Portland, Maine Record Store Review II – Bull Moose Music

No Bull.

This store is the ****.

**** definition:
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English
Date: before 21st century
1 : A textbook example of the way an independent music/record store should be and should be operated.
2 : A store with 10 awesome locations throughout Maine and New Hampshire.
3 : The store that began Record Store Day (April 19th) in 2007 and made it into an international success (Over 1000 stores participated worldwide last year).
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AP Photo of Bull Moose's co-CEO Chris Brown and the father of Record Store Day

If you thought that Strange Maine was the strangest record store in Portland, here’s the best. This store was highly recommended to me by my friend from Maine and what a recommendation indeed. I must say, those people up in Maine are truly onto something.

Before I go any further, I’d like to make it clear that Bull Moose Music is called Bull Moose Music instead of Bull Moose Records for a reason. Bull Moose is not chiefly a record store by any account. They specialize in new and used CDs, Tapes, and LPs, and in that order. They also have a huge selection of new and used DVDs and video games. As far as the actual music at the Bull Moose in Portland goes, I’d say that the store is 70% composed of CDs, 20% composed of Tapes and 10% composed of good old vinyl records. But that 10% was spot on and the entire shopping experience was a delight.

The Bull Moose in Portland was in a slightly odd location in the depths of a mini mall of sorts in the underground of an old brick building, however this gave the store a very underground, indie feel right from the start. What it lacked in windows it made up in sheer floor, wall and shelf space. This medium-sized store was absolutely loaded with music.

I must admit that I was a little surprised when I walked in. I was expecting to find wall-to-wall LPs, but I actually had to look around for a minute or two before I located them at the back wall. As I made my way over, I had to notice how clean and organized the store was. The CDs were broken up by genre such as rock, r&b, techno and etc. And within the well-labeled genres, they were also labeled alphabetically. This was not fye, where it is nearly impossible to find an album.

When I hit the vinyl at the back wall of the store, I was excited to see that nearly all of the albums were brand new. Many record collectors are solely into vintage collector’s items, but I love my new, unplayed vinyl records and I have a soft spot for indie, which has really embraced the medium of the record and made it its own. If you’re looking for new indie records, Bull Moose Music will be your new best friend.

I’m talking bands such as Minus the Bear, The Arctic Monkeys, MGMT and Passion Pit. You name it, Bull Moose had it. All brand new and in the general $15-$20 price range. Not too shabby.

NM Records 2

New Pressings at Bull Moose

Also, I was shocked to see brand new pressings by the legendary German krautrock band, Can. I had never seen a single one of their records at any used record store, not to mention a single one of their records in general. This was something to behold. Although I couldn’t find my favorite of their albums, Tago Mago and Ege Bamyasi, the thought was there. And it was greatly appreciated. I found Incubus‘ new Monuments and Melodies, a 4 disk collection of their hits, b-sides and some new material, but the $25 price tag held me back. I was determined to find the Brooklyn indie band MGMT’s Oracular Spectacular, which is simply speaking, my new favorite album and lo and behold, there it was under M, right where I thought it would be, along with a 7″ single of their pre-Oracular material that I was not familiar with.

Sold.

And oh yeah, there was a good amount of used vinyl as well.

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Awww... Yeah!

The vinyl records offered at Bull Moose were awesome, despite the fact that they were restricted to only a portion of the back wall of the store. New, old, indie, obscure, you name it. It was all there along with a healthy dose of 7″ singles to whet one’s record collecting appetite. Even if you have never bought a vinyl record in your life and don’t plan on it, Bull Moose is your place for all things music in Maine. It is the very definition of the way an indie music store should be. The guy at the cash register was awesome and very excited to see that I was buying vinyl. We talked music for a little bit and I complimented him on the store. I signed up for a Bull Moose Music discount card immediately.

Bull Moose has come a long way from it’s humble beginnings in 1989. Bull Moose began as a makeshift music store, carrying only a few discs. Started in Brunswick by Bowdoin College junior Brett Wickard, it is now the largest independent retailer of new and pre-owned music, movies, and video games in Maine and New Hampshire. As their horizon began to expand, they became known for their irreverent style. In 1991, the Portland, Maine-based chain ran its first radio ads, promising high prices and bad service. “Why pay less?” one spot asked. Another declared, “If your CD doesn’t play, that’s your problem, as long as we’ve got your money.”

In addition to being a great little franchise, they have also become somewhat of a legend in their own right after just twenty years of business. Not only were they the very beginning of now-revered Record Store Day, but this affiliation with Record Store Day has led to Bull Moose’s stores becoming somewhat of a known small concert venue by artists such as female folk singer Ani DiFranco as well as a great place for autographs by high profile artists.

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Mother Folker (can I say that?), Ani DiFranco plays at one of Bull Moose's stores to a delighted crowd.

According to AllBusiness.com:
“Wickard declines to specify the chain’s annual sales volume—which Billboard estimates at $15 million—he says Bull Moose has grown in sales and profits every year, including this one.” -for the record.

Here are all of their locations throughout Maine and New Hampshire:

BULL MOOSE MUSIC

http://www.bullmoose.com/

Brunswick
151 Maine Street
Brunswick , Maine 04011
Ph: 207-725-1289

Hours: 9:00am – 10pm Tues-Sat
10am – 10pm Sun

9am – midnight Mon

North Windham
Windham Shopping Center
771 Roosevelt Trail
North Windham, Maine 04062
Ph: 207-893-1303

Hours: 9:00am – 11pm Mon-Thurs

9:00am – midnight Fri-Sat

10am – 10pm Sun

Portland
151 Middle Street
Portland , Maine 04101
Ph: 207-780-6424

Hours: 10am – 11pm every day

Lewiston
Lewiston Mall
20 East Avenue
Lewiston, ME 04240
Ph: 207-784-6463

Hours: 9am – 9pm Mon-Sat

10am – 6pm Sun

Portsmouth, NH
82-86 Congress Street
Portsmouth , NH 03801
Ph: 603-422-9525

9:30am – 11pm every day

9:30am – midnight Mon

Sanford
Center For Shopping
1364 Main St.
Sanford, ME 04073
Ph: 207-324-5786

Hours: 9:30am – 10pm Mon-Sat

10am – 8pm Sun

Waterville
14 Elm Plaza
Waterville, ME 04901
Ph: 207-861-5884

Hours: 9am – 10p Mon-Sat

9am – 8pm Sun

Bangor
Maine Square Mall
683 Hogan Road
Bangor, ME 04401
Ph: 207-262-0410

Hours: 9am-11pm Tues-Sun

9am – midnight Mon

Salem, NH
356-366 So. Broadway
Salem, NH 03079

Ph: 603-898-6254

Hours: 10am – midnight every day

Scarborough
456 Payne Rd.
Scarborough, ME 04074
PH: 207-885-9553
Hours: 9am – 11pm Tues-Sun
9am – midnight Mon

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