Spin city

It’s time to come clean. Buying records is my addiction. Every weekend (usually during the week as well) you can find me perusing the bins of local music stores.

It’s time to come clean. Buying records is my addiction. Every weekend (usually during the week as well) you can find me perusing the bins of local music stores. I’m an equal opportunity consumer–I love vinyl as well as CDs. I have my favorite places in town, sure, but when presented with the opportunity to do a “record-store crawl” and write about the multitude of record-buying places in this town, I couldn’t pass it up. Below is my take on 10 of the best record stores in Portland. I’ve also included some of my “trade secrets,” basically helpful hints that make finding what you want easier.

Music Millennium–3158 E. Burnside St.Recently downsized to one location, Music Millennium is not the best record store in town. It has a large selection of CDs with a somewhat small used section. Vinyl-wise, they have a fairly good selection. The store is large but suffers from a lack of specialization. The prices for new items are also higher than at comparable places. It’s the type of place that you go into knowing you can probably find something you want, but are very unlikely to find any hidden gems.

Everyday Music–1313 W. Burnside St., 1931 N.E. Sandy Blvd.The main attractions of Everyday Music are their used CD selection and their hours. They are open every day until midnight. Every record store should have this policy, because it allows for late-night record binges (my addiction). Both locations are built upon a huge amount of CDs, and if you want something on that 5-inch format, Everyday is the place to go. The vinyl selection is OK, but like the entire store, is all about quantity over quality. Everyday Music buys everything, and it takes some digging to find the really good stuff.*Trade secret*While Everyday Music has giant stores and a wide selection of CDs, they still suffer from a lack of space and sometimes the location of certain CDs isn’t obvious. The secret is to look under the shelves. That space isn’t just reserved for overstock items, but often contains other albums that don’t make an appearance in the upper areas. I’ve found really out-of-print and weird limited pressings using this method. Also, sometimes they put the used CDs below and the new ones on top, so this can be a good way to save money.

Jackpot Records–203 S.W. Ninth Ave., 3736 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd.Catering mainly to the “indie” (God, I hate that word, but do you get what I mean?) crowd, Jackpot has two fairly small locations in Portland. Their strength is quality and specialization. If you want a new pressing (on CD or vinyl) of the newest album Pitchfork is praising, Jackpot is the place to go. Also, because of their clientele, there are sometimes really cool used records among the other stuff.*Trade secret*This pains me to say, but the downtown Jackpot Records has a little secret. The used 7-inch selection, for whatever reason, often has really great stuff for really cheap. I’m talking mainly hardcore/punk records here, but I’m still surprised sometimes nonetheless.

2nd Avenue Records–400 S.W. Second Ave.This store is basically the punk/metal mecca of Portland, with a surprisingly decent hip-hop section (though I’m not a “hip-hop head” by any means). They have all the new CDs and vinyl you could want, with some used stuff that is hard to get to. The main problem with 2nd Avenue Records is the way they file their CDs. It’s all kept in boxes behind the counter, so it makes it really hard to just browse through. I generally go in knowing exactly what I want as a way to avoid sifting through a bunch of boxes. The 7-inch section is great for new releases, and the store’s staff is helpful and knowledgeable of the music they sell.

360 Vinyl–214 N.W. Couch St.This is the place to go for hip-hop and dance vinyl. They also sell DJing supplies and other paraphernalia related to that whole subculture. So if you DJ (or want to DJ) and don’t know about 360, get going. This is the store that will fill your needs.Also check out Platinum Records at 104 S.W. Second Ave. for more DJing supplies and records.

Q is for Choir–2510 S.E. Clinton St.A small little store located in the quiet Clinton Street neighborhood, Q is for Choir serves a small clientele. It is also a worker-owned and -operated space that has a nice friendly atmosphere. The selection is small and consists almost entirely of used vinyl. It’s a nice place to stop by, but honestly, because of the small selection, probably isn’t on the list of absolutely necessary places to visit.

Green Noise–2615 S.E. Clinton St.Located in the same Clinton Street block as Q is for Choir, Green Noise is a bigger but just as selective store. They concentrate mainly on alternative and punk releases, with a nice selection of local music as well. It’s a mixed bag of CDs and vinyl but after visiting for the first time, I added it to my list of places to stop by on my normal rounds.

Crossroads–3130 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd.Vintage vinyl aficionados, take note. Crossroads is full of a seemingly never-ending supply of old records. That’s because it really is 20 different record sellers under one roof. This is the prime location for those people out there who love to dig. It isn’t really well organized and it’s almost overwhelming with the sheer amount of what’s going on, but that is where the fun comes in. Go here and expect to spend a lot of time searching for whatever it is you want.

Anthem Records–832 S.E. 34th Ave.Anthem Records is located right near Belmont, across the street from Salvador Molly’s. The selection is similar to Jackpot Records’, but they do have some dollar-discount bins and other oddities that make it a worthwhile stop. The main problem is the atmosphere: the place is decorated in a really swanky and off-putting way and is almost too organized. Don’t go out of your way to stop by, but if you’re in the neighborhood, it might have something you like.