Tuesday, June 14, 2016

City Finds | Earshot


In lieu of keeping with the #misfitMusicMay theme of last month, I thought this would be a perfect time to begin June off with a City Finds review relative to keep the momentum going. I can hardly believe it's been a full year since I've done one of these! But first, it seems fitting to share a back story, so that you-mainly new readers-can better understand why Earshot has a special place in my heart.

The very first album I owned was 1999 by Prince, which was actually a hand-me down from my mom that I was so proud to have in my possession. I was so infatuated with it's colossal, rotund size and the crackling sound as the needle touched the rippled texture. Although I could request to listen, I was forbidden from toying with my parents' collection, out of fear that I would scratch up and destroy their sacred collectibles, therefore that gift was a special moment for me. Not only did it feel like I gained a piece of my parents' trust, it marked the beginning of my obsession of vinyl collecting. Who knew this would turn out to be a hobby I'd love well into adulthood?

One of my favorite things to do as a little girl was crate hunt for classic vinyls in smelly thrift and stores. Even now, I'm constantly exploring my way to and through as many local hole-in-the wall shops as possible, looking relentlessly for more records to add to my collection. There's something so magical about discovering those unwanted treasures and fingering through endless titles of artists new and old. Sometimes I imagine I'm a teenager in the 70's, looking for hot new records for Friday night's kickback.  Aside from that, I believe I'm one of the few people my age who still likes to purchase physical copies of albums I like that could all potentially be a foreign items of times long gone one day.

Although I'd like to believe that there's no such thing as a coincidences, I stumbled upon Earshot completely by accident. It was a rainy day in January of this year and I was looking for some kind of fast food place to eat after work. I can't remember what prompted me to go the opposite direction of home, but I ended up in the a pretty easy to spot outdoor shopping center in Winston-Salem, NC, with a cluster of restaurant options and regular chain retail stores. Dismissing any kind of appetite that I had, Earshot caught my attention immediately.

Cornered between Marshall's and a Jamaican food spot (that I'm dying to try, by the way), is this small, yet efficient, space, where I found a little slice of heaven. After spending about 2 1/2 hours inside, perusing the shelves and "playing" DJ on the turntables the store provided for listening purposes, I left the store with 3 CD's that had been either misplaced or stolen from me in previous years and 2 vinyls. Just like I did with lunch money in high school, I casually spent the money initially designated for food (lunch money) on my new music purchases, Usually driving in the rain annoys me, but that particular evening, it didn't bother me at all, just appreciating the prolonged time lapse, so that I had more time to spend with Bob Marley, Alicia Keys, and all the various artist included on the Pulp Fiction soundtrack.

In the digital age we live in, technology has pretty much dominated the manufacturing of music. The popularity of vinyl records and classic turntables has resurfaced, which is awesome because now, turntables are more accessible and made with better quality, increasing a vinyls longevity. I also think it's cool that I am now able to buy vinyl copies of newer artist that I love. On the flip side, however, the prices of newer albums have sky rocketed in order to meet the demand of the current market, which is a little unfortunate. It makes me happy when shop owners like Phred Rainey, owner and proprietor of Earshot, value maintaining the tradition of making album purchases a affordable, fun experience for consumers. The ultimate goal when I'm vinyl shopping is to hold on to the art of collecting and host as many candid conversations as possible with fellow music connoisseurs, who deserve recognition for their contribution to timeless music.

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1 comment

  1. Dope post, Chymere! I love how beautifully you describe the experience of receiving your first vinyl and perusing thrift stores for vinyl classics. It took me back to some of my own fond childhood memories of music.

    Earshot seems like a pretty cool place. Thanks for sharing it with us!

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