Thursday, September 2, 2010

Euclid Records NOLA Opens

UPDATED: Please read the bottom addendum.

Just as one of my first posts on this blog was a review of a new record store in town, I suppose my comeback will start the same way.

Euclid Records is the baby brother of the legendary St. Louis store, a must-visit if you're around there. James and Brian have been selling out of a little shack just a couple of doors down from their new digs and I'll be honest, their selection was OK, not great. It had me a little worried, but naturally I wouldn't say that unless it was followed with a "THANKFULLY I WAS WRONG"

Wait wait, first things first. It's a beautiful store. Pink and yellow on the outside, outrageous even for the bywater, but the inside is even nicer. Crazy textile-wrapped trees spring up from the center banisters, making it some sort of record swamp, and there's a nice corner with a piano, clearly allowing for an in-store performance. The walls feature some sort of lumberjack mural next to some monkeys throwing money, and naturally a bajillion show posters and big-ticket display records. And on the ceiling of the checkout corner, my $5 bill. First customer. High point was coming back from work, flipping through records and thinking about a nice soda. Then looking to my right and spying a vending machine, ready to spit me out a Mug Root Beer. Casually flippin' and sippin', feels good.

But the meat: what are the records like? Jazz is by far the most vast, though seeing that sort of description sometimes scares me; this is not a store solely for jass nuts. Not even close. The funk section can stand toe-to-toe-with-Dominoe Sound, probably a little more plentiful and sprinkled with choice reissues and impressive originals. The rock section is strong, though hardly even. A lot of great 50s twisters, some Bo Diddley originals!, psychedelic reissues... not too huge on the modern stuff, though that's something that may develop over time.

Right in the center of the store are a couple of boxes of 45s. It wasn't huge, but some really nice things in there: John Lee Hookers, Bo Diddleys!, Rene Hall's Twitchy/Flippin, Ventures picture sleeves, and I picked up a Man...or Astroman? among other things.

This is all referring to vinyl. There is a limited used CD selection with the same all-over-the-place diversity that I love about a used CD selection.

Prices... Frustratingly fair. Not "screw this"-and-leave-with-nothing high, but not "ahhh with prices like these I can't stop spending" low like Domino Sound. I rarely thought "this should be lower" --they were right about where they deserved to be. I just wanted them to be cheaper.

Weaknesses? Small world selection, I could see this neighborhood wanting a little more punk (though the Iron Rail takes care of that pretty well)

So what does this come out to? Great start, and the fact that this is 2 blocks away from me has me nearly restless, almost reconsidering moving to mid-city in a few months. Good store in a neighborhood that I could see taking to it well. I'll be recommending it to others for sure.

Euclid has unsurprisingly expanded since I came when it first opened. I was there last night and, it's hard to change your opinion about certain things but, I think Euclid now has the best 45 collection of all record stores in the city. They're not cheap, but they're dense with good stuff, moreso than Jim Russell Records and while nothing will get quite as vast as JRR's collection, it's still pretty plentiful. There's a lot more funk, a lot more R&B and a lot more punk than when they opened, including a lot of modern garage to tickle my fancy, not to mention all sorts of Sundazed and Norton reissues. The things on the wall are really worth drooling over and don't pander to the clueless record buyer. For instance, a Pussy Galore bootleg.

Upon opening my impression of Euclid was pretty strong, and I knew it would be on my short list of recommendations. It's on a much shorter list now, to the point where if you had to visit one record store in the city, either Domino or Euclid will suffice.