New Record Store, Hill & Dale, Grand Opening Friday, Feb. 7th in Georgetown

1054 31st Street, NW

Hill & Dale’s website says:

“We created Hill & Dale for people who are looking for a place to discover, celebrate, and enjoy interesting music.

A big part of our lives revolves around music and the people who create great sounds and songs. For years, we found music in local record stores and relied on recommendations from friends who shared our passion for music. When technology changed the way people find and enjoy music, the personal connections we found in record stores and the excitement that came from opening a new LP became scarce. Hill & Dale is a place to find and enjoy music on records, with artwork, liner notes, and lyrics that you hold in your hands. We also offer beautiful posters and photography that celebrate musicians and live performance.

We’re not attached to one style of music and enjoy many genres, geographies, and traditions. Hill & Dale offers a variety of new and old titles in pop, rock, jazz, folk, country, blues, electronica, and lots of material that’s hard to classify. We sell music that we hope you’ll enjoy, but that’s not the only reason to keep coming back to Hill & Dale. We enjoy talking about music and the musicians who are creating interesting sounds, so you can come here for reviews, links to articles, playlists, videos, and anything else that we may be sharing.”


A peek in the window after the jump.


Located downstairs across from Sea Catch:


38 Comment

  • Are there any independent shops left in town that actually carry CDs? I think they may be extinct in DC.

    • Seriously man. Vinyl, vinyl everywhere, and not a disc to spin! The only stores I’ve found that still sell decent CDs are Smash records with a tiny used selection in Adams Morgan, and occasionally useful FYE in Union Station (and Best Buy, Target, etc. but why even bother there?).

    • The used bookstore on P in Dupont has a pretty good selection of used CDs and LPs. I do miss Melody Records.

    • Not in town, but close, CDepot in College Park.

      • Also definitely not in town, but The Sound Garden up in Fells Point is still pretty great.

        • Yep! Soundgarden is the best! And they also have vinyl.

          – CDs : well, some of us still want to read the liner notes.
          – If I’m going to back up my downloads on cd anyway, I might as well just buy the cd in the first place

    • why the heck would you want to buy CDs?

      • Honestly. Vinyl I understand but what is appealing/convenient about buying CDs?

      • You can put them in a cd player and listen to music! I own over 1,000 cds and I’m still buying more.

      • and most new vinyl comes with a code to download MP3 or FLAC soft copies. used CDS can often be a better value if undervalued compared to digital file (ie Amoeba in CA)

  • “… a place to discover, celebrate, and enjoy interesting music.”

    You mean like The Internet? I don’t usually try to snark people for trying to create something, but there’s a reason that record shops aren’t a booming industry.

    • binpetworth

      Yeah, but to be fair, there are quite a few vinyl recordings that are simply unavailable in other formats. Sure you can discover new artists on the Internet, but there are plenty of oldies but goodies to be discovered old-school style. I still kick myself for getting rid of some albums from my youth that have never been made available in digital form.

    • Sales of vinyl have weathered the downloading storm much better than other format. Probably because the audio experience of listening to a vinyl record is much better than listening to an MP3, in the opinion of a sizable number of people (me included). If your overhead is low enough, a vinyl shop is workable. I wish these folks luck.

  • I mourned the closing of Tower Records (so many hours spent there…) on 21st St NW but recently attended a record fair in Penn Quarter and was blown away by the number of people buying vinyl. judging by their ages, I’d say many of them probably never had a record player in their household growing up. record stores used to be places to socialize music and not just a place to find a physical good so I get what Hill & Dale is trying to accomplish. I hope these guys do well and I’ll visit the store but I wonder about the economics of starting an independent record store in Georgetown.

    • Why don’t you go to the local record stores and just explore and discuss music like you used to? Though they may specialize in vinyl, you can listen to the records and talk to the people working there even if you just go home and order stuff on CD. They may even order it for you. Some of the record stores like Som even employ some pretty amazing and well known musicians who are happy talk tunes with you.

      Or better yet, pick up a record player (they even sell them at Target now) and get vinyl. Its better sound quality and more durable, and often the new albums have MP3 download codes. And the used bargain bins at record and thrift stores are full of great cheap music.

      The DC record store scene is booming. Take advantage.

  • Nope, indie records stores in DC are not kind to the CD (other than used, such as Red Onion). Maybe Smash has new CD’s, but they mostly sell punk / punk related and not many other genres. While I’m normally fine with the all vinyl stores, when a DC band only releases albums on CD (I’m thinking Dot Dash), Crooked Beat should really make an exception and sell their CD’s. I love records stores, and feel that I’m somewhat of a connoisseur. It looks to me from these PoP photos, that Hill & Dale is going to struggle. While the cool wood/metal album racks look nice, they must have cost some money to put together! Record stores normally run on such small margins, they need to be located in cheap, dingy, cramped spaces to maximize inventory and minimize rent. It also looks like they have little/no used vinyl. If they are going to try to make it off selling new vinyl and posters, they are going to struggle. Crooked Beat already has much of the new vinyl/ record collector business in DC, so why would those customers go to Hill & Dale? Yeah, the posters are cool, but it’ll be hard to pay rent from selling posters. I think this place might do better if they sold turntables, high-end headphones, record clears, etc… but that’s just my two cents….

  • sell CDs or I have no reason to visit, which would make me sad because I miss music stores (Melody, Tower, etc…)

  • Awesome, good luck!

  • I wish them luck because it takes a lot of guts to open any sort of store, let alone in an industry like this. It’s an off-the-beaten-path spot, so hopefully their rents aren’t too high and they can make it.

  • What’s a “record”?

    • Seriously. All the 20-somethings who buy vinyl today had probably never seen an actual vinyl record until they got to college.

  • We used to spend hours in Record City and Waxy Maxy’s. (I’m old.)

    • aw, i bought my first cd from waxie maxie’s! no doubt – tragic kingdom. can’t believe i still remember that.

    • saf

      And Kemp Mill Records

      • Kemp Mill Records breaks its own record! It’s five ninety nine and it’s all the time!

        I remember The Greaseman calling the guy on that radio ad “The Kemp Mill Maggot.”

      • there is still a kemp mill records operating in PG county near the air force base on route 5. believe it or not.

    • The first record I can remember buying was The Beatles Live at the Hollywood Bowl. I think it was from Peaches, in (I think) Wheaton, mid to late 70s.

  • Record stores don’t sell CD’s anymore because they can’t make money off them. Big retailers are able to secure exclusive tracks and deluxe editions of the big releases, and undercut them on pricing by using CD’s as loss leaders and/or securing volume discounts from labels. Trying to take the big retailers on directly is what nearly leveled the independent shops over the past decade.

    They’ve shifted their focus on vinyl because it’s a premium market that doesn’t have the same level of head-to-head competition. People who are interested in it are often willing to pay a premium for limited variants or rare releases, and the used market is much more robust and profitable than CD’s.

    Would it be nice for them to carry some CD’s from local artists who don’t press their material? Sure, and if consumers vocalized their desire for that, I am fairly sure they’d at least explore it (or offer to order those releases for you). But if you’re hoping for a full fledged CD revival at these stores, you’re going to be left disappointed.

    • +1 I Agree. Downloading has also really hit the used CD market hard. Record stores used to make a good buck on used CD’s even after Best Buy, etc… drove down prices/margins on new CD’s. I’ve asked the owner of Crooked Beat to carry a select few CD’s (Dot Dash, The Ex, and other stuff that I bet he could actually sell), but he hasn;t done it. I think the all Vinyl thing is a point of pride at this point, and he doesn’t want to make exceptions.

  • Vinyl sales increased something like 50% last year. Urban Outfitters does a considerable vinyl business. I think Hill and Dale may do well w/so many college kids in the area.

  • I recently got to go inside to shoot photos for DC Music Download’s feature and I think the shop is fantastic. They don’t have anything used yet but they have a lot of new stuff (old and new albums) and, my favorite part, a collection of concert screen prints for sale. The owner also said he hopes to host live music soon too.

  • CD Cellar sells CDs. It’s even in the name. You have to Metro to Courthouse/Clarendon though (oh no, two stops into Virginia!), and there’s another one in Falls Church.

  • I hope these guys do well! Selling records ain’t easy. I’ve been doing it for eleven years now and still go from month to month, week to week. New records don’t have much of a margin on them and while you can make a lot more money on used LP’s the trick is finding enough good (and playable) records to sell. I spend 4-5 mornings a week (before I open) seeking out used records to buy for my shop and I know Matt from Smash, Josh from Red Onion, Bill from Crooked Beat and the guys from Joint Custody do the same. We battle at the flea markets and estate sales every week for the same crumbs.
    Its not the old days when there was a continuous line of folks going to their local record store to sell or trade in records. We do get walk in’s but not enough to guarantee steady inventory. Some times folks come in and they’re flabbergasted that I don’t have any Led Zeppelin or Black Sabbath or Cure records in that day. That’s because the demand way exceeds the supply of those records and when I do get them I don’t want to price them through the roof. Folks are so used to one click shopping for whatever they want that they don’t really see what goes into tracking stuff down.
    CD sales on the other hand are dead. I sell a few of them a month. On the flip side, if you do buy CDs this is a great time to get quality titles at really cheap prices. The thrift stores and flea markets are stuffed to the gills with them.
    Sorry for the long tangent, but if you’re in Georgetown show these guys some love!

    • I hear ya. Thanks for keeping your store open…. I’ve stumbled into some great finds at Som over the years. Plus, how cool is it to buy records from a place where former Gun Club/Cramps legend Kid Congo is working?

  • Darrel_J

    Guess that means vinyls are going out of style soon.

  • Looks cool — good luck H&D!

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