Dear Albuquerque: It is my deepest regret to inform you that there is an excellent new record store in town, and as soon as the collectors read this they will likely go there and buy up all of the precious vinyl that could be mine.
Open since this winter in a space on Central that was occupied by Salon La Vigne for more than a decade, Nob Hill Music is a fine specimen of a micro record store. On my first visit, the co-owner manning the ship that day was embroiled in a music conversation with another couple; so my husband and I, beginning with the $1 45s, dug into the stacks and watched our pile of finds grow. These included a double gatefold Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys for $9, The Jam's In the City for $15, Sunny Ozuna and the Sunliners for $3, a live James Booker record for $6, Sue Saad and the Next for $5 and, the highlight, Gary “U.S.” Bonds' Twist up Calypso for $10.
The store’s collection is diverse, with jazz, rock, metal, indie, hip-hop, soul and other sections, and recording artists range from popular to obscure. There’s even a corner simply labeled “Interesting” (though its inhabitants aren’t quite as interesting as Mecca’s aptly named “Weirdsville” section) that’s home to various musical renegades. What’s more, and very much appreciated, is that the openings on the records’ sleeves—most of which include a polyethylene outer sleeve—all face right for easy access to the disc (unlike some stores that dubiously vacuum seal used records in plastic, preventing patrons from assessing their condition before buying).
Once the other couple left the store, the exceedingly friendly co-owner, record collector and digger Steve Schroeder came to offer his assistance and see if we were looking for anything in particular. He explained that when they don’t have something at the store, they’ll try to track it down for you. He took down my name, number and wish list—’70s power-pop, glam, non-hardcore punk and any foreign psychedelic music. We chatted at length about records and cars before making our purchases and leaving the store, having had a superb experience.
P.S. If anyone shopping at Nob Hill Music comes across The Nerves’ EP, it’s mine and I will cut you if you buy it out from under me.