Best Place to Buy a Top-40 Record Without Blushing

We've all been there. Palms sweating, eyes downcast, pulse racing. No, not the SATs. Not a first date, either. The nerve-racking, cheek-flushing experience in question is that of heading toward the counter with a record in hand that threatens to speak volumes about your entire character. A record that will immediately out you as "uncool" to the Supreme Court judge of a music geek behind the counter at the local independent record store. It's enough to make you run for the safe haven of the large chain stores that provide an anonymous experience—after all, isn't everyone in the place buying the latest release from an American Idol winner, loser, runner-up, whatever? And not ironically, either. But then you run the risk of gut-wrenching guilt for pouring money into the mega-store machine, which could ultimately override the saving of face. Relax. You can have it both ways. Easy Street Records, while locally and independently owned, is also one of the warmest, most forgiving environments for buying outside the KEXP playlist. When looking for new record slingers, owner Matt Vaughan says that he gravitates toward "someone that realizes that whatever you are buying is cool because it's music." Even if it's crap.—Aja Pecknold 4559 California Ave. S.W., 938-EASY; 20 West Mercer St., 691-EASY.

 
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