Chain Reaction Records by Garrett Matthew Carroll

chain reaction records

On the left side of West Colfax Avenue approaching downtown Denver, Colorado, a small record shop exists. Dedicated to all sounds rock and metal, one is instantly greeted by a store the size of a studio apartment and the sounds of punk rock over ceiling speakers. While it opened in 2014, it is open amidst a vinyl resurgence and the onslaught of music streaming services. And you can't sell streaming songs in a physical store.

With the location and music industry taking a $10 billion loss over the last twenty years, can the store thrive on the local scene? My guess is that it can, and given that it's family-owned, there is a will stronger than most large corporate stores to survive and thrive for the family itself. While it is understandably difficult to imagine people purchasing vinyl records in 2019, once music streaming came up in mid to late 2000s, there was no reason not replace a cheap, physical album alternative with the one that provided some of the greatest music ever written during the 1970s and 1980s. Fleetwood Mac's 'Rumours', Boston's 'self-titled', Rush's 'Moving Pictures' are classic records that sound great on the warm and organic tone of a turntable.

While sound quality is objectively better with streaming because of the lack of pops and clicks throughout a play-through, there is a certain subjective love for vinyl records. They don't have to buffer, you don't need your phone to play them. A turntable might be expensive, but there is an experience and process associated with placing a record on a turntable and watching as the stylus glides across the small grooves, creating a unique listening experience that even a millennial wants to experience. Which brings me back to Chain Reaction Records.

Record stores are not only a place where people of music tastes can gather to listen to and discuss music and records; it's a place with some of the coolest jobs made. Where dreams are hatched and people take up instruments. Where culture in our society is most understood. It might've only been open for five years now, but I want to see the record store continue to thrive. And when I enter into the store and see it empty of the youth of nowadays, filled only in the last hour with the older generations looking for nostalgia, I see a gap in the demographics of people who shop there, and I think of how to bring more people to the store to have a music and store experience like no other.


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