Crate Diggin’ in Oregon

I am in Oregon to visit my mom for Thanksgiving, but my mom knows me (thank God one parent does) and she knows that whenever I go anywhere I want to find the nearest record stores and raid them all. So on Tuesday we made the trek to Portland to visit as many record stores as possible.

Okay…Portland kicks ASS when it comes to record stores. Holy crap. We went to eight different stores that day, and we still didn’t manage to make it to all of them. It totally blew my mind. Whoever said the indie record store is dead sure as hell hasn’t made it to the Pacific Northwest.

The stores were so amazing that I feel the need to share just how bitchin’ they are. So now I present to you The Lost Turntable guide to Portland/Salem/McMinnville record stores. Enjoy.

Everyday Music
There are at least two of these in Portland, but I only went to the one by Burnside. Wow. This place is massive, easily the second biggest record store I have ever been in (next to Jerry’s), with a little less than half of its epic floor space dedicated to nothing but vinyl.  Not only do they have a shitload of vinyl, but they got it organized. Everything is in alphabetical order, and with no “miscellanous” sections. If they have a record by a band, then it gets a placard. So its possible to browse their hundreds and thousands of records in just 30 minutes or so. Most of their focus seemed to be on new vinyl LPs, not much in the way of used stuff or 12” singles, but I did find a few. That’s not an insult on the place though, it was truly amazing. I didn’t even scratch their CD section, but it also looked pretty impressive. To top it all off, the staff seemed very nice and friendly. A truly excellent all around record store.

Jackpot Records
There are two of these in the greater Portland area, and I went to both of them. Both are excellent stores, with a small but diverse selection of rock and electronic LPs and CDs. I cleaned up at both locations, scoring some excellent new and used records that might be featured here in the coming weeks. I also bought an awesome 7” of Nirvana’s “Sliver” at one of the stores, which made my day. I didn’t really search their CD sections, but my mom (who has totally awesome taste in music, even if she does like Paula Cole) found stuff she liked at both stores, so that bodes well for them. The dudes at these stores were very cool, and even helped me locate other record stores in the area. A great store.

2nd Avenue Records
This indie store (located on, shocker, 2nd Ave) is very uneven. I was able to score a crapton of Erasure singles at prices ranging from 2 to 5 bucks, which was awesome, but the Bjork singles cost $25! So the uneven pricing kind of annoyed me. Still, their selection of LPs is pretty stellar, with a good diverse inventory of rock, rap, electronic, soundtracks and even reggae. They have CDs too, but they were all under glass and seemed to mostly be punk and rock. The woman  behind the counter, who I assume was the owner, seemed very nice, but also a little quiet. This store was very good, but their pricing left a bad taste in my mouth. But depending on what you’re looking for, it could be quite the find.

Platinum Records
This isn’t really a record store for the everyday consumer, it’s a DJ supply store that just happens to sell records. Their selection is obviously skewed towards this demographic; hip-hop, house, trance and pop for the most part, with some dnb and other electronic genres fleshing it out. Their shit is expensive though, I spent about 10 bucks per 12” single. Still, it was stuff I would have never found in any other store, so it was still worth it. The dudes working there were pretty cool, but they seemed confused as to why a big white nerd and his mom were browsing their progressive trance section.

Music Millennium
Wow. This place is amazing. The entire second floor is dedicated to vinyl, and they have a pretty stellar collection of both new and used records. The first floor had much more, from CDs to DVDs to toys and all kinds of other stuff. This is definitely your all purpose record store, with something for everyone. I didn’t buy a ton here, but I sure as hell could have! One of the clerks called 7” singles “those funny little records that only have two songs,” so they aren’t all what I would call “knowledgeable” but they were all very nice and fun to talk to.

So this place is a little crazy. It’s one store, with one clerk/employee, but over 30 individual dealers have their own little areas with their own records. So its about as organized as my brain (so not at all) and a real crate digger could get lost forever in there. I didn’t go through everything, but by just skimming I spent about 50 bucks on records that cost anywhere between 3 to 12 bucks. It also has an amazing ceiling.

Ranch Records
There are a few of these in Oregon and Washington, I went to two of them, one in Salem and the other in tiny little town called McMinnville. Judging from the massive collection of Elvis Costello bootlegs at both locations, and the Elvis Costello stained-glass window at the Salem location, I’m willing to bet the owner of this chain really likes Stiff records. Both stores had a great selection of newer vinyl as well as some choice older ones. They also had great collectibles, like a $250 Sub-Pop box set I’ll never own. Good CD selections as well and a very nice staff. Much like Millennium Music, this is a great all-purpose record store for both new and old music and it gets my highest recommendation.

Harvest Records
Quaint for sure, this tiny little hole in the wall in Salem doesn’t have a ton of records or CDs, but what it lacks in inventory it more than makes up for in charm. One dude runs the place, and he looks like he hasn’t left the store since 1977. I have a feeling that if you mention you like Pink Floyd or Rush to him he might become your best friend in the world. Shit, after talking to him for 10 minutes he invited me to hang out with him on Thanksgiving! Really cool dude. And while the store doesn’t have the greatest selection in the world, it does have a lot of quality shit. For example, everything from tonight’s post was taken from CDs bought at this store!

Information Society
Running (Calderone Leather Radio Edit)
Running (Robbie Rivera Diskofied Vocal Edit)
Running (Calderone Leather Mix)
Running (Robbie Rivera Smooth House Mix)
What’s On Your Mind (Pure Energy) [Pure Energy 2001 Edit]
What’s On Your Mind (Pure Energy) [Boris + Beck Exit Edit]
What’s On Your Mind (Pure Energy) [Junior’s Blue Zone Club Mix]
What’s On Your Mind (Pure Energy) [Boris + Beck Exit Mix]
What’s On Your Mind (Pure Energy) [Sugarpussy Psychic Funk Mix]

Wow right? These are from two CD singles that I paid a whopping combined seven bucks for! Good deal huh? Most of these mixes are crazy long too, so this is about an hour of InSoc. Give thanks for that shit when you’re scarfing down turkey today.

Daft Punk
Burnin’ (Ian Pooley “Cut Up Mix”)
Burnin’ (Slam Mix)

I bought two Daft Punk singles at Harvest. Burnin’ and Digital Love. Unfotunately for all of you, all the remixes and b-sides from Digital Love are available on either Discovery or Daft Club, so I’m not posting them. These remixes for Burnin’ remain out-of-print however, so enjoy them while your stomach burns from indigestion and I’ll see you all again after the holiday.


6 Responses to “Crate Diggin’ in Oregon”

  1. Fictional Queen says:

    Damn that ceiling is awesome.
    I’m surprised you didn’t turn into an unstoppable,insatiable record-buying monster at the sight of so many records!Are you sure your mom and a big crowd didn’t have to drag you out of there while you clutched at vinyl records? 😀

  2. Stephen says:

    Those “Running” tracks KICK ASS.

  3. Homer J from UK says:

    Sounds gr8 4 record hunting on ur side of the world. In my city there’s only 1 that deals records,& he’s way 2 expensive. Gone r the days when i’d spend hours 12” hunting. Now it’s all boot sales,that get worse year by year. Everything good is going online!
    Thank’s 4 the Information Society tracks-the Ultimix of ‘Running’ is also good!

  4. Keith says:

    I am saving this post on my phone so I can reference it when I make a run to Portland. I recently moved from Amoeba-dominated LA to West Seattle, a small town with a main intersection anchored by two decent record stores (Easy Street and Rubato). Your writing made me misty for the long lost record stores of Cleveland where I grew up (Chris’s Warped Records, Wax Stacks, all the stores in Coventry, and Time Traveler in Cuyahoga Falls, that I think is still going strong). I spent most of my adult years in Chicago and was so sad to return recently to see my beloved Record Emporium and Evil Clown were shuttered (joining Wax Trax in the hereafter). Glad to see Portland is still mighty, as is Seattle.

  5. DJ Mizzy says:

    God DAMN! You are so lucky to have made a wonderful journey like that and have the money to purchase so many records :-/ But on the real, I wanted to thank you for the 2 Burnin’ remixes i’ve fallin in love with!

  6. lazy shadow says:

    just bookmarked your site. Thanks for posting the burnin rmxes.

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