As much as I love the variety and diversity of the music shops in Seattle, I sometimes think the stores in Portland, Ore. are better stocked.
I average a visit to Portland every 18 months, and they always end up being expensive visits. It’s also hard to exercise restraint when Oregon doesn’t have a sales tax.
This list in not comprehensive in any way because I usually don’t give myself enough time to explore all the city’s offerings. But when I visit, these are my regular destinations.
I visit the Seattle location of Everyday Music every week, but I go crazy when I visit the stores in Portland. The Portland stores have more square footage, and I guess my tastes are esoteric enough that I end up grabbing someone else’s rejects. Example: I cleaned out the Meredith Monk CD section on one visit to the Burnside store.
The Seattle store also tends to have a loose interpretation of vinyl grades. I find the grading at the Portland stores a bit more aligned to reality.
I didn’t have a very good impression of Music Millennium at first. I visited in 1998, but I was too enamored of Waterloo Records in Austin to make a fair comparison. Another visit in 2014 was no better.
But then my last two visits in 2016 and 2017 convinced me that Music Millennium was an essential destination. My purchasing priorities have changed a lot since those first visits, and Music Millennium have done me well since.
2nd Avenue Records
The punk and metal stock is where this store excels, but I found some out-of-the-way items here as well. It’s really easy to get lost exploring every genre in the shop.
Crossroads is actually a marketplace with a number of vendors sharing a space. Had I planned better, I would have spent half a day there. But in the hour I did spend, I found an original pressing of Smashing Pumpkins’ Gish and Soldier String Quartet’s Sequence Girls.
Photo: Music Millennium Facebook Page