Shake It Records is Cincinnati’s most reputable record store, a charming centerpiece to Northside’s eclectic neighborhood. For 15 years, owner Jim Blase and company have offered up an experience that the digital music industry is powerless to emulate. Extensive, physical album art, superior audio quality, and a commitment to quality service are just a few of the things absent from the omnipresent, mp3-heavy e-commerce experience. In fact, national vinyl sales grew 32% in 2013, despite the popularity of music streaming services such as Spotify and Pandora.
“We’re always here,” promises Shake It staff member Travis Talbert. “We’ve always got records, turntables, receivers, and things like that. We’re just trying to get people to love getting the physical copy of something; and [appreciate] that it’s a lot of fun to be able to hold it, look at all the artwork, and read things.” Stocked with over 8,000 records and 30,000 compact discs, Shake It boasts a diverse stockpile of ear candy and collectibles. Avant garde, jazz, reggae, post-punk, electronic, rock, blues, and Afrobeat albums, as well as cultural magazines, fanzines, and limited edition vinyl figurines line the shelves of the 3,200 square foot storefront. The Black Keys, Tegan and Sara, The B.E.A.T., Dropkick Murphys, and Luther Dickinson (North Mississippi Allstars, The Black Crowes) are just a few of the many popular acts who have performed live in Northside’s nationally recognized record store. Commemorating 15 years of selling records to Northsiders and music lovers abroad, Shake It celebrated its March birthday with a slew of in-store music events, including performances by Shake It recording artists Daniel Martin Moore, Wussy, and Frontier Folk Nebraska. Not your typical local record label, Shake It Records has assisted in vinyl distribution for a slew of noteworthy artists, including rockers The National, Thee Shams, Heartless Bastards, Drive-By Truckers, and Hogscraper, as well as hip-hop acts Glue, John Doe (1200 Hobos), Mr. Dibbs, and Maker. Northside’s homegrown trash pop trio, Tweens, will be lending a very special in-store performance to Shake-It in celebration of the internationally recognized Record Store Day, Saturday, April 19. “We’ll have everything that comes out that day,” exclaims Talbert. “We’ll open the doors at 9 o’clock.” History will repeat itself once again as vinyl enthusiasts line up along Hamilton Avenue in hopes of obtaining a copy of the 400+ limited releases that will briefly hit the shelves that day. “We’re going to have a drawing for the first five spots in line this year; where every time you come in and buy something (before Record Store Day), you can come in and get another chance (to be entered into the drawing). It rewards people for coming into the store on a regular basis,” explains Talbert. “You get more chances to be in the front of the line.” The contest in place will favor loyal, vinyl-loving connoisseurs over the opportunistic profiteers who will undoubtedly attempt to take advantage of the lopsided supply and demand of these rare album release days. Talbert reiterates, “Because a lot of times it’s the ebay people that show up super early and buy things, and then just resell them. We’re more trying to reward people for coming in and actually wanting to enjoy the records for themselves.” For a list of recent additions to the store, visit Shake It Records’ official website on the web at www.shakeitrecords.com
By Nick Mitchell
Nick is a touring musician and the co-founder of Grasshopper Juice Records. He and his wife moved to Northside two years ago in appreciation of its alternative culture.