I got to check out some of the Amoeba Record shops on the West Coast. At Berkeley and San Francisco the Amoeba Record stores occupy large buildings filled to the ceilings with CDs, vinyl, tapes, and DVDs. The west coast stores remind me of Waterloo Records in Austin, Texas. But Waterloo has a very different system for organizing its music. Amoeba Records organizes its music into genres with experts that work each genre. At Waterloo Records in Austin everything is alphabetized with disregard for genres. Austin seems to mash genres so it makes sense for Waterloo to disregard genres. I found that I like both systems because they help me to explore music in different ways. It is nice to have genre categorization because it allows me to explore new artists in a particular genre. For example, I am a huge reggae fan and Amoeba had an extensive Reggae/Dub/Ska section which allowed me to browse through the genre and discover new artists and albums. I noticed that other genres where extensive as well, including large Rock, Heavy Metal, Rap/Hip-Hop, Jazz, and World music sections. Anyways I ended up with a handful of selections including good deals on Big Youth, The Dub Syndicate, Bounty Killer, and Tenor Saw albums.
I found that I like being overwhelmed with the size of a store’s selection. The Amoeba Record shops did this to me. I felt overwhelmed by the amount of music. I get bored when I’ve seen everything. I like to see new things. And Amoeba Records satisfied this desire for me. In Portland, Oregon I found Powell’s Book City to have a similar effect. The shear number of books, and especially books that I have never seen, overwhelmed my senses and satisfied my desire for seeing new things. I am satisfied with books and records, at least for right now.