July 24th, 2011 | Features | 0 Comments
Every music fan knows that the record store is a special place. It’s a place where you might meet cool people, where you can talk to the store clerk about music (if he’s not too snobby, and sometimes even then), where you can go to cheer up even just browsing records. And every time you lose a beloved record stores, it’s a big deal. You form relationships with record stores, each has their own character, their own thing that makes them unique. Losing one is like losing a friend.
Today is the last day Toronto’s Criminal Records will be open. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were a mourning party there to see it off, and I’d be part of it if I weren’t halfway across the world studying in Israel.
Criminal Records was my favourite record store in Toronto. Soundscapes is great and has that awesome local wall; Rotate Disc is badass; Sonic Boom is huge and amazing – may they all remain open forever – but Criminal was always the place with the cheapest records, the nicest store clerks, some of the best in-store performances, and that great T-Shirt selection of high quality stuff, not the cheap stuff you find in most other places. Most of the records I own I bought at Criminal. My three favourite shirts – my Lou Reed, Iggy Pop and Ian Curtis shirts – were purchased at Criminal for $20 or $30 and have lasted a very long time, way longer than pretty much all my other shirts.
I always enjoyed talking to Josh about record sales. He was always really, really friendly and I always found it very interesting to hear what was selling and what wasn’t. Did you know that Fleet Foxes’ first album is their top selling album ever? I thought that was very interesting.
And when I bought a record player there and it didn’t work properly, I brought it back and Josh immediately gave me a replacement, no shlep or anything. That’s the kind of guy he is, and that’s the kind of store Criminal Records was.
A great, great store. It will be dearly missed.
I’d like to dedicate The Hold Steady‘s “We Can Get Together” to Criminal Records, those who worked there, and those who shopped there. It’s a song about people who love listening to records.
Photo: Dylan Leeder