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Redscroll Records

Originally Published: Thursday May 31, 2007
Written by: Jerry

That may as well be the mantra of Redscroll Records, the newest addition to the Mom and Pop styled strip mall section of Route 5 in Wallingford Connecticut.

With LPs on the wall, a couple arcade games in the back, CDs displayed in handmade wooden cases and a glass counter chock full of patches, stickers and yet even more CDs, the store is distinctly different than the mega stores that most of have had to get used to buying our music in. However, with the recent claims of dramatic sales losses by the music industry, why then would someone open a record store, miles down the strip from where most everyday consumers would be? Simple: a love for music and a want to give it to people on a personal level.

Josh Carlson got into underground music by the age of twelve. His musical journey began by attending local band’s shows. Subsequently, he got pushed by a friend to venture into the indie label business a few years later. Though the label remained somewhat of a fledgling one during its existence, it was through that experience that Josh gained some of the expertise necessary for running a record store. During its tenure, the label became just as much as functioning label as it was a distro for music, local and non-local.

With that change, more and more music and contacts were compiled, thus creating a stockpile of music just waiting to be put in a storefront. Soon, Josh dropped out of school and began searching for a partner to go in on his new venture. Rick Sinkiewicz became that partner. A good friend of Josh’s, Rick brought a different type of knowledge to the table that would diversify Redscroll Records. As Josh put it in our interview, “He (Rick) specializes in music that I don’t. I can tell you all about hardcore and punk, but I don’t know shit about electronic music. But he does. All the subgenres I didn’t even know about, he knows plenty about.” That also helps the tandem when ordering for the store; Josh takes on the distribution companies that are geared more toward what he knows best while Rick does the same on his end.

While the store may remind someone of the types of stores of yesteryear, the style is all their own. For one, there isn’t any mainstream music for sale. Not simply because it is a nightmare to deal with distributors for mainstream artists but also, as Josh eloquently put it, “I just don’t think that Top 40 shit is ever good!” This however, does not mean that everything sold in the store is something that both of them like. In fact, the point was made to me that Josh “has no problem telling people when something sucks”. Also, the store will put anything that isn’t wrapped on the stereo for someone to hear before they buy it. This kind of courtesy isn’t something you can normally find in mega stores such as Wal-Mart, Best Buy and the like.

Also, they’re tied to the local music scene: First, by selling local bands’ CDs but also by selling advanced tickets to local promotion group Manic Productions’ shows.The opening of a small record store in a small town, on the face of it, may not seem like something to write home about. However, in a time when businesses get larger and more impersonal by the moment maybe some focus should be turned to those doing what they can to be helpful, hands-on store owners. The proprietors of Redscroll Records are trying to take something they’re passionate about and pass on their specific knowledge of music and bring it to people on a face to face basis. Take some time, play some arcade games and pick up a record. At least you’ll know whether it’s any good or not.


Mother, wife, small business owner.

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