Diggers Delight: The Sound Garden, Syracuse, NY

April 5, 2017 in features

Earlier last month, my wife asked me to go on a road trip with her to Ottawa, ON. I thought it would be the perfect time to do a Digger’s Delight column on an Ottawa-area record store, but my wife needed to pick up some supplies for the conference she was going to in the US on the way, so we drove to Ottawa via Western NY and I made a stop at Syracuse NY’s The Sound Garden.

I had never been to the Syracuse location of The Sound Garden, but their other store, located in the Fells Point harbour section of Baltimore, MD is one of my favourite record stores in the US. I jumped at the chance to be able to go and check out their sister store in Syracuse and, although it is a smaller store than their amazing Baltimore location, it was well worth visiting.

It is a little misleading to say that the Syracuse Sound Garden is small. In fact, it is still probably well over a few thousand square feet. You need to walk through their CD section – which is broken up very conveniently into genres – before getting into their vinyl area. Split between used and new, there is a generous amount of both available in the store. The used vinyl is located on the left hand side. Some of it is actually new product that has been marked down for sale. I was lucky enough to find a new still sealed Nick Cave and Warren Ellis soundtrack LP for $6, nearly a quarter of what the album sells for in most Canadian stores.

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The new vinyl in the store was of average price, but was fully stocked with lots of new releases. Like the compact disc section in the front, there are sections for the new releases, including rock, metal, punk, as well as krautrock/psychedelic and country. The prices on the new releases are comparable to other US stores – usually between $16 and $30, depending on the title.

I was most intrigued however at the store’s Record Store Day bargain bin. There was a whole section of 7” singles from previous Record Store Days that were marked down to $2 a record. I managed to snag at least six singles that I couldn’t even find in Canadian stores for a fraction of what they would cost if I could find them in Canada. It is not uncommon for a lot of RSD limited releases to not make it into Canadian stores at all, so to get my hands on titles like Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings and Howlin’ Rain for a few greenbacks was very nice indeed.

All in all, I managed to walk out of the store with ten records for under $30 USD. And that is taking into account the fact that I didn’t really have the time to thoroughly go through their used LPs. Even after you figure out the current exchange rate, that is about $42 Canadian – pretty good value for my money, especially when you realize these were all new, sealed releases.

Syracuse may be a little bit far for a day trip – it is about three hours from Niagara Falls ON and two-and-a-half from Kingston ON – but if you are on your way to NYC or Boston it may be the perfect place to take an hour’s break and check out this great store. If you are in the neighbourhood, it is located at 310 W. Jefferson Street in Armory Square, downtown Syracuse and, as a bonus, it has its own parking lot for customers too.

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By Sean Palmerston

Sean Palmerston is a vinyl loving music nerd who also loves NHL hockey, Godzilla movies and hanging out with his kids. A former contributing writer to a number of publications, including Exclaim!, Metal Maniacs and VICE, Sean also runs the all metal webzine Hellbound.ca

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