Saturday, January 19, 2008

Orpheus and Strangeland Records: R.I.P.


Confirmed to TVD this morning is the sad news that Arlington's Orpheus Records, one of that last surviving brick-and-mortar vinyl shops in the area is shutting its doors on April 1. Prices have been slashed 30% on all used records and much of the still-sealed merch will be 30% off as well. A harried employee this morning asked us to visit for details which we'll do over the coming days.

Update: TVD's just back from a few hours of rummaging through the stacks over at Orpheus and the place was wall-to-wall vinyl enthusiasts. My first thought was how sad is this -- all of these customers here NOW that the store is shutting down? Literally there was a line and a significant wait to just check out. (Two guys in front of me bought 45 and 75 LP's respectively. The stuff's going out the door folks.) TVD inquired about the closure to the bearded owner who said it isn't his wish to shutter at all - his lease is up and the landlord refuses to renew. There isn't an option for him but to close. Asked if he'll relocate, his comment was that after the move from Georgetown to Arlington, he vowed to never move again and that seems to be the prevailing notion. Orpheus will indeed shut its doors for good on 4/1.

In other closing news, the City Paper has reported the announced closing of Annandale's metal and industrial niche shop Strangeland Records on March 17. Dan Boyd, a Strangeland employee since 2006 who plays bass for Fairfax metal band the Seventh Gate, admits. “To be completely honest, the metal scene in D.C. just isn’t that great.” Read more here.

5 comments:

Jack said...

Damn! I am going to miss Orpheus. Spent many hours (and dollars) there. That's sad, especially in light of the fact that it's not lack of customers that did it, but a building owner who probably wants to turn it into overpriced condos.

The Vinyl District said...

I agree 100%. I thought that the closing would easily be due to the lack of customers or vinyl as a medium but I was completely wrong. It's greed, pure and simple.

That said, along the strip that houses Orpheus is, well - nothing! Just boarded-up store fronts and empty properties. What can one hope to achieve by adding Orpheus' location to that list?

Either nothing -- or more condos. (Yawn...)

Anonymous said...

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IntangibleArts said...

Particularly sad, about Orpheus, is that they ended up with so much of the stock from other area vinyl shops that died... I think the remnants of George's stock (from Silver Spring's VINYL INK) is all still there, and didn't he get a good chunk of Phantasmagoria's vinyl as well?

Jeezus, people. I fear we may be doomed again. At least we have a small resurgence going on in Northwest DC, between Red Onion/SOM/Crooked Beat, and the relocated Smash...

Anonymous said...

Same as it ever was. Every time, everywhere entrepreneurs make a neighborhood cool and desirable, money people come in, buy it up and make it sterile. There is virtually nothing left in DuPont Circle and Clarendon and Arlington are feeling the heat. I'm going up to Orpheus today, and for all I know it's all cleaned out. I've loved that place and it's owner since the '80s, when Orpheus was on M St. in Georgetown. Never my first record stop but always, in and out through the years, on the list. I always felt the prices at Orpheus were high, but, on the flip side, the owner would take some pretty lousy CDs off your hands for cash or credit, so it was worth it. My best moment: After shopping jazz there one day, I overcame embarrassment to ask owner Rick if he had a copy of Barry Manilow's "Mandy," which I dream of recording as an immensely anguished, distorted guitar power ballad. He gave me this great look, this look that said, "You have not stooped to this," and got down on the floor and sifted the stacks below. He pulled the album, handed it up and said, "This one's on me." RIP.