Turners Falls shop presses rewind on music trends

  • Breakdown Records owner Eric Magnuson checks the quality of a Grateful Dead record for sale at his store on Avenue A in Turners Falls. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Breakdown Records on Avenue A in Turners Falls. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Records for sale at Breakdown Records on Avenue A in Turners Falls. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Breakdown Records owner Eric Magnuson leafs through records for sale at his store on Avenue A in Turners Falls. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Breakdown Records on Avenue A in Turners Falls. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Cassette tapes, left, and records, right, for sale at Breakdown Records on Avenue A in Turners Falls, center. STAFF PHOTOS/DAN LITTLE

  • Breakdown Records owner Eric Magnuson at the store on Avenue A in Turners Falls. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Staff Writer
Published: 8/8/2019 6:05:52 PM

MONTAGUE — Vinyl is not making a comeback, says Breakdown Records owner Eric Magnuson, because it never went away.

“The people who listen to records have always listened to records,” he said.

Magnuson opened Breakdown Records in Turners Falls at the beginning of June. He has been collecting records his whole life, since growing up in Greenfield in the 1990s. He also has years of experience trading and selling them.

Magnuson moved back to the area last year after living in Ithaca, N.Y. for 17 years. There he bought and sold records at a pedestrian mall two days a week, where customers thumbed through crates and crates of albums loosely organized by genre.

Now at Breakdown Records, he does pretty much the same thing. He may have a few brand-new records in stock at a time — mostly new pressings of classic albums — but almost all of his stock is bought secondhand from locals selling from their own collections.

Most records in the store cost about $5. But prices may be higher based on rareness or condition. A copy of Pink Floyd’s “Meddle” in good but not great condition was priced at $25, because the album was pressed in relatively small quantities and is hard to find now, Magnuson said. Bob Dylan’s “Desire” was $10, because tons of them were pressed but most of them were played to death, he said. Likewise with the Beatles’ albums, which always go fast.

There’s also the “dollar bin,” where Magnuson puts records that are in bad condition, maybe so bad that they can’t be played. Albums there all cost $1, but they aren’t guaranteed to play. (Otherwise, Magnuson will refund any record that skips or doesn’t play.) But some people will buy albums from the dollar bin just for the cover, Magnuson said.

Breakdown Records also sells cassettes and CDs. Most cassettes cost $1 or $2, so customers will often buy them 10 at a time, Magnuson said. They’re popular with people who have old cars. CDs cost at most around $10.

Records are set out in crates, categorized by genre. Magnuson said he tries to stock some of everything, in terms of musical styles. But because he buys most of his stock from people’s personal collections, the selection mirrors what’s popular in this area. Punk rock and heavy metal albums come and go quickly, he said. Hip-hop albums went fast in Ithaca, but not so much here.

Rock is by far the biggest section of all, and most of the albums in it are from the 1960s and ’70s. That could be due to the fact that rock was what was popular when vinyl was the dominant music medium, Magnuson said.

Magnuson sometimes stocks new music, but is cautious of doing so.

“The stuff that’s on the radio this year, if I still have it in two years, nobody’s listening to it anymore,” Magnuson said. “That’s how popular trends work.”

Breakdown Records is at 59 Avenue A in Turners Falls. Hours are 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Monday and Saturday. The shop is closed on Fridays and Sundays.

Reach Max Marcus at mmarcus@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 261.




Greenfield Recorder

14 Hope Street
Greenfield, MA 01302-1367
Phone: (413) 772-0261
Fax: (413) 772-2906

 

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