This article is from the Progressive Music FAQ, by Phil Kime(Philip@kime.org.uk) with numerous contributions by others.
Al's Records and CDs "Selling Music by the Pound"
6713 Comstock, Whittier, CA 90601
As above; you have to call Al so he can activate the fax
Al has been involved with ProgFest for the last two years.
He knows quite a bit about progressive rock bands from the '70s and
'80s, as well as new up and coming bands. For example, this year
he helped Landberk, White Willow (who visited the store), Ars Nova,
and other ProgFest acts. If his store doesn't carry something, he
can usually get his hands on it. (Keiko, the keyboard player for
Ars Nova, has him out hunting for Goblin's first with a gatefold
cover...) Among the memorabilia are autographed photographs,
ticket stubs, album covers and posters.
2455 Telegraph Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704
(open 7 days a week)
Amoeba is located in the heart of the legendary Telegraph
Ave. section of South Berkeley. While you may find parking to be
difficult in this area, there are three stores within two blocks that
are worth visiting (see Rasputins and Leopold's below). Amoeba is
on the corner of Telegraph and Haste, across from Cody's Books.
The store is quite large, and boasts a section about 2/3 or the
way towards the back called `Unusual and Experimental' which tends
to include some prog, mostly RIO styled stuff, like The Muffins,
Univers Zero, Art Zoyd, Art Bears, Samla, U Totem and Cassiber.
Occasionally a somewhat less experimental or straight out fusion
band will be included in this section, like Bi Kyo Ran, Ain Soph,
or Iconoclasta. Most of the store is organized alphabetically
in two different sections; one for used CDs, the other for new.
You'll find progressive material interspersed in both of these
sections. Canterbury and most common fusion artists are well
represented, as well as the more mainstream prog bands. You'll find
small sections for the common Italian bands (PFM, Le Orme, Banco),
and in some very rare occasions you'll find an extremely hard to find
disc (Los Canarios is the rarest I've found). Very little neo-prog
is represented. The used CD section is huge, and does have prog,
but I rarely find anything exciting there (could be that the rare
stuff disappears fast). There are a number of LPs stocked, but
not very many progressive, and I've never found a rare one.
The sales staff don't seem to be very helpful in terms of prog,
and the best method to use when looking for prog in Amoeba seems
to be exhaustive search. Prices tend to be high (sometimes close
to $30 for an import). This applies to the used section as well,
as I've seen used imports go for $15.
2401 Telegraph Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704-2320
(open 7 days a week)
Their prices are a bit higher than they used to be. New stuff is
usually close in price to other stores (but still under corporate
store prices). I recommend everyone checking out their used section
first which is pretty big. Sometimes they take never opened stuff
and put it in the used section when sales for the item aren't too
big and give you a really good price for it.
2518 Durant Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94704
Half a block east on Durant is Leopold's, the final stop for prog
in Berkeley. Actually, there's very little prog in the store,
just a few discs by Pinhas, Djam Karet, and some RIO in the import
section. However, Leopold's has an exhaustive jazz/fusion section,
including virtually everything by Ponty, Mahavishnu as well as
many others. Prices are about average.
3413 El Camino Avenue, Sacramento
(generally closes around 6pm)
Near the corner of El Camino and Watt, Esoteric sports a small
prog section of both LPs and CDs. Some of the CDs are rare and
otherwise hard to find, and prices tend to be reasonable. The LP
section rarely contains anything rare. Two employees, Brian and
Jim, are local progressive experts and will be able to recommend
many artists for you. The store has a CD player hooked up for
listening, so you can check them out before buying. Esoteric will
special order, I believe.
Off The Record
Hillcrest CA (suburbs of San Diego)
Directions -- Hillcrest - 163 South to Washington. Right on
University (first light). You want to hang a left at the first light
but it's a one way street going the other way. They're half a block
on your left, park where you can. The directions from 15 north are
much different, you're better off going too far, turning around,
taking 15 South, then following my directions :-)
Mainly used CD stores with some new CDs. They don't seem to bother
with the top 40 crap, but if you want Ozrics these are the places
to go. I've found the most stuff I wanted in the Hillcrest Off
the Record. I've bought Hawkwind, Ozrics, and Iconoclasta at
the Hillcrest OtR. None of these stores carry prog so much as
`alternative' music, alternative meaning "you'll never hear this
on the radio!". Both stores special order. New CDs are list price,
used are $8.99. I seldom walk out of the Hillcrest OtR empty-hand.
Encinitas CA (suburb of San Diego)
Mainly used CD store with some new CDs. Bigger than both Off the
Record stores, mentioned above. New CDs are list price, used are
$8.99. I've been to Lou's twice, their discs weren't in alphabetical
order and I didn't feel like going through all their stuff. But
they do have a good rep around town as a good place to find stuff.
Its used CDs are now all in alphabetical order now. They have
a Jazz section (`New Age' like), hardcore (with Fates Warning,
but mostly satanic stuff), and pop/rock which has your Yes, Rush,
etc. Anyway, they have a great selection of bootlegs for sale ($25
single mainly), and tons of used records + tapes (a $3.99 area,
and a $.19-$1.00 section for the not so good stuff) as well.