Outsiders think they’ve spotted a grunge comeback when Marc Jacobs puts short pants over leggings on the runway and a new generation of 15-year-olds discovers Doc Martens, but Seattleites will note a familiar and distinctly 90s refrain when they pass by the brand spanking new Damaged Goods on Second Avenue next store to Roq La Rue.
They ought to also recognize shop owner Mark Pickerel as the original drummer of the Screaming Trees, and the guy who has played with the likes of Kurt Cobain and Neko Case — but from here on out, he’ll be the their source for vintage psych rock vinyl, Vampire Weekend LPs, art-pop box sets cutely packaged in lunch pails, handpicked noir DVDs and paperback jazz memoirs, oversize art books, and salvaged moto jackets and snap-front cowboy shirts.
Pretty gutsy move, opening what is more or less a record store as even Pandora-plugged-in 63-year-olds begin to settle into the fact that they can probably get away with never paying for music again. But Pickerel figures he’ll buy new releases with an ear for the feverish, culty, collectible indie and outre stuff that tends to be needed – the "recent stuff that’s actually good" (check the slideshow image of the vinyl bins for new ways to classify genres; "rock," "pop," "punk," and "folk" are out) and curate the kinds of essential odd-ball stuff collections that just can’t be downloaded or otherwise digitally transmitted. And, in this town and a few others, vinyl will never go out of style
- especially not the kind of stuff that Pickerel saves from backwoods thrift shops and down home estate sales.
And speaking of curating; Pickerel plans to party with his art gallery neighbors on second-Friday art walks beginning February 11. With a few tweaks and updates here and there, he’ll reinvent his inventory to reflect and spin themes and concepts from the show next door. Pickerel will also, of course, show art distinct from the gallery’s exhibitions; upcoming this spring, portraits by alt-rock/country hero Jon Langford.
The music business isn’t the only thing alive and well on Second Ave as of last Friday.
Damaged Goods collaborator Jan Dikkers published, edited, and art directed one of the art world’s fav fashion, music, and culture rags, Issue. Now locally based and currently reimagining the fashion initiatives of a certain online retailer, Dikkers plans to relaunch his magazine.
So take that, New York. Spinning discs are not dead yet, and neither is print.
Damaged Goods, where 80s LA rockers X soundtrack the random discoveries of dusted-off ephemera and shrink-wrapped reissues, puts me in the mind of Spencer Moody’s Anne Bonny
- though the former Murder City Devil doesn’t focus on music the way Pickerel does. There’s just something about a strong personality – an already trusted point of view and a reverence for the things that used to matter (not to mention a sort of comeback kid/nostalgic Belltown vibe)- that makes arguments about consumer habits and downward spirals feel downright null, void, boring, and mute.