About Assai Dundee
Assai Records - Dundee
Assai is an independent record store, specialising in new and reissue vinyl across all genres. With a boutique vibe and welcoming atmosphere, it has quickly grown to become a one-stop shop for vinyl veterans and curious newcomers alike.
Located in the heart of Dundee City Centre, Assai’s Union Street location is just a stone’s throw from the city’s regenerated waterfront and V&A Museum, providing a perfect centre for a thriving local music scene. The shop regularly hosts live instore gigs from local and established acts, as well as promoting “out store” events from some of the biggest names in the industry. In just the past year, Assai has brought the likes of Lewis Capaldi, Snow Patrol, Sam Fender, Foals, The Divine Comedy, Tom Walker, and Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream to the city.
A proud participant in all Record Store Day UK events, and a member of the Dinked family of like-minded independent music retailers, Assai stocks a wide range of exclusive vinyl editions which aren’t available from high street chains, as well as a huge selection of hifi turntables and accessories, t-shirts, gift ideas and merchandise.
Run by an experienced and passionate team of music lovers, Assai aims to provide what’s been missing from record retail for many; namely first-class service, and a love and respect for the music we sell. Indeed, our efforts were recognised recently, as Assai was crowned Retail Business Of The Year 2019 at the prestigious Courier Business Awards for the Dundee area.
I’m Matthew, shop manager at Assai Dundee for the past two years. I’d been a record collector since my early teens, and spent my twenties playing in bands – a great way to see the world, and its record shops. When Assai opened in Dundee, it was a big deal as a new store hadn’t opened in a long time. I attended the opening, and thought it was something I could really get behind. We’ve put a great team together here, full of music lovers who enjoy sharing their knowledge and experience. That’s the best thing, sharing music.
We’re a vinyl specialist, covering a wide variety of genres. Homegrown sounds are of particular importance to us, we’re always seeking out the best new Scottish music to stock, and host regular instore gigs to give new artists a platform. The shop layout is perfect for this, we’ve got a bit of a boutique look, similar to many European stores. And we get all ages in the shop, it’s been great to see so many young people getting in to record collecting.
The first record I ever bought was Erasure’s “A Little Respect”, not too bad compared to a few people I know! When I started to get in to collecting properly, I remember Breeks from Groucho’s giving me a lot of advice and encouragement. I like to think I can do the same to young people starting out now.
The aforementioned Groucho’s in Dundee is a bit of an institution, and somewhere I’ve spent a lot of time since my early teens. The selection in both New York and Berlin floored me on my last visits, with things you just don’t ever see in the UK.
Two of my musical heroes, John Linnell of They Might Be Giants and Norman Blake of Teenage Fanclub, paid visits to Assai earlier this year, both completely out of the blue. Moments like those can be very surreal. Flicking through the racks with Bobby Gillespie and chatting about Smiths albums was something I never thought I’d be doing!
One that always stands out was the rapper Edan at King Tut’s in Glasgow. He’s an incredible and unique performer.
I think I’d be pretty well covered with Nick Drake’s “Five Leaves Left”, The Beatles’ “White Album” and John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme”.
All the artists I’ve mentioned so far would be a good start, along with Can, Boards of Canada, Tortoise, Brian Wilson, Sandy Denny, The JBs, Sly & The Family Stone, The Byrds, and The Ronettes.
I know it’s a cliché, but it changes all the time. The one which had the biggest effect on how I think about music was DJ Shadow’s “Endtroducing”.
In 2020, I’m very much looking forward to the new album from Field Music, “Making A New World”, released in an Indies Only coloured vinyl edition on January 10th. They’re one of the best British bands of the last twenty years, incredible songwriters, lyricists and musicians. Moses Boyd is one of the leading lights in UK jazz, his “Dark Matter” LP is released as an exclusive Dinked edition on 14th February and sees the drummer/producer taking influence from grime and electronica to forge a new sound for the new decade. And Yorkston / Thorne / Khan’s “Nine Emotions” is a welcome return from an inspired trio who fuse folk songwriting, Indian classical, and jazz grooves into a new whole, again on Indies Only coloured vinyl.
Last year, The View lads visited us, they dropped in to say hello (after the store closed) and signed some albums, they were great – really friendly but also very rock n’roll – beer and sunglasses!
If you wear a t-shirt, you should own the album.
I love gigs, I can’t pick one as they have all been good for different reasons but Oasis at Irvine Beach 1995, INXS at Wembley Stadium 1991 and Glen Hansard Glasgow Old Fruit Market are certainly in my top 3.
How Music Got Free – it’s a lesson on why a business should always adapt.
Currently, it’s Sing Street
Counting Crows – Holiday in Spain
John Lennon – How Do You Sleep
Joe Cocker – Feelin’ Alright
Paul Weller / Jam
Oasis (Original line-up)
Crowded House (1990’s line-up)
Crowded House – Woodface