Record Stores I Went To Recently
By Nathan G. O'Brien
Green Noise is the physical storefront for the online webstore and distro of the same name and is run by the people that do the excellent label Dirtnap Records. It’s pretty specific to punk and all things that fall underneath that umbrella but they do have some other genres in their used section. I’m still kicking myself for not picking up the copy of Cinderella’s Night Songs that was in really good shape because the one I currently have is warped as shit. Most of the store is dedicated to new and used 12” vinyl but there’s a sizable 7”s area and smallish selection of cassettes. The walls are covered in tee shirts and notable collectors’ items. The owner’s don’t mind cranking the volume on the stereo either. The last time I was in there the dude was blasting Total Control’s Henge Beat so loud that I was hearing parts of it that I never knew existed. The prices are very reasonable, with new LPs starting around $14 and used at $7. There may be CDs but I don’t recall seeing them. One of my favorite things that I walked out of Green Noise with is a used copy of PiL’s live in Paris album Image Publique S.A.: Paris au Printemps for eight bucks. The store has recently moved to a new location than when I last visited it but I can’t imagine it’s changed much.
2nd Avenue Records – Portland, OR
Record Surplus bills itself as “The Last Record Store.” And while that isn’t exactly true, in these days of iTunes, Bandcamp, Soundcloud, and disposable zip files, the sentiment is on point. What the store lacks in character it more than makes up for in product; hence the name. I can’t speak on the CDs, but the vinyl is a little on the pricier side. But there’s just so much in the store that you’re guaranteed to find something to tax your bank account. While they have punk, metal, indie, and all the normal stuff, what impressed me most was their selection of exotica. I’m not even going to pretend to be a tikiphile, but I was weirdly overjoyed to find an adequately-priced copy of Martin Denny’s Quite Village in excellent condition. In addition to that, before I left I would add Fugazi's First Demo, Y&T's In Rock We Trust, and something from the reggae section to my swelling recently-purchased vinyl pile. Because I can’t leave a place like Record Surplus without emptying my wallet.
Spin Cycle - Seattle, WA
Motley Crue’s first three LPs in great condition and for dirt cheap.
This is a long running shop in the Belltown neighborhood of Seattle. Named after the Buzzcocks song, Singles Going Steady specializes in punk and all the tentacle-like excursions the genre encompasses. I’ve made a few visits here and always find something unexpected and worthy of my dollar bills, the most recent trip was Jawbreaker's first LP, and the one before that was the Dödsdömd - De Sju Dödssynderna 7". It takes some commitment, as the subgenre labels for the vinyl selections aren’t completely accurate. You’ll need to browse the entire store if you’re looking for something specific because it might be in the wrong section. Especially when it comes to hardcore and crust. And even metal for that matter. Great if you’ve got adequate time set aside, but probably frustrating for a kid who only has 15 minutes while dad sits in the car listening to the Mariners game, wishing his children were into sports or like, something normal. It’s not uncommon to find the same record in multiple areas. I actually like when stores do this, as, especially with punk, stuff is not always easily defined by one genre tag. The walls are covered in rad punk shit; you'll think you've been transported back in time to your teenage bedroom. Nice selection of patches, tees, pins, zines, and all the punk necessities. Small area of reggae and ska to boot. Guy who runs the place is always friendly, which is a huge plus. If you’re into punk, Singles Going Steady is no brainer.
Zion’s Gate – Seattle, WA