In the early to mid-90s, I worked for Kim’s Video in NYC and got fired on two different occasions. The second time because owner Mr. Kim got in a fist fight with a contractor and was mad I would not lie to to cops and say the other guy threw the first punch. Oh, I have stories about Kim Video. Anyway, despite the name, Kim’s also developed a music section. It was there I became friends with another clerk named Josh Madell, who also played drums in an indie rock band called Antietam. He was a music nerd, and though I was into punk in a more hardcore way, we got along really well. In 1995 Josh and some other folks from Kim’s music department opened their own store called Other Music. I remember visiting right after they opened to check it out and wish Josh well. Then in 1996 I left NYC and haven’t seen him since.
Over the weekend, I ran across a documentary called Other Music on Prime. “Wait, isn’t that Josh’s place?” I wondered. And indeed it was. Other Music had gone on to become a beloved institution for music nerds al over the world. Sadly, the store closed in 2016, another cool and unique thing in NYC destroyed by gentrification. The documentary tells the story of Other Music and its final six weeks leading up to the closing.
I must admit this documentary hit me in the feels. It was poignant to see what an old friend accomplished and then watch him have to lose it. Seeing another small business going through similar struggles to Green Ronin felt all too familiar.
Other Music also made me nostalgic for my old days as a record hound. When I lived in NYC, I pounded the pavement every week going from record shop to record shop. This was before everything was online, so if I wanted to hear rare old punk records, I had to find them. I’d go to places like Bleecker Bob’s, Some Records, Sounds, Venus Records, Subterranean, Second Coming, and Generation. I even worked at a volunteer-run punk shop called Reconstruction Records for its brief lifespan. This was a huge part of my life for a couple of decades, but things changed over time once I moved to Seattle. I could keep up when I lived on Capitol Hill and there were several cool shops in the area but most of them closed. Now I make the occasional trip to Singles Going Steady but it’s not the same.
This is a long way of saying that Other Music is a good documentary, and if you are into music, it’s definitely worth a watch. I hope Josh is faring well.