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record stores

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Culture Hawker Chronicles: John Bowker and She Said Boom!

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In this series, Trevor Abes gets to know the people behind the counter at Toronto’s music stores, book shops, and art galleries. John Bowker is the owner and operator of She Said Boom! Roncesvalles. For five years he served as board director for the Review Cinema and he is the current  chair of the Beautification Committee at the Roncesvalles Village Business Improvement Area. He shares his...

Portrait of a Record Store: She Said Boom! Roncesvalles

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She Said Boom! takes its indelible name from the first song on Toronto post-punk band Fifth Column’s All-Time Queen of the World. It has two locations (393 Roncesvalles Ave and 372 College St), under separate but amicable ownership, that serve two very different communities. The College store is close to Kensington Market and the University of Toronto so it caters to younger customers, mostly...

Record Store Review: Kops Records

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Founded in 1976 with a focus on soul music and mod subculture, Kops Records (229 Queen St. West) is Toronto’s oldest independent record store. It’s known for housing the largest selection of seven inch 45s in Canada and for an abiding dedication to musical roots. According to General Manager Patrick Grant, “[Kops] specializes in unveiling to people the roots of stuff that they like. We’re trying...

Staff Selections: Ellis Iyomahan

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The resident IT expert at Play de Record and owner of Studizzy Productions recently sat down with me to talk DJing, music, and life. Born in Oslo, Norway, to Nigerian parents, Iyomahan has been living in Toronto for the past four years, and has produced tracks for the likes of Susie Kylie, Jhyve, and the late Camille Douglas.

Record Store Review: Grasshopper Records

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Enveloped in a neck-protecting aura of Wu-tang posters, busted amps, Star Wars figurines, and portraits, the vinyl-only Grasshopper Records (1167 Dundas St. West) feels like your coolest friend’s apartment if everything in it went up for sale. Decked out with two black pleather couches and a club chair with armrests wide enough to hold your coffee, the invitation is to hang out and browse rather...

Record Store Review: Play de Record

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Play de Record, at 357 Yonge Street, is a paragon of adaptation. Opened in 1990, behind a convenience store and with only records and tapes for sale, it has since taken over the front of the building and gone on to become the primo destination for seasoned DJs in need of the latest equipment, as well as upstarts looking to pick up new skills at Play de Academy. Play also sells new and used...

Record Store Review: Viva La Vortex

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Nestled in the heart of Midtown (2309 Yonge Street, 2nd floor), Vortex Records and its owner, Bert Myers, have been supplying Torontonians with second-hand CDs and vinyl for almost 30 years. The store carries all kinds of music but specializes in rock and pop and is currently building up its jazz and country stock. They keep an ample A-Z soul section and rows of DVDs and Blu-Rays line the walls...