by Insiders Dunedin

Creative Community Essentials Part Two: Downtown Independent Record Store

Following our earlier conversation about new live music venue Queens, and how an inner city venue is essential to the heart & soul of a local art scene, today I add Portil to this list, playing the role of Downtown Independent Record Store. It is a place where you can bump into like minded people, swap war stories, catch up on gossip, hear new music and – pay day permitting – even take a couple of treasures home with you to put on the shelf.

Record stores, and record store people, often get a bad reputation. They’re elitist, dark, out of the way places full of grumpy suspended adolescents arguing over the best Side A, Track 1s of all time (in short, High Fidelity). You could argue that Portil in Dunedin fits the second of these, but only the second, and only until the next paragraph. They’re not snobs, but Alistair (the owner), Richard & Sam (your handy clerks, but not like Clerks, who are also musicians in their own right) know a whole bunch about music, and can make some pretty great recommendations based on your interests. In an age where anything can be bought on the Internet, from the comfort of your own phone, there is something particularly satisfying about having real conversations with people in your community who share your interests and passions. Call me old-fashioned, if you must.

Portil is a small, brightly lit store in the Harvest Court Mall (218 George Street), with the biggest and most eclectic new vinyl collection in Dunedin, spanning brand new releases, a deep roster of reissued classics and a strange brew of compilations. If you want a brand new copy of that beat up old Janis Joplin album you used to have, or a copy of the new Tame Impala or Die! Die! Die! record, or a compilations of Columbian Cumbia and traditional music from Siam, this should always be your first Portil of call (sorry!). If they don’t have it, and can get it, they’ll order stuff in for you quick smart and send you a text message when it’s ready.


If you’re not as obsessive about your vinyl fetishism as I am, they have an ample selection of CDs for sale too – if freight / portability / playability dictates that – and a handful of great books and t-shirts at any given time, too. The one advantage of your CD browsing is that they will put on anything you were interested in to listen to first, but don’t (yet?!) have a turntable to check out your prospective wax purchases. 

Because he'd probably kill me for not mentioning him - even though he doesn't fit the downtown brief - go see Tony at Too Tone in the North East Valley. He is the Second Hand Vinyl (almost exclusively vinyl, almost exclusively second hand) version of Portil, and he still has pretty good holdings of the vintage era Flying Nun catalogue if you're into that sort of thing. Also, if you're looking for a new turntable to play this glorious wax on, I got mine from the team at Totally Wired on Upper Stuart St. They'll take as much of your money as you're prepared to spend, but you won't regret a cent of it.


Post Submitted by Aaron Hawkins


Submit A Comment