By Darrin Drugan
Record Store Day, April 21st, is a party that happens all over the world, because the fun of hanging out and buying records in a record store happens all over the world.
Music, it’s the magic that touches us without any actual physical contact (unless your caught in a mosh pit). It’s 2018 and bands and artist have the resources to write, record and release their music independently. Streaming has dam near drove the age of CD’s into extinction while even the height of online sales platforms like iTunes and Google Music maybe be facing a downward trend in moving units. But through turbulent times of 8 tracks to cassette’s there has been one medium that had solidified its place in culture well over 100 years ago. The Phonograph Record, though early forms like 10” disc started to appear at the turn of the 20th century it wasn’t until after World War 2 we started to see the more popular Vinyl we know of today. So, in lieu of record store day I wanted to let you know about great little place in Parkdale that is keeping the music alive.
Motels giant Motel Sign That hangs inside
Located at 1235 Queen St. West is a little bar called Motel, almost every night you will find live music and good conversation. What separates this place from the rest is the way it presents its self to the music community and all those involved. Motel has invested in seeing the culture of music thrive and survive. If live music is your thing, almost nightly you can find musicians performing everything from early 20th century piano sonnets, to folk rock and country to lounge bass and more.
The bar opened in August of 2011 and is owned operated by Daniel Greaves, who you might recognize as the lead singer from the iconic Canadian rock outfit The Watchmen. The Watchmen rose to fame throughout the nineties releasing such tracks Run and Hide, Bone Yard Tree and Stereo, touring extensively from coast to coast, the US, Europe and Australia and are still performing to this day.
Daniel Greaves, Owner of MOTEL and Lead Singer of Canadian band The Watchmen
This bar served only live music up until last year, now the walls are lined with vintage 12” vinyl from decades past. There are lockers in the back stuffed with rare finds and more notorious albums above the bar. If that isn’t enough, on the weekends they have a pop-up record shop, where Oakland New Zealand, musician John Bridgens brings out crates and cases of thousands of records to be flipped through while tending the bar.
John Bridgens, Musician and runs the pop-up Record Shop at Motel
John who plays around Toronto in a few bands, including Big Otter Creek and The Cowboy Buddha Band actively plays at MOTEL as an acoustic act. This venerated musician was given the opportunity to open the pop-up shop for record store day last year and has made the commitment and a lasting impression on the locals. Though open on the weekend with more of a selection he says most of the sales actually come from patrons who are enjoying the live music at night and spot that album they have been trying to get. John handles more vintage presses as opposed to records being pressed today, though you will find the rarer newer releases as Daniel has his Motel Sessions record for sales, a collection of songs he recently performed in New York.
Motel Sessions is a collection of intimate songs performed by Daniel Greaves in New York
Bins on bins on bins for the Weekend Pop-Up
Everywhere you look there are records.
Speaking of presses, it doesn’t stop there. Daniel’s wife Lisa works for Viryl Technologies, who have developed a new record pressing machine called the Warm Tone Record Press that is modernize, energy efficient, fully automated, runs on cloud-based software, is iOS-controlled and offers a better sound quality than ever before. Presses have already been shipped out to America, Europe and Asia she tells me. Apparently lack of presses in the industry have been plaguing the market because companies can’t keep up with consumer demand. You can find more out about them on Instagram and Twitter @viryltech .
Dr. Keys of Felix’s Belt does his rendition of The Super Mario Theme on a Sunday Night.
Amanda Jean Plays Soulful Country Ballads on Tuesdays.
Still there is a great feeling when you can walk into a place and order a pint of craft beer and cruise all the record bins for rare treasures.
So, this year remember record store day is right around the corner, and people like Dan and Lisa and John and are keeping the record spinning for people like you and me who love music. Make sure you stop by say hi and show them your support.
A patron cruises some bins with finds in hand