About four years ago, my in-laws decided to re-possess part of the Brooklyn brownstone they've owned in Park Slope since they were living there in the early 1960s, evicting the deadbeat on the garden level who'd been steadily derelict in his rent-paying for the past god knows how many years. As such, I was recruited early on to help get the place -- left a complete wreck by its newly-ousted tenant -- back in some semblance of working order. Prior to that. my only real experience in Brooklyn -- being an unrepentant, dyed-in-the-woold Manhatten snob -- had been in hanging out at various divey clubs, bars and the odd record store in Williamsburg in the 90s. And beyond seeing Firewater at Southpaw earlier that summer, I really didn't know Park Slope at all.
From that point on, whenever we went to Brooklyn to see Peg's folks, I made it a point to explore the neighborhood as much as I could. In doing so, I was practically giddy to discover a tiny independent music emporium called Music Matters (depicted above from an independent comic called Local). Having lost so many of same in my own borough (a continuing, tragic saga I started documenting here on this no longer comprehensive list), I was encouraged to discover another one, even if in the comparatively far-flung expanse of Brooklyn. On that day, I vowed to stop into the place and "help support the cause" (i.e. buy discs) every time I came to Park Slope. Over the holidays, I naturally found myself in Park Slope quite a bit, and I was happy to find Music Matters open on for business New Year's Day! In I went!
Despite my vow in a recent post to stop accruing so much stuff (a legitimate concern), I feel that the call to support an independent music shop supersedes that. And, really, one or two discs every now and then isn't going to take up that much more space in my home. But as disc shops go, Music Matters can be heartbreaking. I almost always go in there with one or two specific titles in mind, but they just never have them. That said, they do have a pretty wide array of stuff, including a healthy collection of indie rock, punk and metal. Even there, however -- there are frustrating holes. They rarely have a single shred of evidence that my beloved Killing Joke has ever existed, but -- by the same token -- they have virtually all the essential albums by Venom (apart, of course, from Live Official Bootleg which continues to elude me). What usually happens is I end up picking up the compact disc of an album I'd previously only owned on vinyl from years prior. Back in October, for example, after a quick visit to my in-laws, I stopped into Music Matters and picked up a copy of Who's Got the 10 1/2? by Black Flag from 1986. Not exactly an album I needed, but it was fun to hear it again after all these years.
New Year's Day was no different. I stopped in during the morning and picked up the He Gets Me High e.p. by the Dum Dum Girls (which I've only owned as MP3s thus far) and an entirely needless copy of Speak English or Die by the Stormtroopers of Death; a silly choice, maybe, but I suddenly yearned to hear college-era favorites like "Chromatic Death" and "March of the S.O.D./Sargent D..." once again. I even went back later in the afternoon with my brother-in-law Tim and picked up a They Might Be Giants disc for my kids (specifically Here Come the 123s) and, at long last, a copy of the first, classic Suicidal Tendencies album (produced by my friend and former neighbor Glen E. Friedman). Playing old ST chestnuts like "I Shot the Devil," "Memories of Tomorrow" and "Possessed" (to say nothing of "Institutionalized," arguably the "Stairway to Heaven" of California hardcore) was a pulse-quickening revelation.
I dread the day that I stroll back over to 413 7th Avenue and find Music Matters gone, and until that day comes, I'll be a dutiful supporter.