Graveface is the new face of 724-B King Street, as of the end of last week. Graveface Records & Curiosities has operated out of Savannah for eight strong years, and now the quirky record store-cum-label has invaded Charleston in the space where the Vinyl Countdown formerly resided. Inside, taxidermy, a WWF Superstars arcade game, and weirdness aplenty have taken over, with a launch party, performance, and vinyl release happening this Friday to celebrate.
The Vinyl Countdown left last Wednesday. Owner Aaron Levy recently decided to go back to college, and never pursue a passion ever again. "I'm looking forward to being a record collector again, not a record seller," he says.
But never fear, the King Street shop will still sell records galore and more, provided that music lovers of Charleston show up and show some love for the next four months. Graveface Records owner Ryan Graveface has taken over the remainder of the lease with a Graveface Records popup shop to "see how it goes."
"I would love for it to work," Graveface says. "I price pretty low, and to exist in a city like Charleston, and not price high, I just need to do volume. I need to be selling a lot of stuff."
If all goes well, he'll sign on the dotted line and call Charleston Graveface's second home. After all, it is a childhood dream of his. "I started coming to Charleston when I was eight," he says. "We couldn't afford to stay here, so we stayed at a $50 a night hotel in Myrtle Beach, but once a trip we would drive down to Charleston and I just loved it. I thought Charleston was the coolest."
Graveface's inspiration for opening a record shop in fact came from our old dear, 52.5, on Wentworth Street. "I walked in there and thought, 'This is what I want to do,'" he says.
Some 30 years later since first falling in love with the city, and the dream is in action, after first starting up in Savannah. Charleston's Graveface even parallels 52.5 in that it's full of kitsch and personality as well as a backroom of VHS rentals. "I don't know if it's tapping into a deep state or whatever ... but [52.5] did that," he says. "I don't even remember that."
Graveface, should it work here, will remain in Savannah as well as Charleston, with a focus on Graveface the label's output — they've released works by over 100 acts to date — as well as plenty of used vinyl by everyone from Roxy Music to Leonard Cohen and, well, to the relief of the lady who phoned during our visit yesterday, The Eagles' Greatest Hits
Graveface also encompasses the label Terror Vision, which releases 1980s horror movie soundtracks. In fact, this Friday the label will be the first to drop, ever, the soundtrack to THE Unsolved Mysteries
. Yes, that Unsolved Mysteries.
"It's never been released, ever," Graveface says. "The theme music so iconic, it's hard to believe it has never been released digitally or anything."
Graveface hopes to incorporate, as they've done in Savannah, local ghost tours with Terror Vision releases. The shop will regularly host in-store events, from live shows to film screenings.
In the meantime, Graveface is working hard to bring more into the shop, traveling every day to Savannah with a carload of more records and curiosities. "What I have in here right now is a teeny bit of what I'll have in two, three weeks," he says. "I don't plan on stopping until the store is toppled with records."
Grab a vinyl copy of Unsolved Mysteries
Fri. June 22 at 7 p.m. during Graveface Records' official launch party. Graveface label's own darkwave band out of Omaha, Closeness, will perform. Admission is free.
Go show the shop that you want a downtown record store. Do it now, and often, or say goodbye to some of the last bit of gritty, soulful character the city has left.