Vinyl Lives: Pure Pop Records – Burlington, Vermont

If there ever was a record shop where everybody knows your name, it might be Pure Pop Records in Burlington, VT. In fact it shares a distinctive downstairs entry way, identical to the set of the fabled NBC show Cheers. In the city that gave us Phish and Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Pure Pop has served the community since 1980 and offers a distinctive variety of new and used vinyl, CD’s, cassettes and DVDs. The epitome of brick and mortar, Pure Pop’s new release section has been the constant taste-maker for those who brave the long winters up north, while staying an aggressive curve ahead of the more NPR friendly sounds that ruminate from the speakers of most Queen City residents helping introducing Vermonters to Interpol, Arctic Monkeys and The National. With the closing of Borders and other used shops in recent years, Pure Pop has stayed cozy and true to its form, offering customers the opportunity to still purchase anything that’s not in the actual store through their own resources.

Owner Michael Crandall shares a little bit about the history of the store: “Pure Pop Records opened up in Burlington in 1980. We’ve been on the same corner for the past 35 years. As times and tastes have changed through the years this [we’ve had] ups and downs, but we’ve always managed to thrive by adapting to our customers’ changing needs. While the format of music might change through the years, I think we do a good job of always maintaining a feel of an old record store that makes you feel at home, a place that makes you feel like you will find that album you are looking for.”

What kind of music do you specialize in? 

This is always a tricky question.  My best description would be “alternative”.  Alt-Rock, Indie Rock, Indie Folk, Indie Hip-Hop, Post-Metal. But while we try to find the new music that people want, we definitely sell lots of old classic rock, jazz and blues. We always just go where the customers lead us.

How much of your stock is new versus used?

New 75%, used 25%, cds and vinyl are about equal and compose 90% of sales. We also dabble in cassettes, books and DVDs.

Top Sellers of 2015 so far:

Bob Dylan – Shadows In The Night

Sleater-Kinney – No Cities To Love

The Decemberists – What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World 

Rhiannon Giddens – Tomorrow Is My Turn

Aphex Twin – Syro

Viet Cong – Viet Cong 

Sturgill Simpson – Metamodern Sounds in Country Music 

D’Angelo – Black Messiah



Anticipated Releases:

Record Store Day, obviously

You’d be surprised we well a lot of…

I really don’t know if I have a good answer for this. My best answer would just that you would be surprised about the amount of different types of music we sell. It is not uncommon to have only 2 or 3 duplicate items in the last 100 titles to sell.

Employee picks from 2014:

Swans – To Be Kind

Grouper – Ruins

Tops – Picture You Staring

Parquet Courts – Sunbathing Animal

Sylvan Esso – Sylvan Esso

Ought – More Than Any Other Day

War on Drugs – Lost in the Dream

Mac DeMarco – Salad Days Demos 

Angel Olsen – Burn Your Fire for No Witness

Pure Pop Records is located at 115 South Winooski Ave. in Burlington Vermont.

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