Every day is Record Store Day in Portland, where indie bands rule the airwaves and mom-and-pop music vinyl shops still line neighborhood streets. From vintage wax to new European imports, those rare releases you’ve been searching for are surely waiting at one of these rockin’ local record stores:
Portland’s oldest music store, Music Millennium, opened in 1969 with a mission to stock the kind of underground tunes absent from the racks of mainstream department stores of the era. To the delight of audiophiles, not much has changed. Multiple rooms stash untold tuneful treasures, from bargain bins of used CDs and vinyl to collector rarities — a first pressing of Led Zeppelin I recently sold for $1,000. Looking for live music? Touring bands often drop by the shop for free shows.
Crossroads Music works like a melodic consignment shop, divvying up the catalog of more than 35 individual record collectors. The deep well of musical tastes results in an impressive selection of quality vinyl inside this Hawthorne Boulevard gem. Spend an afternoon browsing bins of prog-rock, post-punk, classic rock and more, and don’t miss the killer assortment of vintage concert posters.
Mississippi Avenue’s Beacon Sound carries new and used records across all genres, but many locals consider it the best place for contemporary electronic and avant garde imports. Sharing space with contemporary art gallery FISK, the sleek shop evokes a museum feel and features frequent collaborations with local artists celebrating music, art and design.
Just up the street, owner Eric Isaacson maintains a meticulously curated assemblage of rare releases at celebrated Mississippi Records, named one of the nation’s top 10 record stores by USA Today. Finds include old-timey gospel, blues, folk and pre-Beatles rock, as well as contemporary albums released under the shop’s namesake record label. (Not in Portland? Local Little Axe Records is the label’s online distributor.)
What’s even more exciting than the enormous selection at Everyday Music? Its scrupulous organizational system, surprisingly rare among independent record stores. The mammoth West Burnside Street mainstay keeps its vast vinyl collection impeccably sorted and neatly labeled, letting customers use the time they’d usually spend digging through jumbled boxes to listen to groovy tunes instead. Stop by the shop’s second storefront on Northeast Sandy Boulevard for even more musical selection.
Crowds of pierced teens and graying rockers find common ground at popular 2nd Avenue Records, where stacks of used hip-hop and hardcore punk albums draw devoted fans. A downtown fixture for more than 30 years, the shop has a massive metal collection, rivaled only by its robust collection of vintage band tees.