Tag Archives: record store

Bargain Bin(ge): Basement Records (Knoxville, TN)

Knoxville, Tennessee is a lovely city in East Tennessee, famous for being the home of the Tennessee Valley Authority and the University of Tennessee. It is also only a few miles from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

knox5Recently, I took a trip to the area, and my route took me right through the heart of Knoxville. As always, I decided to take some time to check out a record store in town. In this case, I spent a little portion of my trip digging around in a shop called Basement Records.

knox6 knox3Basement Records is, to start off with, a cool little shop. The folks working the front also seemed like pretty cool people, which is a boon for a little shop like this if you ask me. It is adorned with all sorts of posters and playbills that cover seemingly every inch of wall space, and boxes of records sit everywhere you look. An entire row of boxes are dedicated to soundtracks, which is always cool to see. There were also a handful of DVDs and VHSs in the shop, but they were primarily concerts, performances, and music documentaries. For those that weren’t, the price just wasn’t right for me. As I recall, DVDs were $4 a pop, which is pretty far from a steal for older, used stuff. Still, it made for some fun sifting, even if I didn’t ultimately walk away with any movies.

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However, digging through the soundtrack selection yielded some interesting and off-the-wall stuff, as you can see below.

Cobra

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I have a full feature written and queued up about this cult classic Sylvester Stallone flick, so I won’t go into too much detail here. However, I will say that I recommend checking it out. Also, it has an interesting soundtrack that varies in style, and hybridizes pop music of the 1970s and 1980s. It features artists like Miami Sound Machine, Gary Wright, and Gladys Knight, just to name a few. The score was composed by Sylvester Levay, who wrote the 1975 hit single “Fly Robin Fly,” and also composed music for Mannequin and Hot Shots.

1941

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1941 is regarded as one of the few career missteps of Steven Spielberg, and has a place etched in cinema history because of it. In spite of an all-star ensemble cast, the movie is incredibly uneven, and lacks the comedic core necessary to hold it together. I did a whole write-up on it some time ago that goes into a lot of detail on it if you are curious. However, it notably features a score by the legendary film composer John Williams, and it is a damn good one. I remember playing the memorable march from the movie with my high school symphonic band, and the whole score is really worth a listen for people who like wind ensemble and marching band style music. If that is your bag, you have to check it out.

They Call It An Accident

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They Call It An Accident is apparently a French movie from 1982 that was written, directed, and prominently stars French actress Nathalie Delon, but good luck finding out anything else about it. At this time, it has a whopping 7 total user reviews on IMDb. Despite that, the movie’s soundtrack boasts the likes of U2, Steve Winwood, and Wally Badarou, which is really something for a movie that apparently no one has ever seen. My girlfriend is the one who pointed this one out to me from the stacks, mostly because of the strange album art. Despite my best efforts at this point, I still have no idea what this movie is about, or how someone could get a hold of it.

Every Which Way But Loose

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Every Which Way But Loose is a Clint Eastwood action/comedy movie that co-stars an orangutan. It is kind of like a combination of Over The Top and Road House, but with an orangutan thrown comedically into the mix. 1978 was a weird time for the world.

The primary reason that this particular soundtrack stood out to me is because I have heard the film’s theme song, which is way catchier than it should be.

The music for the movie was conducted and mostly composed by Steve Dorff, whose mixture of pop country music and television score writing has earned him a handful of Grammy and Emmy nominations. He has also done a fair bit of film scoring, such as for Dudley Do-Right, Pink Cadillac, and Pure Country. He is also interestingly the father of actor Stephen Dorff.

 

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Bargain Bin(ge): The Rhythm Section (Gatlinburg, TN)

This past weekend, I took a trip with my family to spend Thanksgiving in the tourist destination of Gatlinburg, Tennessee, right in the midst of the Smoky Mountains.

During the time that we were there, a small fire in Chimney Tops burned in relative containment in a section of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, just a few miles away from the city. We even drove past it on Saturday, and took photos of the smoke from a nearby park road, assuming it was essentially under control. Less than 24 hours after we left Gatlinburg to go home on Sunday, extreme wind gusts spread the fire rapidly through the dry forest, and brought the blaze into the town at an unprecedented speed. At the time of this writing, I have seen a handful of images and videos of the damage done to Gatlinburg, but the real extent of the fire isn’t entirely clear. Currently, there are 3 confirmed deaths in association with the fire.

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This is what the Chimney Tops fire looked like when I saw it on Nov 26

Before this tragedy erupted, I did the same thing that I do with any location I visit: I stopped by a local record store to take a look at their movie and soundtrack selections. In the case of Gatlinburg, I was a little surprised to find a little shop called The Rhythm Section. The town itself is quite small, so I assume this little spot has survived on the heavy tourism traffic in the area as opposed to consistent local patronage. In any case, the shop is as charming as it is compact, and might be the most space-utilitarian record store I have seen.

rhythm3Unfortunately, the shop has a specific policy banning photography in the store, so I don’t have my usual photographic coverage for this post.  However, I will say that the selection of posters, buttons, t-shirts, and other miscellaneous items was off the charts, even if the selection of records wasn’t as fleshed out. The DVD selection was also pretty impressive: there were a fair number of cult and foreign flicks in their stacks, including a mixture of Hesei and Showa Godzilla features that you wouldn’t stumble across terribly often.

rhythm2However, as the name suggests, The Rhythm Section is definitely a music-first shop. If that is your passion, then this is a place that deserves some dedicated time. For movie fans, their selection is interesting and entertaining, but not terribly deep or thrifty. I’d still recommend picking up something, even just a patch or a button, because the place is just such a welcome sight among a plethora of cheap, confederate flag peddling junk stores.

rhythm1In the wake of the fires that have done such immense damage to the region, and Gatlinburg in particular, I’m sending all my best to the folks at The Rhythm Section, and the other residents of the impacted area. If you want to help, I’ve seen some recommendations to support the organization Friends of the Smokies.

Bargain Bin(ge): A Separate Reality Records (Cleveland, OH)

Recently, I took a quick drive up to Cleveland, OH, which was my first time in the prominent Great Lakes city. Admittedly, I only knew as much as the internet had told me of it.

As I usually do when exploring a new city, I set aside some time to hunt for film-related used media: soundtrack records, DVDs, VHS, laserdiscs, etc.

One of my stops in the city was a trippy little record store called A Separate Reality, which initially stuck out to me due to its prominent eyeball logo.

wp-1476147671412.jpg wp-1476147658328.jpgWhile A Separate Reality doesn’t have any movies among its considerable inventory, this is the kind of record store I always hope to find. The selection of vintage soundtracks was as massive as it was eccentric, featuring everything from science-fiction classics to italian horror flicks to blaxploitation legends to children’s films. The selection included so many notables that I’m only going to spotlight only a handful of them here, and recommend that people check this place out on their own.

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The Exorcist II: The Heretic

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The Exorcist II is one of the most infamous Hollywood failures of all time, and a movie I have covered on the blog before. However, it also features a score from famed composer Ennio Morricone, who recently (finally) won an Academy Award for The Hateful Eight. However, if you are a fan of his work on movies like The Thing, Once Upon A Time In The West, or Once Upon A Time In America, you might be in for a shock with his score here. It’s…well…distinct.

City of the Living Dead

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City of the Living Dead is a 1980 film by Lucio Fulci. The score was composed by Fabio Frizzi, a frequent Fulci collaborator who also provided music for his films A Cat In The Brain, The Beyond, and Zombie, as well as the bizarre 1977 Italian version of Godzilla by Luigi Cozzi.

Hercules

hercules19831Hercules is a 1983 movie directed by Luigi Cozzi for Cannon films, and stars Lou Ferrigno as the legendary demi-god. Even if you haven’t seen this movie, you may have been exposed to the infamous clip of Ferrigno throwing a bear into outer space. I did a full write-up on this bizarre movie a while back, and I highly recommend it.

The score for Hercules was provided by Pino Donaggio, who is probably best known for his work with Brian De Palma (Carrie, Blow Out, Raising Cain, Body Double, Dressed To Kill) and Joe Dante (Piranha, The Howling).

Americathon

Americathon is a strange relic of a movie, that could only possibly come from 1979. It is a satiric future vision of a United States dominated by Jimmy Carter and liberals, with a focus on environmentalism to the detriment of private business and the national debt. It is a weird window into an America before the Reagan presidency, and looking at it now is kind of bizarre. There is a whole lot of xenophobia and racism baked into this feature, and it doesn’t seem to have much of a point to it, but from a socio-political lens, it is an interesting movie to observe.

I first caught this movie at the 2016 B-fest in Chicago, and it is one of the features that has most stuck with me. However, that is admittedly mostly because Meat Loaf fights a car in it. The politics are kind of interesting too, though. The soundtrack includes tracks from The Beach Boys, Eddie Money, and Elvis Costello, among a handful of others, which makes it somewhat notable.

Bargain Bin(ge): Blue Arrow Records (Cleveland, OH)

Recently, I took a quick drive up to Cleveland, OH, which was my first time in the prominent Great Lakes city. Admittedly, I only knew as much as the internet had told me of it.

As I usually do when exploring a new city, I set aside some time to hunt for film-related used media: soundtrack records, DVDs, VHS, laserdiscs, etc.

My first stop in Cleveland was Blue Arrow Records, located in the Waterloo Arts District, and surrounded by buildings adorned with street art and sculpture gardens. It definitely has a cool vibe to it, synthesizing a hip and eccentric interior with an anachronistic external aesthetic, punctuated by the eponymous neon blue arrow.

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As far as the selection goes, Blue Arrow is a pure record store, and there aren’t any significant wayward VHS or DVDs to be found hiding out on their shelves. However, they do have a not-to-shabby collection of soundtrack records, of which a number caught my eye.

To Live And Die In LA

To Live And Die In LA is a 1985 crime movie directed by William Friedkin, the lauded New Hollywood auteur who helmed The French Connection and The Exorcist. In many ways, To Live And Die In LA is an attempt to re-capture the success of The French Connection, with a distinctly 1980s flair. One of the keystones of that 1980s aesthetic that Friedkin wanted for the film was the soundtrack, which is provided in entirety by the band Wang Chung. Seriously. Of course, when I saw this soundtrack on the shelves at Blue Arrow for $3, it absolutely went home with me.

I recently saw To Live And Die In LA for the first time, which was spurred on after reading William Friedkin’s autobiography. While it is a bit uneven, the movie is well designed, well acted, features one of the greatest car chases in film history, and is at least partially responsible for the rise of Willam Dafoe. It is a pretty good time, subverts the tropes and expectations of the genre, and deserves a second look (to say the least). The Wang Chung soundtrack is just the cherry on top of an already pretty damn cool movie, and I highly recommend seeking it out.

Over The Top

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Over The Top is a 1987 Canon feature starring Sylvester Stallone that I covered on the blog some time ago. I regard this as a must-watch for bad movie fans, and it encapsulates a lot of what makes late 1980s cheese-ball flicks what they are. The soundtrack for the film is no exception, featuring such acts as Asia, Sammy Hagar, Kenny Loggins, and Sylvester Stallone’s brother, Frank Stallone.

Assault on Precinct 13

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Assault on Precinct 13 is the movie that explosively introduced the world at large to John Carpenter. I personally still regard it as one of his best movies, and perhaps the most iconic siege thriller ever put to film. As with most of Carpenter’s films, it also features a synthesizer score created by the director, which is defined by simple rhythms and haunting drones. I like the score to Assault on Precinct 13 almost as much as the movie itself, and would have picked it up if it hadn’t been so expensive. There’s just no such thing as cheap John Carpenter vinyl these days.

Bargain (Bin)ge: Finders Records (Bowling Green, OH)

Recently, I took a trip up to Detroit, MI to attend a John Carpenter retrospective concert (which was, for the record, awesome). While I was up that way, I decided to take a couple of days to explore the area. This included, of course, going on the hunt for physical media.

As with many other areas I’ve visited, I wasn’t able to find any accessible specific movie shops in the city limits of Detroit, so I decided to hit up a handful of local record stores and book shops in the city instead. What I found didn’t include a whole lot of VHS or DVD selection, but I wound up with a handful of soundtracks at least.

On the way up to Detroit, I took a quick detour based on my girlfriend’s recommendation. Bowling Green, OH, known for being the home of Bowling Green State University, has quite the local record shop: Finders Records.

finder15 finder16Finders Records is almost the perfect platonic ideal of a record store. It has a massive selection of both used and new vinyl, and the atmosphere and decor are easily unparalleled. It consists of three large rooms, each roughly the size of your typical record store, and they are all absolutely packed with media. The vibe of the place had me wondering if Liv Tyler or John Cusack would wander in the front door with some sort of angsty life problem.

finder17 finder14 finder13 finder12Unfortunately, as with many record stores, the DVDs were limited to concerts and music documentaries. However, the soundtrack selection was pretty stellar. Plus, there was a small buy/sell/trade down the block with a decent enough selection of movies and video games, though it wasn’t terribly much to write home about.

finder11 finder10 finder9 finder1 finder2 finder3 finder4 finder5 finder6 finder7 finder8If you happen to find yourself around Toledo/Bowling Green in Northwest Ohio, you need to do yourself a favor and check out the impressive Finders Records.

Bargain (Bin)ge: Dr. Disc (Windsor, ON)

Recently, I took a trip up to Detroit, MI to attend a John Carpenter retrospective concert (which was, for the record, awesome). While I was up that way, I decided to take a couple of days to explore the area. This included, of course, going on the hunt for physical media.

As with many other areas I’ve visited, I wasn’t able to find any accessible specific movie shops in the city limits of Detroit, so I decided to hit up a handful of local record stores and book shops in the city instead. What I found didn’t include a whole lot of VHS or DVD selection, but I wound up with a handful of soundtracks at least.

At one point over the weekend, my girlfriend and I took the scenic jaunt across the Detroit river into cheery old Windsor, Ontario, Canada. From what I saw, there isn’t much to the town, but there is a little two-story record shop called Dr. Disc.

8 7 1 6According to their website, Dr. Disc traces its lineage in Windsor back to 1982, which is pretty impressive. The space itself is quite cool, and decorated with everything from independent movie posters to a fishing net lined with vinyl records. There is another shop in Hamilton, ON with the same name and apparent branding, but they appear to be totally independent of each other. Maybe there used to be a chain of these at some point, and these are the last two survivors? Who knows?

10As far as selection goes, there’s a little bit of everything at Dr. Disc. There are obviously tons of records and CDs, but there’s also a good number of DVDs and Blu-Rays. Most interesting of all, though, was the tucked away corner of VHS tapes on the second story.

9 5 4 Proving without a doubt that Windsor is, indeed, Canadian, I saw more Don Cherry tapes and DVDs than I actually thought existed in the entire world. I’ve always known about him from being a hockey fan, but I had no idea that the tacky-suited loudmouth hockey commentator had an extensive line of DVDs and VHSs. On top of that, there were a handful of non-Cherry hockey blooper tapes that go back to the age of the Quebec Nordiques, OG Winnipeg Jets, and green-trimmed New Jersey Devils.

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