June 22, 2011

This Month in Local Record Buying and Releasing

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[editor's note: We've been trying to figure out how to bring in Josh & my vinyl addiction to the site. We'll be sharing some of our favorite weekly finds with you, but also want to keep you guys up to date with news about being a vinyl lover in Seattle. Here's a round-up in this month's happenings.]

Its been a busy month, both good and bad, for local record shoppers and lovers.

We’ll start with the worst news. Last week, Sonic Boom owner Jason Hughes announced that the independent record store’s Capitol Hill location would be closing on September 5th with this press release.

After 8 years on Capitol Hill, Sonic Boom Records will officially be closing its Melrose Ave. location on September 5th. Economic circumstances, industry collapse, rising rents and a building perpetually under construction all played a part in the decision. There will be a weekend “market” in the old Sonic Boom space consisting of vinyl vendors, vintage retailers and other sellers until further notice.

Sonic Boom will continue on in our Ballard location which has been in operation for a decade now. We’d like to thank all of our regular customers on Capitol Hill and our customers who have been with us since we opened our first store in 1997. We hope to see you in Ballard.

As regular customers at both of Sonic Boom’s Capitol Hill locations, a weekly peruser of their new 7” and used vinyl and someone who is spending money at record stores more frequently than ever before and has loved having in-stores within walking distance from home, I’m saddened and disheartened by this news. Sonic Boom’s prices are reasonable and their new vinyl selection is hard to beat, so I’ll make the drive to Ballard, but it’s a shame neither of the city’s two flagship independent record stores can survive on Capitol Hill.

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While Sonic Boom may be closing shop, new record stores are popping up in Seattle and even on Capitol Hill.

Spin Cycle on Broadway (321 Broadway to be exact) has become a new stop for vinyl browsing. Their small selection covers the classics, as well as having impressive indie, punk and jazz sections. I was thrilled on my first visit to find reasonably priced ($11 each) well-kept used copies of Hoquiam and Nurses Apples Acres and a handful of local ’45s from Telekinesis and K Records. Its not every record you’ve ever wanted, but its also not every record you see in every $3 bin. It’s a small selection, but it packs a punch.

We haven’t been to B-Side yet, but their night-owl hours and downtown location, will definitely have us stopping by soon. Located at 214 Stewart St, B-Side boasts the latest hours in town (outside your computer): 2am on Friday and Saturday and Midnight every other night. And yep, this is a seven day a week business. We’ll report back on what the store and selection looks like, but wanted to offer a hearty welcome to both stores. Call me old-fashioned, but I think the world needs more, not less, brick-and-mortar record stores.

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Last and certainly not least, the best news. A big congrats goes out to fellow local music blogger Nik Christofferson, who has just launched his own record label “Good to Die Records,” announcing two super solid Seattle bands as his first acts: Absolute Monarchs and Sandrider.

Christofferson has made a name for himself since starting his blog Seattle Rock Guy by having his ear to the ground and his body in the pit at heavy shows all over the Pacific Northwest. Lately he’s been booking some killer bills around town catering strictly to the heavy crowd and the launch of this label finds him investing in his community in another awesome way. Christofferson, a huge vinyl proponent himself, promises all his releases will come out on vinyl, which is music to our ears.

Good to Die, Absolute Monarchs and Sandrider will release their first records sometime in 2011, but until then you can take a listen to both bands via Bandcamp. And if someone sounds familiar in these projects, don’t be surprised. Absolute Monarchs features Joel of My Goodness and Sandrider features members of Akimbo and the Ruby Doe.

Happy spinning Seattle, see you in the used bins!