FEATURE ‌ 52.5 Records Reaches the 10-Year Mark 

The local record shop celebrates with an impressive live music series

Independently-owned downtown music shop 52.5 Records has survived its first decade. After a brief hiatus earlier this year, the store reopened at a new location on upper King Street (their third downtown spot in 10 years). They celebrate the 10th anniversary this week with the kickoff of a 10-day series of art shows, live "in-store" musical performances, and special offers.

"It's been totally rewarding," says owner Clay Scales of his vast experience in the biz. "I've been thinking about the big and little changes in the store and the different locations ... I don't have 200 discs in the ska section any more, for one thing [laughs]. The way people acquire, collect, and catalog their music has changed a lot, too. I wonder where music retail is going to be five years from now."

Scales, 43, spent years working as a clerk a various record shops in Georgia and the Carolinas before venturing into the business himself. He opened 52.5 Records at the tiny building at 52 1/2 Wentworth Street in 1997. In 2000, the shop moved down the block to a location at 75 Wentworth St., just a block off of King Street.

"This is all I've done, really, since I was 16 years old," says Scales. "I've seen format changes. I wasn't working when eight-tracks came and went, but I remember them! Then there were cassettes. Then the LP, which everyone said was gone, but was never really gone, and the CD ... I read somewhere that some exec at BMI declared the CD format as 'dead,' which is not something you want to hear when you're a record store owner [laughs]!"

The official lineup of in-store acts includes Mexico Electric with French Kiss Coma, Wake Up Snake, Clint4 & SleepyHEAD, Bill Carson, Illuminati Outro, Cancer, Slow Runner, Lindsay Holler with The One AM Radio, Maximum Brain Squad, and Thank God with Stampede. The series begins on Feb. 21, the store's official birthday (see Music Board for details). --T. Ballard Lesemann

52.5 Records (561 King St., 722-3525) hosts a daily series of live "in-store" shows starting on Wed. Feb. 21. No cover. Music starts at 7 p.m. See www.corporaterocksucks.com for more.


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