As everybody knows, road trips are great fun, and there are uncountable different reasons or excuses to leave your own boring city to experience the freshness of a new one. Yes, Ottawa has some great stuff going on within it, as I have uncovered in some previous posts, but sometimes it's just important to leave. How else are you supposed to realize how great you've had it? No matter what reason you had to initially leave your city, one of the highlights is (almost) always the record shopping in a strange city. Whether it's a city where you perused the bins countless times, but always months apart so they're always fresh to you, or a completely new city, where the record shop requires some exploring to find your genre, and further exploring within that bin. Even if nothing is found in this new bin, the experience was worth it.
To elaborate on my point, last winter, around New Years I was visiting family in Winnipeg. I know lots of people will defend this city, and its apparently vibrant scene, but I find it to be mostly but dull and cold. I've never been to a show there though, so maybe it does, but I know it would not be worthy of living a day to day existence in Winnipeg. Anyway, despite this prejudice, I found some cool record stores, and these along with the records I bought would be the highlight of my trip. I also found some sub par record stores, but we'll just ignore those...
The first I went to was called Music Trader. It was a pretty cool shop, but heavier on the CDs than vinyl. They didn't have too much punk, but what they did have was pretty decent. I scored a reissue of the class Government Issue - Make an Effort EP on Dr. Strange Records. The staff was also very friendly, and helped me locate some other stores more suited to my interest.
Next up was Into the Music. This was a fairly large shop, and from what I remember, even in stock between CDs and vinyl. They had a punk and metal section, but it was mostly new. Their used vinyl was mostly catered to the standard rock/pop stuff, but I doubt much rare punk comes through Winnipeg's shops, just as is the case in Ottawa. I didn't buy anything here, but the store was well laid out and I enjoyed browsing. They had some cool Misfits bootleg 7"s, but they were overpriced.
The last stop worthy of mentioning was War On Music. This shop has since changed locations, but hopefully it is still as cool as it was when I went. I came in shortly before close, so I was a bit rushed, but this shop is run by punks for the punk etc. They only carry punk releases, they have zines and other literature for sale, and they had an arcade machine. Apparently they also hold shows there. I bought a couple records here. First was a picture disc; Hard Skin - Hard Nuts and Hard Cunts on Broken Rekids. For the record, I'm not really into picture discs, but I was glad to own a Hard Skin record. I saw them open for Fucked Up in Toronto for their first and only Canadian show earlier that year and they were great. They didn't have any merch left except for a CD and a shopping bag that said "Shopping is for Cunts" or something like that. According to Wikipedia this album has sold over 100,000 copies, but I don't see how that's possible. Anyway, for anyone interested in hearing "a new wave of close shave," check it out. I felt awkward buying something with the word Cunts on it in front of my Uncle and baby cousin, but he didn't seem to mind. The next thing I found was Rabies - Final, a 7" released by Exterminator on grey marbled vinyl. I loved this band's first 7", but their LP, Test Your Might, was lackluster, as least in comparison to their singles. I got them to play it for me as I browsed and this 7" really rips, and its a shame it would be their last, as Final marks the end for this band. Anyone who is into nardcore along the lines of Annihilation Time and ANS would be into this. In fact it sounds a lot like Annihilation Time - I, with the different singer.