Category Archives: Record Stores
Received this news in my inbox, and since it’s my favourite Toronto record store, figured you all should know so you can give them a warm welcome to the ‘hood. Couldn’t be happier to have them here – now I really have very few reasons left to travel north of College St.
On Saturday, September 27, Sonic Boom Records opens the doors at its new home in the historic Robertson Building at 215 Spadina Avenue, just north of Queen St West, in Toronto. Any music fan knows the perils of moving a record collection; in Sonic Boom’s case they’ll be hauling over 75,000 LPs, 20,000 CDs and 20,000 DVDs to its new Spadina location.
Previously located in the Honest Ed’s building, the move comes after the news that the Mirvish Village has been sold and will be redeveloped. While they could have remained in the Annex location for a few more years, Sonic Boom owner Jeffrey Barber fell in love with the space in the Robertson Building and decided to seize the opportunity. “The location is incredible, the size is nearly the same as our current location and the building itself is absolutely beautiful. It really is going to be the same old Sonic Boom, just in a much nicer space.”
While saddened to be leaving the neighbourhood they have called home for the last 13 years, Barber is very excited to have found a space so close to Queen Street. “I’ve noticed Spadina has really been changing in the last few years- cool bars, nice restaurants, tons of foot traffic. I believe Sonic Boom is going to be a great fit in this area. And hey, we’re actually still really close to the Annex, so we hope our local friends keep in touch!”
Hey guys! I decided that, since tomorrow is vinyl nerd Christmas, it makes more sense to give you the rundown of how Toronto is celebrathing this beloved annual holiday today in leiu of TGIF this week – so you can prepaire accordingly.
I am currently on my way back home to Welland to celebrate Easter with my fam – why oh why did this day land on the Easter weekend? Come on, guys… what am I gonna do in Welland to get my fix? No Record Store Day limited editions for me this year. So please, please, enjoy it for me.
Here’s a breakdown of what’s happening where and when, starting with stores that aren’t going as RSD crazy and ending with the best spot to hit up – so you don’t miss a thing tomorrow. Thanks to my amazing intern Sebastien for putting the list together! Let us know in the comments if there’s a store we missed that you think deserves a shout out.
- 642 Queen Street W
- 12 pm – 9 pm
- Neurotica’s website has a ticker of featured and rare vinyls that they have in stock to help the hunting process. Refresh the page a few times to and see if anything there might interest you.
She Said Boom
- She Said Boom has two locations, one at 393 Roncesvalles Avenue, and one at 372 College Street
- They’re open from 11 am – 7 pm at both locations
- They recently promised a forthcoming list of releases on their Twitter (though time is running short), so keep an eye out there for what you might want to buy!
- Kops Records also has two locations, the most well known one being at 229 Queen Street W, and the other at 592 Bloor Street W
- Open from 11 am – 8 pm at both stores
- Kops records has not been forthcoming with details of what will be in stock. I guess that means you’re just going to have to head there to hunt things down. But it’s Kops, so you’d be crazy not to anyways.
- 801 Queen Street W
- 11:02 am – 7 pm
- Unless your ear is much lower to the ground than mine, this is another record store that it seems you’re just going to have to go to to find out what they’ll have in stock. Again though, it’d be hard to believe you weren’t intending on heading down there in the first place.
Play de Record
- 357a Yonge Street
- Open 12 pm – 8pm
- Play de Record has gained a reputation for it’s Unique selection of hip hop and electronic music. With DJ’s spinning music in honour of Record Store day, Play de Record is a necessary stop in your travels and hosts a substantial selection of turntables and DJ equipment, for the gearheads that intend to be out browsing this weekend.
- 784 Yonge Street
- 8:30 am – 9pm
- Not only do Sunrise card holders get in early, but if you buy or renew your ID Card that day, you will get a vinyl sticker added to your card. That’s good for your ID Card discount + an extra 10% Off all non-RSD vinyl for the next year.
- Sunrise has been showing off their warehouse stock, which includes Childish Gambino’s Because the internet , Chvrches Recover EP and many others on their facebook page. Give it a gander, and see what tickles your fancy.
- 662 College Street
- 11 am – 9 pm
- June Records will have DJs spinning music all day to accompany your browsing experience
- So far they’ve released exactly two albums that they’ll have in stock. Frank Zappa’s Don’t Eat the Yellow Snow and Alexander Robotnick’s Vintage Robotnicks. Head down there to see what else they’ll have.
Cabin Fever Collective
- 1669 Bloor Street W
- 8am – 8 pm
- Cabin Fever is pulling out all the stops, and was a serious contender for the number one spot. Not only are they giving out free coffee all day, they have a liquor license in the evening to accompany a live show that includes a performance by Papermaps.
- They’ve been hosting a few contests on their twitter page, with one of the prizes being a chance to be first in the store. They’ve made an effort to bring in as many record store day releases as possible, so this prize may be a boon to those of you with an eye out for that super rare release!
- Sonic Boom has two locations, one in the Annex at 782 Bathurst Street, and one in Kensington at 201 Augusta Ave
- The Annex location will be open 10 am – midnight, while the Kensington location will be open from 11 am – 9 pm
- The Annex location, however, is the place to be this year for Record store day. With an event hosted by Chart Attack and Fuelled by Pistonhead Lager, pay a visit to Sonic Boom and be sure to catch any of the free live performances taking place throughout the afternoon. A full lineup can be found on their Facebook page.
Tomorrow morning Kensington Market will finally have a desperately needed record store. As much as I love the Market (I live where I do partly so I can be close to it) it hasn’t had much of anything to offer in the record department beyond Paradise Bound. Not a huge deal since She Said Boom and Soundscapes are within walking distance – but neither of them have a particularly extensive vinyl section- the former focusing more on books and the latter on CDs.
So when I heard the news that Sonic Boom was opening up a second shop in Kensington I was ecstatic. Especially since the news was announced when they told us the landmark location in The Annex was being forced to move across the block and share a space with Honest Eds, the same week I found out my closest record store Criminal Records was closing up shop forever. The thought of having what has always been my favorite place for vinyl in the city within walking distance of my apartment helped to soften the blow. Not only that but this shop would ditch the CDs and replace it with vintage furniture and clothing, in true Kensington Market style. I couldn’t be happier.
Sonic Boom’s Annex location was one of the first record stores I ever set foot in back in 2004, and it was the first place that made me realize moving to Toronto was the best decision I ever made. I have nothing but great memories in that store and it breaks my heart to see it go, even if it is just moving down the street.
I was lucky enough to get an early look at the new location Monday night from owner Jeff Barber, who showed me the space and talked of plans to keep the beloved Sonic Boom in-store tradition alive in both locations, hoping to make use of the patio space at this location during Pedestrian Sundays with outdoor performances. He said the first in-store at the new Annex location will likely be Pete Bjorn and John, which I am super excited for.
He also noted that the new Kensington space will have vintage 70s and 80s stereo equipment for sale, showing me a few examples:
The walls of the store are painted in stripes of orange and pale green to match the original location and lined with records on display, 7 inches will be along the middle wall above their section and the LPs will be all across the back. It is going to look gorgeous. The vintage furniture had not yet arrived when I was there and he noted it will take time to build that section up, but it will be in the front, used to display the stereo equipment for sale, with t-shirts along the walls.
The space is not huge – no where near the size of the current Annex location – but it is perfect for what they need, slightly larger than Rotate This and Criminal Records. Jeff pointed out that a lot of his display cases were bought from Criminal Records closing sale, and how both stores leaned on each other during their mutual bad news.
I asked about the decision to have a vinyl only store and he noted that they discussed it for a while trying to figure out what percentage of CD’s would work, but in the end having a small CD section seemed somewhat pointless. He left it up to the staff to decide what they were interested in, and everyone felt all vinyl was the way to go. They also wanted to make sure the store would be affordable, rather than the typical 15$ and up price tag you will find vinyl here for as low as 3$ – 4$.
He also mentioned how the plan for a store in the Market was in the works before the frustrating situation in the Annex happened, noting how the lease was coming up for renewal so he wanted to have a back up plan.
“All my friends and coworkers were like, ‘ohh we’ll re-sign, we’ll re-sign, no problem’ and I was like ‘you know what, I just want to be prepared just in case’, and I think even if we did re-sign that we could also make a small satellite store in Kensington.”
His gut feeling was right, as they not only didn’t re-sign but the owner didn’t even give him a chance to beat out the offer they accepted from Dollarama to buy the space, after eleven years of being a loyal and respectful tenant.
The funny part – the new Kensington location used to be a dollar store.
Be sure to stop by 201 Augusta Avenue tomorrow between 11am and 9pm to welcome Jeff and the team to the neighborhood and buy some vinyl – the selection looks great – a masterfully curated independent rock/pop section along with dedicated sections for jazz, r&b, soul and international music.
This location is open from 11am to 9pm seven days a week, and it is most definitely my new home away from home.