Music

Off the Wall

Waxing poetic about vinyl at Olympic Records

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Providence is home to a healthy host of earnest and vibrant record shops. Each has its own vibe, philosophy, content, and album playing in the store. This month we will continue our record store prowl with a Fox Point mainstay, Olympic Records. If anyone has traveled down Wickenden Street in the past year, it is clear that things are changing. It feels like just yesterday I was renting in Fox Point and suddenly it seems like everytime I pop into the neighborhood for coffee something new has opened up. Thankfully, some places stay rooted, dependable, and just like you remembered it. Olympic Records is one of those places.

Since 2011, Kevin Morosini has made Olympic Records a go to place for new indie records, rare finds, and tried and true classics. With an ever-changing display wall, up-to-date local stuff and a consistently rotating “new stuff” bin, Olympic is the spot to find that record you forgot you wanted to check out. What do Alkaline Trio, Miles Davis, and Titus Andronicus all have in common? I stumbled upon them at Olympic. So, pick a lazy Sunday morning, grab a coffee, and discover some vinyl.

What genres of music would you find in your shop?
I sell all types of music on both LP and 45rpm singles. I sell mostly used records so my stock is always changing depending on what type of collections I’ve recently bought.

What record would be playing when you walk in?
I usually pull stuff off of the wall and play it, but I probably listen to Bruce Springsteen more than anyone else.

What kinds of people would you find perusing your shelves? (Do you have regulars or a mix of different people?)
With the boom in record player production and sales in the last few years I get every type of shopper. We have a great mix, many regular weekly customers, and first-time record buyers or travelers coming through Providence visiting.

What is different about discovering and listening to vinyl in a shop from streaming an album off the internet?
Both have their advantages and disadvantages. Both also have their place in someone’s life and there is no need to pick one or the other. You can’t take your records to the gym or out jogging, so digital music and streaming are a great option. On the other hand, when you are at home and want to sit down and enjoy some music, putting on a record will most likely beat out the streaming music, experience wise. They are like the opposite of each other, so they work perfectly together. Record stores are so rich with things to see and learn about, it makes finding music much different then using a streaming service.

What’s the single-most exciting/unique/baffling vinyl record you have sitting on display in your shop?
Nothing super baffling or unique but I was excited to find a UK copy of Pink Floyd’s third album Ummagumma with the original unedited cover, it will be a little while before another one of those walks through the door.

Why do you think it is important to have neighborhood record shops curating, collecting, preserving and sharing music?
I think small neighborhood shops of all types are important and are a huge part of what makes Providence great. Small business run by people who care about what they are doing can be very inspiring places

Olympic Records
580 Wickenden Street
Monday-Saturday 10:15am-6pm, Sunday 10:15am-1pm