Buy it

DCIST: “Some Things You Just Can’t Get Via iTunes”

July 6th, 2011  |  Published in Reviews

Sound it Out

Sound it Out explores the local importance of Sound It Out Records, the last remaining record store in a swath of industrialized land in Northeast England. Proprietor Tom Butchart’s savant-like knowledge and quirky charm conjures memories of John Cusack’s Rob Gordon in High Fidelity, with less elitism and more empathy for his customers, who are as diverse in their tastes as the store’s offerings.

DJ Frankey and John-Boy are an aspiring mákina duo, demonstrative of the way in which Butchart has adapted to the changing tastes of customers in an effort to keep his doors open. The passion with which Butchart’s customers pursue their interests so singularly and obsessively — collecting every possible vinyl recording ever released by David Bowie, seeing Status Quo live over 300 times — is at once jarring and endearing.

For a film that explores the emotional pressures of economic blight on a cultural bright spot, it’s light-hearted at its core. “What is ‘Pisschrist’?” asks director Jeanie Finlay of Gareth, a customer who holds up his denim vest (a “battle jacket,” as his friend Sam calls it) with the word hand-stenciled on the back. “An Australian D-beat crust band,” deadpans Gareth. “D-beat?” asks Sam. “Yes, D-beat,” insists his friend. “You made that up,” Sam retorts.

The friendships and interests of all the characters in Sound It Out intersect through Butchart and in his shop. DJ Frankey and John-Boy’s obsession with DJing is shared by the duo of Big Dave and DJ Weedy D, who spin upbeat house music for up to ten hours a day over an internet radio station based out of a backyard shed. Finlay follows Butchart’s employee, David, to his DJ gig at “Satur-Gay,” with a thriving dance floor in the same house vein. The trio of employees is rounded out by Butchart’s sister, Kelly, a grounding presence who keeps him on task.

Finlay also catches Becky Jones — a.k.a. Saint Saviour, born and raised nearby — as she performs in the store. It’s clear the shop played an important part in her musical development, and the fervor with which she and its employees and patrons champion its survival is heartwarming and inspiring.

Sound It Out captures an outpost of vinyl culture at a time when the industry is simultaneously dying out and undergoing a burgeoning renaissance. The film doesn’t offer a verdict on whether or not these shops will ultimately survive, but instead lets the viewer decide how important it is to preserve the connections that emerge from these intersections of commerce and community.

View the trailer.
Premieres tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. in AFI Silver Theater 3, and screens again on Sunday at 8:45 p.m. in AFI Silver Theater 1.

Comments are closed.


Glimmer Films in association with Sideshow present a film by Jeanie Finlay; SOUND IT OUT.

Over the last five years an independent record shop has closed in the UK every three days.

SOUND IT OUT is a documentary portrait of the very last surviving vinyl record shop in Teesside, North East England.

A cultural haven in one of the most deprived areas in the UK, SOUND IT OUT documents a place that is thriving against the odds and the local community that keeps it alive. Directed by Jeanie Finlay who grew up three miles from the shop.

A distinctive, funny and intimate film about men, the North and the irreplaceable role music plays in our lives.

High Fidelity with a Northern Accent.