Hits & Misses
Hits & Misses shows that punk's not dead as the walls of 45s will remind you that punk was a singles medium first and foremost. The vinyl revival means that discs I haven't seen since I was 17 are available again in quantity. Youngsters can now relive the thrill of putting down the needle on a copy of "Tommy Gun" by The Clash and enjoy a visceral charge I haven't felt since before I could vote.
The store, owned and operated by Pete Genest, has existed in various locales for the last 19 years. Last month marked the one year anniversary of the store's occupation at its current location of Queen and Manning right next to Rotate This.
"This whole past year has been a struggle to let people know that this store isn't a part of Rotate This", says Genest. It's clearly a sore point but Hits and Misses doesn't deserve to be in any store's shadow. While its neighbour tends to emphasize new indie releases, Hits and Misses almost exclusively stocks Punk, Hardcore, Metal, and the myriad of sub-genres that each genre has in turn spawned.
"Nowhere else in the city will you likely find something by the Gorilla Biscuits" promises Genest. For those not in the know, Gorilla Biscuits is characterized by Wikipedia as a vegan straight-edge hardcore band though paradoxically the group decided to name themselves after a drug.
Genest boasts that his store might just have the largest and best collection of seven inch singles anywhere in North America. Moreover, it's an approach to stocking his store that really resonates with the ethos of Punk and Hardcore movements. Fucked Up, for example, have released three full-length albums in their ten years as a band, however in that same time span they have released over 70 singles, EPs, mixtapes, splits, and tapes.
Fucked Up is an extreme example, to be sure, but like most of their peers and predecessors, they're not unique in the fact that their singles output far outstrips their full length production. Of course, all of that just means that some of these singles are extremely hard to find. That's why there are stores like Hits and Misses.
Like most places with a collector's bent, the prices at Hits and Misses can vary widely depending on the rarity of a particular record. Most of the LPs seem to hover around the $15.99 mark, whereas most of the seven inches are between $5.99 and $7.99. The store also has a large used section of CDs, where with just a bit of digging, I was able to find some gems for less than $10.
Beyond the variety of albums available for purchase, the store also has a wall of patches and pins for purchase. My favourite part of the store, however, is that it's a veritable art gallery of posters that the store's owner has collected over the years, some of them just as visually interesting as the cover art of various albums. It's no wonder the store has thrived for two decades.
Photos by Dennis Marciniak. With contributions from Rick McGinnis.