You can only spend so much time perusing Border’s CD sectionbefore you realize that it leaves a lot to be desired. There’s noway you’ll ever find that copy of Generic Flipper you’ve beenlooking for. So where should you go from there? A drive throughPortland reveals a cornucopia of independent record stores largeand small, all of which offer distinctly different selections. So,gentle reader, the Vanguard humbly presents this guide to steer youtowards the town’s hot spots for wax and whatever weird plastic-ymaterial compact discs are made out of.
Fabulous Jackpot Records
203 SW 9th
3736 SE Hawthorne
The appropriately named Jackpot is the place to head if you lovevinyl. Spectacular spreads encompass everything from indie rock toavant jazz, and there’s plenty inbetween to keep you happy.Especially interesting is their rather extensive garage/psychsection, and they usually have some choice rarities behind thecounter. Prices are pretty reasonable, with a good mix of new andold product making sure that there’s at least something you canafford. As far as CDs go, Jackpot has good variety but not as muchquantity as some other stores, though not little enough to bedisappointing. Another added bonus are the in-stores that Jackpothosts, usually featuring better bands than Music Millennium, themost common place for in-store shows. The store itself is superclean and easy to navigate, making extended browsing simple andpleasurable. All in all, Jackpot’s one of your best bets forrecords, and will keep CD users pacified while their dorkierfriends look at vinyl.
400 SW 2nd Ave.
Second Avenue has a butt-load of vinyl, t-shirts, KISS dolls, andother assorted paraphernalia. As you make your way through thejungle of rock-related garments, you will likely find whatever rarerecord you’re looking for, and likely an armful of ones you’re not.Although the layout can be a little cluttered, Second Avenue’schoice selection of rarities and imports makes it worthwhile.Prices are a little higher than Jackpot or Everyday Music, buttaking the selection into consideration the prices are reallypretty good. CD selection is relatively paltry, and you have to askto look at them hands-on, but the staff is helpful andknowledgeable, which makes sense since they work at one of theoldest independent record stores in town.
2 NW 10th St
Right up the street from Jackpot resides Ozone UK. Thisespresso-serving repository of domestic and import music may besmaller than Jackpot or the original Ozone, but it has a greatselection of new vinyl for good prices. Their CD selection isloaded with rarities and will usually have what you need. Ozone UKis definitely the place to go for any kind of industrial or gothicrecords you need, as their selection trumps that of the mostly rockand pop dominated record stores in the neighborhood. They also havelots of shirts, jewelry, patches, stickers, buttons, and even a fewpipes thrown in for good measure. The staff is friendly and willingto shoot the shit about your purchases pretty much anytime. Whilethe selection may not be the largest around, what they do have ispretty choice, and they often are able to beat Jackpot’s prices bya dollar or two. Definitely check them out if you’re in theneighborhood, or if you’re on a shopping spree, but there arebetter places to go if you’re just looking to make one stop.
1313 W Burnside
1931 NE Sandy
The operative word here is big. Everyday Music’s selection of newand used CDs and vinyl is probably the most extensive around. Thehuge, pseudo-warehouse feel is accentuated by high ceilings andtrack lighting, with row upon row of music stretching seeminglyinto the horizon. Rock, pop, jazz and blues take precedence hereand the DVD selection isn’t shabby. As far as rarities go, Everydayprobably isn’t the best place to be because the selection is soextensive you’ll spend forever trying to find what you’re lookingfor and it might not be there anyway. That aside, the fact thatEveryday Music has so much to pick from makes it one of the bestchoices around.
801 NW 23rd
3158 E Burnside
Music Millennium is one of Portland’s old and established storesand has been on the receiving end of many accolades and awards.Selection here is choice and diverse, with CDs occupying the mostspace. The vinyl section is actually kind of paltry, with only acouple racks devoted to all genres and the bargain area, whichactually has some good stuff in it compared to other places. Whatshines about Music Millennium is the used CD section, with plentyof volume to keep you going back and forth between the racks andthe listening stations. Posters, DVDs and books are fairlyrepresented here as well. In-stores here are a big drawing point,with notable bands like Sonic Youth frequenting Music Millennium’sstage. Be sure to show up early, as the layout of the store lendsitself well to crowding. If you’re looking for CDs, then this isone of the best places to be.
Ozone Records Phase3
701 E Burnside
The third reincarnation of the original and unstoppable OzoneRecords, this shop resembles the Ozone of old more than its UKcounterpart across the river. With a huge selection of vinyl andCDs, new and used, Ozone3 caters to every taste, from the darkestindustrial to the twee-est indiepop and everything in between.T-shirts, posters, magazines and general headshop paraphernaliafill out the selection beautifully and their prices tend to trumpJackpot by almost a buck every time. Ozone 3’s in-storeperformances offer the best indie acts the Pacific Northwest has tooffer and the staff is both knowledgeable and handsome.
214 NW Couch
Dedicated to hip-hop and electronica of all varieties, 360 is aDJ’s paradise loaded to the gills with single and import vinyl.Also offering a great selection of gear and clothes, 360 is thehome base for Portland’s indie hip-hop culture. Their CD selectionis small but thorough, but the strength of 360 lies in theirrecords. The staff, mostly DJ’s themselves, knows their shit up anddown and can tell you without pause which new Madlib project iscoming and which pseudonym it’s going to be recorded under.