Local Focus: Fond Object

April 9, 2014

Fond Object has never been just a record store. This little all-inclusive shop in East Nashville continues to grow, and I was overjoyed to carry the Black by Maria Silver Local Focus shoot into the next room for Fond Object on the same afternoon. The Ettes, a 10-year-old punk rock trio, needed a project. The Austin-based record store Cheapo Discs closed. An Art Director left a national publication to go freelance. Five people gathered at one time, all with the idea of change on their brains, and from a left turn came the right project. A few weeks ago, I had the chance to visit Fond Object with photographer Alden Allen. Enjoy some of my favorite vintage pieces from their racks and a couple goats.

Coco Hames, frontwoman of the Ettes and Parting Gifts, explained the start of this refreshing addition to the east side. "Fond Object was the name of The Ettes' imprint for our most recent LP WICKED WILL, as well as for the single, 'Teeth.' Fond Object started as a label, and then became a store. And of course, now it's sort of our flagship, home base, multi-faceted department store. What, doesn't everyone have one of those?" She's right. It's a blended mixture of vintage appreciation, a hardy vinyl collection, and friendly farm animals. Where's mine? Stepping in the front door, there's an open and collective atmosphere of creation. With Poni's studio for Black by Maria Silver, a head-banging Jem Cohen at the cash register, and a pig/goat/cat super team in the backyard, the welcome isn't spoken or heard, it's felt and absorbed.

For being so young, Fond Object has a seriously impressive collection of music. Jem and Jeff have secret sources for vinyl all over the world. Call it impressive indulgence, but some music still comes from a random next door neighbor. "That's how we got the Flying Burrito Brothers 'Gilded Palace of Sin' Test Press." Just when you start to think Fond Object might become an exclusive curator of special one-time recorded vinyl, some dirty kid who just ate ramen at the restaurant down the street comes in and contributes a golden puzzle piece to the collection. It's an example of how grounded this place will always be. It's for the people, including the petting zoo in the backyard. "You'd be amazed how exhausted touring musicians light up and calm down with a cozy hang from Dottie, Cliff, and Lou." Even with a little goat nibble on this vintage floor-length dress, I felt my mood raise. I found myself immediately wanting to adopt a pig.

Part Personal Indulgence, Part Community Outreach.

Although Nashville seems to have adopted Fond Object with wide open arms, they're only getting started. Record Store Day was the start, and it will continue to be an annual celebration for a boutique born from music appreciation. Looking ahead to future events, there are plans for more nights of music, movies, recordings, and the upcoming epic jams for Record Store Day 2014. With such an open door, Fond Object attracts all kinds, and it's inspiring to have an all-inclusive space in a relatively quiet and very charming area of town. It's also refreshing to see the store owners fighting for a higher level of excitement than their customers. It's the best kind of competition.

Photography by Alden Allen.

Fond Object is in Riverside Village on McGavock Pike in East Nashville. Jem, Jeff, Poni, Coco. If you haven't gone, you're an idiot. Plain and simple. Be sure to follow Fond Object on Twitter and Facebook for all the details on the latest happenings. Thank you to Alden Allen for photographing the shoot, and a huge thank you to all four creative minds for letting me run around with the goats all afternoon. They were the best models to date.