March 03 2010
iTunes has made music-recommendation an automated process, but I refuse to submit to computer-generated advice. Maybe that’s because, as a teenager working at a record store, I cherished the regulars who relied on my own suggestions. Thankfully, though, I still have one place where I can find new music with human help: Base in Miami.
This beachfront store has been a Lincoln Road mainstay since 1994. It stocks clothing, shoes, toys and trinkets (all great); but for me, what sets the shop apart is the media. Base is co-owned by Steven Giles, who hails originally from Essex, and styles himself as the store’s “tastemaker” and “curator”. He hires one staffer full time here to handle “media research”, finding must-read and must-hear goodies to stock. And it shows. On a recent Miami weekend, I was steered towards the terrific new CD from Sharon Jones, whose retro Motownish music makes Amy Winehouse look amateurish ($18.98).
There’s a listening bar in the window (pictured), with stools where you can relax and sample the CDs on retro DJ headphones. I find it almost impossible to browse here without buying something. And Giles and co’s advice beats iTunes’s auto-recommendations every time.