Vinyl Lives : Wall Of Sound – Seattle, WA

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In Vinyl Lives we spotlight and profile record stores around the country who offer music lovers an experience that goes beyond an iTunes purchase or a Spotify playlist. Vinyl has found a new resurgence and the good folks behind independent record stores are on the front line, directly responsible for curating a unique collection of music. Here at Glide Magazine we feel that record stores are a valuable part of the community and to music as a whole, and are therefore worth celebrating.

Judging from the recent “obligatory Youtube clips” posted on Wall of Sound’s Facebook page – where the eclectic shop posts videos from the obscure likes of Bernard Parmegiani, The Peels, The Sonny Sharrock Quartet, Masalla, Jimmy Liggins and Bob Rutman – we learn immediately that this Seattle shop strays from the obvious.

Founded in May 1990 by Mark Sullo and Eric Hoffman at the corner of Second and Bell and now located at 1205 E Pike St., the store specializes in avant garde, Japanese, Noise, Industrial, Indie, Alternative, Art Rock, Free-jazz, Folk, Experimental, Ambient, World, Electronic, Electro-Acoustic, Neo-classical and other genres for the discriminating listener. That being said, the main focus is avant garde/experimental and world music. With vinyl being the preferred medium and with its self-professed discriminating tastes, Wall of Sound is like the Waldorf Astoria of record shops.

Jeffrey Taylor and Michael Ohlenroth took it over in 2000 and have been the curators since, offering a very friendly vibe despite the store’s intimidating selections to the casual listener. The likes of Bjork, Pink and Phil Lesh have all browsed through Wall of Sound in the past as it serves a necessary stopping point in one the U.S.’s most vital musical cities/communities. We’re thrilled to feature Wall of Sound in this month’s Vinyl Lives.

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To get this record spinning, we asked Jeffery Taylor (now co-owner) to fill us in with a little more history. He has worked at the shop from very near the beginning (1991) and took over ownership in 2002 with business partner Michael Ohlenroth.

“We have always focused on music that falls outside of mainstream popularity. But hey, if you want the new One Erection or whatever it is the kids are grooving on, we’re happy to get it for you! Our curatorial skills have been honed by years of practice, avid listening and interactions with our astute customers. If you like to be adventurous with your musical intake we are here to fill that void in your ears. Do you need some extreme power noise, Chinese nose flute music, inanga, n’goni or kora music, 20th century avant-garde classical, psychedelic freak outs, ambient meditative music or maybe just some kick ass rock ’n roll? Wall of Sound is the place for you!

For 25 years we’ve been supplying discerning listeners, vinyl fanatics, super nerds and casual fans alike with the best in contemporary and historical adventurous music.

Our stock is pretty evenly split between new & used (both LPs & CDs) and yes, kids, we even sell a few cassette tapes.”

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Top Sellers and Store Favorites from the last year or so (in no particular order):

1) Broadcast – all of the recent LPs re-issues

2) King Gizzard and the Lizard WizardI’m In Your Mind Fuzz – LP

3) Nils FrahmSolo / Felt / Spaces– LPs

4) The SoundcarriersEntropicalia – LP

5) Lots of Medical Records – Seattle label devoted to reissues of classics from the late 70s and early 80s with a focus on Synth Pop, minimal synth, cosmic/Italo Disco, and 90’s shoegaze/dream pop

6) DreamsalonSoft Stab – LP

7) Don McGreevyAichmophobia – LP

8)  Jordan De La Sierra ‎- Gymnosphere: Song Of The Rose – LP

9) GRM – reissues – LPs

10) Lots of Superior Viaduct reissues – LPs

11) WandGolem – LP

12) Toumani & Sidiki DiabateToumani & Sidiki – LP

13) Raul Lovisoni & Francesco Messina Prati Bagnati Del Monte Analogo

14) Tristan Perich1-Bit Symphony

15) Modern Love – most everything on this label

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Seattle record labels of interest:

Eiderdown Records (mostly cassette releases)

Further Records

Medical Records

Debacle Records

Gift Tapes / Draft Tapes (cassettes)

Master Chemical Society (cassettes)

Iron Lung

Good To Die

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Anticipated releases:

Every week we have a nice pile of new arrivals that we’ve been anticipating!

You’d be surprised but we sell a lot of…

Old homemade mixed tapes out of a suitcase filled with weird old homemade mixed tapes.

Wall of Sound is located at 1205 E. Pike St. #1C in Seattle, Washington. For more info check out their WEBSITE and FACEBOOK PAGE!

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Check out other editions of Vinyl Lives:

Breakaway Records (Austin, TX)

Euclid Records (St. Louis & New Orleans)

Stinkweeds (Phoenix, AZ)

Pure Pop Records (Burlington, VT)

Generation Records (New York, NY)

Is there a record store you think we should profile? Feel free to shoot your suggestions to nferguson@glidemagazine.com!

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