Film & Music

Long Live the Record Store

Last Shop Standing, a UK documentary on independent record stores, comes to Providence

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What do you get when you combine Providence’s most beloved art house theater, a gathering of the Creative Capital’s vinyl lovers and music historians, and an acoustic performance setup? This Sunday’s special screenings of UK music documentary Last Store Standing: The Rise, Fall, and Rebirth of the Independent Record Shop (2012) at the Cable Car Cinema.

Timed with the sixth annual international celebrations of Record Store Day, Sunday’s event will bring together the best of the local music scene and Providence’s community support of the arts and independent businesses. The Cable Car will host vendors including What Cheer Records & Antiques, Analog Underground Records, RIAM Collector The Colonel Johnny Maguire, Armageddon Records and In Your Ear Records, along with special acoustic performances by Vudu Sister’s Keith McCurdy, The Sugar Honey Iced Tea, Brian Webb, Ted Widmer (formerly of The Upper Crust), and an all-vinyl set by DJ Sistersquid (aka Samantha Calamari). Rocket Street Food will provide the eats.

Directed by Pip Piper and based on Graham Jones’ book of the same name, Last Shop Standing investigates the recent revival of independent record store culture. The film tours Britain’s most historic music shops, and interviews the mega-fans behind the businesses, as well as industry experts and musicians leading the charge to promote the rebirth of the record store. Exploring the crucial role that these stores continue to play in music education and artist cultivation, musician Johnny Marr (of The Smiths fame) calls independent record shops “a library for your ears and your mind.”

I got a chance to ask director Pip Piper a few questions about the film:

The Last Shop Standing is subtitled "the rise, fall and rebirth of the independent record shop." What do you think has been the main force behind the rebirth? The people? The music? Buy local movements?
A resurgence in vinyl which has been aided by Record Store Day, and shops being much more innovative around gigs, selling coffee and making themselves a hub for people to congregate.

In the film trailer, Tony Wadsworth, former Chairman and CEO of EMI Music UK & Ireland is quoted as saying that “people want somewhere that they can go and find something they didn’t know they wanted.” What's your all time best record store find?
Wow, that's hard. Each new discovery is just so great. I did love finding the original Woodstock Live triple album at King Bees in Manchester though...

Record Store Day has become synonymous with special releases. Any special editions you can't wait to get your hands on this year?
Wow, there's 450! Probably one of the Bowie tracks to be honest, but I am at a family do on the 20th out in the sticks so cant get to a shop. Agghhhh!

The local music scene is all ears about this film, but do you think it has a broader resonance? Why should people that aren't musicians/vinyl lovers/local music fans go see Last Shop Standing?
That's a great question because I love the answer. This film is all about celebrating something in culture that we have almost lost. Record shops are music culture hubs. It’s not just about retail – it’s about a love of music and all that entails and also a celebration of independence against the monoculture of big brand, soulless consumerism. You should see and love this film because it’s actually about what's important in life.

Last Shop Standing will be playing at the Cable Car Cinema this Sunday, April 21, at 7pm and 9:30pm. Local record vendors and live music performances will take place from 5-7pm, with a DJ-set between film screenings. Tickets are $7.