J&R Music Abruptly Closes Its Doors

Categories: Closings

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Google Maps
J&R as it appears on Google Maps.
Wednesday, Wall Street's mecca of music, J&R Music World, unceremoniously closed its doors. According to New York Daily News, employees were handed their pink slips that day. Yesterday, customers looking to purchase from the electronics outlet were met with locked doors and a message on store's website from owners Joe and Rachelle Friedman that it was shutting down to renovate and hopefully reemerge as an "unprecedented retailing concept and social mecca."

See also: I Worked For the Last Virgin Megastore in America

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Do These Much-Loathed Rap Albums Deserve Our Ire?

Categories: Closings

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Chaz Kangas
All These on One Receipt

Last month marks five years since electronics and media giant Circuit City closed its doors forever. As a music fan, I miss Circuit City quite a bit. Not only were their prices on CDs usually exceedingly low, presumably in efforts to get customers to enter the store and buy televisions or whatever, but they really picked up where Tower Records left off in terms of stocking regional artists from around the country that had any sort of momentum. In New York, it was often the only place to get west coast and southern hip-hop artists that the larger music chains would ignore.

As a result, during those last three months of liquidation, I was able to clean up in terms of filling the gaps in my southern hip-hop collection, as well as surprise close friends with the entire Project Pat discography for under 10 bucks. On the final day, when everything was 90% off, I had already made most desirable purchases. As a result, I took a look at what remained of the inventory and purchased five of the most loathed records of the decade in one swoop. As Christopher Morley once said, "All cities are mad: but the madness is gallant. All cities are beautiful: but the beauty is grim." In the name of Circuit City, it's time to revisit the most hated handful of music ever purchased.

See also: I Worked For the Last Virgin Megastore in America


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Vivian Girls Remember: Pizza! Wild Puppies! Jean Jackets!

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Vivian Girls, breaking up after 7 years; photo by Arnaud Bianquis
This weekend, The Vivian Girls play their very last shows ever. Their band was born in Brooklyn, so it's fitting that they're going to wrapping things up, there, too, with a pair of shows: one Saturday at Death By Audio and one Sunday at Baby's All Right.

The Vivian Girls: Katy "Kickball Katy" Goodman, Cassie Ramone, and Ali Koehler (originally Frankie Rose) were a big part of Brooklyn's now officially 100% dead DiY scene. Silly, punky, approachable, enjoyable, and strangely super appealing to young teenagers, the band was the absolute best of what Brooklyn had to offer in those days (2007 ~ 2010). The picture on their Wikipedia page is from Market Hotel, for god's sake.

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After 46 Years of Business, Bleecker Bob's Finally Closed This Weekend

Categories: Closings

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John Surico
It was the record store enshrined in West Village fame; a place where Bob Dylan and Kramer found their favorite vinyls in the dusty clearance bins that sat out front. The landmark from an era of the neighborhood that no longer exists, driven out by high rents, high spenders and, in this case, frozen yogurt stores.

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Exit Interview: Charlie Looker on the Life and Death of Extra Life

Categories: Closings

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After its Saturday night performance at 285 Kent, Extra Life will be no more. On November 13, the band shared news of the "amicable" breakup on its blog: "While it's somewhat difficult to articulate exactly why, let's just say that the inner creative momentum driving the band has stalled." In short, it's over. If you never found the time to experience the bizarre, mesmerizing, cathartic and sometimes discomforting music of Extra Life, this is your last chance.

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Closing The Colony: A Visit To Times Square's Shuttering Sheet Music Outpost

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M.V. Jantzen/Flickr
In some ways, the Friday before last looked like business as usual at Colony Records, the venerable Theater District music-and-sheet-music retailer that recently announced its impending closing after 64 years of operation. At the counter, Warren Tesoro, an employee for 25 years, asked a middle-aged woman if she knew that the CD of Porgy and Bess she's buying is the karaoke version. (She did.) In the sheet music section, the largest in the country, a young Brooklyn-looking couple sight-sang a few lines of "The Ballad of John Henry"—the 19th century work-song about the humanity's futile struggle against technology—from a folk song collection before adding it to their stack. A few aisles away, Damian Wille, a musical theater student visiting from Appleton, Wisconsin, stocked up on vocal scores from recent Broadway shows: Shrek, Catch Me If You Can, Billy Elliot. At home, this music is "not easily" available: "I even looked for Shrek online, and I couldn't find it ... It sucks that it's closing."

Wille isn't the only one who thinks so. The day before, an employee of Academy Records—a vinyl-and-CD survivor with Manhattan and Brooklyn branches—had tipped the bad news to the blog Jeremiah's Vanishing New York, which confirmed it with the store's owners. Within 24 hours, the The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and the Post had printed or posted news items about the closure. By afternoon, the word was literally on the street: even a woman collecting for homeless families on the sidewalk outside the store interrupted her spiel to say, "It's closing in three weeks." (Reports of the actual last day have varied.) Inside, co-proprietor Richard Turk fielded questions from a video crew and condolences from visitors like fellow retail vet Leon Geary, a dapper septuagenarian who worked at the Sam Goody chain's long-shuttered flagship store on 49th Street "from 1957 to 1981." Ken Jacowitz, a former Strand employee who comes in regularly to check out the store's collection of Beatles memorabilia, said, "I never really thought about leaving New York until I read about this today."

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Q&A: Southpaw Co-Owner Matt Roff Talks About The Venue's Closing

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Maura Johnston
Southpaw's wall of baseball cards, 2005. There are a couple of southpaws in there.
Yesterday the news that the Park Slope club Southpaw would be turning into an educational center for children broke, and we got comment from co-owner Matt Roff—whose business interests also include Williamsburg's Public Assembly, Greenpoint's No Name Bar, and Crown Heights' Franklin Park—last night. Roff clarified that he and his business partner Mike Palms aren't selling the space; instead, they're subletting it to the company that will run the tutoring center. SOTC asked him a couple of questions on the past, present, and future of his venue and nightlife around New York. Our email chat with him is below.

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Southpaw Closing Next Month; Tutoring Center To Open In Its Place

Categories: Closings, Southpaw

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Georgia Kral/Flickr
Those Darlins play Southpaw in 2009.
On Tuesday, a flare regarding the future of the Park Slope venue Southpaw went up via Twitter: "I cant believe I'm writing this but, Southpaw will be closing its doors for good Feb. 20th," wrote @TheGreatHustler, a member of the Park Slope venue's booking and marketing department. "The venue has been sold." The news spread online with the appropriate head-shakings and tsk-tskings and worried blog posts, but there was no official word from the venue's owners—the website was operating in business-as-usual mode—until today, when The Brooklyn Paper reported that the venue would be shutting down and the space would be transformed into one offering "academic tutoring and rock climbing for tots."

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Remembering The Court Tavern, New Brunswick's Storied Rock Dive

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via Facebook
The Gaslight Anthem at the Court Tavern.
When word first started leaking out on Facebook that New Brunswick, N.J.'s Court Tavern had closed, an early response was, "Again? Is this a yearly occurrence now?" It wasn't as if the Court hadn't been in trouble before. A decade ago, management successfully fended off developers who wanted to build a high-rise on the land; thanks to local support, it remained stubbornly in place in the shadow of a gleaming 23-story structure. In 2009, the Court put out the word that it owed $26,000 in taxes; generous regulars and a gala benefit show headlined by the Smithereens and the Patti Smith Group, both of whom had New Brunswick roots, raised the money. At the end of 2011, club owner Bobby Albert gave an interview reflecting on 30 years of being located at 124 Church Street. The damned place seemed indestructible.

Sadly, confirmation came all too quickly. According to the Courier News, the Court closed "indefinitely" on Wednesday, January 18. (The booking agent had not been warned. Nor had local hardcore legends Ensign, who were scheduled to play a big show on Friday night.) The Court's website was subsequently updated with a statement: "As of January 17, 2012, The Court Tavern is indefately [sic] CLOSED. This is a very sad day for the music culture. Check the site or on facebook [sic] for updates. IT WILL BE MISSED !!!!!!!!!!!!!!" (The venue's Facebook group—as well as its MySpace and Tumblr—remain unchanged.)

The property is listed for sale on real estate website Loopnet—asking price $1.25 million—so the general consensus seems to be that "indefinitely" means "forever." If this is correct, the Court now takes its place next to the Melody Bar, the Roxy, Budapest Cocktail Lounge, Bowl-O-Drome, and Patrix on the list of now-shuttered music clubs that had once set up shop in New Brunswick.

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Hospital Productions' Store Shuts Its Doors

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The store's interior in happier times.
The Hospital Productions store at 60 E. Third Street is no more, according to reports by East Village Radio and EV Grieve (which has photos of the storefront bearing a "For Rent" sign). The store, a physical extension of Dominick Fernow's identically named label-cum-distro that served as a backdrop for uncompromisingly bleak, multi-format music shopping and intensely claustrophobic noise shows, closed its doors at the beginning of December. While the Hospital website makes no mention of the shuttering and does not indicate whether the store will resurface at a new locale, there are no indications that overall operations will cease; an email inquiry seeking comment was not returned by press time.

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