Hats off to I-Soul-Nation - Kevin Buckle

I've seen many interesting formats over the years for album releases but there has been nothing to beat the new release from I-Soul-Nation.

After being quoted a nine-month wait for vinyl the band decided to do something a little different. Anybody purchasing the album will not only receive a bonus gold vinyl seven inch but also a small cardboard pyramid.

Inside the pyramid is a small rubber top hat reminiscent of a Monopoly set piece. Pull at the brim of the hat and a USB stick is revealed.

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While soul music may not be a genre people particularly associate with Avalanche the presentation has created a lot of interest especially with those who collect Scottish music and see this as a rare collectable of the future.

I-Soul-Nation's cardboard pyramids, with rubber top hat and USB stick inside
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Scrabbling for crumbs from the rich Festival’s table - Kevin Buckle

Next to our I-Soul-Nation display is a box full of interesting fanzines by the Glenrothes artist Jordan Maxwell (@Jord_Division on twitter and instagram). A must for those interested in eighties Scottish music Jordi brought a box full of zines into me a couple of weeks ago after she had mentioned she was looking for an outlet on Twitter.

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Already selling well online they have also been very popular in the shop and Jordi has now expanded into interviewing members of the bands she has featured.

A bargain at two pounds they have also become a must-have item for those interested in Scottish music and looking for something a little different. Those who can’t make it into the shop can order the zines directly from Jordi.

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Glenrothes artist Jordan Maxwell's Scottish music fanzines

Just above the zine box and also proudly sitting in our window are a collection of unique punk bears by another Fife artist Marie Allan. Handmade from scratch they have sold remarkably well even with a £50 price tag, which given the amount of work that has gone into them people appreciate is a very fair price.

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We received our first bears just before Christmas and they all sold with only one exception as presents. The exception was a lady who said she would get her husband to buy her one but then returned 15 minutes later saying she was unable to wait.

Without doubt all these items are a little niche but when you stock lots of different things like this you will eventually have something for everybody.

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We even have a poster on our door for a gig tomorrow that would definitely be called niche. Swell Maps and The Thanes are playing at Bannermans and for those of a certain age who remember these bands it has caused much comment.

Fife artist Marie Allan's unique punk bears are hand-made from scratch
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Promoted by the Onion Cellar which was a legendary indie club founded in 1984 customers have been reminiscing about some of the gigs they attended in those very different times.

Swell Maps are DIY/experimental punk legends and The Thanes made Edinburgh famous for its garage rock bands.

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The first Avalanche also opened in 1984 in West Nicolson Street so was very much a part of what was happening then and of course Andrew Tully of Jesse Garon & The Desperadoes – one of the key jangly guitar bands of the time along with The Shop Assistants – was for many years Avalanche’s manager.

I have a Jesse Garon vinyl compilation and CD box set on my Forty Years of Avalanche wish list!

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DIY/experimental punk legends Swell Maps are back on stage in Edinburgh tomorrow