WARWICK SMITH / Stuff
Ben James, left, and his Herb’s Mobile Record Store have arrived in Palmerston North ready to welcome the town’s music lovers.
Palmerston North has a dedicated record store again – albeit briefly.
A mobile music store, a van stuffed with vinyls and CDs, stopped in town for a weekend to trade and no doubt have a few conversations about favorite bands.
The city hasn’t had a dedicated record store for almost a decade. Marbecks became a café in 2013, while Mango Music closed in 2010.
Herb’s Mobile Record Store is the brainchild of Benjamin James, the former owner of Evil Genius and Deathray Records in Christchurch. He bought a truck, loaded it with records, and set off across the North Island.
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Herb’s is parked at the corner of Taonui and Cuba streets. It looks like an old green Mitsubishi truck from the outside. But inside, it’s a record store worthy of K Road in Auckland or Cuba St in Wellington, with a fiercely independent vibe and atmosphere.
And the range of music reflects that.
On the walls are modern indie standards from artists such as Courtney Barnett and Connan Mockasin. But in the crates are albums ranging from Japanese punk to modern jazz and classic indie albums from Flying Nun Kiwi.
When asked where he was going next, James replied, “I don’t know. And I like not knowing. I just like to come to town and let people know I’m there.
“Although one day I would like to make a poster with cities and dates on it. Like a tour poster for a band.
James is based in Wellington and works for an independent radio station. But the record truck is a passion project and that passion shines through in every detail inside the van.
“We’ve mostly been around Wellington. Like I’ll go to Garage Project or Parrotdog [breweries] or something like that.
“But now that I’ve worked on the truck, it’s ready to go a little further.”
The mobile record store is set up outside the Escargots creative space until late Saturday afternoon.