Saturday, March 28, 2009

Mississippi and Exiled Records

An ode to my favorite record shops.

Portland happens to be blessed with a couple of totally dynamite Record Shops. They are- Exiled and Mississippi. Both are boutique stores that only stock what they like. What's more, they're thriving as neighborhood hotspots in spite of this here interweb. They're so great! I love me some record shopping, but I must say that, as a busy dad, I have less time than ever to troll through mountains of third-rate record bins searching for those hidden gems. I'm just more inclined to go visit these good folks- each happen to have two of the best curated small (& oddball) selections, new or used, that I have ever come across. What's more, both shops put out some amazing records themselves, usually limited to editions of 1000. I basically just snatch up whatever they release, and I have only been even mildly disappointed once or twice. Its downright inspiring to see them succeed in doing what they love, especially in context of the amazon/iTunes behemoth. They are a credit to their neighborhoods, to Portland, and also to the virtues of the small indie record shop. In fact, that's mostly what they sell... RECORDS!!!

Here's what I like most about each:

Mississippi Records: An unbeatable selection. Vinyl only, and some tapes. They also have a fantastic selecton of vintage stereo equipment at nice reasonable prices. You couldn't throw a rock in there and not hit a record worth having. From Irma Thomas to Animals and Men, I eagerly collect nearly anything they release. I encourage everyone out there to do the same. FYI, many of their earlier albums fetch nice sums on ebay now that they're out of print. That's why I'm at peace providing you, the reader, with the following link:
Mississippi Records Download Thread. I'd suggest starting with Washington Phillips, Lipa Kodi Ya City Council, Orchestra Regional de Kayes, Oh Graveyard..., 70s Thai Orchestra, Malcolm X Memorial and Last Kind Words. Well, they're all pretty much super. The only ones I'm not wild about so far are Ntsamina and The Rats- though I do love Fred Cole, especially Dead Moon.

Likewise an outstanding selection, with even more of an emphasis on oddball experimental, psych and outsider music. They also sell cds & bizarro arthouse movies. They have handmade Rick Bishop cd-rs, Sublime-Frequencies and Siltbreeze Releases and handdrawn Sun Ra records on their wall, all great indications of what Exiled is all about. This is the place that turned me on to likely the best African Psych record that you've never heard; Chrissy Zebby Tembo and Ngozi Family. Trust me, buy it NOW! Exiled also has a nice website, which Mississippi is lacking. When at home, I pretty much browse Other Music, Boomkat, Forced Exposure, eMusic and Exiled Records to stay up on what's new in the stores. Exiled only puts up albums they like, which makes browsing less tedious and also just prompts me to look into just about everything they put on. For you out-of-towners, its also a great place to buy those Missisippi releases, which you should definitely DEFINITELY do.

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