Sad news: Atomic Records will close in February

Nowadays, not many people go to record stores. The success of online music stores, and the widespread availability of music through ostenisibly illegal acquistion, has a lot to do with this. And, things change. I try to make a point of it to support locally owned brick-and-mortar shops, but sometimes, it’s just hard to do that, and certainly one person alone who occasionally buys a few small items can’t save a store. It would take a lot of people doing that over a longer period of time to do that. But, people’s habits change, and the venerable Atomic Re lcords will be the latest store to disappear in the shifting sands.

This is unfortunate, as Atomic is an institution in the local rock music scene in a way that a CD or record store in a shopping mall could never be. Atomic has character, a certain air about it that only veteran record stores have. They’ve been directly involved with the local music scene for all of the 25 years it’s been open.

At least they’re going out in style, with big discounts and a message over thanks to the community. Details of that are on their website. And they’re not closing forever until February, which means I have time to get some discs on special order in my last feverish localist binge. I just got back into KMFDM, which I made a point of geting through Atomic, walking uphill through the snow just to go there. (Well, at least through the snow. It’s pretty flat from UWM to Atomic. Though the uneven snow and ice on the sidewalks can make for an interesting walk.)

On a totally different note, I’ll make a point of it to special order some blues discs through them — Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, maybe some old New Orleans dixieland as well. It seems quite appropriate to get the old American music through a time-honored-yet-fading American institution of the record store. And after that I can see about supporting Bay View’s record store, Rushmore Records at 2635 S. Kinnickinnic Avenue. It’s funny, I suppose, rediscovering music through Pandora, but then making a point of it to buy the music locally rather than through iTunes or Amazon. To each their own, eh?

Author: Jason Haas

Jason is an elected member of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors, occasionally moonlights as an amateur gardener, and is a proud father of two, or three, depending on how you do the math.

One thought on “Sad news: Atomic Records will close in February”

  1. That’s too bad. I liked those guys, though I didn’t get over there very often. Spent more time at Rush-Mor, though really getting the stuff for about half the price over the iTunes store has been my route of choice lately. I’ll probably stop by Atomic and buy a bunch of stuff though.

    If you run out of other ideas, get some Stromkern, featuring Ned The Village Druid!

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