Film Review: Other Music – 8/10

‘There shouldn’t have been an intimidation factor… but there was!’

Documentary 'Other Music' Chronicles A Record Store Navigating A Shifting  Industry | The ARTery

At secondary school, a dinner ticket cost me £1.20 a day, or rather it would have had I spent my dinner money on dinner. Instead, I took my £6 for the week into Track Records in Doncaster every Monday afternoon, where I would browse the £5.99 section in search of a gem. My first albums by Nirvana, Green Day and Weezer were all snapped up from Track Records, and while it is no longer with us (it’s now a charity shop), I will always treasure my time there. Not just because of the music, but because it was a place where I felt at home. The band t-shirts, the posters, the too-cool-for-school staff, it was the whole heady experience that made it so intoxicating. Nowadays, the record store is a moribund concept. So much so that Other Music, one of the most iconic record stores in the world, was forced to close its doors in 2019. This documentary from Puloma Basu and Rob Hatch-Miller charts the final weeks of Other Music as well as providing a history of what was a cultural hub in New York City for over 20 years…

While I was only vaguely aware of Other Music thanks to Lizzie Goodman’s excellent oral history of the NYC garage revival in her book Meet Me in the Bathroom, the amount of musical luminaries who come out to hype the famous record store in this documentary should be a testament to its lasting power. The Animal Collective, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The National, TV on the Radio, and even Benicio Del fucking Toro all show up in this loving document of a national treasure lost forever. Perhaps more compelling however is the testimony from staff members past and present, and the realisation that these people lived and breathed the music, even more than the musicians themselves.

Music is no longer the obsession for me that it once was. Whilst this makes me sad, it’s a natural part of the aging process (also, new music is terrible right?), but for 90 minutes, Other Music made me ache for that five year period when all I cared about was the music. Now, take me back to Track Records…

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