Other Music, closed for good (Rebel Rebel, too)
photos by Sachyn Mital
After almost 21 years in business, Manhattan's great record store Other Music shut its doors for good Saturday night (6/25). A sad day, but OM's last day in business was pretty much a party when I showed up around 7 PM, for their last hour. Drinks were handed out to long time customers, and current/former staffers DJ'd all night. The store kept normal hours, closing the doors at 8 PM but let customers and friends linger inside, with the last sale around 10 PM. "I intended Arthur Russell's 'In The Light of the Miracle' to be the last song of the night," said Daniel Givens who had the last DJ shift of the night. "But of course, I'm gonna keep playing."
Saturday was also the final day for another iconic NYC record store, the even tinier Rebel Rebel in the West Village that had been in business on Bleecker St. since the '80s. It went out more quietly that OM, which was in line with its unassuming nature. Justin Strauss, who used to DJ at the Mudd Club, wrote a very nice tribute to Rebel Rebel via his instagram, and you can read that below.
A very sad day for music lovers in NYC. RIP Other Music and Rebel Rebel.
You've still got one more chance to visit Other Music, as they'll be hosting a free in-store with 75 Dollar Bill on Tuesday (6/28) at 5:30 PM. They'll have a few bins of "Everything Music Go" CDs and LPs as well. Then at 6:30, Matana Roberts will lead a Second Line parade east to the Bowery and down to Delancey for the sold-out Other Music Forever farewell show at Bowery Ballroom.
If you haven't, check out Other Music's All-Time Top 100 Best-Sellers. Our photographer was at Other Music in the early afternoon while NY1 was there filming a segment on the store. Check out more of those pics, and a few Instagrams (some of Rebel Rebel too), below.
This is Personal. There probably wasn't a more personal record store in New York City than Rebel Rebel on Bleecker Street. It's owner, who also was the guy behind the counter for 28 years, David Shapiro made it so. He couldn't help it. It's just the way he was and it was. Obviously named after the Bowie song, who David is pretty obsessed with, the store is piled to the ceiling, literally, with lots of Bowie and lots of everything else. Records, CDs, books, magazines, posters and who knows what . It was one of the first places I went when I heard of Bowie's death. Not to Bowie's apartment building but here. It just made sense. I've been shopping or just stopping in to say hi for the past 25 years or so. It was that kind of store. Many many conversations, meeting many people, discovering music, were all things that happened there. Buying a record there was a process, especially if you wanted to hear it first. The "listening booth" was a turntable behind the counter. So you'd have to bring your record, after you went though a few boxes to find it, bring your record (s) to David and wait for him to play it. In the days of vinyl only, that could take quite awhile as the tiny store could be packed. You could barely move in there sometimes. But he always somehow knew if he had something. "Oh yeah it's in that box behind the other box to the left on the floor". He was the last guy on earth to use a computer in a store. Up until recently, he just wrote everything down on a pad on his desk , which the last few times I was in there you could barely see him through the stuff piled up in front of it. I would often ask him for a record he didn't have and he would write the name down on this pad, and would most of time have it in the store in a few days. Two days ago, I heard the news that the store would close at the end of this month. After paying too many condolence calls to some of my favorite record stores in the city, I wasn't completely shocked. But walking in there yesterday it just hit home how incredibly special this place is. - Justin Strauss