Outlander in the Emerald City: Record Store Tour Part I

For as long as I can remember, each time I would travel to a new city I would automatically be able to rate its “coolness” factor by the amount of record stores were housed in its depths.  Thankfully for us music lovers, Seattle is teeming with a variety of shops of this nature, and I’ve decided to compile a list of my favorites from various neighborhoods.  

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For the first installment, I’m focusing on Sonic Boom Records.
For indie rock lovers especially, Sonic Boom on Market St. in Ballard is a necessary spot to check out frequently.  It is large enough to house an insane amount of music without reaching the size that can cause copious amounts of stress to those of us who often spend hours browsing for our favorite albums. It’s organized into the (new and used) vinyl section on the left side of the store, with the (new and used) CD section found on the right. 

The 45" singles section is always full of random-yet-awesome singles and splits. The local music section is one of my favorite aspects of Sonic Boom. Set up in the very front of the store, one is able to find a menagerie of old and new releases from artists originating from the greater Seattle area, including (but not limited to) samplings from Olympia-based K Records, Sub Pop, and many others. For those of you into music other than indie/alternative rock, Sonic Boom’s jazz, R&B, reggae, and world music sections are well-stocked, although it’s safe to say Sonic Boom’s main attraction is of the indie variety. 

Albums and CDs are very reasonably priced ($15-$25 for a new record, $10 $15 for a new CD). The staff is super friendly and knowledgeable about the music selection. A final perk: Sonic Boom often holds live local artist showcases on Saturdays!  Easily one of my favorite record stores in Seattle by far, make sure to give Sonic Boom a chance if you haven’t already.

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Katie Hanford

Artist Profile: Naomi Punk

Naomi Punk is a post-punk band from Olympia, WA. But to classify them as such does not do their music justice, as it doesn’t seem to fit into any particular mold. It has to be listened to be understood, and even then I sometimes notice myself discovering new layers to their sound with each time I play one of their records.

It may be cliché to say that an artist’s music grows on you, but in the case of Naomi Punk it’s just true. When I first listened to their debut The Feeling on a recommendation from a friend, I was unconvinced. The album sounded thrown together, its melodies buried under distortion and its lyrics indiscernible. But as I listened to it again I began to notice myself humming along and my foot tapping more and more enthusiastically.

Once I grew familiar with the sound of the album it became contagious. Naomi Punk had already been playing together and touring for a couple years before The Feeling was recorded, and the live energy of the band can be felt throughout the album. The songs all have a unique character to them, and yet on the whole the album feels very solidly like a singular conception. Apart from two tracks based around a synthesizer, the songs are driven only by two guitars and a set of drums, and sound like they could have all been recorded in the same take. This gives The Feeling a familiar and cohesive sound that you learn to appreciate more with each listen.

The band’s follow up, Television Man, was released in August of this year and has a very similar quality to The Feeling. While not as immediately rewarding as their debut, Television Man has many layers of its own and is at times equally engaging. After two solid releases, Naomi Punk feels like a band with a ton of potential and one that would be an incredible live experience. After all, the band has its roots on stage, not in the studio.

Picking out a standout track is difficult because my favorite from them changes practically every time I hear one of their albums, but a good place to start would be “The Spell” off The Feeling:

Editor’s Note: Naomi Punk’s website can be found here: http://naomipunkmusicgroup.com/
They don’t have any music there, however, so you’re best off just heading to their record label’s page, Captured Tracks, or their Facebook

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Jamie Coughlin