Monday, November 26, 2012

Black Friday Crate Digging At Moondog Music, Dubuque IA

Moondog Music, looks like your typical small-town, strip-mall record store

Related to Elements: Crate Digging, DJ

Black Friday (historically) conjured up so many bad mental images before the advent of Record Store Day.  Now, I consider Black Friday a must dig day for crate diggers worldwide.  Why?  Well because like RSD, RSD Black Friday releases very limited, high-quality audiophile pressings for music lovers who love records.  If you don't get it on Black Friday, you might not get it at all.  This year there were many 2012 RSD Black Friday records I had to get my paws on.  These are records worth battling shoulder to shoulder against other diggers for.  No matter how early I had to get up and no matter how far I had to drive, I was gonna land this record.

Fat Boys - Fat Boys LP ( Pizza Box Picture Disc)

The "Cover" is an actual Pizza box
The record looks good enough to eat...

Sure, you might say this record is a bit gimmicky, but I'm a sucker for these kind of over-the-top, extra effort fat pressings.  Besides that, they remastered one of the first Hip Hop albums I had as a kid, and I needed to get that throwback vibe.  They did a spectacular job of remastering this, it sounds as good as it looks!

So after I claimed the second to the last pizza box, and had the guys behind the counter stash it for me, I took time to dig the everyday stacks. 

Brainchild digging unobstructed through the new vinyl section on Black Friday at Moondog Music.

In a nutshell, Moondog music is a small, quaint, average-looking, hippy-smelling record store.  Well, I'm being nice, it's tiny.  They had mostly brand new records, and they were fairly over priced in general, so I wasn't overly surprised at how dead it was on what should be one of the biggest shopping days of the year.  They had almost no good used Hip Hop, a weak soundtrack section, and new and used CDs dominated the space in the store so I knew it'd be a short dig.  

At 200 dollars, this was a hefty price for Flaming Lip's Heady Nuggs.

Most of the used wax at Moondog Music was what you might expect to come out of Dubuque IA, mostly common classic rock, a bit of country, and predictable soundtracks that every Tom, Dick, and Harry had in the 70s and 80s.  Their 45 section was so small that it was literally stored right on the front checkout counter, filled with mostly new rock and punk.  The staff was very down to earth, helpful and friendly as you would expect in such a small town atmosphere.   In reality, they are probably perfectly sized for the limited number of crate diggers in that area, but diggers who are more experienced with larger metropolis record stores might walk away empty handed due to an underwhelming stock of "special" records.

Regardless, they came through for me and stocked the RSD Black Friday records on my hit list, so I can't complain too much.  Although it may take a while before this pizza box loses the patchouli smell that sticks to everything coming out of that store.  Still, they are seemingly good people at Moondog, and worth checking out if you are in the Dubuque area.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Crate Digging at The Groove, Nashville, TN

Ready to dig at The Groove, Nashville, TN
Related to Elements: Crate Digging, DJ

So today after a long day of work, I made a quick trip to go crate digging at one of my favorite record stores, Nashville’s own, The Groove.  There isn't really much of a story to tell as far as this particular trip goes, but I gotta drop a few words about this local record store.  When you first walk in, you might think that this is a small store.

The Groove's Unassuming Store Front

However, as you start to flip through the records, you’ll soon figure out why.  There is little to no filler in the shelves.  While the vast majority of filler in the store lives in the dollar bin, there are still some diggers’ treasures to be found in those bins too.  None of the different genre sections are very big, but the amount of great music in them is overwhelming.

Michael Kiwanuka - Home Again LP.  Copped some laid back new soul, got a free 7"

I literally have to have a game plan before I walk in, or I would go broke in no time.  I can walk out of a lot of shops empty-handed, but this isn't one of them.   These guys have to spend a lot of time weeding out the garbage, because I never see any.  The best part of digging through their stacks is that they have great prices on their records.  They are usually comparable to anything online, and lower than most of the other local shops.

The Meat and Potato Stacks of Must-Have Wax

Another highlight about this shop that should be stressed is the nice atmosphere.  It is in a great old house in an awesome area in East Nashville.  Yeah, I may be a little biased about this area because I grew up a few blocks away, but there are a lot of (sometimes hidden) charms in that neck of the woods.  Inside the store is very cozy, which can make digging a little tight on a busy day, but I have yet to really see this as an inconvenience.    
You are always greeted as you come through the door, by whoever is working the register (usually by John or Louis the owners).  There is always some good music playing on the decks, and because of that I have found a lot of good records that were off my radar by simply by asking what was on at the time.  I also really appreciate the fact that every time I have a question about vinyl, or music in general, they always have the answer.  They seem to genuinely enjoy discussing anything music related.

Co-Owner John Moore Knows Wassup

To sum up, I really enjoy this spot, and I almost hate to put the word out (don't want any other suckas that didn't know about this place to put their greasy paws all over my future records!), but the Groove deserves props.  So, if you are in Nashville, stop by The Groove located at 1103 Calvin Avenue, Nashville ,TN.  See their website for directions or further information.
-Written by Jay Brown