Portland Record Stores! In honor of Record Store Day

5 04 2011

Jackpot Records on Burnside.

Some of Jackpot's best stuff is up on the wall behind the counter.

Everyday Music on Burnside.

Gazillions of albums inside Everyday Music.

In honor of Record Store Day which is just around the corner (April 16th) I’d like to talk about two of my favorite record stores in Portland.

Record stores are dying, that’s nothing shocking.  You hear about it everywhere, it’s true, and it’s very very sad.  I’m lucky to live somewhere where so many still exist, and I hope, still thrive.  Many years ago I gave up CDs, I bought electronically, but it felt incomplete.  I needed a physical product, I needed to go back to LPs.  Many people will say “only hipsters or snobby audiophiles buy vinyl”, but no, they’re wrong.  I love vinyl, I don’t think it sounds better, I just really enjoy playing it.

I love it more when it comes with an electronic download, which most do now.  I payed $4.99 recently for a Nada Surf download from Amazon, but I’d prefer to pay more for an LP with a download coupon, like the $20 I spent for Corin Tucker’s latest.   $48 for something like Radiohead’s LP?… well, I paid it, but let’s hope not too many bands think they can duplicate that price point.

Jackpot Records and Everyday Music have multiple locations, but I always shop on Burnside, where they are very close to each other, but they’re very different.

Jackpot is quite small, but has unique and high-quality LPs.  It’s bright airy and open, and the staff in nice.  You’re going to find that scratch-free album you always wanted, but, you won’t get it for cheap.  It seems like they pass on buying sub-par albums from people.

Everyday Music has an unbelievable selection, from new, to hard-to-find, to utterly scratched-up crap.  They seem to take everything, and that’s fine.  I usually set aside at least an hour here.  And I can’t think of a more fun way to spend an hour.  No, I totally can, but you get what I mean.  The staff is also nice, the space is old and kinda run-down, but again that’s fine.  Your head is always looking down anyway, right? There’s just so, so much selection here.

The interesting thing to me is that the chain stores that moved in on the independents have all since gone out of business, and really, only the independents remain.  Places like Wally-Mart and Best Buy still sell music, but much less than they used to, and only utter crap.  I remember Wally-Mart strong-arming artists into changing lyrics or album covers or they wouldn’t stock them, now that influence is all but gone.  Good.

I know there are many more places to get LPs in Portland, and I will get to them.  But for now, regardless of where you shop, go buy records on April 16th!  Or sooner.