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NEW YORK TIMES: “Like a mint pressing in a bargain bin SOUND IT OUT is a rare find.”

December 2nd, 2011  |  Published in Reviews


‘Sound It Out’

Published: September 15, 2011
The Web site for “Sound It Out,” Jeanie Finlay‘s documentary about the last independent record store in the Teesside region in northeast England, calls it “ ‘High Fidelity’ with a northern accent,” and there’s no getting past the similarities with the Nick Hornby novel (and the movie starring John Cusack). Customers of the store, Sound It Out, would all feel quite at home at Championship Vinyl.

But “Sound It Out” also invokes“Bowling Alone,” the social-science classic about the collapse of personal interactions in modern society. We gained a lot when we went online for our music, but we lost a lot as well, and Ms. Finlay’s smartly assembled film is an affectionate portrait of a shrinking group of record collectors under technological siege.

Those devotees, self-aware and amusing about their obsessions, includes Shane, perhaps the biggest fan the British band Status Quo has ever had; Big Dave, who D.J.s for himself and friends in a shed behind his home; and Sam and Gareth, two alarmingly articulate metalheads. Tom Butchart, the store’s owner, tends to their particular manias with a thoughtful respect, and a shared sense of passion suffuses every exchange. The shop sells CDs, but vinyl clearly rules. And at no time do we see an iPod, or even an earbud.

In a drab, bleak environment — Teesside is one of Britain’s more depressed regions, and few of those interviewed have jobs — music fills in the colors, and the ragged, tiny store whose walls are lined with posters and old 45s is a haven, even a shrine. Like a mint pressing in a bargain bin “Sound It Out” is a rare find. Sweet.


Opens on Friday in Brooklyn.

Produced and directed by Jeanie Finlay; director of photography, Ms. Finlay; edited by Barbara Zosel; released by Glimmer Films. At the reRun Gastropub Theater, 147 Front Street, at Jay Street, Dumbo. Running time: 1 hour 15 minutes.

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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.