THE first time I set foot in Easy Street Records on Mercer Street, I was a summer college intern looking for cheap, used CDs to play in my car.
I’ve since ditched the vehicle for an ORCA pass and traded in my compact discs for vinyl records.
Easy Street’s Queen Anne branch is just one bus ride away from where I live.
I’m sad to hear it’s closing.
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Exploring independent music stores is my cherished pastime; an escape from stressful days. I’ve had even more fun since a friend gave me his old turntable two years ago.
My burgeoning record collection now consists of mostly rock and indie artists. Lots of old-school soul. A little jazz.
Analog recordings capture the powerful expressions of an artist’s voice in a way that MP3 files and compact discs just can’t seem to replicate. Listen to “The Black Keys” on vinyl and you’ll know exactly what I mean.
I even love the faint crackling sound caused by the uneven surfaces of older records I’ve found in bargain bins. Fleetwood Mac, Sarah Vaughan and Marvin Gaye make me nostalgic for eras I never knew.
A few nights ago, I stopped by Easy Street Records for the last time.
I struggled to contain my impulse to buy a couple of reissued Beatles records and a used Wong Kar-Wai DVD collection.
Throughout the store, dozens of others also flipped ferociously through movie titles and carried stacks of CDs to the listening stations.
Always knowledgeable about the classics and the latest trends, sales staff (music curators, really) were wide-eyed and excited to introduce me to little-known soul acts like The Budos Band and the eerie pop sounds of The Casket Girls.
My last record purchase from the shop: a limited edition 7-inch vinyl single of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ song for marriage equality, “Same Love.”
I really don’t want community spaces like this to disappear. They employ good people and keep us entertained.
But like so many other industries, the fate of neighborhood record stores is uncertain in the age of the Internet and rising property values.
We should enjoy and patronize them as much as possible.
Easy Street Records is down to a single store in West Seattle.
I need to find the quickest bus route there.