As documented in Graham Jones’ excellent ‘Last Shop Standing’, record shops in Britain have had a troubled few years, leaving many towns without a single music retailer to call their own (not even a bloody HMV).
This can hit musicians particularly hard, with no local outlet to sell their wares through. North-East indie band Frankie & The Heartstrings have therefore taken things into their own hands and, with the help of the local council, set up a new shop, Pop Recs, in their home town of Sunderland. As with many new record shops, they will be looking to diversify from simply flogging old vinyl, with a recreation and performance space included in the plans, which will see local favourites like the Futureheads performing during the opening fortnight, alongside artists like Bernard Butler and Badly Drawn Boy.
There’ll also be local coffee and beer available, and they’ve even got Pete Fowler to design the bloody mugs. It’s a brilliant idea, full of the sort of self-starting enthusiasm that’s necessary to launch such an enterprise in the current climate. The shop opens on June 1st.