Toronto music landmark, Sonic Boom Records, will not be leaving anytime soon
Written by Ethan Creer
Photos by Ethan Creer and Adam Hedman-Murray
Since 2001, Sonic Boom Records has been known as one of Toronto’s hubs for discovering eclectic and emerging music and the place where you can find that mysterious cult film that you’ve been dying to find on Blu-Ray. Despite the shop’s multiple forced relocations, customer loyalty has remained strong and their reputation continues to improve. The space may be homey, but what is it that bestows Sonic Boom the bold title of Toronto’s most iconic record shop (Besides that cameo in Scott Pilgrim)?
The store’s location in Chinatown is absolutely stunning. Sunlight fills the entrance, dark hardwood flooring paints the ground, and rows of records seem endless. The environment feels completely separate from your stereotypical image of a dusty old record shop.
Sonic Boom Records is a Torontonian treasure. It may be a large space, but it’s also a home for the tight-knit musical community that the city is famous for showcasing. With a kind, knowledgeable staff and a great selection of media, it’s a landmark for music lovers everywhere.
The shop is a hotspot for advertising and selling local music. “We really encourage local bands and artists to bring in whatever they have for consignment,” explains Jeff Barber, founder and owner of the shop. “We’ve carried thousands of local artists, and we hope to carry more as the years go on.”
While venues like Lee’s Palace and the Smiling Buddha are the places where you’ll hear your new favourite band for the first time, Sonic Boom is where you’ll undoubtedly find a copy of their LP.
The store is also known for its plethora of in-store events, such as live music from local artists, and the occasional movie night, where you can buy a ticket to witness some serious B-movie action. Past showings include the so-bad-its-good seventies cult film, Frogs, and Alan Zwieg’s whacky 2000 documentary, Vinyl.
The inciting rows of vinyl, CDs, and movies may be Sonic Boom’s specialty, but the store has recently shown some interest in some less-likely products, such as books, clothing, and vintage candy.
This change has been welcomed with open arms by customers, who can finally have the experience of purchasing a record while eating a 100 Grand (I assure you, it’s a pretty great feeling). Jeff commented on the transition, “We really felt that we wanted new items that are characteristic of what our customers expect from us. We’ve been very conscious of making sure that our newer additions to the store are a natural progression for the space.”