Wall of Sound
(1205 E Pike St, #1C, wosound.com)
Small but exquisitely curated, Wall of Sound has been to Seattle what the defunct Other Music was to New York City: the place with the highest ratio of amazing, obscure, eclectic vinyl from around the world. Owners Jeffery Taylor and Michael Ohlenroth are the underdogs of the city's music-retail ecosphere, because they cater to a tiny niche clientele who don't care about what's popular. If you're looking for elite selections in avant-garde jazz, minimal synth, psych-rock, prog, funk, soul, ambient, experimental, and many manifestations of "world" music, or Bobby Beausoleil's Lucifer Rising box set, Wall of Sound will hook you up.
Jive Time Records
(3506 Fremont Ave N, jivetimerecords.com)
For 17 years, Jive Time has ranked among Seattle's foremost spots to cop used vinyl. The shop—which also features an annex full of bargain records in the nearby Fremont Vintage Mall—maximizes its tight confines with epicurean displays of classic rock, soul, jazz, country, folk, new age, soundtrack, and strange, uncategorizable stuff.
(4308 Fremont Ave N, daybreakrecordstore.com)
Just up the street from Jive Time, Daybreak is one of the newest and best contenders for your disposable income. Owner RJ's predilection for metal, punk, reggae, and dub makes those sections robust as hell, but he doesn't ignore the other musical styles. I copped one of my holy grail records there, Ruth White's 7 Trumps from the Tarot Cards and Pinions, so big-ups to Daybreak.
(1520 10th Ave, everydaymusic.com)
In sheer size and something-for-everybody approach, Everyday Music may be the closest thing Seattle has to Amoeba (though Silver Platters gives it a run for its money). Its stock encompasses all the basics (rock, metal, rap, punk, electronic, soundtracks, country/folk, jazz, new age, and more), but Everyday Music gets extra credit for giving great labels their own divider cards and for stocking plenty of imports and reissues.
(2209 NW Market St, sonicboomrecords.com)
The best place in Ballard to build your new and used vinyl collection, Sonic Boom is another shop attempting the difficult all-things-to-all-people approach. But thankfully its buyers are very knowledgeable, so they balance best-sellers with cool underground offerings. Sonic Boom is also a bonanza for 7-inch singles, and its discounted-record bins always yield treasures.