Sound City tucks itself into Winslow

Downtown Winslow has become the new home of Sound City, Bainbridge’s brand-new vendor of vinyl.

Sound City is the culmination of Erik Clineschmidt’s lifelong addiction to vinyl and a labor of love between him and his wife, stepson, family and friends — all of whom Clineschmidt says pitched in to get the shop up and running.

The store isn’t just a place to pick up new and classic albums, though. Clineschmidt is looking to host bands, sell audio equipment, offer food and drinks and generally create an atmosphere that shirks the all-too-common sensory overload associated with record shops these days.

“We’re really gonna try to have a whole thing — with some music, a nice space in here, have art going on in the back — really try to create a nice place to hangout and relax and check out some records and listen to some music,” Clineschmidt said.

The shop recently hosted it’s first live music event with Eden Page, Lilah Larson, Lola Kirke and Wyndham.

“Our store was packed and there were even people outside in the cold, bundled up and enjoying the show,” Clineschmidt said.

If you missed the show, don’t worry, Clineschmidt said it was just a taste of many more to come.

“We’re gonna be doing things like this all summer, pretty much all the time. I’ve got a couple of other bands lined up, too, they’re gonna play outside. I’ve got kids lined up that want to do some busking out here.”

Clineschmidt says he’s been shown nothing but support for his new endeavor by his customers.

“The feedback and the reception has been really, super-positive. People are excited to have art, they’re excited to have new music,” he said.

And to those who would point to Backstreet Beat and wonder why Winslow needs another record store, Clineschmidt points to the differences between the two stores and how they compliment one another.

“There is another record store on the island, Backstreet Beat, it’s a record and book store. I’ve certainly shopped there, Raymond [Gendreau] and I are friends. This store is really different from what they have going on; we carry lots of new music with a focus on Northwest bands and Northwest labels,” he said.

Clineschmidt also says that amidst the litany of shops and restaurants that are trying to be “hip” these days, Sound City is seeking to be the spot without any of the pretense.

“This place has a younger spirit kind of feel,” Clineschmidt said.

And he’s not joking, that young spirit comes directly from the owner himself.

When Clineschmidt starts talking about the records in his shop, his face lights up and his voice quickens, almost like a kid becoming so overwhelmed with his own excitement that he can barely talk fast enough.

“There’s everything from Soundgarden to The Head and the Heart on Subpop,” Clineschmidt beamed, “they’ve really got amazing bands — and they’ve got sub-labels like, Hardly Art, so you get Taco Cat and Chastity Belt and lots of good up-and-coming bands, too,” he said, walking around, flipping through the record boxes and pointing to the albums hanging on the shelves.

“Metz is like my new favorite band in the world,” Clineschmidt said pulling the album down from its prominent spot on the wall facing the entryway.

Given even the shortest of conversations, one can quickly see Clineschmidt’s passion for music, a passion he says goes back to his childhood, growing up in Factoria in the ‘70s.

“Growing up on records, I really liked having the art in my hand and sitting there, putting the music on and examining the liner notes and seeing who played on the record, seeing who produced it, seeing what the lyrics are,” he said.

So formative were his experiences collecting vinyl at a young age, that Clineschmidt even decided to name his new shop after the record store frequented by he and his brother when they were kids — DJ’s Sound City.

As for the pace of business at his new store, Clineschmidt admits things are moving much faster than he had anticipated.

“Honestly, it’s going as fast as I can keep up with, and probably even more so,” he said.

Sound City is tucked away in the alley at 130 Winslow Way East. The store is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

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