PHOTOS BY SARAH RUGGIERO
Some record stores feel more like a dungeon than a retail space, where vinyl comes to die rather than receive a loving home. And while you shimmy sideways through the narrow aisles, you swear you can hear the dusty comedy albums whispering desperate pleas, begging you to aid their escape. You wave your hand over the crate—Shhhhh!—and then flip through the same dime-a-dozen stacks of classic rock 45s you checked out at the last record joint you went to.
While Jamaica Plain’s new and, shall we say, premiere record store is a mere newborn, it holds a lot of promise and a great deal of variety and peculiarity. Deep Thoughts, which opened April Fool’s Day, occupies a very un-dungeon-like ground level space on South Street, a short walk from Centre Street. Tapes, books, movies, and zines complement the rows of records, which include, and stretch far beyond, the typical classic rock span: jazz, blues, folk, rap, country, psych, prog, punk, metal, reggae, and international are all accounted for. Then there are the more unique categories, like krautrock, “weird rock,” “high art,” and “demented stuff.” You’ll find everything from Black Sabbath to Blue Sabbath, from locals like Bugs and Rats to the extraterrestrial Mr. Spock’s Music from Outer Space.
“We’re the most similar to Weirdo Records in that we’re carrying a lot of new stuff on vinyl, stuff that’s a little below the radar. But what makes us different from Weirdo is we’re carrying a lot more bands, you know? Bands, like contemporary bands with people with guitars and drums who sing and stuff like that,” said Nick Williams, who co-owns the space with Peter Negroponte.
Williams and Negroponte didn’t have JP in mind initially, but then the neighborhood just made sense to them. “We came to realize that JP is in the most need of a record store of any neighborhood in Boston. ‘Cause there’s the most interesting parties here who I think are not exactly being served at the moment. So it all kinda just came together that we found both the cheapest spot and in the neighborhood that seems like the right idea,” Williams said. “I’d say we’re sort of trying to be a one-stop shop for people in JP, because all the bases are covered in Cambridge, for the most part.”
Plus, it just looks hella cool inside. The decorations covering nearly every square foot of the interior are inspired by one of Allston’s now-defunct but longest-running show houses, where the two first met.
And the pair have plenty of experience selling, distributing, and playing music: for the past few years Williams has run Deep Thoughts’s online store on Discogs, and he cofounded and managed Easthampton’s Feeding Tube Records, a store that Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore partnered with. Both Williams and Negroponte operate DIY labels (One Kind Favor and Anonymous Dog, respectively) and play in bands (Cave Bears and Guerilla Toss, also respectively).
And while these dudes are certainly laid back, Negroponte explained he has ambitious plans for the shop’s future.
“I wanna find out where all the McDonald’s play area stuff is—like, I wanna go dumpster a bunch of that and have hamster tubes for humans, and you can crawl around in them. And then a big slide that goes into a pile of records. No, Barbara Streisand records,” he said.
“That’s my dream.”
138B SOUTH ST.