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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Wood Tooth Records brings vinyl back to Fourth Avenue

    Rebecca Noble / The Daily Wildca
    Records on display at Wooden Tooth Records located in the back of Caf

    Today, music is easily accessible at the touch of the search button. We download music from Spotify, iTunes, SoundCloud, Tidal and more; any song, any album, any artist we want sits at our fingertips. The excitement of looking through the album art and really appreciating the full process of putting an album together is an experience becoming lost in this age of technology.

    Regardless of technology gains, many people still prefer and appreciate the true artistry and work that goes into making an album, from the cover art to the music itself. Jake Sullivan and Kellen Fortier are both record collectors and musicians who recently opened their own record store, Wooden Tooth Records, to sustain that special experience in today’s digitally-inclined culture.

    The shop opened its doors in April and resides in the back area of Cafe Passe on Fourth Avenue. The owners of the shop were long time employees of Cafe Passe and always envisioned their record pipe dream succeeding within the coffee shop.

    “I think we just both knew the potential of this patio and this room in particular. It wasn’t being utilized at the time, so it was perfect … Everything just fell into place,” Sullivan said.

    Sabine Blaese, owner of Cafe Passe, believed the mixture of the café and music was the perfect collaboration. Wooden Tooth Records’ current space in the cafe was originally home to different shops, but Blaese says this is the best collaboration yet.

    “I think they had a great idea and they’ve known each other; they’ve worked together for a long time and they said that’s what they wanted to do,” he said. “To me, it sounds like record store, coffee shop—that’s a great combo.”

    Fortier explained Cafe Passe also allows the Tucson community to showcase both local and non-local bands.

    “It’s just part of record store culture—the local independent record store hosts shows. Part of the reason I think we keep doing shows is because we get a good turnout, but also it is a different [more diverse] crowd than most shows you go to,” he said.

    The only prior record store that was present in the downtown area, Toxic Ranch Records, closed in 2014. The shop owners said downtown Tucson faced a musical void without a record store identity present. Both Sullivan and Fortier felt that they filled a missing puzzle piece to Fourth Avenue by opening Wooden Tooth.

    The fact that the shop is locally owned makes it truly great. Fortier believes going into a local record store is an overall better experience; more culture and knowledge regarding the music and community is present, and both owners are always present at the shop.

    “There’s two of us running the shop almost every day,” Sullivan said. “We’re always here to be able to listen if there’s certain types of records people might be interested in seeing in the shop we don’t have, or they haven’t been able to find anywhere else in town.”

    Wooden Tooth Records also sells CDs, cassettes and B-Movie DVDs in addition to their record repertoire. Genres offered range from country, to hip-hop, to punk-rock. Sullivan said garage-rock, a favorite of the duo, is hard to find in town, so they tend to offer a large collection of its artists to cater to Tucson’s garage-rock lovers. The store also carries more clandestine music genres, including experimental rock, psych-rock and punk.

    Why have records in this digital age? Sullivan said it’s the special experience albums and vinyls grant listeners.

    “I can’t think of one time I’ve downloaded an album and took the time to seek out the cover art, read the liner notes, look at what musicians are playing,” he said. “It’s different when you can hold a tangible object in your hand and look at it.”

    Blaese feels the variety of the store will make them successful and that people will enjoy the uniqueness of their local business. “What it brings to the avenue again is something exciting, something interesting. It has individuality, it’s something unique and I think people like that still,” Blaese said.

    Wooden Tooth Records will be having an in-store performance Saturday, Sept. 19 by the local band, The Wanda Junes, to celebrate its latest album release. Admission is free and the show starts at 7 p.m.

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