Friday, December 17, 2010

TVD's DC Record Store Holiday Shopping Spree!'s back for a second year!

Did you know you can walk to four of Washington, DC’s finest record stores in a span of maybe 15-20 minutes? It’s no joke. I do it often.

The folks who wake up each morning, head downtown, and turn on the lights at Crooked Beat Records, Red Onion Records, Smash! Records, and Som Records would like to remind you this holiday season that vinyl makes THE perfect gift for yourself or some other crate digger on your shopping list.

As a reminder, all four shops are dangling a carrot in the form of $25.00 in store credit for ONE winner to extend the season of giving—right to your turntable. That’s $100.00 to wander from store to store in TVD’s DC Record Store Holiday Shopping Spree.

Here’s how it’ll work: we invite you to sing the praises of your local scene in the comments to this post with contact info (very important!) and the one that warms our collective spirits will be awarded the shopping spree. You don’t have to be a DC resident to enter and win, but you have to redeem your store credit in person at each of the four shops.

We’re choosing the winner for TVD's DC Record Store Holiday Shopping Spree on Monday, 12/20 to give you the last few days before the Christmas holiday to make the 20 minute trek from store to store.

( after a Bloody Mary or 5. Trust me on this.)


Kelly said...

That's what I call a Merry Christmas! I was going to go vinyl shopping for gifts next week!

I am *so* in love with the DC record store scene. Just last night I was telling my uncle all about great the stores and owners are and about the record fair.

As someone who grew up in a small town with no record store and my friends and I obsessing over our parents' record collections (or maybe it was more me obsessing over my friends' parents' collections), living in DC with so many opportunities to build my own has become a huge part of why I love living here. It feels personal and makes me want to make the extra effort to support our local stores who do an amazing job keeping such an important medium for recorded music relevant and cool!

Casey Jones said...

I often make this "15-20 minute" circuit on lazy Saturdays but my trip usually takes a few hours because of the time I spend in each store. Each has it's own charm for, whether it's the rare finds at Som, the living punk palace of Smash, the ever knowledgable Bill at Crooked Beat, or the basement apartment you wish you had at Josh's Red Onion. When I'm shopping for records, taking advice and talking music with the store owners and staff are the gifts that keep on giving.


BOBBY said...

Those weekend vinly binges are of course amazing. But I also love that the wonderful folks at all these stores stay open late on weeknights. Pretty much once a week I find myself counting the minutes until the end of the work day so I can bike up to Red Onion and get the latest obscure record Josh managed to track down, or just spend an hour or so digging through the disco and house 12"s at Som. Nothing erases the tedium of the work day better than getting those new records home and throwing them on the turntable. A huge thanks to these record stores for making that possible.

Eric said...
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Joe said...

Music is the gift that keeps on giving and records make great gifts, so support your local record store this year!

Erik Bartley said...

I'm actually a newcomer when it comes to records, I just started buying them last summer before I went off to college (shout out to American University!). But in that short time I've made so many friends, especially Josh at Red Onion who was kind enough to let me play there this past Halloween. The sense of community is so overwhelming when I go to these places that I just can’t help but to smile every time I walk through the front door and see all those familiar faces, both behind the counter and in front of the records, just crate diggin’ for that one Mingus record (but it seems as though if you look for something, you’ll never find it, but if you just flip through and browse with no direction, you’ll find everything you could ever dream). Vinyl ain’t dead yet, and here’s to hoping the analog dream will forever live on…

Anonymous said...

I grew up in a sparsely populated, densely wooded, remote area in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The backdrop to my childhood was rich with the wonders of Lake Superior, the adventure of the great north woods, and the eclectic sounds of two music loving parents. Listening to Culture Club with my mom and sister, having flashlight disco parties to the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, jumping on furniture while my dad blasted Marshall Tucker Band’s “Desert Skies” (the jumping song), chasing Mick Mako, a Rod Stewart impersonator, in a South Carolina hotel so my mom can have an autograph because she was convinced it was the real Rod, and having conversations with my dad about the meaning of Cream’s “She Walks Like a Bearded Rainbow” are just a few of my tune-laden memories. To this day, my dad is the only man I know who woke up his late-for-school teenagers by cranking up Black Box.

When I left Michigan for DC in 2005 my dad gave me one of his favorite Zombies albums. Since then my small collection has grown from a few cherished favorites to a wall of shelves filled with goodness. When I worked for DCPL I used to walk from Mt. Pleasant to Adams Morgan to hit the shops. It was these little pilgrimages that helped me cultivate my collection. I was thrilled to find things new, needed, and desired. There is something so satisfying about walking through DC on a nice day with a sack full of vinyl in hand. While I don’t make it into shop often anymore due to my work/school combo, I try to pop in once in a while to support the local stores. Without places like these there wouldn’t be a means for the next generation to fall in love with the act of listening to records. “Hey, you wanna come to my place and listen to some records” is always an event! I don’t listen to music and collect records because it’s what the cool kids do. I do it because it feels good, it makes me happy, and it’s the way my family taught me to enjoy music. Thanks DC shop owners and the music loving community for introducing this Yooper chick to proper local record shops and the idea of the record fair! Happy Holidays everyone!


Eric said...
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Eric said...

I have been collecting records on and off since the early 90s, and have seen record shops in this area come and go, and I must say right now, DC is fortunate to have these four awesome shops all with quality vinyl. Although I love all the stores equally, Smash! holds a special place in my heart. I have shopped at Smash! for years (since the Georgetown days when it was downstairs), and have grown up with it. It is where I bought my first records, and it is where I heard about new bands. About 1-2 times a month I make "the rounds" hitting all four stores, usually always finding gems to fill my collection. The excitement of digging at the shops is what keeps my coming back for more. I get a rush from finding those records I have hunted high and low for, and I can thank all four stores for giving me that opportunity.

Scott Stenger said...

My mother gave me my first turntable at age four - she bought me a few classics like "Sesame Street Fever", the soundtrack to the "The Muppet Movie", and "Free To Be You and Me". Each of these records became fast favorites and quickly became part of the "hot rotation" that dominated my little bedroom.

As I grew older, cassettes and cd's took over - records and record stores became almost obsolete - The portable aspect of cassettes and cd's became one that I very much appreciated... but one thing was clear - they never truly duplicated the warmth and sound of a vinyl record. Nothing could beat the feeling that I got while listening to the tiny pops and crackles that were present in my mom's mono copy of "Pet Sounds".

Fast forward twenty-some years later: Washington DC opens 3 new record stores (Som, Red Onion, Crooked Beat) and gives life back to a classic institution (Smash!) You can always count on spending hours getting lost digging through endless treasures and rarities. I have gathered some of my most prized lp's and singles from these fine shops.

Neal, Josh, Bill and Matt - thank you for keeping it real and bringing vinyl back to DC!

Scott (

Collin said...

For me the DC record shop scene is defined by what I am used to in North Dakota/the Midwest, which is where I was born and lived until last fall.

That is to say, I am used to a monogamous relationship with one shop that I would have to drive hours to. At any point in time there seems to be (at most) one record store in the entire state. For the past couple of years, that store has been Orange Records. What’s cool about the place is its owner Matt. For one, it puts me to shame that he has opened this credible place when I think he may be a year younger than me. Just kind of a mellow dude with a persistent list on sheets of paper of the things people want. Aesthetically, its really a beautifully cared for, clean, organized and stocked shop, despite the fact that I think he is the only employee. He’s seems eager to strike up a conversation about what to get next. Moreover, he will find anything that anyone expresses even the most remote interest in; obscure stuff for Fargo, too. I mean, I would mention I wanted Jay Dilla’s ‘Welcome to Detroit’ and it would be there the next time I dropped by the city, usually a month later. He always would point it out, and I would feel bad that I got it as a birthday present -- like, buy a backup copy level guilty. Orange Records has a function, its a cultural high-water mark for a city that is growing into a big city and shifting in meaningful ways. He better be there when I go back, he’s kind of a hero.


Until Orange Records opened, ignoring the brief year of Mother’s Records, my friends and I would make a four hundred mile trip to Minneapolis for their music scene. Fifth Element is owned by the Twin Cities label Rhymesayers and it has become a cultural landmark unto its own. There too, its the employees, they make you feel like the coolest person they’ve met and end up loading you with bags full of samplers/promos/posters/stickers/full cds. When you are bored, you can kick back and watch aspiring artists experiment with the store’s decks.


Still, DC’s scene is much more true to the iconic image of record stores as these hidden, bookstore-like places with secret stashes and hidden gems. Like Jamison adeptly pointed out, in sticking to their specifics niches, the aggregate of DC is pretty securely covered. Although, I think that we should really mourn the loss of DJ Hutt, it’s the closest to that one-to-one relationship that I had with Orange. Moreso because of similar taste than anything else. I love Som and Crooked Beat, but at Dj Hut I could go for weeks without stopping by and they would remember what I was looking for last and start pulling out stuff you would never find on your own, but secretly always loved. Actually, I was gone for three months and he had a stack of things I’ve missed. Also, one of my favorite artists was just wandering around the store.

I guess I belong to three music store scenes, all with their own special qualities. But they all share one collective, important quality: you know, those places where you buy because in capitalism it’s supposed to be a vote; even if you could find it for a few bucks cheaper online, you want to pay the cultural tax and personally keep them afloat. Which is why people still buy vinyl, that visceral connection.


Jon said...

This was the most difficult contest to date to choose a winner...but we have chosen one.

Many thanks to all of you who've entered and be on the look out for many more giveaways when TVD 2.0 launches on 1/3!