Thursday, April 10, 2008

get off the internet thursday: the vinyl district

I can't believe it's already been three whole weeks since I (un)skillfully wrote the first Get Off the Internet Thursday. Have you been off the Internet? I haven't! I mean, I have...just probably not enough. It's hard being an über-dork sometimes. *sigh* But enough narcissistic yet endearingly self-deprecating tidbits about myself! It's time to talk about this week's guest blogger and it's Jon from one of DC's best music blogs -- The Vinyl District, on which I once guest blogged.

But lest you think my guest musings on TVD is what makes me say it's so awesome, let me wholeheartedly assure you that's not it. (Come on, I'm not *that* much of an asshole, am I?) No, the reason TVD is a must-read is because Jon knows his sh*t. Reading his blog will nudge your music street cred upwards, which, when accumulated, will garner you numerous scene points when you start talking about Fad Gadget's 1980 hit "Ricky's Hand" at the Foals show later this month at the Rock and Roll Hotel. And who doesn't like scene points?! So, in the words of Britney Spears, gimme more, Jon! (Whoops! And there went my scene points...)
Hey folks -- Jon from The Vinyl District here...and yep, it's my turn to sing the praises of five things I like about DC. And lest you think I'm some sort of fetishist (I mean, who knows what 'vinyl' could conjure up in this forum) [Ed. OMG! Patent leather shoes?!] I'm talking about records. Vinyl records. [Ed. Oh.] And five of the finest vinyl record stores in DC are all within walking distance of one another and each has its own unique personality. So, slide into those sweatpants and slap on the Crocs [Ed. Jon, how'd you know?!], because we're taking a walk...

First up at the corner of 14th and T Streets, NW -- 1843 14th Street NW -- to be exact is Som Records. (In a basement, natch.) Neal probably has the most diverse catalog of vinyl in his place among the five we'll visit. I mean, the guy's committed to bringing the best records he can lay his hands on into his store from all across the globe. (In fact, his last trip to Brazil will be chronicled at TVD very soon. [Ed. Nice plug, sir!]) Along with the classic rock and the new releases, he's also got soul, funk, disco, go-go, reggae, samba, salsa, folk, blues, punk, and electronica. Check out his 'Expensive Shit' section while you're there too. (You'll probably find my wallet in there.)

Second on our trek is Crooked Beat Records at 2318 18th St., NW in Adams Morgan. I'll credit Bill with being the first to invigorate the brick-and-mortar aesthetic in the area when he set up shop a few years back. Tons of old and spanking new vinyl line one wall, and CDs -- yes, CDs (just the good shit, thank you) -- line another. They've got T-shirts, posters, DVDs too...AND they're the only one of the five on our tour doing the old-fashioned free, in-store artist appearances.

I've been going to our third stop Smash! for years when it was located on M Street in Georgetown...but perhaps the douchebag quotient got too high [Ed. You took the words out of my larynx.], because last year they relocated a few doors down from Crooked Beat at 2314 18th St., NW, on the 2nd floor. They're stocking punk, metal, rock, jazz, and blues vinyl along with a fine selection of cool, vintage and original handmade clothing. Go for the records, stay for the clothes. It's that simple. [Ed. And it's that tight!]

The newest addition to what's becoming a true Northwest, DC vinyl corridor is Red Onion Records and Books at 1901 18th St., NW. What I like about Joshua's place is that it's so damn comfortable -- almost like being in a friend's cozy basement. [Ed. So, you're saying there's lots of weed smokin' going on?] There's even a sitting area if you're getting tired on our walk right about now [Ed. Are you kidding? Not in these Crocs!]. A diverse selection of books line one wall, CDs along another, and smack in the center are bins and bins of vinyl whose selection gets added to weekly. Sign up for his email blasts to keep on top of the variety of stuff that gets added consistently.

If there's a true Rocky story among the five record stores we'll visit, it has to be the Phoenix rising from the ashes saga of Dupont Circle's DJ Hut located at 2010 P St., NW on the 2nd Floor. DJ Hut was shuttered by a fire not once but TWICE and has bounced back both times. As their Web site puts it, "DJ Hut aims to provide not only music, but also all of the needs a DJ may have; turntables, mixers, repair service, accessories, etc. Our primary goal is to support DJ culture and while vinyl lovers founded the store, we are committed to keeping up to date with new technology." DJ Hut has recently launched an online store too and after two fires, can you blame 'em? [Ed. No. Fire is not awesome.]

Since we find ourselves in Dupont Circle after our 5-store tour, I'll offer one extra credit recommendation because, well, I've developed a bit of a thirst. [Ed. Booze! Yes! Booze!] See ya out on the patio...and across town on April 19th!

So there you have it. Once again, Jon has proven that all good things always end in booze. And music. Really, it doesn't get much better.
Anyway, do you have the balls, um, or keyboard to step up and tell me and this blog's incredibly smart and discerning readership to get the eff off the Internet and experience something non-douchetastic in DC? If so, take a proverbial stab shank at writing your own edition of Get Off the Internet Thursday! If interested (and I know you are), let me know:


Anonymous said...

Wow, this is great! Practically my entire music collection was stolen when my apartment got burglarized a couple months ago. Since I have to rebuild it from scratch, I thought I'd make the switch to vinyl. Can you recommend some record players? The last one I owned was Fisher Price.

The Vinyl District said...

I recently purchased as my second turntable the ION TTUSB10: be able to convert my LPs to MP3s for the blog.
Prices vary a bit, so check out the link.

epota said...

TVD -- I hadn't scrolled all the way back to your past posts to see if you ever did give a review on your ION experiences? Your take on the quality of noise captured from this turntable?


Marissa said...


Oh! I miss my old Fisher Price record player and those storybook/records that we used to play on it. God, those were the days...