1. Speck's Records & Tapes
8216 N Denver Ave., 971-544-7158, specksrecords.com. Noon-7 pm daily.
Speck's has a little bit of everything, emphasis on "little." Occupying a sliver of real estate along Kenton's main drag, it's the kind of used-vinyl oasis you'd expect to stumble across in a much smaller town, where the selection is modest but varied, the prices are reasonable and music history seems to have ended sometime in the mid-'90s. While there isn't a focus on any particular genre, most of the inventory can be filed under "stuff for graying former college-radio DJs looking to pad their collections." Old punk and reggae take up almost as much space as general pop and rock, and there's a good balance of psych, new wave and prog, plus more hip-hop and electronic music than you might expect. The "and Tapes" part of the equation is slightly misleading—yes, there are cassettes for sale, but they're no more a point of emphasis than the shelf of audio equipment or the random amps, instruments and guitar pedals strewn about the back half of the room. Still, it's one of those stores where the chances of unearthing the find of a lifetime on any given visit always seem high. And if you only come away with a copy of Danny Elfman's 1984 solo album to play in the tour van, that's nothing to sneeze at. MATTHEW SINGER.
Specialization: The small stash of private press recordings features uber-obscurities you aren't likely to find elsewhere in town.
Find of the day: A first pressing of the Minutemen's essential Double Nickels on the Dime ($50).
2. Green Noise Records
720 N Killingsworth St., 503-208-3751, store.greennoiserecords.com. 11 am-7 pm Tuesday-Saturday, noon-5 pm Sunday.
Green Noise has lived an itinerant life many of its regular customers can probably relate to. Since moving up from Eugene in 2000, the store—long the headquarters of cult-classic garage-punk label Dirtnap Records—has bounced all over town, from Clinton Street to Woodstock then out to Foster, before finally landing on North Killingsworth last year. It is perhaps the ideal location for a Portland punk institution to settle in 2018, up the street from cheeky dive bar the Florida Room and within walking distance of two community radio stations, XRAY and Freeform. Though Dirtnap founder Ken Cheppaikode is no longer in charge, having sold the business to another label owner, Accident Prone's Gary Bahen, and left for Wisconsin, the address is about the only thing that's really changed. In fact, Green Noise still operates as Dirtnap's distribution hub, meaning you can still find everything the label has in print under its roof. There's a tiny stage in the corner, allowing for more in-store performances, and if your artfully tattered Army jacket is in need of a new patch, there's a whole wall to choose from. Otherwise, the store remains small but densely packed with the best selection of new and old punk in the city. MATTHEW SINGER.
Specialization: Punk, metal, garage rock.
Find of the day: An original U.K. printing of Radiohead's OK Computer ($79.99).
7910 SE Stark St., 503-254-6764. 12:30-6:30 pm Tuesday-Sunday.
Planted along the far from desolate stretch of local shops and restaurants that line Southeast Stark—just upwind of the Academy Theater—Cactus is a mixed bag of treasures, where kitschy knickknacks mingle with vintage clothing and handmade jewelry. But the record collection is the store's true centerpiece. While other vintage shops isolate their vinyl to Sharpie-labeled cardboard boxes, Cactus' generous selection is given pride of place beneath a shrine to rock legends. Prince and David Bowie albums overlook a congregation of LPs, about three-quarters of which are filed under "Rock," alongside assortments of jazz, blues, funk and a surprisingly large offering of movie soundtracks. The shop also boasts an array of cassettes, CDs and 45s, where a little digging turns up Fleetwood Mac and Madonna singles. Beyond the music section, you can find anything from original Star Wars T-shirts to an old-school overhead projector. On your way out, pick up a bottle of handcrafted lotion, a Portland-themed scented candle and the Taxi Driver soundtrack and call it a successful shopping day. LAUREN KERSHNER.
Specialization: '60s and '70s rock and movie soundtracks.
Find of the day: A vintage Dumbo soundtrack from 1959 in great condition ($30).
4. Crossroads Records
For a month, there was a chance Portland would no longer have Crossroads. Last spring, the flea market-style store that's home to dozens of vinyl dealers was forced to move out of the Hawthorne storefront it had occupied since 1993. But just before its lease expired last summer, Crossroads found an even larger location near 82nd. With larger windows and a wider layout, the new location is less cavernous but just as labyrinthine. Since the records are organized by dealer as well as genre, there are multiple sections for each classification scattered throughout the store. It's easy to spend hours sorting through the boxes of cheapies on the floor beneath every row of vinyl, but your search will not be fruitless. For every ubiquitous copy of Quadrophenia or The Stranger, there's a $2 record by an underappreciated doo-wop group, a mind-blowing live Charlie Parker album or the debut of some off-the-beaten-path punk band. SHANNON GORMLEY.
Specialization: Classic rock and punk.
Find of the day: The "butcher cover" version of the Beatles' Yesterday and Today ($300).
5. Dig Vinyl
8235 SE 13th Ave., Suite 3, 503-703-2408, dig-vinyl.com. 11 am-6 pm Monday-Saturday, noon-5 pm Sunday.
Ironically, Dig Vinyl is one of the few record stores where the digging is already done for you. The store is operated by Scott Thayer, the DJ behind KMHD's rare-vinyl show, The Deep Dig, and its jazz- and soul-focused inventory is just as carefully curated as his radio show. A small square with high ceilings tucked behind a coffee shop in Sellwood, Dig feels like a secret club, where even the $5 bargain bins feel hand-selected. Even if they don't yield as many surprising finds as the jazz, soul and funk sections, the folk and classic-rock sections are well-stocked. If you're in the mood to hunt, you can sift through the bins tucked under every shelf, but it seems inefficient when Thayer and his knowledgeable, friendly staff are on hand to guide you toward treasure. SHANNON GORMLEY.
Specialization: Jazz and soul.
Find of the day: Johnny Almond Music Machine's Patent Pending, one of only two albums by the obscure yet influential saxophone player ($24).
See Related: Your Guide to Record Store Day in Portland.
GO: Record Store Day is Saturday, April 21.