Saturday, February 27, 2010

Smash! Records for President

As promised earlier, this will be a breathless endorsement of Smash! Records in D.C.'s Adams Morgan neighborhood. It's just a small place above a hair salon and next door to another record shop, Crooked Beats, which I have yet to visit, but it has plenty to offer. Best shop I've visited in D.C. so far.

Perhaps the best place to start is what I passed on. Led Zeppelin I, II, III, IV all in good shape and each reasonably priced. But, I couldn't get all four (too pricey with everything else) and couldn't decide on just one or two. So I had to move on. They also had the Beastie Boys' License to Ill for $13 or so. Almost got that, but decided against it once I found the $20 Exile on Main Street. I did buy two Doors albums (one of my favorite bands), but they had at least one more I would've otherwise bought. Painful to pass these up.

Anyway, this place is stocked, and given my somewhat narrow focus today, don't get the impression it's all classic-ish rock. It bills itself as a punk/alt/indie-type shop, and it has some great buttons, shirts, posters and other stuff hanging around the shop that are also worth a look. I'm not sure if my particular music interests jived with the shop's main raison d'ĂȘtre, as it were, but I think that makes it all that much more impressive that I found what I did.

I went in not knowing what to expect, so I went straight for the recent arrivals. There were probably a row or two of these, and by the time I was done (not even at 'A' of the alphabetical used section) I had two or three records. Realizing that there was much potential for an expensive outing, I gazed down the rest of the row and saw thick sections for Beach Boys, Beatles, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, The Doors, and on and on.

What really struck me is I've never seen a shop with so many classic artists so fully stocked in the used section. Perhaps it's a product of its popularity, but I remember going to Minneapolis' Cheapo, and finding just one used Dylan record was a reason to celebrate. This place had 10-15+. And that's the handle here. I've been to a number of stores that have great records from artists I don't know much about, and pick up one and discover something new. Or a record I haven't heard by an artist, so I buy it. But today, I literally walked into Smash, looked around, and walked out with some of my favorite records, from that era, of all time. You can't beat that.That's a whole other kind of crate digging experience; not necessarily discovering, but rediscovering a favorite album and hearing it that very first time on vinyl. That's been the hook for me since I first got my record player and put "Blonde on Blonde" as the first album ever played on it.

Since I got home from Smash, it's been like that all over again. And that's priceless. And that's why I'll be back at Smash very, very soon.

Again, what I found at Smash after the jump.

The Beatles -- Revolver
The Doors -- Morrison Hotel and L.A. Woman
Bob Dylan -- Planet Waves
Jefferson Airplane -- Surrealistic Pillow
Moby Grape -- Self-titled (mono)
Rolling Stones -- Exile on Main St.
Talking Heads -- More Songs About Buildings and Food

1 comment:

  1. So, you mention listening to Blonde on Blonde on your first record player...where did you get said record player? I feel like that is a post-worthy story. Also your love of Carole King makes my heart happy.
    Keep writing and I'll keep reading, Grovert.