Last week in search of our weekly favorite store, we jumped across the country to the sweet bluegrass soaked climes of Asheville, NC. Let’s be perfectly honest, on our long sojourn to the hilly climes of Asheville, we started to miss home a little bit. We started to miss the sweet sultry tang of a good cup of coffee. We started to miss the looming Cascades, the soft annoyance of passivity and the tight-jeaned hipsters of our beloved Capitol Hill.
And most of all we missed our record stores.
So we came back, and we rifled through our Rolodex of amazing stores, spinning that wheel at random to see which of the many, many great stores we would ask for and we couldn’t have been happier when we landed on the good folk at Sonic Boom Records.
Melanie, sweet Melanie, sent over these awesome answers to our unusually probing set of questions.
Take it away Melanie!
STORE OF THE WEEK: SONIC BOOM, Seattle, WA
1. Store Description, history…etc-
Sonic Boom Records started with a credit card, a small amount of cash and the owners’ used CD collections in a little storefront in the Fremont district of Seattle in 1997. It was a small (600 sq.ft) neighborhood shop that struggled for the first couple of years. (The “new vinyl” section was a cardboard box of records on a table.)
In 2000 we moved into a bigger and more central location in Fremont and things took off. In 2001 we expanded and opened a store in Ballard; followed in 2002 by another store on Capitol Hill. In March of 2007 we opened a “general store” next door to our Fremont location that sold vinyl, toys, Magazines, books, candy etc. Unfortunately, both the CD store and the general store in Fremont had to close in February 2008. We currently have locations in Ballard and on Capitol Hill. Sonic Boom carries a wide variety of music genres, dvds, collectible toys, accessories for musicians / audiophiles, and as much vinyl as we can stuff into the bins!
2. What is your favorite record right now?
Hm…I am very into The Ettes right now. They have a new album called Look at Life Again that I don’t seem to get tired of playing in the store. My co-workers may feel differently…
3. What is your favorite LITA release?
Rodriguez (ed. Cold Fact), by far.
4. Favorite record to play in the shop?
See #s 2 and 3.
5. What is the best in-store performance?
Man or Astroman were amazing. Brought their own light show and the dot matrix printer that they use in that one song. The crowd LOVED it. Also can’t go without mentioning MIA. Kids were standing on streetpoles across the street to try to see in, it was sooooo packed. She danced on the counter top. The boy employees were all drooling.
Neil Halstead did one completely drunk. Jimmy Eat World did a signing after theirs, and there was a teenage girl in line wearing a “Jimmy Eat Me Out” t-shirt. The looks on their faces was priceless.
6. Funniest story about the shop?
This one depends on who you ask, I suppose. I think stories about the owner (Jason Hughes) chasing shoplifters are pretty good. He chased one kid down the street, threatening him with his own skateboard (which he had dropped in the pursuit.) He chased another guy to the top of a parking garage..the guy was trapped. He looked around, threw the cds he stole on the ground, and jumped. Two stories down! Jason let him hobble away after that. Moral of these stories? “Do NOT steal from Sonic Boom.”
One time a squirrel got stuck in the store. That was pretty entertaining. It ran up the back of one of the employees, and leapt off his shoulder into the World section.
But it’s hard to think of really funny stories. The ones that stick in your mind are always the ones that caused the most stress. Like the store flooding, or the power going out, or kids setting off stinkbombs, or getting burglarized. Those things all happened.
There’s a lot of funny weird/crazy customer stories. Mostly “you had to be there” types.
But here’s a recent interaction I particularly enjoyed:
Customer: “Do you have Sweaty Nipples?”
Employee: (looks down at his shirt) “No, not today.”
Thanks Melanie! That was great. Tune in next week for another excursion in to the wild world of our favorite stores.