A true chocolate connoisseur will look for a specific brand instead of opting for a regular chocolate bar; a clothing snob might find a designer boutique instead of strolling into El Corte Ingles, and a furniture aficionado will likely avoid getting their house furniture at IKEA. So when it comes to being a fan of music, it’s best that you stroll on in to Toni Martin Discos than a large chain record store. For music lovers, critics, snobs and especially collectors Toni Martin is a haven of meticulously organized and fantastically well chosen records.
Around since 1976, it’s a store that will likely have the new Rhianna album but is unlikely to receive customers that will buy it. Rather, it´s the kind of place where you come to find a huge variety of records and artists that mainstream record stores may only have in small numbers. Stands organized by genres, bursting with discography’s from just about anybody. It´s as if an old music expert decided to have a big yard sale of both vinyl and compact discs.
Suffice to say, in case you´ve not assumed it already, the store is particularly rich in blues, jazz and classic rock. These form the main bulk of Toni Martin, but don’t be dismayed— there is also a notable presence of pop, funk, flamenco, classical, ethnic music, Latin, metal and the like. If you are looking for something very current and mainstream, or along the lines of rap and reggaeton, you may find more variety and even lower prices at a music chain shop.
The main jewel and reason to visit; however, is the box and collector´s sets: complete, rare and beautiful enough to make you drool. We´re not talking about your typical ¨best of,” but sets whose packaging is almost as valuable as the records: ¨No Thanks: 1970´s Punk Rebellion¨ box set, the fifteen album Jack Bruce anthology, the complete Chuck Berry recordings, the Neil Young archives 1963-1972 are just a few examples. One notable item is the Jack Kerouac audio collection: five discs of all of his recorded poetry readings including commentaries by William Burroughs and Allen Ginsburg, and two booklets including pictures, biographies and copies of original writing drafts.
Accompanying the music is a large selection of magazines, ranging from popular to downright obscure like publications dedicated only to jazz or metal or to music entrepreneurship. The movie selection doesn´t stray far behind with many music DVD´s to choose from, some that are documentaries but most of which are concert films. There is also a small but well picked selection of standard movies, most of which are divided as musicals, war films, classics and new releases.
If you are trying to satisfy your musical urges, expand your knowledge, or just want to find a record that doesn’t seem to be anywhere else then Toni Martin is your best bet.
By Daniel Sznajderman