Cheapies Records and Tapes 67 King Street East
When our hometown boys Arkells release an album, it’s an event! Downtown record store Cheapies got the celebration going a day early with a listening party.
Cheapies has hosted a few listening parties so far and plan to do it every month. Chatting with my friend and staff member Aaron Gurman, he said the idea is to throw it back to the days when people would come into a record shop, hang out, shop, and chat about music. They did one for the current Radiohead album and Aaron said how cool it was as a huge fan, himself, to talk shop with fellow fans of the band. It’s what a music store should be about. I always get that friendly, neighbourly vibe every time I’m at Cheapies.
Some dedicated Arkells fans raced over to the shop and we were welcomed with pizza (from a Hamilton classic, Capri – good call on the part of Cheapies’ Brad Germain!), beer (OV, another classic), wine, and chips. Pizza and beer in a record store, come on! If that’s not heaven. Aaron popped on Side A of Arkells’ fourth album Morning Report, and the groove of first track “Drake’s Dad” filled the store.
I was fortunate to have a sneak peek of the album a few weeks before its release (start to finish – it’s fantastic!), so it wasn’t my very first time hearing it, but there’s something about hearing music for the first time as a shared experience with fellow fans that makes it so fun. Everyone mingled while perusing the store and taking in the album.
To make things even more exciting, Cheapies had some swag to give away. Everyone got raffle tickets for a chance to win a one-of-a-kind, autographed test pressing of the record, plus signed posters, and the band’s complete discography on CD. When the album finished, we gathered for the draw and a few lucky fans left with some Arkells collectibles.
While I didn’t win, I still walked away with the record earlier than most! As part of the listening party, Cheapies had the edge and got to sell the record a day before its official release. Pretty much everyone who didn’t win in the raffle snatched up copies of the vinyl and quickly got in line to buy it. I love attaching memories to vinyl purchases, whether it’s a certain moment in a record store or buying it at a show after seeing a band live. Now I’ll always remember hanging out at Cheapies with Arkells fans and buying the record after slamming back a couple cans of OV! That somehow seems very Arkells, and very Hamilton. The whole thing made my day!
Stay tuned to Cheapies for more listening parties – the guys revealed that they’ll be debuting the new July Talk album next month and I’m super stoked for that.