Grooveground – Record Store and Coffee Shop, Audio Interview

In the groove

I had originally planned on doing a video interview with the owner of The Bus Stop Music cafe in part II of the series, however I’ve had to push this back to Monday. In the meantime, I took a trip to another awesome record store that has also embraced the record store/cafe business model which seems to be increasingly popular these days. Check back for part II of The Bus Stop Music Cafe post this week.

130810228_b44f7bb479_o

Interior shot of Grooveground

Groove Ground is not only one of the coolest coffee shops in South Jersey, it’s one of the most unique spots in the area to hang out, listen to music and pick up a new record.

Located at 647 Haddon Ave. in Collingswood, mere minutes from a PATCO station, Center City Philadelphia and other areas of Camden County , this coffee shop is surprisingly accessible, open Monday-Thursday from 7AM-10PM, Fridays from 7AM-11PM, Saturdays from 8AM-11PM and Sundays from 8AM-10PM.

Besides offering a delicious and eclectic regular and catering menu, the place is a local hotspot for musicians and music-lovers alike. Aligning the walls are racks of records and CDs which customers can browse through or purchase, ranging from newer releases to old or classic albums. They had a number of classic albums ranging from Nirvana to Led Zeppelin, as well as more contemporary music like Minus the Bear‘s Menos el Oso.

In essence, Groove Ground brings you back to a time when small, independent record shops were the places to be and customers had the freedom to just hang out and listen to a record, even if they didn’t plan on purchasing it. This is extremely rare nowadays, as big corporate chains continue putting music behind glass and selling only what’s mainstream.

Since last February, Groove Ground began hosting “Fridays Live,” which showcases local musicians, bands and artists of all genres in a live/acoustic setting. They also have a special event every second Saturday of the month, from book signings and readings to poetry and art openings, while also hosting community events. They are also a participator in Record Store Day.

In 2008, Groove Ground won “Best of the Best” among coffee shops in South Jersey Magazine, and rightfully so.

Here’s an audio interview with Grooveground employee, Rich DeGregory (the sound in the middle is a milk steamer):

Picture 3Picture 1Picture 2

photos from the Grooveground website

GROOVEGROUND
647 Haddon Avenue
Collingswood, NJ 08108

Phone: [856] 869-9800

Mon-Fri: 7a – 10p
Sat: 8a – 11p
Sun: 8a – 10p

Advertisements

The Bus Stop Music Cafe in Pitman, NJ – Part I

the records at The Bus go round and round…

P1012282

A latte records at The Bus Stop Music Cafe

This Saturday, I took a trip over to Pitman’s famous Bus Stop Music Cafe. For the four years that the store has been located in Pitman, it has become a very well-known landmark for great food and coffee, as well as great records. They’ve had two locations prior to being in Pitman and the store used to operate solely as an independent record store but has now opened it’s doors to patrons looking for a fine meal or snack, as well as great music.

They have a wide selection of used records, some new records as well as a small guitar and music gear store located toward the back, which even offers guitar lessons. In addition to selling and teaching music, The Bus Stop Music Cafe has also become a great little venue for local musicians, poets and artists.

I will be interviewing someone from the store in the very near future, so stay posted for more info on the Bus Stop Music Cafe and check it out sometime if you happen to be in Pitman.

In the meantime, here is a little photo essay that I have put together for your viewing pleasure…for the record

BUS STOP MUSIC CAFE

148 S Broadway Pitman, NJ 08071

(856) 582-0009

www.myspace.com\busstopmusic

Sunday: Closed
Monday: 9am – 9pm
Tuesday: 9am – 11:30pm
Wednesday: 9am – 9pm
Thursday: 9am – 9pm
Friday: 9am – 11pm
Saturday: 9am – 11pm

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).
p53E73457j0W0A9Q_gwx1V.0.0.0x0.660x498

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.

2475100304_5bc26c67eb

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.

d6_j9_Na885lAvEPwvwd3w.0.0.0x0.660x818

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

Going Ivy League – Princeton Record Exchange Review

Alma matters

Since I’m still waiting for the pictures from my trip to Maine, I will wait until I have everything together before I put up the post for my reviews of Strange Maine and Bullmoose Records. In the meantime, I took a trip to the beautiful college town of Princeton, NJ this past weekend and will whet your record collecting appetite with a review of Princeton’s own, Princeton Record Exchange.

The Priceton Record Exchange Storefront

The Princeton Record Exchange Storefront.

When I showed up to the Princeton Record Exchange at 10 am for the store opening, my shoes and my laptop were sopping wet from the past weekend’s relentless rain. The wet shoes I could barely live with, but the wet laptop I could not. After some time in front of the car’s dashboard heater, my Macbook was good to go again, so here we are:

As soon as I walked in, I was happy to see that there was a place for my umbrella right by the door. They were even nice enough to take my wet computer bag for me and hand me a cool, little, laminated ticket so that I could pick it up on the way out. I know from experience that it’s nearly impossible to peruse a record store one-handed, so it was nice to see that they recognize this and have a system in place to free up busy hands.

As I took in my surroundings, I was amazed by the sheer volume of music in this store. The entire left half of the store was dedicated to CD’s and straight ahead was a long aisle of nothing but vinyl records. To the right, past the counter was a wall filled from floor to ceiling with cassette tapes. My first impressions were that the store was very clean and well kept, as well as extraordinarily organized. Total Ivy league. This store had none of the dusty, dinginess that is nearly synonymous with most record stores. And to top it off, Yes was playing in the background, so I immediately felt right at home.

Looking toward the front of the store, the CDs to the right.

Looking toward the front of the store, the CDs to the right.

The long aisle of LPs and the wall of cassettes on the back wall

The long aisle of LPs and the wall of used CDs on the back wall.

I was struck by the meticulous organization of the music at Princeton Record Exchange. The vinyl section, which ran most of the length of the store was broken up into rock, jazz and yes, (headbangers rejoice!) even metal. The vinyl cases were seamlessly alphabetized and prominent bands had their own dividers, as would be expected, but the one thing that struck me was the fact that less-prominent bands frequently had their own little sections. I had never in my lifetime seen an entire section dedicated to lesser-known indie groups such as The Black Keys. In fact, as I looked further, I was amazed by the sheer volume of indie music tucked in amongst the shelves. It was almost akin to the volume of indie music that a store that specializes in indie would have, except that it was nicely balanced out by more popular bands, both old and new.

Speaking of old and new, both new and used vinyl graced their shelves side-by-side. There were older artists on brand new 180-gram vinyl reissues, alongside the original used copies. There was also a plethora of brand new music out on vinyl. My only criticism was that there was no designated “New Releases,” section to make the new music slightly easier to find, but this all added to the fun of digging through the eclectic mix of records on the shelves.

I was surprised to see that there was even a small section designated to audiophile original master recordings, something that I’ve never seen before.

Original Mater Recording section.

Original Mater Recording section.

The overall quality and condition of the records offered was exceptional. There was nothing I could find on the top shelves that was in less than new, mint, or near-mint condition. But you get what you pay for, so these older mint records were a little on the pricey side. There was a mint copy of Pink Floyds A Nice Pair that was being offered for $34 because of its outstanding condition and relative rarity (this one says $13.99, but trust me, there was a $34 one):

A very nice pair (of records).

A very nice pair (of records).

Here were some of my findings at Princeton Record Exchange:

There were also a number of unexpected gems that I came across in this store, such as a beautiful MC5 High Time Picture disk and a limited copy of Thom Yorke‘s Being Pulled Apart By Horses.

Oh, and by the way, there was also a really great $1 special section at floor-level, below the main displays of records. These records were also in surprisingly good shape and were an absolute steal. You’ll have to do a little sifting though, as these records were mostly unorganized.

The employees at Princeton Record exchange were fantastic and there was one instance when an album came on in the store that I absolutely loved. I walked up to the desk to ask what was playing and a cute redhead informed me that I was hearing Electric Warrior by T-Rex. This was an album that I had to have and I was thrilled to discover a great new (1971) band. The employees here definitely capitalized on one of my favorite pastimes of record collecting, which is simply talking music with the store owners. These people were plain friendly and knowledgeable and loved to talk.

Check out T-Rex here. You definitely know this song:


Here was what I wound up buying for a total of $34 (same price as the one Floyd record):

Pink Floyd's "A Nice Pair," T-Rex's "Electric Warrior" and a $1 Maynard Ferguson record.

Pink Floyd's "A Nice Pair," T-Rex's "Electric Warrior" and a $1 Maynard Ferguson record.

A Nice Pair was a must-have, plus the artwork is priceless. Electric Warrior might just be my new favorite album and I would highly recommend it to anyone who’s into straight, good, early 70’s rock with a slight glam undertone. As the man at the checkout counter informed me, this record is his favorite by T-Rex and is quite a departure from their first few albums which were much more acoustic. And I had to get the Maynard Ferguson album because well, he’s a plain and simple terrific jazz musician. Plus it was a dollar.

One happy customer.

One happy customer.

In summary, I was very pleased with Princeton Record exchange and I would highly recommend it to anyone. The store was clean, organized and had an unbelievable offering of music, both new and old. The employees were friendly and knowledgeable and they even let you keep the plastic record sleeves with your purchases (can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen those taken at the counter. Total pet peeve).

Point blank, this is one of the coolest record stores that I’ve come across in recent memory and yeah– it’s totally ivy league.

Argyle is optional– for the record.

PRINCETON RECORD EXCHANGE

20 S Tulane St.
Princeton, NJ 08542
(609) 924-3472
www.prex.com

Store hours:

Mon-Sat: 10 am-9 pm, Sun: 11 am-6 pm