"I like curators," says The National's Matt Berninger in the Other Music documentary that's out to stream as of today. "People who are passionate enough to comb through it all and write a hundred words on a little card and make sure it stays stuck to the shelf." Those little cards at Other Music, the beloved NYC record store that was open from 1995-2016, meant a lot. Berninger added, "The first show at Mercury Lounge and the first time we got a card at Other Music, it was like 'My band is real.'"

When Other Music announced spring of 2016 that they would close on June 25, it signaled the end of an era in NYC, and filmmakers Puloma Basu and Robert Hatch-Miller document the store's final weeks. Nearly four years later, the Other Music documentary is out and is a love letter to record store culture, a bygone era of NYC and one tiny shop on W. 4th street in particular. "Per square meter it probably had more interest value than any other shop I'd even been in in the world," says Depeche Mode's Martin Gore.

There are many artists interviewed for Other Music, including Le Tigre's JD Samson, James Chance, Interpol's Daniel Kessler, Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Brian Chase, Vampire Weekend's Ezra Koenig, Magnetic Fields maestro Stephin Merritt, TV on the Radio's Tunde Adebimpe, Mogwai's Stuart Braithwaite, and Dean Wareham (Galaxie 500/Luna), plus actors Jason Schwartzman and Benicio Del Toro. Much of the screen time, though, is dedicated to the staff, including owners Chris Vanderloo and Josh Madell, and many of the clerks who stayed with the store for years. If you spent any time at Other Music over its 21-year run, you will probably say "oh yeah, that guy!" at least once.

Some of those staff members made music too, like Animal Collective's Noah Lennox (Panda Bear) and David Portner (Avey Tare) who worked at the store when their group was just starting out, and Antipop Consortium's Beans who was not shy about pushing his own music on customers. "No matter what [customers] said they were into," Madell remembers, "he'd say 'Have you checked out the new Antipop Consortium?" Many other musicians were regulars and sold CDs on consignment to Other Music, like Interpol and Vampire Weekend who both sold early EPs through the store before being signed. The most notable of these was probably William Basinski who talks about how his remarkable 9/11-inspired The Disintegration Loops owes a lot of its success to Other Music.

The film follows the whole history of the store: from when Vanderloo, Madell and Jeff Gibson all worked at Kim's Underground on Bleecker and decided to open their own store; to opening Other Music across the street from one of NYC's biggest record stores, Tower Records (which turned out to be a brilliant move on their part); through 9/11 and the NYC rock renaissance that came immediately after; to the store's short-lived entry into the MP3 market, and then age of streaming services that was ultimately a big part of their closing. The film climaxes with their final day in business and then their celebratory "second line" parade (featuring Matana Roberts, Jaimie Branch, Adam Schatz and more) down to Bowery Ballroom for a celebratory "Other Music Forever" concert featuring Yoko Ono, Yo La Tengo, Bill Callahan and more.

What the film does best is show how record stores could be a community, where clerks got to know their customer base, and how person-to-person recommendations offer more than an algorithm ever could (not yet at least). Back to those little cards, one of my favorite sequences in the documentary is when they bring a few of those cards to life, animating them and using the voices of the clerks who wrote them. When the staff talk about records they loved at Other Music, you can see the sparkle in their eyes, the passion -- and that made me miss it the most.

The only thing I wanted more from in the film was footage of Other Music's many live in-stores. There are brief clips of Neutral Milk Hotel (1996), Refrigerator (who sing a song about Tower Records), The National, Vampire Weekend, Mogwai, The Go-Betweens, Yo La Tengo, Apples in Stereo, Tinariwen, St. Vincent, Handsome Boy Modelling School, Conor Oberst, outsider artist Gary Wilson and a few more, but when they show a picture of all the VHS tapes they don't show...you hope for DVD bonus features.

The Other Music documentary was originally supposed to be in theaters today, timed to Record Store Day 2020 (4/18). Because of coronavirus, RSD got postponed to June 20 and most movie theaters are closed, so the film is getting a brief digital release from April 17-20 and your rental will go to help local independent record stores around the world who are hurting financially from the coronavirus pandemic. In NYC you can rent it via Academy Record Annex, Record Grouch, Jazz Record Center, DCTV, and Downtown Music Gallery (click the store name to rent digitally).

Head here for more info. A list of all participating stores/theatres and rental links, plus the trailer for the film, below.

OTHER MUSIC DOCEMENTARY -Virtual Theatrical Screenings
Support your favorite record shop or theater and rent the film via their link below.

April 17th-20th

10,000 Hz Records - Opelika
Seasick Records - Birmingham
Vertical House Records - Huntsville 

FilmBar - Phoenix (April 24th)
Stinkweeds - Phoenix

Boo Boo Records - San Luis Obisppo
Capital Records - Baja
Cinema SF - San Francisco
Discordia Records - El Centro
Factory Records - Costa Mesa
The Frida Cinema- Santa Anna 
Going Underground - Bakersfield
Main Streen Music - Tracy
Media Arts Center Digital Gym - San Diego
Permanent Records - Los Angeles
Streetlight Records - San Jose
Stranded Records - San Francisco
Wild Oak's Records - Red Bluff

Tripple Play Records - Grand Junction
Twist & Shout Records - Denver

Red Scroll Records - Wallingsford
The Telegraph - New London

Miracle Theatre - Washington D.C.
Songbyrd - Washington D.C. 

SqueezeBox Records - Wilmington

Analogopolis - Juno Beach
Daddy Kool Records - St. Petersburg
Enzian - Maitland
Mojo Books and Records Tampa
O-Cinema - Miami
Park Ave Records - Orlando
Rust & Wax - West Palm Beach
Technique Records - Miami
Sun-Ray Cinema - Jacksonville
Sweat Records - Miami
Tonevendor - Augustine

Comback Vinyl - Alpharetta
Criminal Records - Atlanta
Grantski Records - Augusta
Mojo Vinyl Records - Roswell
Secret Sounds - Athens

Analog Vault - Cedar Rapids

The Record Exchange - Boise

606 Records -Chicago
Plaza Records - Carbondale
Reckless Records - Chicago
Shuga Records - Chicago
South Rhodes Records - Chicago
Tone Deaf Records - Chicago
Waitingroom Records -Normal
Windy City Records - Downers Grove

Landlocked Music - Bloomington
Luna Music - Indianapolis
Static Age - Michigan City

Love Garden Sounds, Lawrence
Spektrum Music - Wichita

CD Central - Lexington
Guestroom Records - Louisville

Apohadion Theater - Portland
Bull Moose - Portland

Belltower Records - North Adams 
Brattle Theater - Cambridge
Dyno Records - Newburyport
Salem Film Fest - Salem
Vinyl Index. - Somerville

AFI Silver - Silver Spring
Atomic Books/Celebrated Summer Records - Baltimore
Parkway Theater - Baltimore
Red Onion Records - Hyattsville

Off the Record - Grand Haven
Underground Sounds - Ann Arbor
Virtigo Music - Grand Rapids 

Down In the Valley - Golden Valley
Sound Unsceen - Minneapolis

Kismet Creative Center, St. Louis
Screenland - Kansas City

The End of All Music - Oxford

Bozeman Film Society - Bozeman
Heavy Heads Records - Springfield

WSCA Radio - Portsmouth

Acme Screening Room - Lambertville
Showroom Cinemas - Asbury Park
Tunes - Hoboken 

Academy Record Annex - Brooklyn
Cinemapolis - Ithaca
DCTV - New York
Downtown Music Gallery  - New York
Infinity Records - Massapequa
Jazz Record Center - New York
North Park Theatre - Buffalo
Record Grouch - Brooklyn

Bull City Records - Durham
Harvest Records - Ashville
Lunchbox Records - Charlotte
Underdog Records - Winston-Salem

Blue Arrow Records - Cleveland
Culture Clash Records - Toledo
Earworm Records - Milford
Gateway Film Center - Columbus
Skeleton Dust Records - Dayton

House of Records - Eugene
Music Millennium - Portland

Electric Avenue Music - West Chester
Government Center - Pittsburgh
Graham's Records, Erie
Memory Video - Philadelphia
Young Ones Records - Kutztown

Monster Music - Charleston 

Jane Pickens Theater - Newport

Grimey's - Nashville
Luna Record Shop - Franklin
Magnolia Records- Knoxville
The Groove - Nashville

End of an Ear - Austin
Good Records - Dallas
Sound Exchange Records - Houston
Spinning Jenny's House of Music - Shamrock
Texas Theatre - Oak Cliff
Truth Vinyl - Arlington
Volume Music - Spring

Greywhale Entertainment - Taylorsville
Lavender Vinyl - Ogden

AFK Books and Records - Virginia Beach
Alamo Drafthouse - Winchester
Byrd Theater - Richmond
Mobius Records - Fairfax
Naro Cinema - Norfolk
Steady Sounds Records - Richmond

Autumn Records - Winooski

Alternative Library - Bellingham
Northwest Film Forum - Seattle
Pickford Film Center - Billingham 
Resurrection Records - Spokane
Scarecrow Video - Seattle
The Business - Anacortes

Assumption Records - Rivesville 

Bullseye Records - Milwaukee 

Audiopile - Vancouver
Audition Musik - Quebec
Bluestreak Records - Peterborough
Casa-Dia Vinyl Records - Fredericton
Chillwax Records - Chillwack
Dead Dog Records - Toronto
The Grand Gerrard - Toronto
L'Oblique - Montreal
Legend Records - Westboro
Le Noise - Quebec
Le Vacarme - Montreal
Listen Records - Edmonton
Millpond Records and Books - Cambridge
Mindbomb Records - St. Catharines
Odyssey Records - London
Phonopolis - Montreal
Pop Music - Toronto
Russell Red Records - Haliburton
Sloth Records - Calgary
Something Else Records - Kingston
Sound Fixation - Stratford
Spin-It Records New Brunswick
Sonic Boom Records - Toronto
VIFF - Vancouver

Wax Buildup - Maroochydore

Mezurashiya - Tokyo

Flying Out Records - Auckland

Big Dipper Records - Oslo

Dagga - Mexico City
La Ciruela Eléctrica - Tijuana
Revanche - Mexico City
Salvaje Music Store - Mexico City

Mr Vinyl - Johannesburg

Drift Records - Totnes
Empire Records - St. Albans
Just Dropped In - FarGo Village