There are few things in the world as calming and invigorating for me than digging through the used bins of my favorite local independent record stores. The act alone turns me into an explorer and when my thumb flips to the record I’ve been hoping to find, that buried sonic treasure, my creaky knees and the 200 copies of Steely Dan’s Aja I passed are totally worth it.
Ever since I became a regular comber of the used bins of Seattle record stores, I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to share my favorite finds and shops with you here on Sound on the Sound, but with the news that both Sonic Boom and Everyday Music are closing their current locations on Capitol Hill, finding a clever way seems less important than just letting you know about the great shops and finds out there. So while this might not be its permanent form, here’s the first edition of my monthly 5 Most Treasured Vinyl Finds.
1. Hoquiam – s/t
Found: Spin Cycle Records
This record was meant to be mine. You see, back in March of 2010, Hoquiam hosted their record release party at Cairo with a limited number of hand made album covers. I debated back and forth between this one and another that said “Zombies Eat Your Flesh” with a torn map of King County modge-podged to the scrap paper. Taking into account “Zombies of the Sea,” one of my favorite tracks off the album, I settled on the zombie cover and made my way back into the cramped concert. About five minutes later, trapped in the far corner of Cairo, I realized I made a terrible mistake and the cover I should’ve chose declared “Drake and Kurt: we were born here.” Drake being Drake Jurado of Hoquiam and Kurt, of course, being Kurt Cobain. I ignored politeness and made my way back through the crowd to the small merch table to exchange records, but it was gone. Someone, probably one of those people I’d ungraciously passed on my way out, had bought my record.
Fast-forward to my first visit to Spin Cycle, Broadway’s new record store. As I’m flipping through their excellent used indie section, I spy it, my record. I gasp audibly and grab it as if some ghost in the otherwise empty store is going to snatch the record from under my nose again. When I go to the counter the owner nods approvingly at the record and says, “Nice find.” “You have no idea,” I tell him.
2. Songs from the Taverns of the Pacific Northwest
Found: Sonic Boom – Capitol Hill
Cost: 15% Off Something I found in the “Collector’s” Section
Usually, I don’t bother even thumbing through the “Collector’s” section at record stores as the prices are usually way outside anything I can conceivably afford to spend on a record. But one sunny Sunday, I made the mistake at Sonic Boom and stumbled upon this gem of “Songs of the Taverns of the Pacific Northwest.” Budget be damned, I had to have it.
Recorded in the summer and winter of 1975, featuring tavern (we call those dive bars now) artists from Seattle, Vancouver BC and Portland, Oregon. The album is described as being “Put together by the musicians who attempt to make a living in the taverns, it is a tribute to the good times had and the good music that is played in the local bars where people gather to talk, drink, shake it off, meet, and dance.” Featuring songs from dive bar bands like Les Clamtones, Lance Romance & the 3 Minute Boogie, Cement City Cowboys and Lance Romance — it’s a fascinating glimpse into what I would’ve been watching at The Blue Moon if I’d been born 30 years earlier. And a song like “I’ve Been Playing Guitar on the Toilet Too Long” is worth what I paid for the record alone.
See the rest of my favorite finds, (more…)