Thursday, February 28, 2013

Portland, OR

Portland is a record store friendly town. I would put it up there with the best. You can pick one of these super handy brochures up at most of the indie shops listed. Sure makes it easy. As you can see most of the shops are within just a few miles of each other. The best part of shopping for records (or anything else) in Portland and Oregon is NO SALES TAX! How awesome is that? AND when you go to the gas station THEY are required to pump the gas for you! Sweet! AND if you keep your eyes peeled you may be able to find one of these...
Crossroads Music - This place is awesome. I was indeed a bit confused when I first started shopping in here, but after I grasped the concept it all became clear. It looks like one shop with a guy or guys running the register, however it is actually 35 different vendors under one roof. They leave their records on consignment and Crossroads does the rest. They say they have been there for more than 20 years. What a cool way to do things. I spent several hours in here so you may want to budget your time accordingly. The condition and pricing of the vinyl varies from seller to seller. I picked up quite a few LP's here. All genres represented. If I were a Portlandier I would be in this place often. Crossroads is my favorite Portland record shop. 3130 SE Hawthorne. Highly Recommended.

Vinyl Resting Place -  Clever name. Nice small record shop stocked with good stuff and really good prices. Spent some time in here and picked up quite a few LP's. This place is a bit off the beaten path but totally worth the extra few minutes it takes to get there. Nice owner who knows his business. All genres here. 8322 N Lombardo St. Highly Recommended.


Everyday Music - There are three EM locations in the Portland area.
1931 NE Sandy
1313 W Burnside (downtown)
3290 SW Cedar Hills Blvd, Beaverton

In my opinion the Beaverton location is the best and totally worth the drive for the following reasons:
The best stock on hand of the 3 stores. The best pricing. Plenty of parking and there are both a Jimmy John's and a Pita Pit next door.
The Burnside location kinda sucks. They should just close it down. The stock was bad, the pricing was bad and parking was horrible costing $7 to park above the store. The Sandy location was good. All 3 shops do have friendly and helpful staff. They have tons and tons of LP's, CD's and DVD. Plan on spending some time in here. 2 out of 3 is pretty good. They don't make the independent record guide because I suppose they are a chain, still Highly Recommended.

NE Sandy Ave location
Downtown W. Burnside location
Beaverton location

Mississippi Records - Small shop but they have real good prices. The lighting inside the shop is a bit dim which makes it difficult the check the condition of the records. I stood by a window to get good light to check condition. Some of the records are very beat up, some are not. I did find some gems here though. They have some vintage stereo equipment for sale as well.  All genres. Like the people of Portland, a very friendly staff. 5202 N. Albina. Highly Recommended.

The 7 inchers are in that wood file cab on the right there.
They even have vintage audio equipment for sale

Music Millennium - A pretty good sized store. I did find a few LP's here as well. I would say their pricing is a bit on the high side but hey, no sales tax in OR. Some of the LP's as is the case almost everywhere now days can be kind of scratchy. You can spend quite a while in this place. All genres. 3158 E Burnside. Highly Recommended.


SMUT - (So Many Unique Treasures) A cool little shop with lots of vinyl and decent prices as well as all sorts of cool stuff like vintage Playboys, antiques and other wonderful things. I found a few LP's here. The girl working there was friendly and a real trip let me tell you. 7 SE 28th. Highly Recommended.


2nd Ave Records - This place is downtown. There are a tons of t-shirts hanging from the ceiling. The place has a cool vibe. The staff are friendly and helpful. After shopping for about an hour I did manage to find one record I wanted, a Stones boot. The other stuff here was either too high priced or scratchy. Lots of  vinyl. All genres here, they seem to specialize in punk. I would go back here but only after giving Crossroads Music, Vinyl Resting Place, Mississippi Records, Music Millennium and Everyday Music my time and money first. Recommended. 400 SW 2nd Ave.


Sonic Recollections - Nice shop. The owner is a bit weird but friendly and helpful. Beware of what you buy here. Check your LP's very carefully. This guy is a record polisher. He polishes the scratches out of his records. So, while it might look good in his shop it's gonna sound like shit when you get it home. Prices, so-so. Stock, not bad, but again, buyer beware. Recommended. 2701 Belmont st.  


Exiled Records - A nice small shop. Good stock. I did find an original Grateful Dead live LP at a good price. Lots of psych, experimental, punk, soul, etc. If I lived in Portland, this place would be in light rotation. Definitely worth a look. Recommended. 4628 SE Hawthorne


Clinton Street Record and Stereo - Tiny shop. They focus on House, Disco, New Wave, Synth, Indie. I found a Zappa LP. Lots of cool vintage stereo equipment. Friendly, helpful owner. If you are into the aforementioned genres or vintage audio, then check this place out. 2510 SE Clinton St.

Record Room - Vinyl lounge. They have beer, wine, coffee, free wi-fi and pinball here and oh yea, it's also a record shop. The night I went to the Record Room, as I'm walking up to the shop I start to think the place is closed because it's so dark inside. The door is unlocked. Stepped in and the girl working there decides to turn down the lights even further. There are people hanging out drinking. I start to look at the records for sale, I cannot see the condition at all because I'm in almost complete darkness. So I bust out my trusty iPhone with the flashlight app. I thought that might give the girl working here a hint to turn the lights back up due to the fact she has a record buying customer. NOPE. She has a bright light at the front counter/bar for her to check condition but that's not helping me. I tried to look for a bit but it was pointless, so we bailed. They do get points for having a Fish Tales pinball game on hand which is a fun game. It seems like a cool place and all but I just cannot recommend The Record Room, maybe it's better during the daytime hours. 8 NE Killingsworth.

Boom Wow - Did not have much that was of interest to me. I do believe they also have some product for sale at Crossroads Music. Not much Boom or Wow here. 2940 MLK Jr. Blvd.


Jackpot Records - They appear to have mostly new reissue LP's, in fact the only second hand LP's I saw were behind the counter on the wall. After checking out the Hawthorne Blvd shop, I didn't bother stopping at the downtown 9th Ave location.
3574 Hawthorne Blvd.
203 SW 9th Ave

Variety Shop - If you are looking for scratchy records and VHS movies, this is your place.
4932 SE Foster.


PDX shops I did not get to:

360 Vinyl
Platinum Records 
Discourage Rock & Roll
Green Noise/Dirtnap Records
Night Owl Record Show - April and October
Anthem Records
Beacon Sound
Jump Jump Music
Little Axe Records

UK promo

Monday, February 4, 2013

Seattle, WA

Silver Platters - They have 3 locations. I've been to all 3, for me the best one is the Queen Anne location on 5th Ave. The 1st Ave location have lots of what appears to be overstock product. The Bellevue location is the smallest of the three but they do have some descent stock there. The Queen Anne location is big, really big they have everything you could ever want there including pricey collectible vinyl on the wall behind the front counter. Big selection of everything in all genres. The vinyl is mix new with used. Highly Recommended.

2930 1st Ave. S
1500 NE 8th Bellevue
9560 1st Ave NE Seattle

Bellevue location
Everyday Music - This chain store has locations in WA state and OR. Super big and well stocked, tons of LP's and CD's and DVD. They do mark the condition of the vinyl on the price tag, Good, Fair, etc. However, as is normally the case, there is nothing good about good. Fine is well, not that fine so check your records carefully. I did manage to walk out with a pretty big stack of vinyl. Another tip, parking in SEA kinda sucks. They have a system where you get a timed ticket out of a machine they place on every block like NYC, you stick the timed parking ticket on your window. I had just remembered to check on my car because time was about to run out and there hovering around waiting was a SEA parking enforcement officer, (nice try) I was able to add more time to the ticket with about 3 minutes to spare, so don't get too distracted while you shop at EM or you may have a nice parking ticket waiting for you when you leave. Anyway this store and this chain are Highly Recommended. 1520 10th Ave.

Parking enforcement lurking right there outside of EM, what a surprise

Jive Time Records - Nice small shop, friendly and knowledgeable owner and staff. They have a larger auxiliary location down the street in a antique mall, but all I ever found there were scratchy common records. This shop has quality not quantity. I have always left with something here. There is a good vibe here. You can park up in one of the neighborhoods as it is hard to find parking here. All genres represented. Highly Recommended. 3506 Fremont Ave N.

Easy Street Records & Cafe - This shop have only the west SEA location now since the closure of their Queen Anne location, which is just as well since I never really found much to purchase in the Queen Anne location anyway. The cool thing about Easy Street is they have a cafe with a great menu. Everything on the menu is a reference to music in some way, such as the "Soundgarden Burger" or the "Culture Club" Sandwich. The cafe is also attached to the record shop so you are actually eating inside a record shop. If there is a wait to be seated you can leave your name and shop for music. I like it. Prices are decent and all genres represented. Staff are friendly as well. The vinyl is upstairs. 4559 California Ave SW. Highly Recommended. 

East Street Cafe

Georgetown Records - Not a big shop but a good one. All genres represented. A new arrivals bin when you walk in the door. Lots of cool punk rock stuff. Friendly owner. A small book store attached. I have found some gems in this place for sure. 1201 S Vale. Highly Recommended.

Wall of Sound - Pretty much a hipster record shop. Did not find anything I liked here. In and out in 5 minutes.

Bop Street Records - Massive selection of vinyl. However, prices are massively WAY out there. Check condition because he is selling some scratchy stuff. Friendly owner who talks a little too much. 2220 NW Market St. Recommended if you can afford it.

Sonic Boom Records - This joint is across the street from Bop Street Records. Nice shop, all genres, decent prices kinda reminds me of a mini Everyday music. I found a few LP's here. 2209 NW Market st. Recommended.

Neptune Music - If paying super high prices for scratchy LP's is your bag, then this is your kind of basement. I would not bother going back to this place ever again. Packed full of old VHS tapes and dusty fucked up records, I mean what's the point here? I looked for 30 minutes, found nothing, snapped some photos, talked shit and left. 4344 Brooklyn Ave NE.

Radar music and Hair - About the second most weird record store I've ever seen. It's a hair salon and record store combo. Check it out. 2724 1st Ave S.

Golden Oldies Records Tapes and CD's - This place looks great from the outside but that is where the fun ends. Dusty overpriced scratchy records. If I owned this place, to start with I would have to throw out half of the inventory. The bin cards are made of nothing more than wafer thin cardboard which does not do the trick. Sorry dude. "You like tapes and CD's" ? Well.....CD's NUTS!    201 NE 45th St. Not Recommended.

Here are other Seattle area record shops that I was unable to visit: