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Frankie & The Heartstrings Are Opening A Record Store!

Frankie & The Heartstrings are opening a record store, Pop Recs Ltd,  in Sunderland on 1st June. Located on Fawcett Street, in the heart of  Sunderland and housed in what was formerly the area’s tourism office, the  store is being opened thanks to assistance from the local council, who have granted the space on an initial lease to the band  as the nascent partnership look to create another social and cultural destination for  the  local  creative community. Alongside the record store that will be  selling all the current record releases from across Britain and beyond, a comprehensive range of music from artists in the North East , Pop Recs Ltd will be home to a performance area, recreational space and as well as a gallery wall which will be utilised by local and national artists of varying disciplines.


The opening two weeks will see  a comprehensive  list  of instore performances by the great and the good  hailing from the North East of Britain’s  vibrant music scene. Following an opening night  show by Frankie & The Heartstrings , the likes of The Futureheads,  Maximo Park , Field Music , Bernard  Butler and Martin Stephenson  have all  confirmed sets along with  selected DJ appearances by The Cribs amongst others – a full itinerary of events will be available prior to opening.


The  store’s gallery space will see a variety of artists grace its walls including  photographer Keith Pattison (the band used his  ‘No Redemption’ images for their debut album)  and Paul Knox and in keeping with the DIY  ethos , liquid refreshment will be provided by local coffee merchants Ouseburn Coffee of Newcastle, Tim Burgess roasted beans and  for those  preferring something a little stronger there will be a limited batch of FATH’s bottles  of locally brewed  Maxim Brewery ale . Meanwhile ,  renowned artist Pete Fowler (Super Furry Animals) has promised art/  image adorned coffee mugs too


The idea to  to open their own record store is in many ways is in many ways a direct reaction by the five-piece  to the issues that a band of their ilk has in terms of  the diminishing marketplace for  the physical formats. The band’s  debut album ‘Hunger’ attained Top 40 status in February 2011, thanks in no small part  to the backing of music retailers like HMV . The subsequent paring down of the retailer’s music selection and also, closure of  many stores, means that the band  decided  the best way to combat the disappearance of physical music is to join the  independent  record stores that they love hugely.


The additional and equal aim is to create an inclusive space for the Sunderland  arts community, one that hopefully brings benefits  to many of the city’s creative groups. The area itself  has been home to a disproportionate amount of creative people – artists, musicians and photographers – but sometimes fails to benefit from the same spotlight  and support that other major cities in the area do.


Going public , Frankie Francis  said : “It’s really brilliant. I love records, and to be able to  become part of that community of people  who sell records in the UK is exciting and in some way a bit of an honour.” The British record shop has a huge legacy and one that e can contribute to in a small way. The level of backing from Sunderland council  thus far has been incredibly inspiring. We as a group  are  proud of who we are and where we are from and moments like these  only affirm that sense of community and belief  that the area as a creative hub are supported by the people around us.