Beacon Sound Is One of Portland's Great Record Stores
Social worker, band kid, lightly reformed anarchist—Portlander Andrew Neerman (in photo, holding a record) has lived a lot of lives. In 2011, he went after another.
“The initial idea was just to bring in records that other shops weren’t carrying,” Neerman says of Beacon Sound, his combo record store/label/community space that recently migrated from North Mississippi to SE Grand. He launched it hoping to enliven Portland’s vinyl market with international titles he wasn’t seeing around town.
Eight years in, Neerman says his niche is somewhere at the crossroads of ambient and classical music—German pianist/electronic producer Nils Frahm is the most-requested artist—but that’s not to say that more mainstream tastes needn’t apply. A recent visit turned up prominent displays of both alt-country-punk hero Bonnie “Prince” Billy and Lana Del Rey’s latest.
“I didn’t just start a label to be cool,” he says; it was a quietly political act informed by his time in the late-’90s anarchist scene. He’s put out albums by everyone from Lebanese psych-rocker Fadi Tabbal to legendary film composer Jóhann Jóhannsson, all with the goal of making “grassroots connections with artists around the world and transcending the nation-state model.” The store frequently hosts shows and fundraisers, and the new space includes a showroom for anti-colonialist streetwear boutique Faro Fabrics.
The community spirit is Neerman’s favorite part of the job, but there are also other perks: he once ended up vintage shopping in Beirut with Nina Persson from the Cardigans. A run-in with the woman who brought us “Lovefool” isn’t guaranteed at Beacon Sound, but for records, streetwear, and the general warm-fuzzies, they’ve got you covered.
207 SE Grand Ave, wearebeaconsound.com