Friday, April 15, 2011

Other Providence Area Record Stores

I've written about three first class record stores (real record stores) in the Providence, Rhode Island area. As I said before, I feel very lucky to live in an area that can still support the existence of record stores. But these are not the only places to buy records in the area, and I wanted to single out a few other shops. All three of them will be participating in Record Store Day.

Armageddon Shop - Providence, RI
Shockingly, I have never even set foot in this store, a situation I really should remedy. Armageddon's focus is on punk/metal/noise/hardcore/indie, but they carry a variety of used records. (Maybe I'm afraid a trip to Armageddon will make me feel even older than I already do.) I've been told it's quite a good shop, and the fact that I've never been there is only a testament to how spoiled I am by the other great record stores in the area.

The Time Capsule - Cranston, RI & Seekonk, MA
I didn't even know this place existed until recently, despite the fact that their Seekonk, MA location is just a stones throw or two from my house. I only discovered their existence when I saw them listed as a participating Record Store Day retailer. I suspect the Cranston location is where the real vinyl action is, but the Seekonk shop has a lot of used records and CDs, as well as comic books, video games and various collectables. (I couldn't decide between the Fonzie and Ralph Malph dolls that were still in their original packaging, then I started thinking about the "Potsie" doll and how dreamy Anson Williams is, and then I realized I was better off sticking to looking at the records.)

I ended up searching through a lot of Asia and R.E.O. Speedwagon records, but found a copy of The Rain Parade's Emergency Third Rail Power Trip (yeah, I already owned a copy on CD, but I wanted the LP too), a very clean copy of Neil Diamond's Hot August Night ("the audience fell at his feet like plums!"), and an Ella Fitzgerald CD. Most LPs are priced at $3 each. For her patience, my daughter got a beanie baby kitty cat, and if it had been a little cheaper, my son would have scored a Gigan action figure. Fun for the whole family!

What Cheer! Antiques (and some records) - Providence, RI
What Cheer is an antique store, but they have records and a few CDs in their back room. Their selection is very interesting and varied. As you might expect from a funky antiques shop, a lot of their records seem to have high kitsch value, but there is lots of good music there as well (nothing against the musical value of kitsch, mind you). In my opinion their records are fairly overpriced, but on Record Store Day (and Sunday 4/17) all LPs will be 50% off, and their "bargain bin" will be 10 for $1. It's not uncommon for them to have 50% off sales at other times too (you can decide what that means about their everyday prices for yourself).

Price complaints aside, What Cheer! is an important Providence institution and owners Chris and Jennifer Daltry are solid citizens. They are both big supporters of (and participants in) the local Providence music and art scene. They also run the semi-annual Providence/Somerville Rock & Roll Yard Sale.

I still haven't even covered everything in the area, but if you're a vinyl or music hound in the Northeast, a trip to the Providence area could be well worth your time. Prices here are not as high as the New York or Boston markets, but the selection is still quite good.


Mark N. said...

You have an impressive array of record stores in your neck of the woods. If I'm ever in Rhode Island, I'll know where to go. ;)

I expect a full report on the good stuff you acquire on Record Store Day!

As far as the Beach Boys 78 RPM record goes, why not buy it, play at 45 RPM, and just pretend it's the Chipmunks singing "Good Vibrations" and "Heroes and Villains".

Mark N. said...

Oops, stupid me. It'd be SLOWER at 45 RPM. (It's been a long day). Pretend it's Vanilla Fudge covering the Beach Boys.