Sonic Boom Records

June 2, 2012 at 5:33 pm

Sonic Boom records, also located in the Ballard area of Seattle, is pretty much the equivalent of Amoeba records, just smaller.  New releases all over the place, great selections, a cool used section with decently priced quality records, and a large dollar bin section.  They even had a cool 45's section, which was well organized (alphabetically) in wood boxes, and even had a "Sale 45's" bin, in which I surprisingly found some quality joints.  I spent most of my time shuffling through some $2.99 records.  Ended up scooping up a Willie Hutch "The Mack" soundtrack, Pharoahe Monch "Internal Affairs" Instrumental LP, Butterfield Blues Band "Keep on Moving" LP, Budos Band "Up From The South" 45, John Holt "For The Love of You" 45, Santana's S/T LP, Rasco "The Unassisted" 12", and Souls of Mischief "Rock It Like That" 12".  Even found some cool, locally made, buttons that were called "Music Dictionary buttons."  Each button had what looked like a page torn out of a dictonary, with terms like "phonograph" or "record" on them.  Had to support the local artist, whose name is Dawn Tyler.  You can find her on Facebook, but if anyone knows Dawn, please send her a BIG UP for me.

Bop Street Records

June 1, 2012 at 5:32 pm

20120528-173141.jpgThe first stop on my digging adventure in Seattle was Bop Street Records: a spot, which the owner Dave had no problem telling me almost as soon as I walked in, that Wall Street Journal had named them one of the five best music stores in America.  Not the biggest space, but very well used, with records along the walls reaching up to the ceiling.  The center of the store had numerous shelves with very well organized records.  Jazz, blues, rock, etc.  This is one of those places that will have exactly what you're looking for, without even having to really hunt for it.  It's all there, and you'll be happy to pay for the convenience.  Not me, though.  While I may have a mental list of records to look for, I'm happy to spend an hour or two simply going through everything, and letting the discovery happen on its own.  Dave probably approached me three, maybe four, times asking "so what exactly are you looking for?"  I was as polite as I could be, being asked that question so much.  Sometimes you just want to dig, with no goal in sight.  I ended up in the upstairs loft, where they had something like 100,000 45's to go through.  There was a gentleman there who was a regular, and was trying to complete some crazy list of 22,000 records, and he had about six hundred left to find.  Bugged out.  I found a James Brown box of 45's, dug through them, knowing that I couldn't afford them on this trip.  It was nice to see them, though, and make a mental note of the labels and what not for future ventures.  Ended up leaving with a Marvin Gaye "Funky Space Re-incarnation" 45, a Ruby & The Romantics "Our Day Will Come" 45, and Syl Johnson's "Different Strokes" on 45.

Peace from Seattle!

May 30, 2012 at 11:56 pm

20120530-232416.jpgWent up to Seattle for Memorial Day Weekend.  Katrina was working a conference up there, so I tagged along and explored the city while she worked.  The first thing I noticed was the clean air.  No smog!  Pretty amazing.  Apparently, the warm, sunny weather I experienced this past weekend was NOT a normal thing in Seattle, so I appreciated it that much more.  Spent some time trying out local food joints, buying records, people watching, and walking around Downtown and Ballard, mostly.  Caught a folk festival, visited the EMP museum, and evaded a shooting at the space needle.  Quite the interesting experience.


I flew in Friday night after work, and didn’t get to the hotel until almost 10pm, so I figured I’d grab a quick bite from room service, get some good sleep, and start Saturday off early.  I walked about 30 minutes to this breakfast spot called The Shanty Cafe in Lower Queen Anne.  Then I headed to Seattle Center to spend most of my day at the EMP (Experience Music Project) Museum.  Very similar to the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, but this seemed to have much more in volume, engagement, and overall presentation.  I spent over 3 hours going through the Jimi
Hendrix, Nirvana, and AC/DC exhibits.  They even have an area called Sound Lab, where you can play instruments, jam with others, and pretty much just rock out however you want.20120530-232513.jpg  The most extensive, and most interesting, was the Nirvana exhibit.  Artifacts, guitars, clothing, original artwork, contracts, and more were on display, accompanied by video and audio archives from various shows, tours, etc.  I felt like my experience with Nirvana in the early 90’s was so naive, and I didn’t quite understand (when I was 10) how important, and rare, it was for this band to crossover into mainstream America (or as the exhibit said “Mainstream American came to Nirvana”).  Not only did Nirvana make it, but numerous other bands from Seattle ended up blowing up as a result of the grunge scene going viral.  I left EMP feeling very humbled and full of information!  Always a good thing.  More about my digging adventures to come…