidsRecordsChapelHill;

Twitter: @schoolkids 

Instagram: @SchoolkidsRecords

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