After about a year of being an anonymous hole in the ground, SOM Records finally gets some signage on the window. Hail SOM.
As I understand it, this place split from the rib of Crooked Beat Records in Adams Morgan, and thank god for that. The more, the merrier.
Indie record shops seem to be on the rebound in DC, after a long and dark time without many options. The last time I lived here (before my ambling adventure of DC/Syracuse/Tucson/Bangor), it was something like a golden age for DC vinyl hunters. George Gelastino had not yet killed the Vinyl Ink store in Silver Spring to go strictly web-based, and he was putting together some fantastic record shows (the "Vinyl Solution") at the Silver Spring armory. George is no longer with us, and ironically, the armory is gone as well.
Where the armory stood is now a sterile concrete parking garage; a fitting symbol for the newly "revitalized" Silver Spring. The echo of fussing families and slamming minivan doors reverberates throughout the structure. The whole town wears a different face these days. Now, the site of George's store is...what is it, a wig store, or balloon/party place, or a psychic/palm-reader, or something. I don't get up to SS much these days. Without the record store or the Tastee Diner (in its original spot), I don't have much use for the place.
All beside the point.
Things are looking up, on the local music-store front. In the extended DC neighborhood stretching from the southern end of Adams Morgan to Logan/14th Street, there's Crooked Beat, the newly-relocated Smash Records, the brand new Red Onion shop, and the small-yet-mighty SOM.
There's not much space in SOM, no A/C, but a monster selection. I've found several rare items in there, satisfying my thirst for krautrock, space-rock, psychedelia, exotica, noise, dub reggae, bollywood, and hell, even a totally obscure Indian import bhangra record of old A.S. Kang tunes. .... and THEN you look at what they've got on the friggin' WALL, and forget it.
That's why the baby Jesus gave us credit cards, innit?
And SOM is a nasty temptation for me, being just a few blocks north of work, and several blocks south of home. So needless to say, this spot comes highly recommended. May all who heed the call of vinyl please keep these bastards alive and in business, and maybe we'll have a new Golden Age.
1843 14th Street NW, Washington DC. Aug'07.