Balades Sonores

This year 4 new record shops opened in Brussels. Not only adding to the already relatively rich amount we have but also bringing something new to the spectrum. Crevette is a welcome newcomer in the dance department offering all a DJ could wish for, Dust Dealers is aimed at the beatmakers and all newbies offer more than just records with DJ-sets and live gigs. The last one to open is Balades Sonores which has found a temporary home in the buildings on the other side of the street as Botanique, one of Brussels’ best known concert halls. How long it can stay depends on the developers who’ve been saying they will build an hotel on that spot for years now.

Anyway, making the best of the space they’ve got it oozes a squat vibe while being thoroughly fresh at the same time. Not only do they offer a wide range of records from the deeper end of the spectrum, they also got a selection of clothing, posters, tapes, turntables and whatnot for sale. Indie-orientated but with a very open mind and an interest for local stuff. As it is the Brussels branch of a shop that originally started in Paris, France, there’s also a good amount of French music available. Mostly new stuff but with a select choice of second hand ones. The place to find obscure Belgian labels and artists, who also will perform at the shop.

A decent indie (in the best and most open sense of the word) selection on vinyl has been missing from this city for a while now and finding local records can be an inexplicable burden sometimes. That alone makes this a welcome new store in Brussels but it offers much more. A decent coffee for instance, dark and strong, a friendly reception and the aforementioned gigs by local bands. A place to discover like a record shop should be.

We had a talk with Antoine, the man behind the counter, in our radio show last week (mostly French spoken) and returned home with some absolute gems after our first visit. This has everything to become a fixture on the weekly crate digging tours through town and it’s great to see the new shops raising the bar for the others. Hope they’ll get the hint.