The loss of Durango’s video store is sad but not unexpected

by Jon E. Lynch

When Southwest Sound, the last of Durango’s local independent record stores, closed its doors on Saturday, July 14, 2018, I made mention of it, but did my very best not to harp or dwell on the personal devastation, sadness, anger, disgust, and dissatisfaction I felt, week after week after week. Leading up to the store’s closing – what many considered an eventuality – I used the platform of this very column to urge readers to support their local, independent record store, no matter where they lived. I did this long before I knew Southwest Sound was closing. I did so because stores such as these were so important – so vital to my upbringing and identity, musical and otherwise – and I had hoped to help in some minute way to preserve that for other like-minded individuals and for the area youth contingent.

As winter turns to spring, the region will be losing yet another bastion of the physical entertainment medium. This time it’s our local video store, Louisa’s Movie House. As of the time I am writing this piece, no specific time frame has been set for its closing. Still, its closing is indeed a sad, but not unexpected, outcome. I suppose there is a small – incomprehensibly small, mind you – chance that some last minute buyer with piles of money to burn will come through and save the video store, but I’m not holding my breath. For me, there have been others: Applause Video, Main Street Movies, and the behemoth that was Video Station.

In many cases, as time wore on, you would see those now-defunct record stores expand into selling DVDs (and before that, VHS tapes), and it bridged the gap between my intermingling love of film and music. I’d love to say that combining the two mediums can make sense and happen again(!), but I think the ”conveniences” afforded by Internet streaming platforms (both in music and television/film), coupled with ridiculously astronomical local rent, have cemented our fate. This is a total drag.

Just as it was with your local record store clerk, your local video store clerk was a wealth of knowledge, conversation, and suggestion. If you love movies A, B, and C, chances are that your trusty video store clerk could – and would – recommend movie D that was sure align with your sensibilities. I don’t care that the algorithm on your streaming platform of choice will ALSO give you suggestions and recommendations. It still cannot, and will not, beat those of the clerk across the counter.

There is also something to be said for having older classic options all in one place. As streaming services become more and more compartmentalized, you aren’t actually given across-the-board recommendations, but a smattering of tangential proprietary choices that put a little money into the mega-conglomerate machine instead. It’s a sad, sad day, and rest assured, this isn’t the last time I’ll mention it.

Fantastic albums are being released each and every week. Do me, and yourself, a favor and go directly to the band or label to check out the following releases. Unless, of course, you are lucky enough to have the option of heading over to your favorite local, independent record store to peruse and pick these albums up.

On Friday, March 1, Durand Jones & The Indications release “American Love Call,” a highly anticipated follow-up of neo soul and funk on the Dead Ocean record label. Atlanta, Georgia trio The Coathangers are releasing an album of biting garage punk via Suicide Squeeze with “The Devil You Know,” on Friday, March 8. The Faint return to their roots, and the Saddle Creek label, on March 15 with “Egowerk.” The core foursome meld punk, electro, dance and new wave noise, and I look forward to hearing their first album since 2014’s “Doom Abuse.” Also on March 15, check out Dirty Water Records artist from France, Weird Omen, on “Surrealistic Feast,” which melds all the best elements of dark garage and Morphine-inspired sax skronk.

As always, I urge you to reach out. What’s grinding your gears? What records are you looking forward to? Email [email protected] with questions, comments, and criticisms.

Jon E. Lynch


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