A veritable hub for all things punk and DIY, Sit & Spin Records in South Philadelphia hopes to not only sell LPs and 7”s, but to service the underground music scene by and large.
Opening its doors two weeks ago, Sit & Spin specializes in the genres of punk and metal and dabbles slightly in the area of classic rock.
A beacon for all manner of punk and weirdo, Sit & Spin is the brainchild of Philly punk stalwarts Leora Colby and Colin McMahon.
“A few years ago the idea of opening a store went through both of our heads,” McMahon said.
Closely located to cheesesteak behemoths Pat’s and Gino’s, Sit & Spin can be found on the corner of Ninth and Reed streets.
Although the store is new, the Sit & Spin name is not. Since 2008, Sit and Spin Records has existed as both a record label and a distributer.
“The first record we put out was the Nothing Is Over/Pigstickers split LP,” McMahon said. “We got a whole bunch of those out, released a couple more records and started trading with other labels. But the label pretty much started as a vehicle to release my own band’s stuff.”
As Sit & Spin continued to expand, opening a store was the next logical step, McMahon said.
“There used to be a place that was an all punk and metal record store, and there hasn’t been another one in a long time,” McMahon said. “There’s a lot of good music that’s out there. I’m not saying that other stores don’t [have it], because there are a lot of other good record stores in Philly. But some of them don’t carry some of these other bands that are coming out. We’re trying to be able to fill that void.”
A robust selection of new and used LPs and 7”s are not all Sit & Spin has to offer. Sharing floor space with the aforementioned records are tapes, patches, T-shirts, zines and a variety of vinyl-related odds and ends, including record mailers and poly record sleeves.
What truly sets Sit & Spin Records apart is its dedication to the local scene.
“We’re looking into stocking some of the big names, the classic punk bands that everybody wants, but for the meantime we’re really excited about supporting the local scene and offering their merchandise first and foremost,” co-owner Leora Colby said. “So we do have a lot of shirts and patches and pins and stuff from local groups.”
Colby’s belief in the profitability of local acts comes from the years that Sit & Spin spent as a distributor, or “distro,” Colby said.
“There’s something we’ve noticed from distro-ing for a few years,” Colby said. “We had your used classic rock section like most record stores have, but what the kids really wanted was the new stuff: the new reissues, the new releases from their favorite hardcore band or metal band that a lot of other stores don’t want to take their chances on.”
In addition to carrying local records, Sit & Spin strongly encourages Philly locals to drop off flyers for upcoming shows. Local bands are more than welcome to drop off tapes, records or any other assorted pieces of merchandise.
“We want the community to benefit from the attention that we’re getting,” Colby said.
Sit & Spin is unique, down to its very leasing structure. Sharing the space as well as the rent with Sit & Spin is Glass on Glass, a self-described “friendly neighborhood smoke shop.”
The city of Philadelphia has a rich history of independent punk ventures. In 2001, Philly-based extreme metal label Relapse Records opened a store in Queen Village. A kindred spirit to Sit & Spin, Relapse Records carried nothing that didn’t fall under the umbrella of punk or metal. The shop closed in 2008.With its closing came a significant blow to the underground punk scene in Philadelphia.
For many, Relapse Records was not only a record store; it was a place where punks and metal heads alike could stop by and brush up on all of the happenings of the local scene.
“When I first moved to Philly, that’s what Relapse Records was to me,” Colby said. “But when that closed I feel like the independent scene itself in Philly was kind of lost in a void. Like, where do we go for stuff?”
Sit & Spin has every intention to fill that void.
“This is our home,” Colby said. “Not just us, but the whole community. This is our home where you can get your information, you can get your free zines, drop off zines that you make. If you’ve got a band, you have an opportunity to put your music in a record store.”
David Zisser can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.