With a new record shop on Main Street, Keene residents can now mail a letter and pick up metal music in one stop.
Fans of hardcore, punk, metal, goth and industrial music can purchase their favorites at Wicked Music, a music store located on the second floor of the U.S Post Office in Keene.
Officially established on Nov. 11, or National Metal Day, Wicked Music is the product of owner Antoine Veach’s love for collecting music. Veach said he owned a comic and gaming store almost ten years prior, but it didn’t take well to Keene’s already competitive comic scene. He fell back on his taste in music, attending metal shows with a small display table as well as booking local shows at The Railroad Tavern to get his name circulating. Veach said he found himself unable to keep up with the demand at side-show tables. Wicked Music gained a physical location soon after.
At Wicked Music, customers can purchase CDs, vinyl, cassettes, DVDs, clothing and tickets. Veach still books shows in New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Connecticut.
“I’ve been establishing [my] reputation for two years,” Veach said, “The guys my age that come in I can relate to and the kids that are younger I can also relate to.”
Derek Blunt, a Keene State College senior, knew Veach when he was booking local shows in the infancy of Wicked Music.
“I met Antoine my freshman year when he booked shows,” Blunt said. “He started the show mostly online last year, but he got a physical place now which is awesome. There isn’t any place in northern New England that sells underground metal.”
Veach prides himself on a diverse selection of underground hardcore music in hopes to broaden his customers’ collections. “I’m a collector myself,” Veach said, “That helps because I’m not just vending, I’m helping people explore.” He explained that he hopes to satisfy fans who are looking for their favorite artists’ physical albums.
Although business is steady, the walls leading up to the metal shop are bare. Veach said that according to Post Office regulations he cannot promote his store inside of the building. Signs outside are allowed.
Veach’s business is not alone on the second floor of the Post Office. Jesse Rix’s appointment-only tattoo parlor is a few suites down the hallway from Wicked Music.
Keene postmaster David Leblanc said that the rooms upstairs have always been rented out. “It used to be the army, navy and marines up there,” Leblanc said. He was unsure about any specific restrictions aside from internal promotion. “Our area office is in charge of the reality of the rooms,” Leblanc said.
Veach isn’t complaining about the location, of which he had his eye on since last year. “It’s convenient for me in shipment,” Veach said. He explained that a large chunk of Wicked Music exists online and through internet sales. “All I have to do is get things packed up and drop it downstairs,” Veach said. He saw it as an identifiable spot as well.
“I also figured it’d be easier for people to find,” Veach said, “If you tell them ‘Go to the Post Office, okay now go upstairs’ it should be pretty simple.” Wicked Music is open Tuesday through Sunday from noon to six p.m. and their website is wickedmusicshop.com. As you go up the Keene Post Office stairs, it is the first door on the right. The store’s number is 603-354-3356. Veach said he’s content with his store—he never wanted to work for someone else. “I just wanted to do my own thing and watch it grow,” he said.
Allie Baker can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org