Today we continue with part II of our "Neighborhood Guide to Buying Music in Seattle" series (which is also a stand alone page on the side menu). We previously discussed Ballard and Belltown, today: Capitol Hill, Downtown and Fremont. Enjoy!
This place is one of my top choices for new and used CDs and new vinyl (Sonic Boom being the other) because it's literally a warehouse devoted to sound. They have a lot of new stuff set up to sample, several racks of new and used CDs and vinyl that probably measure more than 70 feet each, and a ton of $3.99 independent and semi-rare releases. They don’t maintain a digital inventory of what they have, which is kind of irritating, but that also means that a little bit of digging can pay off massively. You probably won't be able to cruise the whole store in one visit.
☆☆☆☆ New and Used CDs, Vinyl and Cassettes
This consignment shop rose out of the ashes of the Sonic Boom Capitol Hill location and I like it even better than the original (despite my love for the Ballard shop). There are a couple of sellers that have ridiculous prices (this is another place that sells $4 plus cassettes), but the good sellers more than make up for it. Dollar tapes (Pixies, South African rockabilly—good titles), $3.99 used CDs, and a bunch of used vinyl to spelunk through. Go to Wall of Sound afterward and make it an afternoon.
☆☆☆ Used Vinyl, CDs and Cassettes
I freely admit that I don’t know enough about obscure sub-genres of house, trance, hip-hop, and dubstep to judge the selection at this store, but that being said, this is where I would go to start to learn. This surprisingly large store caters to DJs in the form of gear that I would have no idea how to use, and a very large, vinyl-only music selection. The prices look like they are on the higher end for used material, but I think that anyone with any of the above interests would love this place.
☆☆☆ or ☆☆☆☆ (Because I don’t feel entirely competent to judge)
New and Used Vinyl
It’s a small shop with a small, and somewhat pricey, selection of vinyl, tapes, and CDs. They seem to specialize in the most popular independent and hip music titles with some local stuff interspersed, but they pale in comparison to shops like Wall of Sound, Melrose Market, and Everyday Music that are right around the corner. Good in-stores on occasion.
☆☆ New and used CDs, Vinyl, and Limited Cassettes
Value Village is a thrift shop with multiple stores in Seattle and the Capitol Hill location has a music section on the second floor. They have a little bit (and I mean a little) of everything—tapes, cds and vinyl. The selection is not great, but also not terribly priced. In other words, it’s not worth the trip in itself, but worth stopping in, especially if you have a thing for pop hits from the ‘90s.
☆ Limited Used CDs, Vinyl, and Cassettes
This place really is indispensible for anyone interested in avant garde or experimental music. It’s small, but for what they do they do it very well. I personally like the suitcase full of old cassettes that they sell for 50 cents each; I rarely know the artists, but they all seem to be forgotten gems. They sell CDs and vinyl primarily, with a large selection of weird local releases that the owner is only too happy to help you navigate. Prices aren’t great on some new items, but that’s probably because it isn’t available anywhere else.
☆☆☆ New and Used Rare, Avant Garde, and Experimental Vinyl, CDs, and Limited Cassettes
Its been a while since I’ve been in to Holy Cow Records, but from what I remember it’s exactly what you’d think a shop in the middle of Seattle’s Pike Place would be like: a little bit shabby with used bins full of so-so looking disc jackets. Some good used CDs, but I don’t think anyone would plan a trip here. You walk in cause you’re in Pike Place, then you look around, then you finish shopping elsewhere.
☆ New and Used Vinyl and CDs
Fremont Vintage Outlet is a massive consignment shop across the street from the actual Jive Time location; however, their stock is different (and ample) enough to warrant separate trips. I really don’t know how Jive Time does it, but they always have the best used vinyl selection in town. Whether you’re into early Patsy Cline recordings, Jazz, New Wave, or Rock you will undoubtedly leave with your arms full of $.99 and $3 records and CDs. I’ve even found some noise and punk floating though here from time to time. You won’t regret spending an afternoon digging in either of these locations.
☆☆☆☆ Used Vinyl, CDs, and Some Cassettes