The thing I miss most about music stores is finding unexpected treasures. Queen St store Real Groovy was my dealer of choice. You had to ask to try a CD/vinyl and they’d put it on one of the ‘listening posts’ so you could sample it. I almost always ended up buying whatever was playing in the store, though: the guaranteed-eclectic choice of random staff members. That’s how I found Bonobo aka Simon Green, with his Remixes and B Sides in 2002. In 1997 I walked in and Degobrah by Butter 08 hit me like an aural brick. I immediately bought the City of Industry soundtrack without knowing a damn thing about the film or the artists, and that’s how I discovered Massive Attack.
Real Groovy still exists, although in a new, smaller, building across the road. Yet somehow it seems too hard to head into the CBD by bus (there is zero parking) and sample music in meat space, when I can download it instantly without leaving the cocoon of my home. Instead I subscribe to a couple of thoughtfully curated mass-market new music lists, although I have no idea of the curators’ motivations, loves, or potential kickbacks.
I’m missing out. Where is the new, unexpected work that grabs my liver and shakes me by the vertebrae? I know it’s out there. There must be an online equivalent of descending into a gloomy cavern, entirely unaware of what’s about to ooze into your ears.