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A crowd spills out onto the sidewalk for The Head and the Heart's Sonic Boom in-store show Saturday.
On Reverb Thursday, I waxed up and

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Record Store Day Replay: Bop Street, Easy Street, and The Head and the Heart

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A crowd spills out onto the sidewalk for The Head and the Heart's Sonic Boom in-store show Saturday.
On Reverb Thursday, I waxed up and down about the many ways to enjoy Record Store Day. When Saturday arrived, the logistics of the day (traffic, the time-consuming search for particular titles, etc.) waylaid my plan--which was to catch The Head and the Heart for their two in-store shows promoting their debut Sub Pop full-length released that day--and I found myself on a scenic route, much against my own carefully imparted advice to pick a singular path and stick with it. By the end of the day, I had visited five record stores, and, with my two companions, the three of us had collected 30 records among us. With or without a plan, Record Store Day is a damn good time no matter how you go about it.

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The line for THATH's show.
We spent the morning lingering over the bargain bins at Easy Street West Seattle, which was hopping and buzzing with business. By the time we got to Sonic Boom in Ballard for THATH's 3 p.m. show, a line had formed all the way from the store's entrance on Market Street to Ballard Ave. a block away. It was perfectly clear we weren't going to make it in. We resolved to arrive earlier for their 7 p.m. show, and decided to check out the stacks (there's a wall-lined library of them) at Bop Street Records across the street.

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A chill scene at Bop Street.
Bop Street puts a premium on their real estate, but with enough digging you can find identical titles at varying prices (based on the condition/rarity of the album). It's definitely not the cheapest used vinyl in town, but Bop Street has--hands down--the most comprehensive selection of rare, used vinyl and a staff with seemingly infinite knowledge of every genre and artist they carry. We picked up a few albums (along with a brief history lesson of the shop from the owner), and after a break for lunch, zipped over to Queen Anne.

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After a swing through Silver Platters, we arrived at Easy Street Queen Anne just after six. There was already a good crowd in the back of the store by the small performance space, but still plenty of room. We staked a claim in the used CDs aisle and proceeded to amuse ourselves with the selections back there (i.e., the Napoleon Dynamite soundtrack, Lenny Kravitz, Norah Jones CDs, etc).

The band went on at 7:15 p.m. looking irrepressibly bright-eyed and excited, even though, as vocalist/guitarist Josiah Johnson explained, they had just returned from tour. The band began with a few of their fervent yet achingly tender songs, and began to work themselves into a frenzy. They were vibrant and grinning, hopping and stomping, swapping instruments, sharing mikes, singing their hearts out, and endlessly thanking the crowd for coming out. It was a downright hootenanny, and lived up to the band's media-saturated hype--seeing them live was an intensely electric experience.

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Da booty.
I was, honestly, envious of their energy. After eight hours of shopping, I was pooped. The band played just under an hour and came back for three encores--a rare occurrence for an in-store show. But anytime they wanted to call it quits was a good stopping point for me. I was ready to go home, put on my sweats, and dig into my my new music.

The RSD Breakdown:

Total Records Bought (among three of us): 30.

RSD Titles Among the Booty: Mute Vorwarts Compilation, Nathaniel Rateliff Shroud EP, Bob Dylan in Concert at Brandeis University 1963, Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band 10" Live from Asbury Park.

Record Stores Visited: 5.

Favorite Stop: Easy Street West Seattle.

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Best Record Cover: Willie Nelson bloatin' it up a la Van Morrison.

Best Score: A source of ongoing debate . . .

Unexpected Find: Hearing The Head and the Heart's Sonic Boom set through the walls at neighboring boutique, Velouria.

Total Shopping Time: eight hours (including a stop for lunch at Jhanjay in Ballard).

Noteworthy Sighting: Mark Pickerel at both Easy Street West Seattle and Queen Anne. Why wasn't he hawking the counter at his own record store?

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