This is the first store I went to on the Knoxville trip. Sometimes, the first store you pick gets the most attention and loot, depending on how much time you have. I gave this store a 6 out of 8. Let’s break down the categories:
Selection-Basement had a good variety of the genres I prefer. Their Soul, Jazz & Hip Hop sections were pretty tight. I saw a lot of stuff I have and some stuff that I didn’t. They earn 1 point.
Pricing: this is a bit more tricky to score based on the following: They had some LPs that I felt were over-priced, but again, I have to account for their local clientele. For example, in Chicago, Illinois where Deep House is huge, I can’t find a Dr. Buzzard’s Savannah Band LP for less than $10. However, in Nashville, TN, where Country is King, the Dr. Buzzard can be found for less than $5. This appears to be the situation at Basement Records. To add, I found some LPs that should’ve been much more than they were, ‘real steals’ if you will: Parlet-Pleasure Principle ($6), Ahmad Jamal-Tranquility ($5), Fresh Celeste ($7), Young-Holt Unlimited-Oh Girl ($12). For these combined reasons, I give them a half point.
Organization: Basement’s organization was very good. All the genres were separated alphabetically. The New Purchase section was also alphabetized. They get 1 point.
Accessibility: The store was easy to get to, it was off the main road and located on the right side from the direction I was coming (downtown). It was spacious inside and the LPs I prefer were at waist level. They also are open until 7pm and on Sundays. 1 point here.
Accessories: They have a good selection of vinyl accessories, equipment, and other things like movies, CDs, stickers, and other related items. 1 Point.
Discounts: There were no sales going on, and I didn’t see any regularly priced vinyl marked down. However, they did have a dollar bin, Half a point for this.
Staff: The guy working was really cool. He asked me if I needed help, he suggested some music when he saw what I was grabbing out of the Jazz section. He let me know that they’d made a large Jazz purchase that would gradually be going out on the floor in next few days. They get 1 point here.
I hit up Lost & Found Records via the suggestion of the employee at Basement. He could tell I was looking for older used LPs. L&F Records was a house converted into a record store. They had a guy playing guitar and a female singing on the front porch when I came up. I gave them 6.5 out of 8. However, they were pretty much even with Basement, even though they have a half point more in their score. Let’s see how they covered the categories.
Selection: The store had plenty of Jazz, Soul & Hip Hop, the three major genres I look for when shopping. They also had a large selection of other interesting genres like indie Rock, Punk, Reggae (their reggae selection is very good), and Dance. I give them 1 point.
Pricing: The pricing was also tricky in this store, much like the pricing at Basement. Some stuff was over-priced and other stuff was under-priced (a steal). For example, I got Lee Dorsey’s LP with Get Out My Life Woman on it for $11, Betty Everett-There’ll Come a Time for $7, Harold Johnson Sextet-House on Elm Street for $5, and Nina Simone-Remixed and Re-imagined for $12. I give them half a point.
Listening Station: I didn’t ask, but did not see a listening station at the store. They may have had one, I’m not entirely sure. For that reason, I am giving them half a point by default. That’s totally on me for not knowing if they had one.
Accessibility: The store was right off the main road I was coming down, right off of downtown, on the right side. They also are open until 7pm and on Sundays. However, the genres I prefer were in the stacks below the top stacks. I had to bend down, like shopping for dollar bin LPs. I am tall, this is an inconvenience. For these two reasons, they get a half a point.
Accessories: the store had plenty of vinyl accessories, tees, free bumper stickers, stickers and all types of other related items. They get a point here as well.
Discount: I didn’t notice any sales going on, or any discounted vinyl, but the guy ringing me up gave me a dollar off a lot of the LPs I bought. They also had discount records. They get 1 point.
Staff: The staff was extremely friendly, they let me shop but also made suggestions as they saw what I was looking for. They also get a point here.
Selection: This was the only store I visited while in Charleston. There was a Graveface there, but I decided to go here instead. I only had time to visit one store and this one stayed open later (til 9PM-Graveface closes at 7PM). I was very satisfied with this store overall. They received a 7.75 out 8 from me.
Pricing: Like the other two Knoxville stores, this store had some pricing that was on point, and other LPs were overpriced. I found some good buys: Taana Gardner LP for $3, Heartbeat 12” for $1, Jon Lucien-I am Now ($6) and Erykah Badu’s Mamma’s Gun for $16. I give them a .75 here.
Listening Station: I didn’t see a listening station. However, I was informed that they do have one. They get a point here.
Accessibility: The store is located in a strip mall and is pretty easy to get to. Plenty of parking and all of the genres I preferred were at waist level. They also are open until 9pm and 7pm on Sundays. They get 1 point.
Accessories: This store had a lot of vinyl accessories and other related items for sale. They get a point here too.
Discount: They had half priced new vinyl (I got CMW-Music to Driveby for $13 & Lee Perry-Kung Fu for 20% off). They also had dollar bins. They get a point here.
Staff: The cashier was mad cool. I appreciated his help, discounts and the referral to a non-gentrified local seafood eatery. They get a point here too.
Graveface is a cool store. It’s located just off downtown and it has plenty of things to do around it. I was satisfied with most of the categories and give them a 5.5 out of 8.
Selection: This store has all the genres I prefer. They had plenty of LPs within those genres that I wanted or didn’t know about. I usually seek out the lesser known stuff. I give them a point here.
Pricing: Their pricing is like the other stores. Some stuff was kind of high, other things were under-priced (steals). A steal I found here was David Porter’s-Victim of a Joke for $28. Now most of you will be like, that’s a lot. However, this LP easily retails for $70 in VG+/VG condition. I also got a Winners LP for $5. I give them a half point here.
Organization: Graveface had all their genres separated and alphabetized. The used and new vinyl from the same genres were mixed together, which was convenient for the store’s layout. I give them a point here.
Accessories: They had some vinyl accessories and a lot of random items for sale related to the vinyl aesthetic. They get a point.
Accessibility: The store was small. I understand that it’s near downtown and square footage costs more, but most people move down instead of up. By that I mean, instead of shelving being present, overstock was regulated to the floor. They also are open until 7pm everyday. However, they still get a half point for being easy to get to, and the bins of music genres I prefer being at waist level.
Discount: They have dollar bins outside and inside the store, but no sales or marked down vinyl. They get a half point here.
Staff: The cashier was cool. He pointed out where the genres I was looking for were located. I give them a point here.
This was a pretty good store overall. There were certain things I wish I could’ve given them more than 1 point for. They also get 6 out 8.
Selection: Rody’s had all of the genres I prefer, and a nice of amount of LPs within each one. I give them a point here.
Pricing: The pricing was like the other 5 stores, some things were too high and other things were steals. I found Yusef Lateef-In a Temple Garden for $4. I give them a half point here.
Organization: Their organization was very good. Maybe the best out of all the stores I’d shopped in. Things were separated by genre, alphabetized, and none of the bins were overpacked. They get one point.
Listening Station: They didn’t have a listening station, but the employee played plenty of good music over tables. I heard everything from BBD to the Temptations. No point here.
Accessories: Rody’s also had plenty of vinyl accessories, turntables, buttons, stickers, etc. They also had a neighboring vape shop that was connected to the store. They get a point here.
Discount: They had dollar bins, but no sales or marked down vinyl. I give them a half point here.
Staff: The staff was really cool. The guy in the record store had a good grasp on music, and history associated with it. He also had some substance based good conversation. As I already stated, there was an adjoining vape shop too. They get 1 point.
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