Strange Maine - Portland

photo credit - 'the internet'

Strange Maine is one of the coolest little shops in the Northeast, and should be on the to-do list of anyone making the hour and forty five minute trek up to Portland from Boston...or wherever.  Ostensibly a record shop, but there's really so much more housed among the assorted ephemera.  This place is a real haven for VHS and cassette junkies in particular, but will surely appeal to vinyl lovers. The LPs are mostly used, but there are a few new discs by Maine artists.  The alphabetical browsers have some pretty generic (and cheap) records, but the new arrivals and oddball sections will surely have something you covet. The VHS selection is much more curatorial. An entire shelf is dedicated to films organized by label (Good Times, Anchor Bay, Vestron, etc...) and the rest are separated into genres and alphabetized all the way up to the ceiling.  Prices vary based on quality of the flick and rarity.  The audio cassette wall is stuffed with great stuff:  I've seen The Velvet Underground, Galaxie 500, Crispin Hellion Glover, Minor Threat, Public Enemy and Zappa in the last month, to name a few.  The small wall of contemporary underground cassettes is pretty cool (lots of touring bands leave  a tape when they play at the shop during the regular summer music events).  There are print and zine sections that are well stocked, a rack of vintage video games and systems, 8-tracks and many bins of self released noise CDrs.  The whole place is a real work of art, stuffed to the gills with weird artifacts and imagery (much of which resides in the 'permanent collection').  The 'found photo' box is one of the weirdest I've ever seen, and there are binders full of amateur artwork to browse through.  I'd also like to add that the three employees are all immenintely cool dudes, and talented folks in their own right: Brendan (Garm, Visitations), Skot (Id M Theft Able) and Mike (Coelacanth comic) have kept this place going for most of the 2000s, making it one of the most lived in shops of this kind I've ever been too.  Website

I would be remiss if I didn't mention Moody Lords, another record shop located right above Strange Maine in the old Time-Lag space.  They've got a lot of jazz, 60s rock, R&B/Soul and rap on vinyl as well as a few racks of ladies clothes and some circuit bent electronics.  There are some solid 'wall records' there.  Otto Pizza next door is pretty rad too if you can afford the $3+ slices and draft beers after a dat of record shopping.