Here in Oregon, flipping through stacks of vinyl for hours on end is not an uncommon pastime, so it’s good to know there is a holiday of sorts to celebrate the enthusiasm of the music collector, and the shops that serve her or him.
Record Store Day was founded in 2007 to pay homage to the unique culture of over 700 independently owned record stores throughout the US.
This year as part of the celebration, artists around the globe are releasing over 300 limited edition vinyl releases, including records by Oregon artists Black Prairie, M. Ward, Blitzen Trapper and the Portland Cello Project.
We thought we’d take this distinctive holiday as an opportunity to highlight some of the state’s best independent record stores. If it seems like years since you’ve held a printed copy of music in your hands, head out to one of these spots tomorrow, and dig in. Album art looks great on an actual album… remember? Who knows, you may rekindle a beloved pastime.
Music Millennium – Portland
First opened March 15, 1969 on the corner of Burnside and 32nd, Don & Loreen MacLeod and brother-in-law Dan Lissy wanted to run a record store specializing in underground music. The shop quickly expanded to include a Classical section, and eventually a second location. Thirty years later, it’s the oldest record store in the Pacific Northwest.
Often regarded as one of the grandfathers of independent music stores, Music Millennium’s current owner/operator Terry Currier made national headlines when he burned all Garth Brook’s tapes and records outside the store in protest against the country singer’s campaign to ban the sale of used CDs and albums. He took his campaign down the West Coast, and eventually the record companies surrendered.
One of the coolest things about this store is the live performances they host by local and touring artists. On a given weekend afternoon, you could be treated to an intimate performance from Sheryl Crow, Richard Thompson or even Soundgarden.
The Music Coop – Ashland
Northern Californians John and Trina Brenes moved their store to Ashland in 2001, and specialize in new and collectible vinyl, as well as a large selection of mint and used records. They have a ton of famous fans of their store. Emmylou Harris says, “The Music Coop is an Oasis in the record store wasteland,” and Linda Ronstadt chimes in, “(it’s) the greatest independent record store in the world. “
So… um… don’t take my word for it.
Ranch Records – Bend, Salem, McMinnville
Ranch doesn’t necessarily specialize in one genre or medium, but instead has a very decent sized collection of both records and CDs, and a particularly large inventory of used items in great condition.
The stores I’ve been to in Bend and McMinnville have lots of cool posters and album covers on the wall, and they are always open to stocking and promoting new releases by local musicians.