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March 26, 2015

Record Store Rockin’ in Portlandia

record-store-front

Take a tour through Portland, Oregon’s thriving record store scene

~By James R. Beach

A little about me: Born in Portland, Oregon in 1969. My first LP was KISS Alive 2 after seeing them in 1977 at age 7. By 1981, I was collecting records. In the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, there were many record stores in the Portland area. Of those older stores, only a few remain today. But in recent years, a bunch of new stores have opened. Portland is thriving once again for vinyl!

A good first stop is downtown. Around the corner from the Morrison Bridge is…

2ND AVE. RECORDS
400 SW. 2nd Ave.
Portland, OR. 97204
(503) 222 – 3783
2ndavenuerecords.com

Opened in 1982 and one of the longest surviving stores. A huge amount of vinyl and good sections of punk and heavy metal. There are cheapo bargains and they also have CDs, Posters and T-Shirts. (Hours: M-F 11-8; SAT 10-8; SUN 12-6)

EVERYDAY MUSIC
1313 W. Burnside
Portland, OR.
(503) 274-1700
everydaymusic.com

Everyday Music is a must hit. Independently owned, with six stores overall (in Oregon and Washington). They have a large stock of both new and used LPs, 45s, 12” singles, CDs, Cassettes, VHS, DVDs, laserdiscs and more. Lots of bargains and they put stuff out daily. (Hours: 11-11 and open 7 days a week).

FYI: Just a couple blocks away is Powell’s Books, which takes up an entire city block and five floors. They’ve even have their own coffee place right inside the store.

Once you get done shopping downtown, you could head out to the Everyday’s at 3920 SW. Cedar Hills Blvd in Beaverton or else jump over to the eastside. I suggest that as there are more stores clustered in the SE, NE and N areas.

Follow Burnside to where it splits off. A couple blocks after you merge onto Sandy is Voodoo Donuts. The line may be long, as it is very popular, but worth the wait. Just up the street is another…

EVERYDAY MUSIC
1931 NE. Sandy Blvd.
Portland, OR. 97
(503) 239 – 7610
everydaymusic.com

Over 100,000 new and used LPs, 45s, CDs, Cassettes, movies and more and takes up half of a city block like the downtown store does (usually better parking at this one, and free). Daily dump bins and tons of cheapos. Big Record Store Day participant too. (Hours: 11-11 and open 7 days a week)

FUTURE SHOCK
1914 E. Burnside
Portland, OR. 97214
(503) 327-8473
futureshockpdx.com

Head south on 20th after leaving Everyday’s, and right next to Plaid Pantry is Future Shock. A newer, little store that has a small section of vinyl along with toys, apparel and more. (Hours: 11-9 daily).

SMUT (SO MANY UNIQUE TREASURES)
7 SE. 28th
Portland, OR. 97217
(503) 235-SMUT
smutportland.blogspot.com

Before you get to Music Millennium, there’s a fun little store just around the corner on 28th. SMUT has a good, small vinyl section, 45s, 8-tracks, cassettes, and a large selection of magazines, books, posters, clothing and more. (Hours: M- Sat 12-7; Sun 11-6)

MUSIC MILLENNIUM
3158 E. Burnside
Portland, OR. 97214
(503) 231 – 8926
musicmillennium.com

Music Millennium is the oldest record store in Portland and still one of the best. Opened in 1969 by Don and Loreen Macleod and brother-in-law Dan Lissy. Starting out with an 800-square-foot location, they eventually took up the whole building (and another store in the NW, now closed). Terry Currier started there in 1982 and is still manager. The vinyl section now inhabits the original 800-square-foot area itself. All kinds of new and used vinyl and they get stuff in frequently. Large section of CDs, movies, music videos and more. (Hours: M-Sat 10-10; Sun 11-9)

From there I’d suggest heading south, so you can make a circle and head back up to North and Northeast Portland. First stop is Belmont with a couple stores worth checking out.

BLYTHE & BENNETT RECORDS
3334 SE. Belmont St.
Portland, OR. 97214
(503) 234 – 6996
blytheandbennett.com

Good new store with reasonable prices and a good selection. (Hours: Daily 12-8)

SONIC RECOLLECTIONS
2701 SE. Belmont St.
Portland, OR. 97214
(503) 236 – 3050
sonicrec.com

Around since the mid-1980s, just down the street from some great restaurants and coffee shops, around 34th street. 75,000 LPs and a bunch of 45s, CDs and more. Found my first William Shatner LP there many years ago. (Hours: T-Sat 12-6. Closed Sun & Mon)

From there, go west to 17th Ave.

DISCOURAGE ROCK & ROLL
1737 SE. Morrison St.
Portland, OR. 97214
(503) 528 – 1093
discouragerecords.com

If you’re into Punk Rock this is the place for you. They also have a bunch of Metal, New Wave, Electronic, Noise, Glam and more. Refurbished Stereo equipment too. (Hours: T-Sat 12-7; Sun on occasion/randomly)

Head down to 12th, take a left and go South. When you get to Hawthorne take a left. Head East until you get to…

CROSSROADS
3130-B SE. Hawthorne Blvd.
Portland, OR. 97214
(503) 232 – 1767

Crossroads is a must stop for sure! Opened in 1993 by Dave Clingman, Eric Swedeberg and Thomas Jones (who also puts on the Eugene Record Collectors show) bought the building and launched the only co-op/antique mall-type Record store in the NW. Be prepared to spend a few hours there as they have 35–40 dealers any given month and have over 50,000 LPs, 20,000 45s, a bunch of CDs, Posters, Stereos and more. (Hours: M-T 11-6; F-Sat 11-7; Sun 12-6)

JACKPOT RECORDS
3574 SE. Hawthorne Blvd.
Portland, OR. 97214
(503) 239 – 7561
jackpotrecords.com

Just up the street from Crossroads is Jackpot. A decent selection of LPs and 45s is mixed with some CDs. Good variety and reasonable prices. (Hours: M-T 10-7, F-Sat 10-8; Sun 11-6)

CD GAME EXCHANGE
1428 SE. 36th Street
Portland, OR. 97214
(503) 233 – 1708
cdgameexchange.com

Right across the street is a CD Game Exchange. A small section of vinyl amongst the CDs, DVDs and Videogames to dig through, but some bargains to be found here and there.

EXILED RECORDS
4628 SE. Hawthorne Blvd.
Portland, OR. 97215
(503) 232 – 0751

Heading east up Hawthorne a little ways and you have Exiled Records. They have a good selection of LPs, CDs and tapes. They also publish a free pamphlet, “Portland Guide to Independent Record Stores” that even includes a map on the back. (Hours: T-Sat 11-7; Sun 12-5)

Once you leave, head up to 49th Avenue and take a right. Go south until you come to Powell Blvd. where it meets Foster. Go straight through and on your right is…

VARIETY SHOP
4932 SE. Foster
Portland, OR. 97206
(503) 775 – 2210

An interesting newer store with thousands of LPs, DVDs, VHS Tapes, Cassettes, CDs and more. Reasonable prices and he’s always having outdoor sales. (Hours: Daily 10-7)

GREEN NOISE/DIRTNAP RECORDS
3840 SE. Gladstone Street
Portland, OR. 97202
(503) 736 – 0909
greennoiserecords.com

Get back on Powell Blvd and head west. Take a left at Cesar Chavez/39th Ave and go south to Gladstone. On your right is Green Noise Records, also the home of the Dirtnap Records label. Another specialist in Punk Rock. (Hours: M-Sat 12-8;
Sun 12-5).

Head back north to Powell on Cesar Chavez/39th and take a left. When you get to 26th by Cleveland High School take a right and go north a few blocks.

CLINTON STREET RECORD & STEREO
2510 SE. Clinton Street
Portland, OR. 97202
(503) 235 – 5323

Just around the corner from the Clinton Street Theater, home of the long-running midnight Rocky Horror Picture Show. A small store, they nevertheless pack it with vinyl and stereo equipment and put new stuff out almost daily. (Hours: T-Sun 1-7 ; closed Mondays).

Once you leave, head south back to Powell. Take a right and head west. Just before Ross Island bridge, take the McLoughlin exit and get on Hwy 99 north. You can take that all the way on up to the NE. and N. Portand stores. Keep going north a couple miles until you get to Morrison Street. There’s an I-5 north entrance there just past the entrance to the bridge to downtown you can get on.

From I-5, get off at the Alberta exit and go right. Turn onto Mississippi and go south until you hit…

CD GAME EXCHANGE
3719 N. Mississippi
Portland, OR. 9722
(503) 287 – 0382
cdgameexchange.com

Not a huge amount of vinyl, just a bin and some cheapos in a couple spots. Some good bargains to be had though, and a bunch of CDs, DVDs and games too. (Hours:

MISSISSIPPI RECORDS
5202 N. Albina
Portland, OR. 97227
(503) 282 – 2990

Opened by Eric Isaacson 11 years ago, Mississippi Records is definitely a good one to visit. A nice mix of new and used LPs and 45s and always some bargains to be had. (Hours: Daily 12-7)

TURN! TURN! TURN!
8 NE. Killingsworth
Portland, OR. 97211
(503) 284 – 6019

A newer store just up the street is Turn! Turn! Turn! They have an interesting selection of LPs and also books and zines too. And a variety of beers on tap. (Hours: Tues-Thurs 1-10; F 1-12; 12-12; Sun 12-7).

Once you get done, head back south to Alberta and take a left. Go a couple miles to 28th.

LITTLE AXE RECORDS
5012 NE. 28th Ave.
Portland, OR. 97211
(503) 320 – 3656

You’ll find this newer store behind a great little bakery. Owners Warren and Jed Bindeman occupy a front room of a house just off Alberta. A great selection of Alternative, Punk, Metal, Dance, New Wave LPs and more. Cassettes too. (Hours: W-M 12-6; closed Tuesdays).

JUMP JUMP MUSIC
7005 NE. Prescott
Portland, OR. 97218
(503) 284 – 4828

Go south from Alberta on 33rd Ave. to Prescott. A good ways up is Jump Jump Music owned by Night Owl Record Show co-founder Dan Berkman. Packed with Jazz, Soul, Funk, Rock, World Music and other LPs.

Now if you’re still up for a bit more, backtrack to I-5. Go north and get off at Lombard. Head all the way down until you get close to the St. John Bridge. There’s a little store worth checking out.

VINYL RESTING PLACE
8332 N. Lombard
Portland, OR. 97203
(503) 247 – 9573

This one’s been around since 1997 and although it’s off the beaten path, worth a stop. A small store packed with mostly LPS and some 45s, CDs and even some music books on the shelf. Large section of Soundtracks as well. (Hours: Tues-Sat 10-6; Sun 10-5)

Head back to the freeway once again. If you have more time, head north as there are a couple worth checking out within an hour’s drive. Right in downtown Vancouver is a cool little store…

EVERYBODY’S MUSIC
2312 Main Street
Vancouver, WA. 98660
(360) 750 – 7348

No relation to the Everyday Music’s, owner Brian Wassman is a musician and longtime record swap dealer/shopper. He launched the store in 1992 as Recycled Sounds and after a couple of name changes is still going strong. A good selection of vinyl, CDs, cassettes, DVDs, VHS movies and more. (Hours: M-F 10-7; Sat 9-8; Sun 12-6)

CLASSICS & ODDITIES
201 Allen Street
Kelso, WA. 98626
(360) 747 – 2393

If you have even more time, in Kelso is my good friend Corey Strite’s store, Classics & Oddities. (It’s about 40 miles north of downtown Vancouver) Recently celebrating five years, Classics has a great section of LPs, 45s, CDs, cassettes, 8-tracks and laserdiscs to compliment an extensive selection of vintage videogames and systems, movies, toys and more. Prices are great and new stuff going out daily. He and I also partnered up in 2013 to launch the annual Kelso Record Show.

So there you have it! A tour of Portland Record stores (and even a slight detour if you wish). There are a couple I didn’t mention as they are small and off the beaten path, but feel free to check them out. (A CD Game Exchange in Gresham and a Budget Tapes & Records in Hillsboro). Oh and you might want to bring an umbrella.






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