In 2009, the traditional practice of exchanging physical copies of records for money is a trade that might best be called quixotic. But New Yorkers are stubborn people, and the record store is not dead. Below, the top ten records that actually sold in the last week at a store near you.
Rebel Rebel Records is like your typical Neil Young record: messy, cluttered with ideas, but ultimately charming. The dusty Bleecker Street record shop focuses on “anything that’s good, from classical to punk,” says owner David Shebiro, 47. Shebiro looks like an old-school Nashville session player, with a western shirt and slicked-back gray hair. He’s the only one able to navigate through the shop’s record-filled cardboard boxes. The folk section? It’s on the floor, right next to New Dance. “Everything that doesn’t sell in new shops ship back to the record company,” Shebiro says. “We hold on to it — if it’s good.” Business is struggling. Following the trend we’ve seen in these shops lately, Rebel Rebel mostly stays afloat through rare and out-of-print material. As I walk out the door, Shebiro has one last thought: “Tell the people that if they really don’t want to miss us one day, come in and see us.”
A choice story from Rebel Rebel’s past: “Robert Plant came in once,” Shebrio says. “He said ‘Where have all the great old vocalists gone?’ Then he asked for the new Smashing Pumpkins record.”
The Top 10 Records Sold at Rebel Rebel Records for the week ending November 13, 2009: